Working at the leading edges of fundamental science to invent the technologies of the future.



A Quantitative Snapshot of the Human Impact on the Planet


Caltech researchers have developed a database containing global data on how humans have impacted the planet. The Human Impacts Database is designed to be accessible to scientists, policymakers, and everyday citizens. "In my view, the root to understanding is numeracy: once you have the numbers, it becomes clear what the problems are, which things are significant, and which things are less so," says Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics, Biology, and Physics. [Caltech story]

New Optical Switch Could Lead to Ultrafast All-Optical Signal Processing


One of the major limitations of optics-based systems at present is that, at a certain point, they still need to have electronics-based transistors to efficiently process the data. Now, a team led by Alireza Marandi, assistant professor of electrical engineering and applied physics at Caltech, has created an all-optical switch. Such a switch could eventually enable data processing using photons. Device nanofabrication was performed at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech. [Caltech story]

Improving Aircraft Design with Machine Learning and a More Efficient Model of Turbulent Airflows


Turbulent airflows are chaotic and unpredictable: consider the bumps and jolts one might experience during an airplane flight encountering turbulent air. With increased knowledge of turbulent airflows, airplane designs could become safer, more resilient, and ultimately more fuel efficient.  H. Jane Bae, Assistant Professor of Aerospace, has developed a way to use machine learning to further improve the design process. [Caltech story]