California Institute of Technology
Template:Infobox University2 The California Institute of Technology (commonly known as Caltech) is a private, coeducational university located in Pasadena, California, in the United States. One of the world's premier research universities, Caltech maintains a strong emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering. Caltech also owns and manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a world-leading autonomous-space-flight complex that oversees the design and operation of most of NASA's space-probes.
Modern Caltech grew from a vocational school founded in Pasadena in 1891 by local businessman and politician Amos G. Throop. The school was known successively as Throop University, Throop Polytechnic Institute, and Throop College of Technology, before acquiring its current name in 1920. Caltech and Polytechnic School were part of the same insitution till 1907. Polytechnic School is now a private college preperatory school across the street from Caltech.
The driving force behind the transformation of Caltech from a school of arts and crafts to a world-class scientific center was the vision of astronomer George Ellery Hale. Hale had joined Throop's board of trustees after coming to Pasadena in 1907 as the first director of the Mount Wilson Observatory. At a time when scientific research in the United States was still in its infancy, Hale saw an opportunity to create in Pasadena an institution for serious research and education in engineering and the natural sciences. Hale succeeded in attracting private gifts of land and money that allowed him to endow the school with well-equipped, modern laboratory facilities. He then convinced two of the leading American scientists of the time, physical chemist Arthur Amos Noyes and experimental physicist Robert Andrews Millikan, to join Caltech's faculty and contribute to the project of establishing it as a center for science and technology.
In 1917 Hale hired architect Bertram Goodhue to produce a master plan for the 22 acre (89,000 m²) campus. Goodhue conceived of the overall layout of the campus and designed the Physics Building, Dabney Hall, and several other structures, in which he sought to be consistent with the local climate, the character of the school, and Hale's educational philosophy. Goodhue's designs for Caltech were also influenced by the traditional Spanish mission architecture of Southern California.
Under the leadership of Hale, Noyes, and Millikan (and aided by the booming economy of Southern California), Caltech grew very significantly in prestige in the 1920s. In 1923, Millikan was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics. In 1925 the school established a department of geology and hired William Bennett Munro, then chairman of the division of History, Government, and Economics at Harvard University, to create a division of humanities and social sciences at Caltech. In 1928 a division of biology was established under the leadership of Thomas Hunt Morgan, the most distinguished biologist in the United States and a discoverer of the chromosome. In 1926 a graduate school of aeronautics was created which eventually attracted Theodore von Kármán, who later contributed to the creation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and who established Caltech as one of the foremost centers for rocket-science. In 1928 construction began on the Palomar Observatory.
Millikan served as "chairman of the executive council" (effectively Caltech's president) from 1921 to 1945, and his influence was such that the Institute was occasionally referred to as "Millikan's School." In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Caltech was known as the home of arguably the two greatest theoretical particle physicists working at the time: Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman. Both Gell-Mann and Feynman received Nobel Prizes for their work, which was central to the establishment of the so-called "Standard Model" of particle physics. Feynman was also widely known outside the physics community as an exceptional teacher and a colorful, unconventional character.
Caltech remains, to this day, a relatively small university, with approximately 900 undergraduates, 1,200 graduate students, and 915 faculty members (including professors, permanent research faculty, and postdoctoral researchers.) It is a private institution, governed by its Board of Trustees.
As of 2005, Caltech claims 31 Nobel laureates to its name. This figure includes 17 alumni, 14 non-alumni professors, and 4 professors who were also alumni (Carl D. Anderson, Linus Pauling, William A. Fowler, and Edward B. Lewis). The number of awards is 32, because Pauling received the prize in both chemistry and peace. Five faculty and alumni have received a Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, while 47 have been awarded the U.S. National Medal of Science, and 10 have received the National Medal of Technology . Other distinguished researchers have been affiliated with Caltech as postdoctoral scholars (e.g., Barbara McClintock, James D. Watson, and Sheldon Glashow) or visiting professors (e.g. Albert Einstein and Edward Witten).
Caltech is ranked the seventh best university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and is tied for this spot with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
See main article: House System at Caltech
During the early 20th century, a Caltech committee visited several universities and decided to transform the undergraduate housing system from regular fraternities to a House System, similar to the residential college system of Oxford and Cambridge. Four (south) houses (or hovses, so named for the inscription on the gates thereof) were built: Blacker House, Dabney House, Fleming House, and Ricketts House. In the late 20th century, three north houses were built: Lloyd House, Page House, and Ruddock House. During the 1990s, an additional house, Avery House, was built to accommodate those who feel the original seven houses were not suitable for them. Some students jocularly refer to the Undergraduate Computer Science Laboratory as another house, as a few spend most of their time there. The four south houses will be closed for renovation during the 2005–2006 school year.
There are many annual traditions at Caltech, demonstrating the weird and wonderful creativity of its inhabitants. Every Halloween there is a pumpkin drop from the top of the Millikan Library, the highest point on campus, where the pumpkin (frozen in liquid nitrogen) supposedly flashes as it hits the ground, when it reaches "the terminal velocity". Then there is the annual Ditch Day, where seniors ditch school but design elaborate tasks and traps at the doors of their rooms to prevent underclassmen from entering. This has evolved to the point where many seniors spend months designing mechanical/electrical/software obstacles in order to confound the underclassmen. The faculty has been drawn into the event as well, and cancel all classes on Ditch Day so that the underclassmen can participate in what has become a highlight of the year.
Another tradition is the playing of the Ride of the Valkyries at 7 AM the morning of finals week with the largest speakers available in the hallway of the freshmen. The playing of that piece is not allowed at any other time, and any offender is dragged off into the showers to be drenched in cold water fully dressed. The playing of the Ride is such a strong tradition that the music was used during Apollo 17 to awaken Astronaut Harrison Schmitt, the only astronaut-scientist to explore the moon.
Caltech students have been known for the many pranks (also known as RF's, short for Real Fun) they have pulled off in the area. The two most famous are the changing of the Hollywood sign to read Caltech, by judiciously covering up certain parts of the letters, and the changing of the Rose Bowl scoreboard to an imaginary game where Caltech soundly trounced MIT. Recently, a group of Caltech students, during the admitted students program at MIT in 2005, pulled a string of pranks, including covering up the word Massachusetts in the "Massachusetts Institute of Technology" engraving on the main building façade with a banner so that it read "That Other Institute of Technology". A group of MIT hackers retaliated by altering the banner so that the inscription read "The Only Institute of Technology".
Another unique feature of the Caltech community is the Honor Code, which states simply: "No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community." This is enforced by a Board of Control, which consists of undergraduate students, and by a similar body at the graduate level, called the Graduate Review Board .
- Carl D. Anderson, BS 1927, PhD 1930 - Nobel laureate in physics (1936)
- Moshe Arens, MS 1953 - former Israeli defense minister and foreign minister
- Arnold Beckman, PhD 1928 - Founder of Beckman Instruments and financier of the first "silicon" company in Silicon Valley, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.
- Sabeer Bhatia, BS 1991 - Co-founder of Hotmail
- David Brin, BS 1973 - science fiction author
- Frank Capra, BS 1918 - Filmmaker, director of such classics as It's a Wonderful Life
- Chester Carlson, BS 1930 - Inventor of the photocopier, the foundation of Xerox
- Chung-Yao Chao, PhD 1930 - The first scientist that captured positron through electron-positron annihilation. Father of atomic energy enterprise of China.
- Sidney Coleman, PhD 1962 - theoretical physicist
- Fernando J. Corbató, BS 1950 - Computer scientist, recipient of the 1990 Turing Award
- William A. Fowler, PhD 1936 - Nobel laureate in physics (1983)
- Yuan-Cheng Fung, PhD 1948 - Founder of Biomechanics
- Donald A. Glaser, PhD 1950 - Nobel laureate in physics (1960)
- Juris Hartmanis, PhD 1955 - Computer scientist, recipient of the 1993 Turing Award
- Leland H. Hartwell, BS 1961 - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (2001)
- N. Katherine Hayles, MS 1966- critical theorist
- Steingrímur Hermannsson, MS 1952 - former Prime Minister of Iceland
- David Ho, BS 1974 - AIDS researcher
- Tsien Hsue-shen, PhD 1939 - Father of China's rocket program
- Herman Kahn, graduate studies - Nuclear strategist
- Donald Knuth, PhD 1963 - Computer scientist, creator of TeX typesetting language, and author of The Art of Computer Programming, recipient of the 1974 Turing Award
- Edward B. Lewis, PhD 1942 - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1995)
- York Liao, BS 1967 - inventor of liquid crystal displays
- Alan Lightman, PhD 1974 - physicist and novelist
- William Lipscomb, PhD 1946 - Nobel laureate in chemistry (1976)
- Sandra Tsing Loh, BS 1983 - writer, performer, musician, humorist
- Paul MacCready, MS 1948, PhD 1952 - Father of Human Powered Flight, invented the Gossamer Condor and the Gossamer Albatross
- Benoît Mandelbrot, Eng 1949 - Pioneer of fractal geometry
- John McCarthy, BS 1948 - Computer scientist, inventor of the Lisp programming language and recipient of the 1971 Turing Award
- Edwin Mattison McMillan, BS 1928, MS 1929 - Nobel laureate in chemistry (1951)
- Robert C. Merton, MS 1967 - Nobel laureate in economics (1997)
- Mark M. Mills, PhD 1948 - nuclear physicist.
- Cleve Moler, BS 1961 - Inventor of MATLAB, co-founder of The MathWorks, influential in the field of numerical analysis
- Gordon E. Moore, PhD 1954 - co-founder of Intel Corp. and author of Moore's law
- Andrew Odlyzko, BS, MS 1971 - mathematician, demonstrated the Montgomery-Odlyzko Law
- Frank Oppenheimer, PhD 1939 - Manhattan Project physicist, founder of the Exploratorium
- Douglas D. Osheroff, BS 1967 - Nobel laureate in physics (1996)
- Linus Pauling, PhD 1925 - Nobel laureate in chemistry (1954) and peace (1962)
- William Luther Pierce, graduate studies - Neo-Nazi activist, founder of the white supremacist National Alliance, author of The Turner Diaries
- Kenneth Pitzer, BS 1935 - winner of the National Medal of Science, third president of Rice University, sixth president of Stanford University, Director of Research for Atomic Energy Commission (1949-1951)
- John M. Poindexter, PhD 1964 - Director of DARPA Information Awareness Office, National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan
- Leo James Rainwater, BS 1939 - Nobel laureate in physics (1975)
- Simon Ramo, PhD 1936 - co-founder of TRW and developed ICBMs
- Benjamin Rosen, BS 1954 - co-founder of Compaq
- Harrison Schmitt, BS 1957 - astronaut and US Senator, the only geologist to have ever walked on the moon
- William Shockley, BS 1932 - Nobel laureate in physics (1956)
- Vernon L. Smith, BS 1949 - Nobel laureate in economics (2002)
- Robert Tarjan, BS 1969 - Computer scientist, recipient of the 1986 Turing Award
- Howard M. Temin, PhD 1960 - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1975)
- Charles H. Townes, PhD 1939 - Nobel laureate in physics (1964)
- Harry Turtledove, undergraduate studies - historian and fiction writer
- Kenneth G. Wilson, PhD 1961 - Nobel laureate in physics (1982)
- Robert W. Wilson, PhD 1962 - Nobel laureate in physics (1978)
- Stephen Wolfram, PhD 1979 - Creator of Mathematica
- Carl D. Anderson - Nobel laureate in physics (1936)
- Don L. Anderson - Crafoord laureate in geosciences (1998)
- Robert Bacher - nuclear physicist and member of the Manhattan Project
- David Baltimore - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1975), President of Caltech (departing)
- Jacqueline K. Barton - Bioinorganic chemist and MacArthur Fellow (1991)
- George Wells Beadle - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1958)
- Seymour Benzer - Crafoord laureate in biosciences (1993)
- Pamela J. Björkman - pioneering structural and cell biologist
- Colin F. Camerer - economist
- Max Delbrück - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1969)
- Renato Dulbecco - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1975)
- Richard Feynman - Nobel laureate in physics (1965)
- Murray Gell-Mann - Nobel laureate in physics (1969) and co-founder of Santa Fe Institute
- William Goddard, III - theoretical chemist, notable proponent of blue chalk
- David Goodstein - director of The Mechanical Universe, Vice-Provost of Caltech
- Harry B. Gray - Inorganic chemist, winner of National Medal of Science (1986), and founding director of the Beckman Institute
- Robert H. Grubbs - Nobel laureate in chemistry (2005)
- George Ellery Hale - astronomer
- Theodore von Kármán - expert in aeronautics and rocket-scientist
- Christof Koch - biologist
- Rudolph Marcus - Nobel laureate in chemistry (1992)
- Carver Mead - computer scientist
- Robert A. Millikan - Nobel laureate in physics (1923)
- Thomas Hunt Morgan - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1933)
- Rudolf Mössbauer - Nobel laureate in physics (1961)
- Arthur A. Noyes - chemist
- James Olds - neuroscientist
- Robert Oppenheimer - physicist
- Clair Cameron Patterson - determined the age of the Earth, exposed lead pollution
- Linus Pauling - Nobel laureate in chemistry (1954), laureate in peace (1962)
- Charles Plott - economist
- H. David Politzer - Nobel laureate in physics (2004)
- John Preskill - physicist
- Charles Francis Richter - creator of the Richter scale
- Herbert J. Ryser - mathematician, leading figure in Combinatorics
- Maarten Schmidt - discovered quasars
- John Schwarz - physicist
- Roger W. Sperry - Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine (1981)
- Charles C. Steidel - MacArthur Fellow (2002)
- Kip Thorne - physicist
- Richard C. Tolman - mathematical physicist
- Gerald J. Wasserburg - Crafoord laureate in geochemistry (1986)
- Mark B. Wise - physicist
- Ahmed H. Zewail - Nobel laureate in chemistry (1999)
- Fritz Zwicky - astronomer, produced the first evidence of dark matter
- Official site
- History of Caltech (at the official Nobel Prize website)
- Undergraduate Computer Science Laboratory
- Caltech Nobel Laureate Biographies
- Crippling Depression — a satirical comic strip serialized in California Tech, the Caltech student newspaper
- The Great Rose Bowl Hoax
- Honor Code
- Ditch Days: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
de:California Institute of Technology eo:Kalifornia Instituto de Teknologio fr:California Institute of Technology ko:캘리포니아 공과대학교 id:Institut Teknologi Kalifornia hu:California Institute of Technology nl:Caltech ja:カリフォルニア工科大学 sv:California Institute of Technology zh:加州理工学院