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Twenty years ago, we knew only of planets in our solar system, and gravitational waves were just a prediction of Einstein’s theories. Now—thanks in great part to Caltech’s unmatched access to observatories and leadership in inventing new instruments, approaches, and theories—we have identified thousands of planets orbiting other suns, and Caltech and MIT shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for making Einstein’s prediction a reality. With your support, Caltech scholars can uncover even more secrets about the structure and evolution of the universe.
The ballerina is an avatar of certain qualities—among them the ambition, skill, and courage to take bold leaps. Offstage, ballet lover Rachel Theios has infused those same characteristics into her budding research career in astronomy. Pursuing her first publication as a Caltech graduate student, she has shown the vision and bravery to question some of the fundamentals of her field.
HD 187123 b is Cam Buzard’s favorite planet. About 160 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, it circles a star about as massive as our sun—only so close that a year flies by in three days. It weighs more than 150 Earths and sizzles at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
“You ought to leave the world better than you found it,” engineer Allen Davis was known to say. And he did: Davis, who passed away at age 91 in 2015, left more than $60 million from his estate to Caltech.
Break Through, publicly launched just over a year ago, is already the most successful campaign in Caltech’s history. In the first year of the public phase alone, gifts exceeded $400 million. And total contributions—over $1.4 billion—have surpassed the goal of Caltech’s last campaign.
On May 12, 2017, President Thomas F. Rosenbaum hosted a luncheon and a ceremony renaming Caltech’s Keck Center to celebrate the legacy of W. M. “Bill” Keck Jr. and Caltech’s longstanding partnership with the W. M. Keck Foundation and Superior Oil Company, both founded by Keck Jr.’s father. Keck Jr. served on the Caltech Board of Trustees from 1961 until his death in 1982 and was a key member of the Investment Committee during most of his tenure on the board.
The Caltech Associates Innovation in Education Fund helped associate professor of astronomy Dimitri Mawet introduce a new course for astronomy students and modernize the Cahill Optics Laboratory, where researchers experiment with the technology that will be used to explore the universe and search for life elsewhere.