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Upcoming Events

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Connect and Learn

The Associates are invited to join engaging, exclusive social events showcasing Caltech faculty, students, and alumni who are pushing forward into the frontiers of science, technology, and engineering.

Winter | Spring 2023 Schedule

PASADENA • The Athenaeum

Our Quantum Future

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 6:00 pm

An illustration of spinning lights

Advances in quantum science have already led to remarkable technologies such as lasers, magnetic resonance imaging, and billions of transistors packed onto a single microchip. But these technologies barely scratch the surface of how quantum theory alters our view of what's possible in the universe.

Join us for a panel discussion about the challenge and promise of quantum technology and the potential for powerful quantum computing, unhackable encryption, and astonishingly precise measurement devices. You will hear from Rana Adhikari, Professor of Physics; Oskar Painter, John G. Braun Professor of Applied Physics; and John Preskill, Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics.


How Do You Feel?

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Image of a finger touching a cactus

We often say that seeing is believing, but touching is also believing. Our sense of touch holds the capacity to connect us with the world and warn us of harm and hurt. But how exactly do you sense a gentle breeze or a cactus pricking your finger? How do you feel the embrace of a loved one? The sense of touch depends on mechanotransduction, the conversion of pressure into chemical signals, which is perhaps the last sensory modality not understood at the molecular level.

Ardem Patapoutian (PhD ‘96), winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, will tell us about work from his lab that makes "sense" of mechanotransduction, as well as clinical investigations that have confirmed the importance of these channels in human physiology.

PASADENA • Broad Center for the Biological Sciences

The Future? Vaccines That Don't Need Updating

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Image illustrating coronavirus

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused a worldwide pandemic that has been prolonged due to the emergence of new variants such as Omicron. And experts warn that there is an ever-present danger of another SARS-like betacoronavirus (sarbecovirus) spillover from an animal host to humans that could result in another epidemic or pandemic.

Join Pamela J. Bjorkman, David Baltimore Professor of Biology and Bioengineering; Merkin Institute Professor; Executive Officer for Biology and Biological Engineering, as she discusses how her lab has used a modular vaccine platform to produce a potential pan-sarbecovirus vaccine that shows promise in preclinical animal studies. Results suggest it could be protective against future SARS-CoV-2 variants and potential emergent coronaviruses without the need for vaccine updates.

VIRTUAL • Via Zoom

Beyond Skin Deep

Thursday, March 16, 2023 at 11:30 am

A photo of a child's hand with the palm facing up

Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) employs a combination of optical and ultrasonic waves to provide harmless high-resolution imaging beneath the skin. Last year, the U.S. FDA approved PAT for breast cancer diagnosis.

Lihong V. Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering; Andrew and Peggy Cherng Medical Engineering Leadership Chair; Executive Officer for Medical Engineering, will explain why PAT is the only modality capable of in vivo imaging with consistent molecular contrast.

PASADENA • Chen Institute for Neuroscience

The Inner Life of the Brain: Fear, Sex & Violence

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Illustration of a cage inside a brain

Behaviors that are fundamental to animal survival, such as mating and the fight-or-flight response, are driven by internal emotional states. In humans, these brain states are subjectively experienced as "feelings," such as desire, rage, or terror. Understanding the brain mechanisms that govern these states using powerful new tools such as optogenetics and calcium imaging will lead to better treatments for psychiatric disorders. However, such studies can only be performed in animal models. How can we study an animal's internal state when we do not know if it has subjective feelings?

In this lecture, David J. Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology; Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience Leadership Chair; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Director, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience, will describe a new approach to this challenge that allows the neurobiology of emotional states to be studied in diverse animal species without reference to subjective feelings.

NEW YORK CITY • The Lotos Club

AI For Sustainability

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Image of radiant lines intersecting with circles

Policymakers and society at large depend on reliable predictions to plan for the disastrous impact of climate change and develop effective adaptation strategies. Deep learning (DL) offers novel methods that are potentially more accurate and faster than traditional weather and climate models for predicting extreme events. The Fourier Neural Operator (FNO), a novel deep-learning method, has shown promising results for predicting complex systems, such as spatiotemporal chaos, turbulence, and weather phenomena.

Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, will discuss her lab's use of FNO to model the multiphase flow systems used in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) systems. CCS systems provide highly accurate gas saturation and pressure buildup predictions under diverse reservoir conditions, geological heterogeneity, and injection schemes. The predictions are 100,000 times faster than traditional numerical simulations, with spatial resolutions exceeding most typical models run with existing simulators. It is a significant step toward building a reliable high-fidelity, high-resolution digital twin of Earth for modeling and climate change mitigation.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA • St. Francis Yacht Club

Microscale Medical Devices

Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Illustration of miniaturized medical devices.

Microscale implantable and wearable devices will transform the field of medicine in the near future. Azita Emami, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Executive Officer for Electrical Engineering; Director, Center for Sensing to Intelligence, will discuss the design and implementation of miniaturized minimally invasive devices for continuous monitoring and closed-loop therapeutic systems.

Emami will explain the potential of an MRI-inspired approach for precise localization and tracking of small tags, smart pills, and sensors inside the body. The prototype devices called ATOMS (Addressable Transmitters Operated as Magnetic Spins) are designed to behave similarly to real atoms in the body without the need for the strong magnetic field of MRI. These devices can be used for 3D navigation during high-precision surgeries Additionally, she will share her research efforts focused on efficient neural interfaces and describe how the co-design of hardware and machine learning algorithms can pave the way for robust and energy-efficient Brain-Machine Interfaces.

VIRTUAL • Via Zoom

How Violence Became Criminal

Thursday, May 11, 2023 at 11:30 am

Illustration of a guillotine

In the modern west, we tend to assume that most, if not all, acts of violence are criminal. "Violence" encompasses the deliberate use of destructive force. "Crime" covers offenses against a public order that is upheld and defended by the state.

Join Warren C. Brown, Professor of History, as he reveals why it is no accident the word violence emerges into English in its modern, all-encompassing meaning at the point when all acts of destructive force not sanctioned by kings are being defined as crimes. As old and new views of right order competed for dominance, lawyers in England and in mainland Europe began articulating a language in which "crime" came to encompass particularly serious offenses in which the king had an interest. Among these crimes were personal uses of force that, while formerly licit, were increasingly defined as transgressive—that is, as "violentia."


President's Circle Garden Party

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Photo of a social gathering in a residential garden

Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum and Katherine T. Faber, Simon Ramo Professor of Materials Science, invite President's Circle members to their home for an exclusive evening to celebrate our members' generosity to Caltech.

Enjoy food, drink, and good company at this annual event.

VIRTUAL • Via Zoom

Climate Change in the Northern Forests

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

Photo of trees in an Alaskan forest

The high-latitude northern forests are warming at a rate more than triple that of the rest of the earth. In regions with ample water, the forests are growing faster, and the ecology is changing from scrub lands to evergreen forests to deciduous forests. As a result, a significant amount of the carbon dioxide emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels is being taken up by these trees.

Join Paul O. Wennberg, R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering; Executive Officer for Environmental Science and Engineering; Director, Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science, as he discusses using a combination of ground-based and space-based remote sensing to understand if this ecosystem service will continue to efficiently sequester additional carbon.

Associates Member Travel Opportunities

In addition to in-person and virtual events, Associates are invited to curated travel experiences with faculty guides.