Finding Faults

Monica Kohler, a research assistant professor of mechanical and civil engineering at Caltech, spends much of her time examining the response of buildings to the seismic waves propagated by earthquakes. But in 2010, she took on the role of chief scientist for a scientific cruise off the coast of Southern California that involved the recording of new multibeam bathymetry data—information about the topography of the ocean floor, collected by bouncing sound waves off its surface. She did this in order to survey several major offshore faults and gain a better understanding of earthquake and tsunami hazard potential in the Los Angeles basin. Kohler and her colleagues then collaborated with Santiago V. Lombeyda, a research scientist with Caltech’s Center for Data-Driven Discovery who specializes in visualization, to combine the new data with existing data and produce high-resolution bathymetry maps like the one seen above of the Southern California offshore region.

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The greatest gift you can give someone is to share your understanding with them and to help them develop their own understanding. That incredible connection between the way you appreciate the complexity of the world and the way you can give students the tools to see things that you never saw before— it’s really beautiful.”

Ellen Rothenberg, the Albert Billings Ruddock Professor of Biology and winner of 2016 Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, commenting on what she enjoys most about being a professor

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Senior Stephanie Wong became the Caltech women’s basketball program’s all-time leading scorer in a game against against Whittier College on January 26. Wong, a chemistry major, tied and surpassed the 1,241-point benchmark set by Lindsay King (BS ’08) on a pair of free throws just before the end of the third quarter.

By the end of the season, Wong had amassed 1,333 career points. She also holds the program record with 231 career three-pointers, as well as the single game record for three-pointers (seven), a feat she accomplished twice.

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On the Grounds

This model of a three-dimensional Patterson map of the amino acid hydroxy-L-proline was constructed in the early 1950s. The map was used to obtain the structure of the molecule RandomWalk-Groundsfrom X-ray photographs of a crystal of the compound. When X-rays are scattered by crystals, the amplitudes of the X-rays can be readily measured but not their phases. Both are needed to calculate an electron density map, which indicates where the atoms are; a Patterson map is a way to solve this phase problem. The model is one of the first, if not the first, construction and interpretation of a threedimensional Patterson function. So where does this little piece of history reside?

Answer: The model can be found in Caltech’s X-Ray Crystallography Facility in the Beckman Institute.