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Monday, January 4, 2016
What you need to know for the weeks ahead
Humanities and Social Sciences’ 50th Anniversary Lecture SeriesIn celebration of the division’s 50th anniversary, HSS has organized a year long lecture series that will feature former and current faculty, students, and scholars sharing their experiences and research in fields ranging from the history of science to modern English literature to economics.
The first lecture, on Thursday, January 28, will be delivered by Daniel Kevles, who was a faculty member in the division for more than 35 years (1964–2001), whose research and writings look at the interplay of science, technology, and society past and present, with a focus on the United States. His talk is titled “Between the Archives and the Athenaeum: Caltech as Living History.” The photo above, taken in 1968, shows Kevles with Judy Goodstein, university archivist, emeritus, looking over materials from Robert Millikan’s photo album. Kevles and Goodstein were instrumental in establishing the Caltech Archives. Photo courtesy Caltech Archives/James McLanahan photographer.


Reminder: “Caltech Spirit” Contest
The deadline for the “Caltech Spirit” photo contest is 5 p.m. today. Show us your Caltech spirit—however you want to define it—in a photo, and you might win a grab bag of Caltech-themed prizes. The winning photo will be published in the January 11 issue of Ion Caltech. Send your photo here. See contest rules in box below.
• • •

Planetary Science Seminar
Jonathan Berube, VFX art director at Berube Films in Hollywood, will explain “The Art of Science Fiction Landscape Creation.”
Tuesday, January 5, 4 p.m., South Mudd 365

Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar Julie Zilles, research assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will lecture on “Biomimetic Processes for Water Treatment.”
Wednesday, January 6, 4 p.m., South Mudd 365

Challenging Islamophobia
The Council on American and Islamic Relations will discuss the myths perpetuating Islamophobia and ways to combat them as a community of allies with the Muslim community. Lunch will be provided. RSVP is requested.
Thursday, January 7, noon, Center for Student Services, second floor, common area

Science Sundays Series—Matinees for All Ages
The film, Road Trips on Mars: Rovers Explore the Red Planet, follows the mission every step of the way providing viewers the opportunity to experience the ups and downs of the expedition through the eyes of the science team.
Sunday, January 10, 2 p.m., Beckman Auditorium

Keck Institute for Space Studies—Open Lecture
John Blincow of the Gateway Foundation and Dr. Thomas R. Spilker, will delve into “Building the First Spaceport in Low Earth Orbit.”
Wednesday, January 13, 5 p.m., Guggenheim 101


Beckman Foundation Furthers Legacy of Support with Caltech Graduate Fellowships
A $10 million gift from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation has created an endowment that will provide year-in, year-out support to graduate students at Caltech.

Toward Liquid Fuels from Carbon Dioxide
In the quest for sustainable alternative energy and fuel sources, one viable solution may be the conversion of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into liquid fuels.
Science with a Smile
Caltech graduate student Sho Takatori is one of many whose love of science blossomed while watching Bill Nye the Science Guy


Beckman Museum Holiday Hours
The Beckman Room is a small museum devoted to the history of chemistry and to the scientific and philanthropic work of Arnold O. Beckman. Although the museum is usually open to walk-in visitors from
1–4 p.m. the first Friday of every month, this month’s opening has been shifted to the second Friday due to the holidays. 
Friday, January 8, 1–4 p.m., The Beckman Room, Beckman Institute, Room 131

Totem Contest
Caltech’s literary and visual arts magazine is having a contest with a “dreams” theme—which can be interpreted however you’d like. All literary and visual art is eligible; the deadline is Friday, January 8. Questions and submissions should be sent to

iD Tech Camp is Back at Caltech for Summer, 2016
iD Tech Camp is open to students ages 10–17. Students learn to code, do electrical engineering, design video games, mod Minecraft, model 3-D characters, print 3-D models, and more. Faculty and staff at Caltech, JPL, and NASA can save $150 on registration fees. Registration is open until Sunday, January 31.
2016 GPS Division Photo Calendars For Sale
Calendars are $10 each and make great office decorations. Proceeds go to a student-run geology field trip. Calendars may be purchased in North Mudd 101, by email at, or by calling (626) 395-3304, while supplies last.

Are You Ready to Weather the Storms?
The forecasted El Niño is expected to bring plenty of wet and stormy weather that may produce flooding, mudslides, and power outages throughout Southern California. Visit Caltech’s emergency preparedness website for tips on how to prepare yourself and your family, register for city emergency alerts, and find out what resources are available in your community.

In The News

A December 22 Los Angeles Times article reported that U.S. lawmakers included $8.2 million in funding for an early-warning system for earthquakes on the West Coast, a more than $3 million increase over last year. Caltech is one of the project’s developers.

A December 18 article in Neuroscientist News highlighted research from the laboratory of Caltech professor of biology Kai Zinn, which has identified molecules that act like identification tags on neurons in the fruit fly Drosophila.

More media highlights...

Caltech Hotline

As a reminder, concerns about potential violations of laws, regulations, or Institute policies; unethical behavior; conflicts of interest; actual or suspected fraud; or other improper actions can be reported anonymously using the Caltech Hotline.
Visit for more information.



Recurring Events

Caltech Spirit Photo Contest 
  • Only Ion Caltech subscribers are eligible to participate.
  • Multiple submissions per person are welcome.
  • The contest will run until 5 p.m. January 4.
  • The winning name will be revealed in the January 11 newsletter.
  • The contest's winner will be determined by a judging panel.
  • Send your photo here.
Institute Notices

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Ion Caltech is published by the Office of Strategic Communications.
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Archived issues of Ion Caltech are online at

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