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  • richardmitnick 3:15 pm on March 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Radioactive Molecules May Help Solve Mystery of Missing Antimatter", , , Caltech,   

    From Caltech and From UC Santa Barbara : “Radioactive Molecules May Help Solve Mystery of Missing Antimatter” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    and

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc
    From UC Santa Barbara

    March 26, 2021
    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395‑1944
    wclavin@caltech.edu

    1
    An artistic representation of the structure of the radium monomethoxide ion, or RaOCH3+, used in the new study. The asymmetrical, or pear-shaped, radium nucleus is highlighted at the top.

    Stars, galaxies, and everything in the universe, including our own bodies, are comprised of so-called regular matter. Regular matter includes atoms and molecules, which are made up of tiny particles, such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. These particles dominate our universe, vastly outnumbering their lesser-known counterparts: antimatter particles. First experimentally discovered in 1932 by the late Nobel laureate and longtime Caltech professor Carl Anderson (BS ’27, PhD ’30), antimatter particles have the opposite charges to their matter counterparts.

    2
    Carl Anderson with the magnet cloud chamber with which he discovered the positive electron, or positron. For this work he won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1936. Credit: Caltech Archives.

    The antimatter particle to the negatively charged electron, for example, is the positively charged positron.

    How did matter come to overshadow antimatter? Scientists believe that something happened early in the history of our cosmos to tip the balance of particles to matter, causing antimatter to largely disappear. How this occurred is still a mystery.

    In a new study in the journal Physical Review Letters, Nick Hutzler (BS ’07), assistant professor of physics at Caltech, and his graduate student Phelan Yu, propose a new tabletop-based tool to search for answers to the antimatter riddle. Like other physicists studying the problem, the researchers’ main idea is to look for asymmetries in how regular matter interacts with electromagnetic fields. This is related to a type of symmetry commonly seen in particles called charge parity, or CP. Any deviations from the expected CP symmetry might explain how matter ultimately edged out antimatter in our universe.

    Hutzler and his colleagues theoretically worked out a new way to probe these symmetry violations using a radioactive molecule called a radium monomethoxide ion, or RaOCH3+. Their partners at UC Santa Barbara(US), led by Andrew Jayich, then created these molecules for the first time and published the results in a companion article in Physical Review Letters.

    The joint studies demonstrate that radioactive molecules have the potential to be even more sensitive probes of fundamental particle symmetries than the non-radioactive atoms commonly used today.

    “The state-of-the-art method for this type of study uses atoms,” explains Hutzler. “But molecules can be even better probes because they have baked-in asymmetry. They are lumpy and lopsided to begin with. The radium nucleus is even lumpier since it has a very uneven charge distribution, and this also helps. The result is a 100,000 to 1,000,000 larger amplification of symmetry violations, if any are present, compared to what has been state of the art.”

    To look for symmetry violations in particles, researchers generally observe how particles behave in electric fields. They search for abnormal behaviors that break the known symmetry rules; for instance, physicists have predicted that symmetry violations might cause an electron to precess, or wobble around like a spinning top, in an electric field. Molecules have electromagnetic fields inside them, due to their asymmetrical nature, so they make ideal targets for this kind of work.

    Hutzler says he had thought about using radium-based molecules for this purpose before, even calling himself a “radium fanboy,” but explained that the isotope they need is extremely radioactive with a half-life of two weeks (half of a lump of radium will decay into other nuclei in just two weeks).

    “This radium isotope is very radioactive and very scarce, which makes working with it difficult,” explains Hutzler. “But the unique properties of the RaOCH3+ molecule overcome many of these challenges, and, when combined with the experimental technique demonstrated at UC Santa Barbara, will enable modern, quantum, highly sensitive methods to search for these symmetry violations.”

    The new tabletop method is complementary to other techniques that search for clues to the antimatter mystery, including related experiments performed in the Hutzler lab as well as the neutron Electric Dipole Moment, or nEDM experiment, which is being built in part at Caltech by Brad Filippone, the Francis L. Moseley Professor of Physics, and his team. In fact, Hutzler worked with Filippone on this experiment as an undergraduate at Caltech. The nEDM experiment, which will ultimately take place at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in about five years, will look for CP symmetry violations specifically in neutrons.

    “This new approach is not as clean and direct as nEDM, but by using a whole molecule, we have the advantage of being able to sense symmetry violations in a range of particles,” says Hutzler.

    The radioactive-molecule approach may take years more to fully develop but Hutzler says that he has been enjoying focusing on the theoretical aspect of the work.

    “We’ve been starting to dabble more in theory partly due to the pandemic and having more time at home,” he says. “We probably would not have done this theory work otherwise.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Barbara Seal

    The University of California, Santa Barbara (US) is a public land-grant research university in Santa Barbara, California, and one of the ten campuses of the University of California(US) system. Tracing its roots back to 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944, and is the third-oldest undergraduate campus in the system.

    The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges and schools offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation(US), UC Santa Barbara spent $235 million on research and development in fiscal year 2018, ranking it 100th in the nation. In his 2001 book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities, author Howard Greene labeled UCSB a “Public Ivy”.

    UC Santa Barbara is a research university with 10 national research centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (US) and the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems and Computation. Current UCSB faculty includes six Nobel Prize laureates; one Fields Medalist; 39 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 27 members of the National Academy of Engineering; and 34 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCSB was the No. 3 host on the ARPANET and was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1995. The faculty also includes two Academy and Emmy Award winners and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize; an IEEE Medal of Honor; a National Medal of Technology and Innovation; and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

    The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference of the NCAA Division I. The Gauchos have won NCAA national championships in men’s soccer and men’s water polo.

    History

    UCSB traces its origins back to the Anna Blake School, which was founded in 1891, and offered training in home economics and industrial arts. The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School which then became the Santa Barbara State College in 1921.

    In 1944, intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State Legislature, Gov. Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system. The State College system sued to stop the takeover but the governor did not support the suit. A state constitutional amendment was passed in 1946 to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.

    From 1944 to 1958, the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name. When the vacated Marine Corps training station in Goleta was purchased for the rapidly growing college Santa Barbara City College moved into the vacated State College buildings.

    Originally the regents envisioned a small several thousand–student liberal arts college a so-called “Williams College (US) of the West”, at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, UCSB is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after UC Berkeley (US) and UCLA (US) (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the UC system). The original campus the regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949.

    Originally only 3000–3500 students were anticipated but the post-WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958 along with a name change from “Santa Barbara College” to “University of California, Santa Barbara,” and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the state college was famous. A chancellor- Samuel B. Gould- was appointed in 1959.

    In 1959 UCSB professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university’s first visiting professor. Huxley delivered a lectures series called The Human Situation.

    In the late ’60s and early ’70s UCSB became nationally known as a hotbed of anti–Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school’s faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker Dover Sharp. In the spring of 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista during which time one male student Kevin Moran was shot and killed by police. UCSB’s anti-Vietnam activity impelled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Armed guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

    In 1995 UCSB was elected to the Association of American Universities– an organization of leading research universities with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

    On May 23, 2014 a killing spree occurred in Isla Vista, California, a community in close proximity to the campus. All six people killed during the rampage were students at UCSB. The murderer was a former Santa Barbara City College student who lived in Isla Vista.

    Research activity

    According to the National Science Foundation (US), UC Santa Barbara spent $236.5 million on research and development in fiscal 2013, ranking it 87th in the nation.

    From 2005 to 2009 UCSB was ranked fourth in terms of relative citation impact in the U.S. (behind Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), California Institute of Technology(US), and Princeton University (US)) according to Thomson Reuters.

    UCSB hosts 12 National Research Centers, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies, an affiliate of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Eight of these centers are supported by the National Science Foundation. UCSB is also home to Microsoft Station Q, a research group working on topological quantum computing where American mathematician and Fields Medalist Michael Freedman is the director.

    Research impact rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked UCSB 48th worldwide for 2016–17, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 ranked UCSB 42nd in the world; 28th in the nation; and in 2015 tied for 17th worldwide in engineering.

    In the United States National Research Council rankings of graduate programs, 10 UCSB departments were ranked in the top ten in the country: Materials; Chemical Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Marine Science Institute; Geography; History; and Theater and Dance. Among U.S. university Materials Science and Engineering programs, UCSB was ranked first in each measure of a study by the National Research Council of the NAS.

    The Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University [Universiteit Leiden](NL) ranked UCSB as the seventh-best research university in the world based on mean normalized citation score, and as the second best in the world based on the proportion of the publications to the top 10% most frequently cited.

    The Global Research Report: United States published by Thomson Reuters in November 2010 rated UCSB’s research fourth nationally in citation impact.

    Among U.S. university economics programs, in 2010 UCSB was ranked sixth for experimental economics; third for environmental economics; and 12th for cognitive and behavioral economics by RePEc.

    Washington Monthly named UCSB as the 20th best national university in 2020 based on its contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

    Caltech campus

    The California Institute of Technology(US) is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    Caltech was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(US) as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US). According to a 2015 Pomona College(US) study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    Caltech is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US); National Science Foundation(US); Department of Health and Human Services(US); Department of Defense(US), and Department of Energy(US).

    In 2005, Caltech had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing JPL, Caltech also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory(US); the Owens Valley Radio Observatory(US);the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory(US); the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory(US); the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Richland, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory(US) in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center(US), part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center(US) located on the Caltech campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    Caltech partnered with University of California at Los Angeles(US) to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    Caltech operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network(US) stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:44 pm on March 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Shape of Star Explosions", "WIRC+Pol" instrument, , , , Caltech, , , We believe all supernovae explode asymmetrically but we need an instrument like this to confirm that theory and to teach us more about how stars explode as well as the environments they explode into.   

    From Caltech: “The Shape of Star Explosions” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    March 11, 2021
    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395‑1944
    wclavin@caltech.edu

    Caltech Palomar 200 inch Hale Telescope, Altitude 1,713 m (5,620 ft), located in San Diego County, California, U.S.A.

    New polarization instrument at Palomar Observatory delivers first results.

    When massive stars end their lives in fiery explosions called supernovae, their ashes fly outward to form expanding clouds of debris. While these clouds may look roughly spherical, astronomers think that star explosions are in fact lopsided events in which different amounts of material shoot outward in different directions.


    Three-Dimensional Core-Collapse Supernova (highest resolution).

    Now, astronomers have a new tool to better understand the asymmetrical shapes of supernova explosions, and thus how stars explode in the first place. An instrument called “WIRC+Pol,” located at Caltech’s 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory, has delivered its first science results, which show that a supernova called SN 2018hna exploded in a shape more like an ellipse than a sphere, similar to the well-studied supernova remnant called SN 1987A.

    2
    The WIRC+Pol instrument in the 200-inch Hale dome at Palomar. Credit: K. Tinyanont/Caltech.

    “We believe all supernovae explode asymmetrically but we need an instrument like this to confirm that theory and to teach us more about how stars explode as well as the environments they explode into,” says Samaporn (Kaew) Tinyanont (MS ’17, PhD ’20), lead author of a new study reporting the findings in the journal Nature Astronomy. Tinyanont helped commission the WIRC+Pol instrument as part of his PhD thesis. His advisors were Caltech astronomy professors Mansi Kasliwal (MS ’07, PhD ’11) and Dimitri Mawet; Mawet is also affiliated with NASA-JPL/Caltech(US), which is managed by Caltech for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US).

    WIRC+Pol, which was designed to study brown dwarfs and supernovae, is an adaptation of a previous instrument that operated at Palomar called the Wide-Field Infrared Camera. With these modifications, WIRC+Pol now has the ability to capture spectra of polarized light, hence its name. When light from a supernova explosion scatters off the supernova’s debris clouds, that light can become polarized, which means that some of the light waves become oriented in the same direction. The more asymmetrical the explosion, the more the light will be polarized. Thus, the degree of the light’s polarization, as measured from Earth, can be used to determine the shape of the explosion.

    WIRC+Pol employs a thin sheet of liquid crystal polymer called polarization grating to split infrared light from an object into different polarization signals. Infrared light works better than optical light in polarization instruments because infrared light is not blocked by dust that causes contaminating polarization signatures. The infrared light beams with different polarization signals are simultaneously further split into different wavelengths to create the spectra. The efficiency of the new polarization grating is much higher compared with traditional gratings used previously. WIRC+Pol is the first instrument that employs a polarization grating on a large telescope, and the first with the sensitivity to observe supernovae.

    “The vast majority of supernovae that are not in our own Milky Way and the nearby Magellanic Clouds are so far away that they appear as a point in our images even with the highest power telescopes. Polarization allows us to infer the shape of these supernovae.”

    See the full article here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology(US) is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    Caltech was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(US) as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US). According to a 2015 Pomona College(US) study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    Caltech is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US); National Science Foundation(US); Department of Health and Human Services(US); Department of Defense(US), and Department of Energy(US).

    In 2005, Caltech had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing JPL, Caltech also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory(US); the Owens Valley Radio Observatory(US);the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory(US); the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory(US); the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Richland, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory(US) in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center(US), part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center(US) located on the Caltech campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    Caltech partnered with University of California at Los Angeles(US) to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    Caltech operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network(US) stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 4:06 pm on March 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Untangling the Heat Paradox Along Major Faults", , Caltech, Caltech Seismological Laboratory(US), , , , Major earthquakes in the range of magnitude 7.5 or greater are relatively rare making them difficult for scientists to study., , Understanding the physics that govern major earthquakes on different types of faults will help us to generate more accurate forecasts for earthquake threats., Using computer modeling a team from Caltech has examined the relationships between the size of an earthquake; the energy it radiates out; and the heat generated by movement along the fault.   

    From Caltech: “Untangling the Heat Paradox Along Major Faults” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    March 11, 2021

    Robert Perkins
    (626) 395‑1862
    rperkins@caltech.edu

    1
    Oblique aerial view of San Andreas Fault in southeastern Coachella Valley, near Red Canyon; view to the west. Credit: Michael Rymer, USGS.

    A new paper explores the physics that drive big earthquakes along plate boundaries.

    New research from Caltech seeks to explain the size of the forces acting on so-called “mature faults”—long-lived faults along major plate boundaries like the San Andreas Fault in California—in an effort to better understand the physics that drive the major earthquakes that occur along them.

    Major earthquakes in the range of magnitude 7.5 or greater are relatively rare making them difficult for scientists to study. Using computer modeling a team from Caltech has examined the relationships between the size of an earthquake; the energy it radiates out; and the heat generated by movement along the fault.

    “Understanding the physics that govern major earthquakes on different types of faults will help us to generate more accurate forecasts for earthquake threats,” says Caltech graduate student Valère Lambert (BS ’14, MS ’17), lead and corresponding author of a paper on the research that was published in the journal Nature on March 10. Lambert collaborated with Nadia Lapusta, the Lawrence A. Hanson, Jr., Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and Stephen Perry (MS ’14, PhD ’18) of the Caltech Seismological Laboratory(US).

    One challenge in understanding mature faults is the heat-flow paradox: over the past 50 million years, the Pacific Plate and North American Plate have slid past one another along the San Andreas Fault at an average rate of about 2 inches per year, a tectonic grinding that should produce a tremendous amount of heat from friction. However, no excess heat has been detected.

    As such, seismologists have concluded that, during earthquakes, mature faults along plate boundaries slide at much lower levels of stress than would be expected based on the results of lab experiments.

    Two competing models seek to explain the paradox. One suggests that the friction along the fault is high (preventing motion) when the ground is still, but, during an earthquake, the fault becomes what is known as dynamically weak. This can happen during an earthquake if, for example, fluid trapped along the fault vaporizes to create a counterforce to those keeping the fault clamped shut; this allows the two sides of the fault to more easily slide past one another.

    The second model assumes that pressurized fluid is always present along the fault, making it weak all the time.

    While these two models paint very different pictures for how faults move during large earthquakes, it is challenging to distinguish between them using motion on Earth’s surface. The Caltech team turned to computer modeling to examine how seismological observations can be used to differentiate these two possible scenarios.

    The modeling revealed that in the rupture of a persistently weak fault, ever-larger swaths of the fault would slip as the quake progresses, as occurs in the formation of a crack.

    In contrast, the rupture of a dynamically weak fault would propagate as a narrow “self-healing pulse” traveling along the fault; in this scenario, a much larger amount of radiated energy would be released than would be generated by a crack-like rupture causing an earthquake of the same size (as measured by the total area of the fault that ruptures during the earthquake and the amount of fault slip).

    A comparison of the amount of energy that would be released by these two scenarios against seismological observations showed that self-healing pulses are rare; an alternative explanation is that the amount of radiated energy generated by earthquakes along plate boundaries has been dramatically underestimated.

    The team also found that the physics of large earthquakes on crustal faults located within continents such as the San Andreas Fault may be different than that of megathrust faults in subduction zones where one tectonic plate is forced beneath another such as along the Japan Trench.

    A few measurements of radiated energy have been obtained from earthquakes on continental crust faults. The energy released is comparable to the estimated energy released in the models of self-healing pulses, but much larger than the energy released by subduction-zone earthquakes. Both types of faults yield large earthquakes, but the forces creating those earthquakes are different—so understanding the differences rather than lumping them together will be key to developing more accurate earthquake forecast maps.

    “We have a lot of data from large earthquakes along subduction zones, but the last really major earthquakes along the San Andreas were the magnitude-7.9 Fort Tejon quake in 1857 and the magnitude-7.9 San Francisco Earthquake in 1906, both of them before the age of modern seismic networks,” Lapusta says.

    The findings will inform physics-based models that estimate shaking and seismic hazard from future earthquakes.

    This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology(US) is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    Caltech was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (US)’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(US) as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US). According to a 2015 Pomona College(US) study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    Caltech is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US); National Science Foundation(US); Department of Health and Human Services(US); Department of Defense(US), and Department of Energy(US).

    In 2005, Caltech had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing JPL, Caltech also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory(US); the Owens Valley Radio Observatory(US);the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory(US); the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory(US); the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Richland, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory(US) in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center(US), part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center(US) located on the Caltech campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    Caltech partnered with University of California at Los Angeles(US) to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    Caltech operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network(US) stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 1:48 pm on February 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Fifty Years Ago A Major Earthquake Shifted the Course of Seismology in SoCal", An under-appreciated fault along the San Gabriel Mountains suddenly and dramatically slipped., , Caltech, Caltech was very much in the lead of the transition., , , , February 9 marks 50 years since the devastating 1971 San Fernando earthquake that rocked Los Angeles., , , , The network of seismometers that monitor ground shaking in Southern California was fledgling.   

    From Caltech: “Fifty Years Ago A Major Earthquake Shifted the Course of Seismology in SoCal” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    February 08, 2021

    Written by
    Kimm Fesenmaier

    Technical Contact
    Robert Perkins
    (626) 395‑1862
    rperkins@caltech.edu

    1
    Credit: Caltech/USGS

    The 1971 San Fernando quake led the USGS and Caltech to join forces, expanding seismic monitoring through the region

    February 9 marks 50 years since the devastating 1971 San Fernando earthquake that rocked Los Angeles. The magnitude-6.6 temblor was the worst the region had experienced for decades. But out of the tragedy came a period of tremendous advances in earthquake science and also in increasing public safety during earthquakes in Southern California.

    Just seconds after 6 a.m. on February 9, 1971, a 12-mile section of an under-appreciated fault along the San Gabriel Mountains suddenly and dramatically slipped. The entire Los Angeles region was rattled, but the shaking was particularly violent in the northeastern corner of the San Fernando Valley. By its end, two large hospitals (including one that was just months old) lay destroyed, powerlines had fallen, gas lines had exploded, freeway overpasses had collapsed, and many older buildings were damaged beyond repair. In the end, 65 people lost their lives, more than 2,000 other individuals were injured, and more than $500 million in property damage was apparent.

    It might be hard to imagine today because good information is available at our fingertips almost immediately following any earthquake. But on that day, the network of seismometers that monitor ground shaking in Southern California was fledgling, and scientists knew very little about what actually happened during an earthquake.

    “People hadn’t even started to ask the important questions about how earthquakes really happen,” says Thomas Heaton (PhD ’78), professor of engineering seismology, emeritus, at Caltech. “The 1971 San Fernando earthquake marked a major transition in earthquake science, and Caltech was very much in the lead in that transition.”

    2
    North-Trending fracture pattern near the Sylmar Converter Station above the upon Van Norman Dam. The fracture was due to a landslide and the dam’s setting in extensive fill material. Credit: USGS/Public domain.

    The quake struck at the end of a period of significant urban expansion in Los Angeles, when the region’s first tall buildings had recently been constructed. One of the requirements for building such tall structures had been to keep a record of the shaking they experienced during earthquakes. As a result, the San Fernando earthquake was the first that was well-recorded by dozens of nearby seismometers.

    “This was the first time we really had a glimpse of what the shaking was like around a major earthquake,” explains Heaton. “It allowed us to really begin to understand what the earthquake process was like.”

    Heaton himself has made computer models of what happened during the 1971 quake—of what exactly happened along the fault. The models that best fit the actual records from the event turned out to be very different from what earthquake scientists would have expected at that time. Eventually those efforts, in combination with work on additional earthquakes, led to a completely new idea of earthquake physics: earthquakes unfold over time, with faults starting to slip in one place with the slip moving outward and migrating along the fault.

    There was also a new realization among scientists after the 1971 earthquake that the thrust faults along the mountain ranges to the north of the L.A. region, such as the San Fernando and Sierra Madre faults, could produce large-magnitude quakes. The focus before San Fernando had been on the San Andreas and Newport-Inglewood faults. When the 1994 Northridge earthquake happened and was nearly a twin to the San Fernando event, scientists knew much more about what to expect.

    Equally important after the quake, Heaton says, was the great sense among earthquake scientists and engineers that monitoring and reporting systems had to be improved. When the San Fernando quake hit, it knocked out power to most of the L.A. region. In the most badly damaged area in the San Fernando Valley, all communications went down, so it was difficult for emergency responders to know where to focus their efforts. Seismologists too were left virtually blind. Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory normally received records of shaking via the telephone lines, but those were down as well.

    “Our inability to respond to that earthquake really had a strong impact on me and many of my colleagues to try to build a system that would provide information during the emergency to help emergency managers know what to do,” says Heaton.

    Immediately after the 1971 earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which had been operating in the Bay Area, was told to set up shop in Southern California. After all, the San Fernando earthquake had been by far the country’s most damaging earthquake since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

    Caltech welcomed the USGS with open arms, and together, Caltech researchers and the USGS have put many systems in place to reveal where the shaking was during an earthquake and its strength. Now, those systems are so fast that Southern California has an earthquake early warning system that can warn that shaking is on its way.

    “For the last 50 years we’ve had this incredibly strong relationship between the USGS and Caltech, and that has allowed the seismic networks in Southern California to both grow larger and to more naturally evolve to include the newest scientific ideas than they ever would have without it,” says Mike Gurnis, the John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics and director of the Seismo Lab.

    Another major piece of the developments following the 1971 earthquake was the creation by the federal government in 1977 of a multi-agency program called the National Hazards Earthquake Reduction Program (NHERP).

    “It would be difficult to overstate the importance of NHERP for earthquake research, monitoring, and reporting in Southern California,” says Lucy Jones, a visiting associate in geophysics at Caltech who served with the USGS for more than 30 years. “It was created as part of the outcome of the 1971 earthquake, and it’s the main government program that’s funded earthquake work ever since, including the seismic network at Caltech and the USGS office in Pasadena. It’s also where the funding was added to bring about earthquake early warning.”

    For the public, perhaps the most important outcomes of the 1971 San Fernando event were the laws and changes to building codes that were put into place to make buildings safer during major earthquakes. Because the damage during the quake had been so horrible, one of the first changes was the adoption of new seismic standards for hospitals.

    Other changes took a bit longer. During the quake, the San Fernando Fault actually came to the surface of the earth and tore through people’s houses. Prior to the event there was nothing to prevent builders from constructing homes and businesses directly on top of active fault lines.

    But as Jones notes, there are two types of damage associated with earthquakes. “The damage from shaking can be stopped by building stronger buildings,” she says. “The danger from the fault can’t be stopped because the fault itself is moving.”

    3
    Clarence Allen answers questions about the San Fernando Earthquake during a press conference at the Seismological Laboratory on February 10, 1971. Credit: Caltech.

    After the 1971 earthquake, Clarence Allen (MS ’51, PhD ’54), the late Caltech geologist and geophysicist, went to Sacramento and explained to legislators that geologists know where the active faults are and that an earthquake like San Fernando would certainly happen again in California. In 1972, the California legislature passed the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act, which prohibits building across active faults. “It was really because of Clarence spending the time and the effort to help people understand that geology could actually tell you where this was going to happen that this change was made,” says Jones.

    It took a lot more fighting and time to get the City of Los Angeles to require a change that seismologists identified as sorely needed after the 1971 earthquake: the requirement to retrofit unreinforced masonry buildings. During the earthquake, many of these unreinforced buildings suffered damage, including tragic collapses at a homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles and at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Fernando, where 49 people died. In 1981, the city required that about 10,000 unreinforced buildings either be retrofitted or torn down. In 1986, the state of California passed a law requiring that all jurisdictions catalog unreinforced masonry buildings and develop retrofitting programs.

    “In 1994, when the Northridge earthquake happened, nobody died in an unreinforced masonry building,” says Jones, “which is pretty amazing because that’s always been where people die in California earthquakes. So the 1971 earthquake certainly saved lives in the 1994 earthquake.”

    Earthquake Alert

    1

    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network projectEarthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    3
    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.

    Authorities

    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 4:01 pm on January 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Studying Chaos with One of the World's Fastest Cameras", , Caltech, CUP-compressed ultrafast photography, In a chaotic system the behavior is different every time.,   

    From Caltech: “Studying Chaos with One of the World’s Fastest Cameras” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    January 13, 2021

    1
    Credit: Caltech

    There are things in life that can be predicted reasonably well. The tides rise and fall. The moon waxes and wanes. A billiard ball bounces around a table according to orderly geometry.

    And then there are things that defy easy prediction: The hurricane that changes direction without warning. The splashing of water in a fountain. The graceful disorder of branches growing from a tree.

    These phenomena and others like them can be described as chaotic systems, and are notable for exhibiting behavior that is predictable at first, but grows increasingly random with time.

    Because of the large role that chaotic systems play in the world around us, scientists and mathematicians have long sought to better understand them. Now, Caltech’s Lihong Wang, the Bren Professor in the Andrew and Peggy Cherng department of Medical Engineering, has developed a new tool that might help in this quest.

    In the latest issue of Science Advances, Wang describes how he has used an ultrafast camera of his own design that recorded video at one billion frames per second to observe the movement of laser light in a chamber specially designed to induce chaotic reflections.

    2
    A so-called chaotic optical cavity is designed in such a way that a beam of light reflecting off its interior surfaces will never follow the same path twice. Credit: Caltech.

    “Some cavities are non-chaotic, so the path the light takes is predictable,” Wang says. But in the current work, he and his colleagues have used that ultrafast camera as a tool to study a chaotic cavity, “in which the light takes a different path every time we repeat the experiment.”

    The camera makes use of a technology called compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), which Wang has demonstrated in other research to be capable of speeds as fast as 70 trillion frames per second. The speed at which a CUP camera takes video makes it capable of seeing light—the fastest thing in the universe—as it travels.

    But CUP cameras have another feature that make them uniquely suited for studying chaotic systems. Unlike a traditional camera that shoots one frame of video at a time, a CUP camera essentially shoots all of its frames at once. This allows the camera to capture the entirety of a laser beam’s chaotic path through the chamber all in one go.

    That matters because in a chaotic system, the behavior is different every time. If the camera only captured part of the action, the behavior that was not recorded could never be studied, because it would never occur in exactly the same way again. It would be like trying to photograph a bird, but with a camera that can only capture one body part at a time; furthermore, every time the bird landed near you, it would be a different species. Although you could try to assemble all your photos into one composite bird image, that cobbled-together bird would have the beak of a crow, the neck of a stork, the wings of a duck, the tail of a hawk, and the legs of a chicken. Not exactly useful.

    Wang says that the ability of his CUP camera to capture the chaotic movement of light may breathe new life into the study of optical chaos, which has applications in physics, communications, and cryptography.

    “It was a really hot field some time ago, but it’s died down, maybe because we didn’t have the tools we needed,” he says. “The experimentalists lost interest because they couldn’t do the experiments, and the theoreticians lost interest because they couldn’t validate their theories experimentally. This was a fun demonstration to show people in that field that they finally have an experimental tool.”

    Co-authors on the science paper are Linran Fan, formerly of Caltech, now an assistant professor at Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona; and Xiaodong Yan and Han Wang, of the University of Southern California.

    Funding for the research was provided by the Army Research Office Young Investigator Program, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 10:53 pm on January 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A Tale of Planetary Resurrection", A planet called KOI-5Ab orbits in a triple-star system with a skewed configuration., , , , Caltech, , Star A and B orbit each other every 30 years. Star C orbits stars A and B every 400 years., The KOI-5 star system consists of three stars labeled A; B; and C .   

    From Caltech: “A Tale of Planetary Resurrection” 

    Caltech Logo

    From Caltech

    January 11, 2021
    Whitney Clavin
    (626) 395‑1944
    wclavin@caltech.edu

    1
    Years after its detection, astronomers have learned that a planet called KOI-5Ab orbits in a triple-star system with a skewed configuration.

    2
    The KOI-5 star system consists of three stars, labeled A, B, and C in this diagram. Star A and B orbit each other every 30 years. Star C orbits stars A and B every 400 years. The system hosts one known planet, called KOI-5Ab, which was discovered and characterized using data from NASA’s Kepler and TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) missions, as well as ground-based telescopes. Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC).

    NASA/Kepler Telescope, and K2 March 7, 2009 until November 15, 2018.

    NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets.

    KOI-5Ab is about half the mass of Saturn and orbits star A roughly every five days. Its orbit is titled 50 degrees relative to the plane of stars A and B. Astronomers suspect that this misaligned orbit was caused by star B, which gravitationally kicked the planet during its development, skewing its orbit and causing it to migrate inward.
    Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC).

    Shortly after NASA’s Kepler mission began operations back in 2009, it identified what was thought to be a planet about the size of Neptune. Called KOI-5Ab, the planet, which was the second new planet candidate to be found by the mission, was ultimately forgotten as Kepler racked up more and more planet discoveries. By the end of its mission in 2018, Kepler had discovered a whopping 2,394 exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars beyond our sun, and an additional 2,366 exoplanet candidates, including KOI-5Ab.

    Now, David Ciardi, chief scientist of NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI), located at Caltech’s IPAC, says he has “resurrected KOI-5Ab from the dead,” thanks to new observations from NASA’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) mission.

    “KOI-5Ab fell off the table and was forgotten,” says Ciardi, who presented the findings at a virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). By 2014, Ciardi and other researchers had used the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, Caltech’s Palomar Observatory near San Diego, and Gemini North in Hawaii to show that the star circled by KOI-5Ab is one member of a triple-star system called KOI-5.

    W.M. Keck Observatory, two ten meter telescopes operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, altitude 4,207 m (13,802 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    Caltech Palomar 200 inch Hale Telescope, Altitude 1,713 m (5,620 ft), located in San Diego County, California, U.S.A.

    NSF’s NOIRLab Frederick C Gillett Gemini North Telescope Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft).

    But they were not sure if the KOI-5 system actually hosted a planet or if they were seeing an erroneous signal from one of the two other stars.

    Then, in 2018, TESS came along. Like Kepler, TESS looks for the blinking of starlight that comes when a planet crosses in front of, or transits, a star.

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames.

    TESS observed a portion of Kepler’s field of view, including the KOI-5 system. Sure enough, TESS also identified KOI-5Ab as a candidate planet (though TESS calls it TOI-1241b). TESS, like Kepler, found that the planet orbited its star roughly every five days. But at that point, it was still not clear if the planet was real.

    “I thought to myself, ‘I remember this target,'” says Ciardi, after seeing the TESS data. He then went back and reanalyzed all the data, including that from the California Planet Search, led by Caltech professor of astronomy Andrew Howard. The California Planet Search uses ground-based telescopes, including the Keck Observatory, to search for the telltale wobble in a star that occurs when a planet circles around it and exerts a gravitational tug.

    “If it weren’t for TESS looking at the planet again, I would never have gone back and done all this detective work,” says Ciardi.

    Jessie Dotson, the Kepler/K2 project scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, says, “This research emphasizes the importance of NASA’s full fleet of space telescopes and their synergy with ground-based systems. Discoveries like this one can be a long haul.”

    Together, the data from the space- and ground-based telescopes helped confirm that KOI-5Ab is a planet. KOI-5Ab is about one half the mass of Saturn and orbits a star (star A) with a relatively close companion (star B). Star A and star B orbit each other every 30 years. A third gravitationally bound star (star C) orbits stars A and B every 400 years.

    The combined data set also reveals that the orbital plane of the planet is not aligned with the orbital plane of the second inner star (star B) as might be expected if the stars and planet all formed from the same disk of swirling material. Triple-star systems, which make up about 10 percent of all star systems, are thought to form when three stars are born together out of the same disk of gas and dust.

    Astronomers are not sure what caused the misalignment of KOI-5Ab but speculate that the second star gravitationally kicked the planet during its development, skewing its orbit and causing it to migrate inward.

    This is not the first evidence for planets in double- and triple-star systems. One striking case involves the triple-star system GW Orionis, in which a planet-forming disk had been torn into distinct misaligned rings, where planets may be forming. Yet despite hundreds of discoveries of multiple-star system planets, the frequency of planet formation in these systems is lower than that of single-star systems. This could be due to an observational bias (single-star planets are easier to detect) or because planet formation is in fact less common in multiple-star systems.

    Future instruments, such as the Palomar Radial Velocity Instrument (PARVI) at the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar and the Keck Planet Finder at Keck, will open up new avenues for better answering these questions.

    “Stellar companions may partially quench the process of planet formation,” says Ciardi. “We still have a lot of questions about how and when planets can form in multiple-star systems and how their properties compare to planets in single-star systems. By studying the KOI-5 system in more detail, perhaps we can gain insight into how the universe makes planets.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 1:41 pm on December 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "An updated way to calculate the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations", , , , Caltech, , , , ,   

    From NASA JPL Caltech and From Caltech via phys.org: “An updated way to calculate the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations” 

    NASA JPL Banner

    From NASA JPL-Caltech

    and

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    phys.org

    December 22, 2020
    Bob Yirka , Phys.org

    1
    Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

    A small team of researchers from California Institute of Technology, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Santiago High School has developed an updated version of an old equation to calculate the likely existence of extraterrestrial civilizations. The team has uploaded their paper to the arXiv preprint server [A Statistical Estimation of the Occurrence of Extraterrestrial Intelligence in the Milky Way Galaxy].

    Over the span of human history, many have wondered if life exists on other planets—intelligent or otherwise. As new tools have been applied to the question, many space scientists have become convinced that the likelihood of extraterrestrial civilizations developing seems more probable than not given all that has been learned. As other exoplanet systems have been found, many circling stars very similar to our sun, it has become difficult to find anything unique about our own planet to justify a belief that Earth alone ever produced life. In this new effort, the researchers have expanded on research done by Frank Drake back in 1961.

    Frank Drake with his Drake Equation. Credit Frank Drake.


    Drake Equation, Frank Drake, Seti Institute.




    SETI Institute


    SETI/Allen Telescope Array situated at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, 290 miles (470 km) northeast of San Francisco, California, USA, Altitude 986 m (3,235 ft), the origins of the Institute’s search.

    He and his colleagues developed an equation (now known as the Drake equation) to calculate the odds of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations—given all that was known about space and astronomical objects back then. The researchers factored in such variables as the number of believed exoplanets and star systems and how many of them were likely to be capable of supporting life.

    Space scientists have learned a lot more about space and celestial objects since Drake’s time—exoplanets have been observed, for example, some in their own Goldilocks zones, and scientists have learned more about the age of the universe and circumstances after the Big Bang. The researchers with this new effort took all the new factors into account and added something else not considered in 1961—the likelihood of other extraterrestrial civilizations arising and then unintentionally killing themselves off. Humans and other animals have a way of destroying their environment. Rats introduced to an island will eat every last scrap of food, for example, and then all of them will starve to death. Humans pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and confront a future in which the planet can no longer support life. The researchers suggest such evidence likely means that if extraterrestrial civilizations have arisen, most of them are probably gone by now due to their inability to prevent their own demise.

    The result of the team’s work is not an estimate of the likelihood of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, but a new formula that others can use to make their own calculations based on what they believe to be true.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

    NASA JPL Campus

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

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  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on December 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Caltech-Led Lunar Trailblazer Mission Approved to Begin Final Design and Build", , , , Caltech, ,   

    From Caltech: “Caltech-Led Lunar Trailblazer Mission Approved to Begin Final Design and Build” 

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    From Caltech

    December 02, 2020

    Written by
    Lori Dajose

    Contact
    Robert Perkins
    (626) 395‑1862
    rperkins@caltech.edu


    After one year of preliminary design and several reviews, NASA has confirmed the Caltech-led Lunar Trailblazer mission to proceed to final design and build. Selected in June 2019 with planned flight system delivery in October 2022, the Lunar Trailblazer mission targets one of the most surprising discoveries of the decade: the presence of water on the Moon.


    In this webinar presented by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, Caltech professor of planetary science Bethany Ehlmann presents the Lunar Trailblazer mission design and objectives. Credit: KISS/Caltech.
    1:02:15

    The mission is a collaboration led by principal investigator Bethany Ehlmann, Caltech professor of planetary science, and managed by JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA.

    NASA JPL


    Other key partners include spacecraft provider Lockheed Martin and the University of Oxford (UK), which provides one of Lunar Trailblazer’s two instruments.

    “We’re excited to pioneer NASA’s use of small satellites to answer big planetary science questions,” says Ehlmann. “We expect Trailblazer will hugely advance our understanding of something we don’t fully understand: the water cycle on airless bodies. Given the importance of water on the Moon for future robotic and human missions, the Lunar Trailblazer mission team is excited to provide the critical basemaps that will guide this future exploration.”

    The relatively tiny Trailblazer satellite, which will measure just 3.5 meters in length with its solar panels fully deployed, will spend over a year orbiting the Moon at a height of 100 kilometers, scanning it with two instruments: a visible-shortwave infrared imaging spectrometer built by JPL and a multispectral thermal imager built by the University of Oxford. These instruments will determine the amount and form of water on the Moon, which is not liquid but instead occurs as water ice in cold regions, as free molecules, or bound within minerals. As a NASA SIMPLEx (Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration) program selection, Lunar Trailblazer achieves critical advancements for science as a lower-budget, ride-along mission.

    “Lunar Trailblazer has a talented, multi-institutional team whose collective effort resulted in a successful formulation phase and confirmation review,” says Calina Seybold, the mission’s project manager at JPL. “I am thrilled that the team has earned the privilege of continuing to our final design and fabrication phase.”

    A key partnership is with Lockheed Martin Space, based out of Denver, Colorado, which will design, integrate, and test the Lunar Trailblazer spacecraft. The company brings its expertise from another SIMPLEx mission called Janus, which will explore asteroids, as well as decades of planetary missions across the solar system.

    Joshua Wood, Lunar Trailblazer spacecraft manager at Lockheed Martin, says he is excited for what lies ahead: “Passing this key decision point means we have the green flag to proceed with production on the spacecraft. I’m very excited to see all the big science this compact spacecraft will surely bring back to us.”

    A key feature of Lunar Trailblazer is the large role for Caltech in executing the mission. In addition to Ehlmann’s leadership as PI, co-investigator James Dickson, manager of the Bruce Murray Laboratory for Planetary Visualization, will direct the science data system. Mission operations will be run out of Caltech’s IPAC, which brings long experience with space telescope science operations. Through a NASA-funded Student Collaboration Option, undergraduates from Caltech and nearby Pasadena City College are participating in mission communications and mission development, and will help staff operations. In addition to JPL, Lockheed Martin, University of Oxford (UK), and PCC, the other key mission partners are the Applied Physics Laboratory, Brown University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Central Florida.

    “Some of the big questions about water on the Moon are: Does it vary as a function of time of day and temperature? Is it bound in rock or mobile? Why do some shadowed regions host water ice while others are empty, and how much is there at the lunar surface?” says Ehlmann. “We look forward to answering these questions with Lunar Trailblazer.”

    Learn more about the mission objectives, instruments, and team here: https://trailblazer.caltech.edu/

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

     
  • richardmitnick 1:45 pm on November 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Our Solar System Is Going to Totally Disintegrate Sooner Than We Thought", , , , Caltech, , , ,   

    From University of Michigan, Caltech and UCLA via Science Alert (AU):”Our Solar System Is Going to Totally Disintegrate Sooner Than We Thought” 

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    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert (AU)

    29 NOVEMBER 2020
    MICHELLE STARR

    Milky Way Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt. The bar is visible in this image.

    1
    A white dwarf star after ejecting its mass to form a planetary nebula. Credit: ESO/P. Weilbacher/AIP.

    Although the ground beneath our feet feels solid and reassuring (most of the time), nothing in this Universe lasts forever.

    One day, our Sun will die, ejecting a large proportion of its mass before its core shrinks down into a white dwarf, gradually leaking heat until it’s nothing more than a cold, dark, dead lump of rock, a thousand trillion years later.

    But the rest of the Solar System will be long gone by then. According to new simulations, it will take just 100 billion years for any remaining planets to skedaddle off across the galaxy, leaving the dying Sun far behind.

    Astronomers and physicists have been trying to puzzle out the ultimate fate of the Solar System for at least hundreds of years.

    “Understanding the long-term dynamical stability of the solar system constitutes one of the oldest pursuits of astrophysics, tracing back to Newton himself, who speculated that mutual interactions between planets would eventually drive the system unstable,” wrote astronomers Jon Zink of the University of California, Los Angeles, Konstantin Batygin of Caltech and Fred Adams of the University of Michigan in The Astronomical Journal.

    But that’s a lot trickier than it might seem. The greater the number of bodies that are involved in a dynamical system, interacting with each other, the more complicated that system grows and the harder it is to predict. This is called the N-body problem.

    Because of this complexity, it’s impossible to make deterministic predictions of the orbits of Solar System objects past certain timescales. Beyond about five to 10 million years, certainty flies right out the window.

    But, if we can figure out what’s going to happen to our Solar System, that will tell us something about how the Universe might evolve, on timescales far longer than its current age of 13.8 billion years.

    In 1999, astronomers predicted [Science] that the Solar System would slowly fall apart over a period of at least a billion billion – that’s 10^18, or a quintillion – years. That’s how long it would take, they calculated, for orbital resonances from Jupiter and Saturn to decouple Uranus.

    According to Zink’s team, though, this calculation left out some important influences that could disrupt the Solar System sooner.

    Firstly, there’s the Sun.

    In about 5 billion years, as it dies, the Sun will swell up into a red giant, engulfing Mercury, Venus and Earth. Then it will eject nearly half its mass, blown away into space on stellar winds; the remaining white dwarf will be around just 54 percent of the current solar mass.

    This mass loss will loosen the Sun’s gravitational grip on the remaining planets, Mars and the outer gas and ice giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

    Secondly, as the Solar System orbits the galactic centre, other stars ought to come close enough to perturb the planets’ orbits, around once every 23 million years.

    “By accounting for stellar mass loss and the inflation of the outer planet orbits, these encounters will become more influential,” the researchers wrote.

    “Given enough time, some of these flybys will come close enough to disassociate – or destabilise – the remaining planets.”

    With these additional influences accounted for in their calculations, the team ran 10 N-body simulations for the outer planets (leaving out Mars to save on computation costs, since its influence should be negligible), using the powerful Shared Hoffman2 Cluster.

    3
    Hoffman2 Cluster. Credit: UCLA.

    These simulations were split into two phases: up to the end of the Sun’s mass loss, and the phase that comes after.

    Although 10 simulations isn’t a strong statistical sample, the team found that a similar scenario played out each time.

    After the Sun completes its evolution into a white dwarf, the outer planets have a larger orbit, but still remain relatively stable. Jupiter and Saturn, however, become captured in a stable 5:2 resonance – for every five times Jupiter orbits the Sun, Saturn orbits twice (that eventual resonance has been proposed many times, not least by Isaac Newton himself).

    These expanded orbits, as well as characteristics of the planetary resonance, makes the system more susceptible to perturbations by passing stars.

    After 30 billion years, such stellar perturbations jangle those stable orbits into chaotic ones, resulting in rapid planet loss. All but one planet escape their orbits, fleeing off into the galaxy as rogue planets.

    That last, lonely planet sticks around for another 50 billion years, but its fate is sealed. Eventually, it, too, is knocked loose by the gravitational influence of passing stars. Ultimately, by 100 billion years after the Sun turns into a white dwarf, the Solar System is no more.

    That’s a significantly shorter timeframe than that proposed in 1999. And, the researchers carefully note, it’s contingent on current observations of the local galactic environment, and stellar flyby estimates, both of which may change. So it’s by no means engraved in stone.

    Even if estimates of the timeline of the Solar System’s demise do change, however, it’s still many billions of years away. The likelihood of humanity surviving long enough to see it is slim.

    Sleep tight!

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please support STEM education in your local school system

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC LA Campus

    For nearly 100 years, UCLA has been a pioneer, persevering through impossibility, turning the futile into the attainable.

    We doubt the critics, reject the status quo and see opportunity in dissatisfaction. Our campus, faculty and students are driven by optimism. It is not naïve; it is essential. And it has fueled every accomplishment, allowing us to redefine what’s possible, time after time.

    This can-do perspective has brought us 12 Nobel Prizes, 12 Rhodes Scholarships, more NCAA titles than any university and more Olympic medals than most nations. Our faculty and alumni helped create the Internet and pioneered reverse osmosis. And more than 100 companies have been created based on technology developed at UCLA.

    The California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”

    Caltech campus

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
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