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A Quantitative Study of Living Matter

06-14-17

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, has reinvents the Caltech freshman biology course. "I believe the most fascinating subject of our time is the quantitative study of living matter, trying to understand the living part of the world with the same precision as we have understood the inorganic world," he says. "Many students think of biology as a subject that is all about a variety of facts. I reject this viewpoint and in teaching this class I aimed to find an alternative to the 'death by powerpoint' approach." [Caltech story]

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Riding The Crest

05-15-17

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, is one of the hard-core scientists/athletes recently featured in the Caltech Magazine. In the article he is shown seeking surfing solitude in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. He describes, “I try to go places where there’s no one else. In Alaska I found a place never surfed by anybody.” He has also sought surf nirvana in Sumatra, the Maldives, Biarritz, and—closer at hand—off Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara County. On the connection between sports and science, Phillips says, “One of the things I notice about the people I admire the most in science is that they’re still in touch with a childlike enthusiasm, an intensity, a curiosity.” [Read the article]

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Professor Phillips Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

04-21-16

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, has been elected to the 2016 American Academy of Arts and Sciences class of fellows. Founded in 1780, the academy aims to serve the nation by cultivating "every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." [List of 2016 fellows] [ENGenious article]

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Professor Phillips Celebrates Feynman Lectures' 50th Anniversary

12-18-13

In the 2013 Issue of Nature Rob Phillips celebrates Feynman's Lectures on Physics as they near their 50th anniversary. He describes, “Feynman’s physics is about simplicity, beauty, unity and analogy, presented with enthusiasm and insight that bursts from the page.” [Nature Article] [Feynman Lectures Online] [ENGenious article]

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The Physics of Going Viral

06-28-12

Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, and colleagues have measured the rate of DNA transfer from viruses to bacteria. They wanted to find out whether pressure plays a dominant role in transferring the DNA. Instead, he says, "What we discovered is that the thing that mattered most was not the pressure in the bacteriophage, but how much DNA was in the bacterial cell." When the bacteriophages try to inject their DNA into the cells, the factor that limits the rate of transfer is how jam-packed those cells are.  "In this case," Phillips says, "it had more to do with the recipient, and less to do with the pressure that had built up inside the phage." [Caltech Press Release]

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Four EAS Faculty Receive Named Chairs

12-14-11

Professors James (Jim) L. Beck, Sossina M. Haile, Melany L. Hunt, and Rob Phillips have received named chairs.  Jim Beck has been named the George W. Housner Professor of Engineering and Applied Science.  Sossina Haile has been named the Carl F Braun Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. Melany Hunt has been named the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Rob Phillips has been named the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology.

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Undergraduate Receives Fulbright to Study Biophysics of RNA in Denmark

05-13-11

Pradeep Ramesh, a senior undergraduate student working with Rob Phillips, Professor of Biophysics and Biology, has received a Fulbright fellowship to work in an experimental Biophysics lab at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen under the guidance of Professor Lene B. Oddershede. He plans to study the collision and queuing of RNA polymerases during transcription using optical tweezers and atomic-force microscopes.  

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Division of Engineering and Applied Science