The annual awards celebrate outstanding professors and TAs
Rob Phillips giving a Bi 1 lecture.
The Associated Students of Caltech (ASCIT) and Caltech’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) on June 14 announced the honorees of their annual teaching awards, celebrating professors, TAs, and mentors for outstanding teaching in the 2016–17 academic year.
Based on voting by undergraduates, the ASCIT Teaching Awards honored professors Paul Asimow (MS ’93, PhD ’97), the Eleanor and John R. McMillan Professor of Geology and Geochemistry; Rob Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology; Adam Wierman, professor of computing and mathematical sciences; and Evan Kirby, assistant professor of astronomy. The TAs honored were Chinmay Nirkhe (BS ’17) and graduate students Dylan Freas (CCE), Eugene Tang (PMA), and Todd Norton (PMA).
The GSC’s Teaching and Mentoring Awards, which honor those who have “made an extraordinary impact on graduate students,” went to a professor, a TA, and a mentor; two honorable mentions were named as well.
Xie Chen, assistant professor of theoretical physics, won the teaching award; Michael Wong (MS ’14), a graduate student in GPS, won the TA award; and Beverley McKeon, the Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, won the mentoring award. The two honorable mentions went to Heather Knutson, professor of planetary science; and Laura Flower Kim, associate director of International Student Programs.
President Trump called his first trip abroad a ‘Home Run’ and we can’t argue with that. He touched “The Orb” in Global Center for Combating Extremism In Riyadh, Saudia Arabia and later visited Pope Francis (who was of course not happy about the evil orb).
Mashable decided to post Trump’s TripAdvisor reviews, and now people can’t tell whether they’re real or not. “Is this for real? …Does he think he is a travel advisor?” – asked their reader Maria. “This is entirely within the realm of possibility for Trump,” – wrote Sarah.
While most people realized that it’s just a satire, a lot of the readers were concerned about the article. “People are going to believe it and share it as truth,” – wrote Sarah. “What’s insane is…I actually had to read the reviews. And even then I had to check the comments to make sure this was 100% satire,” – added Aaron.
Lately, NASA’s Cassini orbiter has been delivering some stunning photos from its trips around Saturn, but that’s not the only fancy camera floating around a nearby planet. The agency’s Juno spacecraft has been hanging out around Jupiter for nearly a year now, and it just delivered one of the most jaw-dropping glimpses of the gas giant that we’ve ever seen.
This is Jupiter’s south pole, and like most of the rest of the planet, it’s absolutely covered in massive storms, electricity, and swirling masses of clouds that stretch for hundreds and hundreds of miles. The image is absolutely stunning, and it took and incredible amount of work to make it happen.
What you’re seeing is actually a composite of several different photos taken at different times so that the entirety of the south pole was illuminated by daylight. The photos used to make the image were collected during three separate orbits of Juno, each of which takes nearly two months to complete.
Juno has already revealed a great deal about Jupiter in its short time in orbit, and some of the information it is telling scientists is leaving them both surprised and amazed. The colossal, Earth-sized storms on its poles are one of the more shocking features that researchers are still trying to figure out.
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Saturn’s stunning north pole actually changed colors
(CNN)Some of the most popular outdoor works of the last few decades — James Turrell’s famous Skyspaces, Robert Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty,” Antony Gormley’s standing figures, Andy Goldsworthy’s ephemeral works in nature — have shown how a fresh setting can make for a perspective-altering and exhilarating experience.
Here are a few of the best places to view outdoor art today.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Considered by some to be the most beautiful sculpture park in the world, Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the north of England has shown large-scale works by Bill Viola, KAWS, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, David Nash and Andy Goldsworthy.
This year the park celebrates its 40th anniversary, marking four decades at the forefront of staging outdoor exhibitions. In a year of programmed events there will be exhibitions of work by seminal British sculptor Tony Cragg, as well as the Chilean polymath Alfredo Jaar.
They will also host a 40-hour party, allowing visitors to view the park at night, an exhibition of work from the British Arts Council collection, and an intervention by Haroon Mira at the park’s James Turrell Skyspace.
Domaine du Muy
In 2016, the Parisian Galerie Mitterrand opened the Domaine du Muy in the south of France. The permanent installation, which includes works from Sol LeWitt, Dan Graham, and Yayoi Kusama to Claudia Comte, Liam Gillick, and Carsten Hller, is the brainchild of Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand and his son, Edward, and spans 10 hectares of forest.
The latest addition to the park, a house by architect and designer India Mahdavi, is set to be completed this year.
“My goal here, in subverting or appropriating the rustic aspect of this Provenal house, was to anchor it in the landscape in a rather unusual fashion, enabling it to reflect its surroundings in a solar, mineral and graphic manner,” Mahdavi explained in a press release. “We chose to position the house within the landscape, by excavating into the earth, in order to create a gallery, one that may be likened to a kind of indoor patio, devoted to freshness and contemplation.”
Not Vital Foundation
Swiss artist Not Vital‘s work combines innovative techniques and an innate connection with nature.
Working with both sculpture and installation, Vital creates striking and emotive art that require ingenuity and technical skill to realize. From works carved from ice caves of a Chilean island to works that rise out of the hillside at a press of a button, his scope is vast.
Vital has taken his success as an artist and used it to create the Not Vital Foundation, which includes a stunning sculpture park. Situated in the village of Sent in his native Switzerland, the park is on the grounds of a house that was never built. The finished gardens provide the perfect backdrop for monumental works placed in — and against — the dramatic scenery.
Public Art Fund in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Earlier this month, Anish Kapoor‘s “Descension” (2014) was unveiled in New York.
The work, commissioned by New York’s Public Art Fund, sits outside 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park, stark reminder that although you are in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world, you are also amid nature.
“Descension” is essentially a 26-foot-wide whirlpool in the middle of the city. Thirty thousand gallons of water rush deep into the ground to great visual and aural effect, creating a welcome break from the everyday grind.
Some are land formations molded over thousands of years by Mother Nature, while others are man-made creations that have altered the earth in strange ways. From the bubbling lava lakes of Ethiopia, to a lake that has been nestled in the desert for 2,000 years, here are 29 landscapes that are so incredible, it’s hard to believe they’re real. Megan Willett wrote an earlier verson of this story.
Near the city of Torrevieja in Spain lie two salty and very pink lakes called Las Salinas de Torrevieja. The color is said to be caused by algae that releases a red pigment under certain conditions.
In the province of Denizli in western Turkey, the naturally terraced thermal springs of Hierapolis-Pamukkale date as far back as the second century B.C. Formed by calcite in the water, the hot springs look like stunning white clouds.
The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in New Zealand has been sculpted from thousands of years of volcanic activity. Considered New Zealands most colorful and diverse geothermal attraction, the sight features bubbling mud pools, mineral terraces, and geysers.
In Geneva, travelers can witness the majestic sight of two rivers colliding with one another. The Rhone River starts in Lake Lehman, while the Arve River is fed by glaciers in the Chamonix valley. When the two bleed into one another, it makes for a stunning sight.
The Danakil Depression, in the northeastern corner of Ethiopia, is one of the hottest places on the planet, with temperatures reaching as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit. With two active volcanoes, a bubbling lava lake, geysers, acid ponds, and several mineral deposits, the setting looks like something from another planet.
Antelope Canyon, located near Page, Arizona, is the most photographed canyon in the American Southwest. Travelers flock here to capture its masterpiece of colors while admiring its smooth, wave-like texture.
Greme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia is a volcanic landscape created entirely from erosion. This includes pinnacles nicknamed “fairy chimneys”, which can be seen across this region of Turkey. Meanwhile, the Cappadocia Valley is home to thousand-year-old cave dwellings you can still visit today.
The Crescent Lake (or “Yueyaquan” in Chinese) is a fresh water spring in the shape of a half moon that sits in the Gobi Desert. The oasis is believed to have existed for around 2,000 years (though it has seen its water levels decline), and attractions include activities like dune surfing and camel riding.
At first glance, the Lencois Maranhenses Sand Dunes of northeastern Brazil look like your average set of sand dunes, but the valleys are filled with water since the low-lying lands often flood during the wet season. Fish even live in the pools.
Marvel at Grand Prismatic Spring, located in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. As the largest natural hot spring in the US, it’s a favorite for its dazzling colors that shift from orange and reds in the summer to green hues in the winter.
Whitehaven Beach, in Whitsunday Island, Australia, hosts a cove where the tide shifts the sand and waters together, creating a breathtaking combination. White sands and turquoise waters seem to blend seamlessly to make for a marvelous view.
Visit the Zao Onsen hot spring and ski resort, located in the mountains of Japans Yamagata Prefecture, and you’ll see “ice trees” trees that pack on heavy amounts of snow to take on fascinating shapes.
The Namib Sand Sea, located in Namibia’s Namid-Naukluft Park, is the only coastal desert in the world. Dune fields often come into contact with fog, creating a unique environment for an array of wildlife.
The Kelimutu volcano on Flores island, Indonesia, is home to three colored lakes ranging from turquoise to a rich green. The lakes are incredibly dense, adding to the striking appearance of their colors, which are thought to be caused by dissolving minerals.
The Wave is a sandstone rock formation located in the Paria Canyon-Vermillon Cliffs Wilderness near the border of Arizona and Utah. It’s known for its colorful and unique formations and the difficult hike required to reach it, and you’ll need to obtain a permit to visit.
Colombias Cao Cristales is covered in an aquatic plant that takes on hues of red, blue, yellow, orange, and green under different weather conditions. Most of the year it looks like any other river, but from June to December, it is said to look like a breathtaking stream of rainbows.
Located in Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is home to brightly colored geological structures, which are formed from erosion and called hoodoos. The park hosts the largest collection of hoodoos in the world.
The Richat Structure, also known as the Eye of the Sahara, stands as a large bullseye in the middle of the Sahara Desert. With a diameter that spans almost 30 miles, it is thought to be the result of erosion and stands as a marvel for scientists and travelers alike.
Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park is both one of southeast Europe’s oldest parks and Croatia’s largest, with 16 interlinked lakes between Mala Kapela Mountain and Pljeivica Mountain. The lakes are surrounded by lush forests and waterfalls, whose waters have deposited travertine limestone barriers for years to create the natural dams.
Nevada’s Fly Geyser, located in Washoe County, was created through accidental well drilling in 1916. In the 1960s, the water began escaping from the drilled location, creating the geyser that is known for its stunning changing colors.
Exclusive: Powerful regional officials to ask administration to end 20-year ban, saying it is unlawful and inhibits economic opportunity
A coalition of influential officials in Arizona and Utah is urging the Trump administration to consider rolling back Obama-era environmental protections that ban new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.
They argue that the 20-year ban that came into effect in 2012 is unlawful and stifles economic opportunity in the mining industry. But supporters of the ban say new mining activity could increase the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the canyon. Past mining in the region has left hundreds of polluted sites among Arizonas Navajo population, leading to serious health consequences, including cancer and kidney failure.
The new appeal to the Trump administration appears in the draft of a letter expected to be sent on Monday to the US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, by the Mohave County board of supervisors, whose region borders the north side of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Similar letters are being drawn up by other regional leaders in neighboring county governments in southern Utah, to be sent to Washington by the end of the week, according to officials.
The Mohave County leaders also plan to dispatch a second letter on Monday asking the federal government to scrap national monument protections for lands of natural wonder throughout Arizona, claiming their designation is unconstitutional and prevents economic development of coal, oil and gas deposits. Utah leaders will follow with letters requesting the government shrink national monuments in southern Utah, such as Bears Ears and Grand Escalante, in order to open up a greater area for mineral exploitation, the Guardian has learned.
The battle to restore mining activity near the Grand Canyon is part of broader push by conservatives to roll back protections on Americas 640m acres of public land. Earlier this year, Congress reversed the Bureau of Land Managements Planning 2.0 rule, an Obama-era initiative that gave the public greater input on how land should be used. At the same time, Zinke has ended the moratorium on federal coal leases while pledging to open up public lands to greater oil and gas extraction. Trump has also ordered Zinke to review 27 national monument designations and report as to whether some parks might be reversed or reduced in size.
The shadow of NASA’s P-3 aircraft is seen over an iceberg on a May 8, 2017 flight supporting NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission. IceBridge began its final week of Arctic Spring 2017 surveys with a glacier-packed mission in Greenland, called Southeast Glaciers 01.NASA Image of the Day
Floating rocks sound like they belong on Pandora, not on Earth, but they are a real phenomenon, occurring when volcanoes produce rocks less dense than water. However, geologists have been puzzled how these pumice stones often continue to float for years, before eventually sinking. Now the high-powered X-rays at Berkeley’s Advanced Light Source synchrotron have provided an answer.
Just as boats float because the air inside them makes their average density lower than water’s, a network of gas-filled holes allows some pumice stones to rise to the surface. Underwater volcanoes can spit out so many of these stones that ships sometimes sail through pumice rafts miles wide formed from millions of stones. In 2012 scientists only discovered an underwater eruption off New Zealand because boats reported vast pumice rafts.
The phenomenon is more than a curiosity; pumice stones can carry nutrients across oceans to places where they are scarce, stimulating marine life, but the ash is a menace to ships’ engines.
Although the stones’ initial buoyancy is understood, water eventually gets inside, weighing the stones down until they sink. The curious thing is why this takes so long. “The question of floating pumice has been around the literature for a long time, and it hadn’t been resolved,” said UC Berkeley graduate student Kristen Fauria in a statement. It was originally thought that the pumice’s porosity is essentially sealed.”
However, further examination showed the holes in pumice are fairly open and often internally connected. Fauria compared this to an uncorked bottle, saying: “If you leave the cap off and it still floats … what’s going on?” Even more strangely, some stones have been seen surfacing during the day, after sinking at night.
Fauria collected pumices from the Medicine Lake Volcano, Northern California, and Guatemala’s Santa Maria Volcano and coated them in wax, before exposing them to synchrotron radiation. Although some holes were large enough to let water in, she found others were around the size of a human hair, and twisted.
In Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Fauria reports the surface tension inside these small pores is high enough that gas remains trapped inside, forming bubbles thatallow it to float. Fauria and her coauthors established a formula linking the length of time a stone floats to the size of the pumice, the rate at which gas and water diffuse and the extent to which the stone is saturated with water, improving on previous time estimates by a factor of more than 100.
Warmer conditions cause the gas to expand, pushing out some of the water and causing submerged stones to bob to the surface.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is Scott Pruitt, a bizarre human that flat-out denies the science behind climate change. We dont mean that he merely denies that humans have any influence on the climate which he does. Pruitt also refutes the basic fact that carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere, which is like a physicist claiming that magnetic forces are powered by unicorn dreams.
Hes made plenty of other climate claims too, all of which have the intellectual rigor of a pineapple. One of them that satellite data indicates that warming has leveled off in the last few decades is a common trope of climate deniers. Now, a new paper has been released by researchers in order to directly refute this.
Appearing in the journal Scientific Reports,the study is essentially a reassessment of the satellite data that has tracked the planets atmospheric temperature since 1979.
Satellite temperature measurements do not support the claim of a leveling off of warming over the past two decades, the authors write in their study. Our results support and strengthen previous findings of a large human-caused contribution to warming.
The team, led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, wrote it to specifically take on Pruitt and his wildly erroneous claims a rather unprecedented move, but one thats a sign of the times.
Pruitt, an attorney general whose career has been dominated by his attempts to sue the EPA, made the leveling claim after a recent Senate confirmation hearing. This is referenced right at the start of this study, and the authors sift through the data once again in order to point out how bogus this notion is.
No serious scientist believes that the troposphere hasnt warmed significantly in the last few decades. Papers that attempt to refute this fact never make it past peer review. Climate scientists do not have arguments about this.
The fact that this paper even exists boggles the mind.
There have always been plenty of climate change deniers, but now that so many are in powerful government positions, scientists are starting to feel like they have no choice but to speak out. Were just one step away from researchers explaining in scientific journals why the Earth isnt flat.
This gives us an idea, though. There are so many claims of breathtaking stupidity out there about climate change that it would be fun to refute them via scientific study.
One of the more hilariously dim examples came courtesy of Republican State Senator Scott Wagner, who recently claimed that climate change is being caused by human body heat because theres just so many of us, you know?
Anyone want to do the mathematics on that one? Get in touch!
Earths tectonic plates are weird as hell. First there werent any, then there was a massive shell, then there were babycontinents, then supercontinents, microcontinents, regular continents, all of them shifting around the Earths crust and changing its appearance, like a very slow inkblot test.
Now, it appears theyre set to get even stranger. A team of researchers led by the University of Houston has concluded that, beneath our worlds tectonic plates, theres another separate layer of independent plates doing their own thing.
Speaking at a joint conference between the Japanese and American Geophysical Unions in Tokyo this week, the team say that theyve been using seismic waves to peer beneath the crust. These waves travel at different speeds through different materials, and as such, researchers can use them to find out whats beneath their feet.
Their research uncovered a mysterious layer present beneath Japan, Korea, and Northeast China, as well as beneath the island of Tonga. Theyre definitely composed of the same material as modern tectonic plates, but theyre found incredibly deep within the mantle. So what are they?
The tectonic plates weve all come to know and love well, except creationists we suppose are found within the lithosphere, the outer shell of a rocky planet, including ours. They are composed of the crust whether thats the less dense continental variety or the dense, submarine oceanic flavor and the upper mantle, a layer of slowly moving, superheated solid rock called the asthenosphere.
This causes them to drift around, bang into each other, grind past each other, and sometimes even destroy each other. That, in essence, is where we were at as of 2017.
However, this new research suggeststhat beneath the seven/eight major tectonic plates resides another layer of them. They appear to be vast, continental-sized segments of ancient plates gliding fairly quickly around a transition zone 440-660 kilometers (about 273-410 miles) beneath the surface.
The base of the regular tectonic plates, at least when theyre flat on the surface, is about 200 kilometers. (124 miles), so the newly discovered ones are way beneath that. So whats going on here?
Its likely that these plates are ancient ones. They would have encountered another tectonic plate during their more shallow existence at a subduction zone. Being denser than the other, they would have sunk beneath their colossal opponent, broken off, and drifted down into the mantle.
The discovery of this new layer of plate tectonics solves a long-standing mystery.
On occasion, incredibly deep-seated earthquakes rock the countries sitting above these plates, but they appeared to be originating from way below any known tectonic plate. You need plates to get quakes, so this has baffling scientists for a while now.
However, this new research has shown that they are probably coming from this new layer of tectonic plates. They may be semi-detached from the primary plates these days, but these enormous slabs can still bend, buckle, and break and cause quakes as they do so. Indeed, their ongoing destruction is so energetic that its causing powerful shockwaves to make it all the way to the surface.
The research has yet to be peer-reviewed, but its looking likely that, once again, Earths hellish depths have been holding back more secrets from us than wed realized.