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Researchers Help Generate First Image of Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy

05-12-22

A multi-institution collaboration that includes a Caltech-led imaging team has generated the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This result provides conclusive evidence that the body, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*, pronounced "sadge-ay-star"), is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such massive objects, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies. "We not only recovered an image of Sgr A*, but also characterized the uncertainty of features in the image," says He Sun. "This analysis helped the team deliver scientific results with some guarantees." [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Katie Bouman He Sun Junhan Kim Aviad Levis

Caltech Breaks Ground on Resnick Sustainability Center

05-09-22

Philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of the Wonderful Company, joined Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, California governor Gavin Newsom, Pasadena mayor Victor Gordo, and other distinguished guests and members of the Caltech community to break ground on the Resnick Sustainability Center (RSC). When completed in 2024, the Resnick Sustainability Center will open new figurative portals to sustainability in the realms of research, education, and societal impact. "For Lynda and me, this is an incredibly significant investment," said Stewart Resnick, chairman and president of the Wonderful Company, speaking at the ceremony on behalf of himself and Lynda Resnick, co-owner of the Wonderful Company. [Caltech story]

Tags: Thomas Rosenbaum David Tirrell Gavin Newsom Victor Gordo Stewart Resnick Lynda Resnick Jonas Peters

Rapid Adaptation of Deep Learning Teaches Drones to Survive Any Weather

05-05-22

To be truly useful, drones—that is, autonomous flying vehicles—will need to learn to navigate real-world weather and wind conditions. A team of engineers from Caltech has developed Neural-Fly, a deep-learning method that can help drones cope with new and unknown wind conditions in real time just by updating a few key parameters. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Yisong Yue Soon-Jo Chung Animashree Anandkumar Xichen Shi Guanya Shi Michael O'Connell Kamyar Azizzadenesheli

Caltech Launches Merkin Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics

05-02-22

Caltech trustee Richard Merkin, MD, founder and chief executive officer of the Heritage Provider Network, has made a generous gift to establish a center for pure and applied mathematics at Caltech. The new Richard N. Merkin Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics will catalyze scientific progress by creating a hub for mathematical research on campus. The center will bridge disciplines, connecting research in disparate areas that center on the development of mathematical ideas and foundations, and amplifying campus activities in fields ranging from pure mathematics to computational biology and quantum sciences. "By forging stronger connections among the Institute's mathematics initiatives, the Merkin Center will provide researchers with new and exciting opportunities to collaborate as they tackle important scientific and technological challenges," says Provost David A. Tirrell. [Caltech story]

Tags: CMS

Pioneering New Frontiers in Topological Physics

04-28-22

A team of engineers led by Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, recently opened a new frontier in topological physics, which is the field that seeks to understand the topological properties that arise in coupled systems based on how they are organized and coupled. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Alireza Marandi James Williams Midya Parto

A Science Journey with Fernando Villafuerte

04-26-22

As part of the Science Journeys lecture series—designed to inspire scientific curiosity, especially among students in eighth grade and higher—graduate student Fernando Villafuerte discussed his path to Caltech and his research on batteries, including their role in sustainability solutions. Villafuerte works in the lab of Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; and Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute. His research focuses on a novel material known as a solid polymer electrolyte, which could potentially be used to create batteries that can store more energy than currently possible. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer Fernando Villafuerte

Konstantin Zuev Receives Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers

04-25-22

Konstantin Zuev, Teaching Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. Zuev is a leading researcher in the areas of rare events analysis, network science and quantitative finance. He will join the Institute for Risk and Reliability, Leibniz Universität Hannover, to collaborate with their team on a novel access to reliability analysis by harnessing recent advances in statistical, information and data sciences.

Tags: honors CMS Konstantin Zuev

The Grid Gets Smart

04-25-22

Adaptive electric vehicle chargers and advanced battery designs are some of the ways Caltech researchers are building a more sustainable electric grid. Steven Low, Frank J. Gilloon Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and Electrical Engineering, invented the Adaptive Charging Network (ACN). But Low and others warn that this grid is unprepared for the challenges of the 21st century. “The current grid will very soon hit a wall where, when we add renewable energy, it sits unused because the demand isn’t there at a time when the solar is running,” says Adam Wierman, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences; Director, Information Science and Technology. That is why Caltech researchers are working on ways to break down that barrier to help empower an energy transformation. Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, is pushing the limits of the batteries themselves.  [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Julia Greer Adam Wierman Steven Low Kimberly See

Startup Company Captura Receives XPRIZE Award

04-25-22

Caltech-based startup company Captura, which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from ocean water to combat climate change, has been awarded $1 million from the XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition. Captura was co-founded by Harry Atwater, Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science; Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Liquid Sunlight Alliance, and Chengxiang "CX" Xiang, Research Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science. It has the potential to scale up to harvesting gigatons of carbon dioxide—that is, billions of tons—from the ocean every year. "As far as we can tell, Captura is one the very few companies that is doing carbon capture from ocean water," Xiang says. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Harry Atwater Chengxiang Xiang

What Is the Future of Wind Energy?

04-21-22

Humans have used windmills to capture the force of the wind as mechanical energy for more than 1,300 years. Unlike early windmills, however, modern wind turbines use generators and other components to convert energy from the spinning blades into a smooth flow of AC electricity. In this video, John Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering discusses the future of wind energy technology. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE John Dabiri