117th Commencement Ceremony
Caltech's 117th Commencement Ceremony was held on Friday, June 10th. The graduates were addressed by Ahmed H. Zewail, Caltech's Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry, professor of physics, and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He spoke about the importance of science to the advancement of all the world's cultures, and the crucial role communications technologies played in the largely non-violent 2011 revolution in Egypt—his home country.
Compaction Bands in Sandstone are Permeable
José E. Andrade, Associate Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues have analyzed X-ray images of Aztec sandstone and revealed that compaction bands are actually more permeable than earlier models indicated. Their paper provides the first permeability calculations based on actual rock samples taken directly from the field in the Valley of Fire, Nevada. They conclude that these formations are not as impermeable as previously believed, and that therefore their ability to trap fluids—like oil, gas, and CO2—should be measured based on 3D images taken from the field. [Caltech Press Release]
Largest Biochemical Circuit Built Out of Small Synthetic DNA Molecules
Lulu Qian, Senior Postdoctoral Scholar in Bioengineering, and colleagues including Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, have built the most complex biochemical circuit ever created from scratch made with DNA-based devices in a test tube that are analogous to the electronic transistors on a computer chip."We're trying to borrow the ideas that have had huge success in the electronic world, such as abstract representations of computing operations, programming languages, and compilers, and apply them to the biomolecular world," says Dr. Qian. [Caltech Press Release]