How can economists verify the accuracy of their elegant theories in a dynamic, irrational world? Grounded in mathematics and defined assumptions, economic theories can yield insights into human behavior. They can help decision-makers predict how everyday lives may be affected by their interventions, from tariffs, subsidies, and business incentives to voting rules, tax structures, and methods for allocating public assets.
If a hydra breaks in two, each half of the ageless sea creature grows into a fully formed organism. Planarian worms, axolotls, sea stars, and certain geckos regrow lost body parts as well, but this select club excludes humans and other mammals. People can regenerate small pieces of tissue, but lost limbs are gone forever.
Garnet Chan appreciates a good challenge. A Caltech theorist who works at the interface of theoretical chemistry, condensed matter physics, and quantum information theory, Chan says he is drawn to scientific problems that have long resisted theoretical study.
Behind almost every discovery, there is a team. Breakthroughs grow out of scientific collaborations among extraordinary investigators. And another type of partnership can drive new knowledge: backing from generous supporters. Such is the case for Sarkis Mazmanian, the Luis B. and Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology and a Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator at Caltech.