Letters to Friends of Caltech
March 21, 2019
Caltech continues to be recognized for tracing new trajectories in science and technology. Over the last few years, Institute faculty members alone have garnered three Nobel Prizes and three MacArthur “Genius” Awards. These awards cut across disciplines, approaches, and generations.
November 1, 2018
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the launch of the JPL-built, Caltech satellite Explorer I, the United States’ response to Sputnik and the first scientific space mission. The creation of a civilian space agency, NASA, followed six months later in July 1958, and the ensuing decades ushered in an extraordinary and vibrant legacy of planetary exploration. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory continues to make history, and we marked our partnership with NASA just last month with the formal extension of the Caltech management contract for JPL.
June 11, 2018
Traversing the Caltech campus these days can be an adventure. Fenced off areas mark the sites of no fewer than four construction projects hammering away, and one has to be mindful of heavy trucks on the usually idyllic pathways. The new buildings, three slated to open this fall, will contribute powerfully to Caltech's mission of excellence in research and education.
February 20, 2018
December's Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm was very much a Caltech affair. No Southern California sunshine as the winter sun hovered just over the horizon, but Stockholm was lit by intellectual ambition and accomplishment. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Caltech faculty members Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, who propelled the effort to invent an entirely new type of observational astronomy through gravitational wave detection.
October 12, 2017
Caltech researchers have never been satisfied with conventional views of the universe. To move beyond the predictable, it is necessary to devise new ways to interrogate nature, to reveal phenomena existing instruments cannot sense. Take any thriving field of science and you will find great instrument makers. More often than not, they will be from Caltech or building upon Caltech breakthroughs.
April 28, 2017
As part of Break Through: The Caltech Campaign, I have been crisscrossing the country, meeting with Caltech alumni and friends. It is a wonderful time for science and engineering, with major questions ripe for breakthroughs: Does life exist elsewhere in our solar system or on planets orbiting other suns? Can we elucidate the architecture of the human brain to reveal how we make decisions, to alleviate human suffering, and to inspire new approaches to computation?
January 11, 2017
A few weeks ago, we announced a transformative $115 million gift from Tianqiao Chen and Chrissy Luo to help launch a major neuroscience initiative at Caltech. The Chen Neuroscience Institute will probe the workings of the brain, from the signaling of a single neuron to the collective behavior of networks of neurons to the way people perceive the world and make decisions to designing medical devices to relieve suffering and improve lives.
July 7, 2016
It has been a heady few months at Caltech, with the announcement of the first direct observation of gravitational waves, the once-in-a-century prediction of a new planet in our solar system, and the launch of the most ambitious campaign in Caltech's history.
December 4, 2015
Just over a year ago I had the privilege of being inaugurated as Caltech's 9th president. It has been a whirlwind of discovery, with extraordinary colleagues—faculty, students, and staff alike—pushing at the boundaries of knowledge with verve and determination.