# Organization:California Institute of Technology

Short description: Private university in Pasadena, California
Former names Throop University (1891–1907)Throop Polytechnic Institute and Manual Training School (1907–1913)Throop College of Technology (1913–1920)[1] "The truth shall make you free"[2] Private research university September 23, 1891; 131 years ago Amos G. Throop AAUURAAITUAPRUSpace-grant $4.6 billion (2021)[3] Thomas F. Rosenbaum 300 professorial faculty[4] 2,397 (2021–22) 987 (2021–22)[5] 1,410 (2021–22)[5] Pasadena, California, United States Midsize City,[6] 124 acres (0.50 km2) The California Tech White Orange [7] Beavers The Beaver caltech.edu The California Institute of Technology (branded as Caltech)[8] is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences. Caltech is ranked among the best academic institutions in the world and is among the most selective in the U.S.[9][10][11] The institution was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.[12][13] Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering, managing$332 million in 2011 in sponsored research.[14] Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at Caltech. Although Caltech has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks,[15] student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The Caltech Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

Scientists and engineers at or from the university have played an essential role in many modern scientific breakthroughs and innovations, including advancements in sustainability science, quantum physics, earthquake monitoring, protein engineering, and soft robotics.[16][17][18] (As of October 2021), there are 78 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with Caltech, including 42 alumni and faculty members (43 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes); in addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with Caltech. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies, 4 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology.[4] Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as NASA.[4] According to a 2015 Pomona College study, Caltech ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.[19]

## History

### Throop College

Throop Polytechnic Institute on its original campus at downtown Pasadena

Caltech started as a vocational school founded in present-day Old Pasadena on Fair Oaks Avenue and Chestnut Street on September 23, 1891, by local businessman and politician Amos G. Throop.[20] The school was known successively as Throop University, Throop Polytechnic Institute (and Manual Training School)[21] and Throop College of Technology before acquiring its current name in 1920.[14][22] The vocational school was disbanded and the preparatory program was split off to form the independent Polytechnic School in 1907.

At a time when scientific research in the United States was still in its infancy, George Ellery Hale, a solar astronomer from the University of Chicago, founded the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1904. He joined Throop's board of trustees in 1907, and soon began developing it and the whole of Pasadena into a major scientific and cultural destination. He engineered the appointment of James A. B. Scherer, a literary scholar untutored in science but a capable administrator and fund-raiser, to Throop's presidency in 1908. Scherer persuaded retired businessman and trustee Charles W. Gates to donate $25,000 in seed money to build Gates Laboratory, the first science building on campus.[23] ### World Wars Throop Hall, 1912 Construction of Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics in 1921 Aerial view of Caltech in 1922 In 1910, Throop moved to its current site. Arthur Fleming donated the land for the permanent campus site. Theodore Roosevelt delivered an address at Throop Institute on March 21, 1911, and he declared: I want to see institutions like Throop turn out perhaps ninety-nine of every hundred students as men who are to do given pieces of industrial work better than any one else can do them; I want to see those men do the kind of work that is now being done on the Panama Canal and on the great irrigation projects in the interior of this country—and the one-hundredth man I want to see with the kind of cultural scientific training that will make him and his fellows the matrix out of which you can occasionally develop a man like your great astronomer, George Ellery Hale.[24] In the same year, a bill was introduced in the California Legislature calling for the establishment of a publicly funded "California Institute of Technology", with an initial budget of a million dollars, ten times the budget of Throop at the time. The board of trustees offered to turn Throop over to the state, but the presidents of Stanford University and the University of California successfully lobbied to defeat the bill, which allowed Throop to develop as the only scientific research-oriented education institute in southern California, public or private, until the onset of the World War II necessitated the broader development of research-based science education.[25] The promise of Throop attracted physical chemist Arthur Amos Noyes from MIT to develop the institution and assist in establishing it as a center for science and technology. With the onset of World War I, Hale organized the National Research Council to coordinate and support scientific work on military problems. While he supported the idea of federal appropriations for science, he took exception to a federal bill that would have funded engineering research at land-grant colleges, and instead sought to raise a$1 million national research fund entirely from private sources. To that end, as Hale wrote in The New York Times :

Throop College of Technology, in Pasadena California has recently afforded a striking illustration of one way in which the Research Council can secure co-operation and advance scientific investigation. This institution, with its able investigators and excellent research laboratories, could be of great service in any broad scheme of cooperation. President Scherer, hearing of the formation of the council, immediately offered to take part in its work, and with this object, he secured within three days an additional research endowment of one hundred thousand dollars.[26]

Through the National Research Council, Hale simultaneously lobbied for science to play a larger role in national affairs, and for Throop to play a national role in science. The new funds were designated for physics research, and ultimately led to the establishment of the Norman Bridge Laboratory, which attracted experimental physicist Robert Andrews Millikan from the University of Chicago in 1917.[27] During the course of the war, Hale, Noyes and Millikan worked together in Washington on the NRC. Subsequently, they continued their partnership in developing Caltech.[26]

Caltech entrance at 1200 E California Blvd. On the left is East Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics and on the right is the Linde Hall of Mathematics and Physics.

Under the leadership of Hale, Noyes, and Millikan (aided by the booming economy of Southern California), Caltech grew to national prominence in the 1920s and concentrated on the development of Roosevelt's "Hundredth Man". On November 29, 1921, the trustees declared it to be the express policy of the institute to pursue scientific research of the greatest importance and at the same time "to continue to conduct thorough courses in engineering and pure science, basing the work of these courses on exceptionally strong instruction in the fundamental sciences of mathematics, physics, and chemistry; broadening and enriching the curriculum by a liberal amount of instruction in such subjects as English, history, and economics; and vitalizing all the work of the Institute by the infusion in generous measure of the spirit of research".[24] In 1923, Millikan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1925, the school established a department of geology and hired William Bennett Munro, then chairman of the division of History, Government, and Economics at Harvard University, to create a division of humanities and social sciences at Caltech. In 1928, a division of biology was established under the leadership of Thomas Hunt Morgan, the most distinguished biologist in the United States at the time, and discoverer of the role of genes and the chromosome in heredity. In 1930, Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory was established in Corona del Mar under the care of Professor George MacGinitie. In 1926, a graduate school of aeronautics was created, which eventually attracted Theodore von Kármán. Kármán later helped create the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and played an integral part in establishing Caltech as one of the world's centers for rocket science. In 1928, construction of the Palomar Observatory began.

Richard C. Tolman and Albert Einstein at Caltech, 1932

Millikan served as "Chairman of the Executive Council" (effectively Caltech's president) from 1921 to 1945, and his influence was such that the institute was occasionally referred to as "Millikan's School." Millikan initiated a visiting-scholars program soon after joining Caltech. Notable scientists who accepted his invitation include Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Hendrik Lorentz and Niels Bohr.[28] Albert Einstein arrived on the Caltech campus for the first time in 1931 to polish up his Theory of General Relativity, and he returned to Caltech subsequently as a visiting professor in 1932 and 1933.[29]

During World War II, Caltech was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[30] The United States Navy also maintained a naval training school for aeronautical engineering, resident inspectors of ordinance and naval material, and a liaison officer to the National Defense Research Committee on campus.[31]

### Project Vista

The campus in 1944

In 2010, Caltech, in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and headed by Professor Nathan Lewis, established a DOE Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight. This hub, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, will receive up to $122 million in federal funding over five years.[41] Since 2012, Caltech began to offer classes through massive open online courses (MOOCs) under Coursera, and from 2013, edX.[42] Jean-Lou Chameau, the eighth president, announced on February 19, 2013, that he would be stepping down to accept the presidency at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.[43] Thomas F. Rosenbaum was announced to be the ninth president of Caltech on October 24, 2013, and his term began on July 1, 2014. In 2019, Caltech received a gift of$750 million for sustainability research from the Resnick family of The Wonderful Company.[44] The gift is the largest ever for environmental sustainability research and the second-largest private donation to a US academic institution (after Bloomberg's gift of $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University in 2018).[45] On account of President Robert A. Millikan's affiliation with the Human Betterment Foundation, in January 2021, the Caltech Board of Trustees authorized the removal of Millikan's name (and the names of five other historical figures affiliated with the Foundation), from campus buildings.[46] ## Campus The Millikan Library, the tallest building on campus. In January 2021, the Caltech Board of Trustees authorized removal of Millikan's name from campus buildings.[46] Caltech's 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located in Pasadena, California, approximately 11 miles (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It is within walking distance of Old Town Pasadena and the Pasadena Playhouse District and therefore the two locations are frequent getaways for Caltech students. In 1917 Hale hired architect Bertram Goodhue to produce a master plan for the 22 acres (8.9 ha) campus. Goodhue conceived the overall layout of the campus and designed the physics building, Dabney Hall, and several other structures, in which he sought to be consistent with the local climate, the character of the school, and Hale's educational philosophy. Goodhue's designs for Caltech were also influenced by the traditional Spanish mission architecture of Southern California. The Beckman Auditorium Beckman Institute at Caltech During the 1960s, Caltech underwent considerable expansion, in part due to the philanthropy of alumnus Arnold O. Beckman. In 1953, Beckman was asked to join the Caltech Board of Trustees.[47]:282 In 1964, he became its chairman.[47]:275 Over the next few years, as Caltech's president emeritus David Baltimore describes it, Arnold Beckman and his wife Mabel "shaped the destiny of Caltech".[47]:288 In 1971 a magnitude-6.6 earthquake in San Fernando caused some damage to the Caltech campus. Engineers who evaluated the damage found that two historic buildings dating from the early days of the Institute—Throop Hall and the Goodhue-designed Culbertson Auditorium—had cracked. New additions to the campus include the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology, which opened in 2009,[48][49] and the Warren and Katherine Schlinger Laboratory for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering followed in March 2010.[50] The institute also concluded an upgrading of the South Houses in 2006. In late 2010, Caltech completed a 1.3 MW solar array projected to produce approximately 1.6 GWh in 2011.[51] ## Organization and administration The Bridge Laboratory of Physics Caltech is incorporated as a non-profit corporation and is governed by a privately appointed 46-member board of trustees who serve five-year terms of office and retire at the age of 72.[22][52] The trustees elect a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the institute and administer the affairs on the institute on behalf of the board, a provost who serves as the chief academic officer of the institute below the president, and ten other vice presidential and other senior positions.[52] Thomas F. Rosenbaum became the ninth president of Caltech in 2014. Caltech's endowment is governed by a permanent trustee committee and administered by an investment office. The institute is organized into six primary academic divisions: Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Engineering and Applied Science, Geological and Planetary Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. The voting faculty of Caltech include all professors, instructors, research associates and fellows, and the University Librarian. Faculty are responsible for establishing admission requirements, academic standards, and curricula. The Faculty Board is the faculty's representative body and consists of 18 elected faculty representatives as well as other senior administration officials. Full-time professors are expected to teach classes, conduct research, advise students, and perform administrative work such as serving on committees.[53] Founded in 1930s, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) owned by NASA and operated as a division of Caltech through a contract between NASA and Caltech. In 2008, JPL spent over$1.6 billion on research and development and employed over 5,000 project-related and support employees.[54] The JPL Director also serves as a Caltech Vice President and is responsible to the President of the Institute for the management of the laboratory.[55]

Caltech is a small four-year, highly residential research university with slightly more students in graduate programs than undergraduate.[56] The institute has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 1949.[57][58] Caltech is on the quarter system:[59] the fall term starts in late September and ends before Christmas, the second term starts after New Year's Day and ends in mid-March, and the third term starts in late March or early April and ends in early June.[60]

### Rankings

Caltech is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world by major ranking systems. In 2021, Caltech ranked 6th globally based on aggregate world university rankings of THE, QS, and ARWU.[72] For 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Caltech as tied for 9th in the United States among national universities overall, 11th for most innovative, and 15th for best value.[73] U.S. News & World Report also ranked the graduate programs in chemistry and earth sciences first among national universities.[74]

Caltech was ranked 1st internationally between 2011 and 2016 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[75] Caltech was ranked as the best university in the world in two categories: Engineering & Technology and Physical Sciences.[76][77] It was also found to have the highest faculty citation rate in the world.[78]

2021 entering
class[79]Change vs.
2016[80]

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For the Class of 2026 (enrolled Fall 2022), Caltech received approximately 17,000 applications and accepted 2% of applicants; 235 enrolled. The class included 44% women and 56% men. 32% were of underrepresented ancestry (which includes students who self-identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American, and/or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander), and 6% were foreign students.[81]

Admission to Caltech is extremely rigorous and requires the highest test scores in the nation.[82] For the 2022 academic year, Caltech was ranked by CBS News as the 3rd hardest college in America to gain acceptance to.[83] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for enrolled freshmen for the class of 2023 were 740–780 for evidence-based reading and writing and 790–800 for math, and 1530–1570 total. The middle 50% range ACT Composite score was 35–36. The SAT Math Level 2 middle 50% range was 800–800. The middle 50% range for the SAT Physics Subject Test was 760–800; SAT Chemistry Subject Test was 760–800; SAT Biology Subject Tests was 760–800.[81] In June 2020, Caltech announced a test-blind policy where they would not require nor consider test scores for the next two years; in July 2021, the moratorium was extended by another year.[84]

Undergraduate tuition for the 2021–2022 school year was $56,394 and total annual costs were estimated to be$79,947 excluding the Caltech Student Health Insurance Plan.[85] In 2012–2013, Caltech awarded $17.1 million in need-based aid,$438k in non-need-based aid, and $2.51 million in self-help support to enrolled undergraduate students. The average financial aid package of all students eligible for aid was$38,756 and students graduated with an average debt of $15,090.[59] ### Undergraduate program Breezeway of Arms Laboratory The full-time, four-year undergraduate program emphasizes instruction in the arts and sciences and has high graduate coexistence.[56] Caltech offers 28 majors (called "options") and 12 minors across all six academic divisions.[86][87] Caltech also offers interdisciplinary programs in Applied Physics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Computation and Neural Systems, Control and Dynamical Systems, Environmental Science and Engineering, Geobiology and Astrobiology, Geochemistry, and Planetary Astronomy. The most popular options are Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Physics.[88] The Kerckhoff Laboratory of the Biological Sciences Prior to the entering class of 2013, Caltech required students to take a core curriculum of five terms of mathematics, five terms of physics, two terms of chemistry, one term of biology, two terms of lab courses, one term of scientific communication, three terms of physical education, and 12 terms of humanities and social science. Since 2013, only three terms each of mathematics and physics have been required by the institute, with the remaining two terms each required by certain options.[89][90] A typical class is worth 9 academic units and given the extensive core curriculum requirements in addition to individual options' degree requirements, students need to take an average of 40.5 units per term (more than four classes) to graduate in four years. 36 units is the minimum full-time load, 48 units is considered a heavy load, and registrations above 51 units require an overload petition.[91] Approximately 20 percent of students double-major.[92] This is achievable since the humanities and social sciences majors have been designed to be done in conjunction with a science major. Although choosing two options in the same division is discouraged, it is still possible. First-year students are enrolled in first-term classes based upon results of placement exams in math, physics, chemistry, and writing and take all classes in their first two terms on a Pass/Fail basis.[91] There is little competition; collaboration on homework is encouraged and the honor system encourages take-home tests and flexible homework schedules.[93] Caltech offers co-operative programs with other schools, such as the Pasadena Art Center College of Design and Occidental College. According to a (As of 2018) PayScale study, Caltech graduates earn a median early career salary of$83,400 and $143,100 mid-career, placing them in the top 5 among graduates of US colleges and universities.[94] The average net return on investment over a period of 20 years is$887,000, the tenth-highest among US colleges.[95]

Caltech offers Army and Air Force ROTC in cooperation with the University of Southern California.[59]

Doctoral regalia of the California Institute of Technology

The graduate instructional programs emphasize doctoral studies and are dominated by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.[56] The institute offers graduate degree programs for the Master of Science, Engineer's Degree, Doctor of Philosophy, BS/MS and MD/PhD, with the majority of students in the PhD program.[56] The most popular options are Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering.[88] Applicants for graduate studies are required to take the GRE. GRE Subject scores are either required or strongly recommended by several options.[96] A joint program between Caltech and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine grants MD/PhD degrees. Students in this program do their preclinical and clinical work at USC or UCLA, and their PhD work with any member of the Caltech faculty, including the Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering and Applied Sciences Divisions. The MD degree would be from USC or UCLA and the PhD would be awarded from Caltech.[97][98]

The research facilities at Caltech are available to graduate students, but there are opportunities for students to work in facilities of other universities, research centers as well as private industries.[99] The graduate student to faculty ratio is 4:1.[100]

Approximately 99 percent of doctoral students have full financial support. Financial support for graduate students comes in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships or a combination of fellowship and assistantship support.[101]

Graduate students are bound by the honor code, as are the undergraduates, and the Graduate Honor Council oversees any violations of the code.

## Research

Chemists working at Caltech in 1923
The new Schlinger Laboratory for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

#### Presidents

• James Augustin Brown Scherer (1908–1920) (president of Throop College of Technology before the name change)
• Robert A. Millikan (1921–1945), experimental physicist, Nobel laureate in physics for 1923 (his official title was "Chairman of the Executive Council")
• Lee A. DuBridge (1946–1969), experimental physicist (first to officially hold the title of President)
• Harold Brown (1969–1977), physicist and public servant (left Caltech to serve as United States Secretary of Defense in the administration of Jimmy Carter)
• Robert F. Christy (1977–1978), astrophysicist (acting president)
• Marvin L. Goldberger (1978–1987), theoretical physicist (left to serve as Director of Institute for Advanced Study)
• Thomas E. Everhart (1987–1997), experimental physicist
• David Baltimore (1997–2006), molecular biologist, Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine for 1975
• Jean-Lou Chameau (2006–2013), civil engineer and educational administrator (left to serve as president of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology)
• Thomas F. Rosenbaum (2014–), condensed matter physicist and administrator

## Caltech startups

Over the years Caltech has actively promoted the commercialization of technologies developed within its walls. Through its Office of Technology Transfer & Corporate Partnerships,[172] scientific breakthroughs have led to the transfer of numerous technologies in a wide variety of scientific-related fields such as photovoltaic, radio-frequency identification (RFID), semiconductors, hyperspectral imaging, electronic devices, protein design, solid state amplifiers and many more.[173] Companies such as Contour Energy Systems, Impinj, Fulcrum Microsystems, Nanosys, Inc., Photon etc., Xencor, and Wavestream Wireless[174] have emerged from Caltech.

## In media and popular culture

Caltech has appeared in many works of popular culture, both as itself and in disguised form. On television, it plays a prominent role and is the workplace of all four male lead characters and one female lead character in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Caltech is also the inspiration, and frequent film location, for the California Institute of Science in Numb3rs.[175] On film, the Pacific Tech of The War of the Worlds[176] and Real Genius[175] is based on Caltech. In nonfiction, two 2007 documentaries examine aspects of Caltech: Curious, its researchers,[177][178] and Quantum Hoops, its men's basketball team.

Given its Los Angeles-area location, the grounds of the Institute are often host to short scenes in movies and television. The Athenaeum dining club appears in the Beverly Hills Cop series, The X-Files, True Romance, and The West Wing.[179]

## Notes

1. Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
2. The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
3. The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.

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