John Johnson awarded Feynman Prize - CaltechCampusPubs

John Johnson awarded Feynman Prize - CaltechCampusPubs

The California Tech Volume CXVI Number 18 Pasadena, California [email protected] April 8, 2013 John Johnson awarded Feynman Prize...

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The California Tech Volume CXVI Number 18

Pasadena, California

[email protected]

April 8, 2013

John Johnson awarded Feynman Prize Feynman Prize committee

The committee met once, on February 6th, 2013, to consider the seventeen nominees for the 2013 prize. The field for the Feynman prize is always very strong. Creative and innovative teaching is alive and well at Caltech, and so this committee’s decision is often a difficult one. However this year, one candidate immediately emerged as exceptional – a “true outlier,” in the words of a committee member – and the committee’s decision virtually made itself. We unanimously and enthusiastically recommend that the 2013 Feynman Prize be awarded to Prof. John A. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Prof. Johnson, who came to Caltech in 2009, received ten nominations from students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for his teaching across three classes: Ay 117: Statistics and Data Analysis in Astronomy; Ay 105: Optical Astronomy Instrumentation Lab; and Ay 20: Basic Astronomy and the Galaxy. All writers in one way or another denominated him “by far, my favorite professor at Caltech” or “the best teacher at Caltech.” They lauded his “passion [not just] for education, but … for finding the best way possible to educate.” Many had taken more than one class with Prof. Johnson, and almost all had words to the effect that they

as they arose. Students found had “learned much this approach extraordinarily more through helpful. A “spirit of exploration” [his] teaching style characterized AY 20, said one than [they] had in participant; the “worksheets most of [their] … lead [sic] us step-by-step other classes at to discover for ourselves the Caltech.” Some important results in astronomy.” even suggested Attendance was consistently that his influence above 90%, and one student went beyond the regretfully anticipated having classroom: one “a huge gap in my life next term student lauded where all the wonderful hours “the influence he of Ay 20 used to reside.” And has had on our all who’d taken AY 117 likewise department in the praised Prof. Johnson’s use of this three years he has technique in teaching statistics. been a professor” One student said that it showed and another “how to structure a course that claimed that his provides a deep theoretical teaching was so understanding of underlying extraordinary that principles while simultaneously it “rocked the boat Prof. John Johnson has been lauded by his students for his exemplary teaching abilities, training students how to correctly in the astronomy as well as his active interest in learning. - apply these methods within department, • Holding office hours their own day-to-day research challenging our conceptions of and also allowing them to submit how astronomy, and the sciences ‘outside’ work (anything they’d done late at night for the students’ activities.” Another remarked on in connection with the course) for convenience; the “efficiency and fertility of Prof. in general, are taught.” • Setting up “ExoLab” Johnson’s class: theory digested, Certainly, his influence on his grading; • Forbidding discussion of – weekly meetings in which his independent thinking trained and students was profound. Praising him as “enthusiastic, proficient grades, which “made the class less research group would talk about cooperation developed.” Making and insightful,” one student said stressful, as well as encouraging current results and work together mistakes was no longer a thing to be feared; students learned that that he is “a remarkable teacher [us] to always do [our] best and on problems’ • His ability to “appear “errors are another way of learning.” who can not only enlighten never ‘coast’”; • Emailing Youtube videos normal”; his approachability, All were “delighted” that a normally students in the classroom but also sculpt their spirits for their to the class to illustrate the day’s “personal focus,” and clear concern dry subject like statistics could be taught in such a user-friendly way. future careers.” Another called material and answering emailed for “students as people.” In sum, we recommend that him “the kind of teacher who can questions at length; • Arranging a private tour But the feature that occasioned Johnson be awarded the Feyman change one’s life forever.” One of his graduate students said that that of Palomar Observatory and, the most impassioned paeans was prize because, in the words of his “he reminded me … why I wanted when a student expressed interest, his innovative use of class time. students, he “without question to be a scientist in the first place.” organizing a class visit to the Rather than giving long lectures in belongs to the extraordinary class and then assigning illustrative contingent of people that … leaves Another called the experience of Caltech Adaptive Optics lab; • Bringing in guest lecturers problem sets as homework, Prof. one groping for superlatives.” being his student “life-changing not only to speak on the material, Johnson kept lectures very brief “Classroom experiences that are and inspirational.” Students praised many but also to answer students’ career (where he gave them at all) and intellectually engaging, practical, divided the class into small groups, and entertaining are incredibly features of Prof. Johnson’s questions; • Working with his TA in and has them work on worksheets rare. Through his teaching style, teaching and mentoring: • Making keeping setting up labs so that he’d know together. He and the TA go from attention to detail, and unique a blog part of students’ firsthand exactly what the students group to group to help with course structure, Professor Johnson assessment in AY 20 were working on; problems and answer questions provides just such an experience.”

In this issue NEWS

2 3 4 7

New ASCIT minutes


Moya Chen discusses Ricketts


Evil Dead a mustsee for horror fans


A mixed bag of results for tennis team

News briefs from around the globe Helping readers burst out of the Caltech bubble !""#$%&$'(&)!

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April 8, 2013


Food with Mannion!

Do you like eating food? How about free food at nice restaurants? Ever want to tell the world exactly what you think of said food? The Tech will be beginning a new column to chronicle the foodie experiences of new writers every other week...The Catch: They’ll be going head-to-head with Tom Mannion who will be reviewing the same restaurant. If you have ever thought you were more of a gourmand than our resident master chef, now’s your chance to prove it! Email us for a spot on the list at [email protected] The California Tech Caltech 40-58, Pasadena, CA 91125 advertising e-mail: [email protected] editorial e-mail: [email protected]

Editors-in-Chief Jonathan Schor Stanford Schor News Editor Sandhya Chandrasekaran Sports Editor Amol Kamat

Write articles for the Tech

ASCIT Minutes Minutes for April 1st, 2013. Taken by Allika Walvekar Officers present: Diego Caporale, Pushpa Neppala, Mario Zubia, Michelle Tang, Allika Walvekar, Puikei Cheng, Connor Coley Guests: Zach Rivkin, Connor Rosen Call to Order: 9:16 pm President’s Report (Diego): Caltech won the Pasadena Games last Friday. Games: Monster Croquet, Hunger Games, Ultimate Frisbee, Lego-es, Don’t trip the waiters, Human Race, Human Hamsterball, A task force has been established through the President’s Office to assess the Caltech Brand. Honor code student committee will have a sign up this week ASCIT Formal is this weekend. It should be a lot of fun and remember it only a happens every other year. Officer’s Reports: V.P. of Academic Affairs (ARC Chair: Pushpa): Professor of the Month reception for Gil Rafael is coming up ASCIT Teaching awards is Thursday May 23rd. Option fair: April 5th at noon. Tom provided delicious food and attendance was high amongst freshman. V.P. of Non-Academic Affairs (IHC Chair: Connor): PFW: Pre-Frosh Weekend will take place between April 18th and 21st. PFW Rules can be found at documents/prefrosh.html Director of Operations (Mario): Club Fair: Mario is working on the planning for the PFW Club Fair. Only registered Caltech clubs are allowed to participate. The Club Fair will Occur on April 19th from 4-5:30.

Staff Moriah Bischann Nina Budaeva Malvika Verma

Treasurer (Puikei): Toastmasters Club asked for funding for recording equipment. ASCIT advised them to assess the current recording equipment on campus and then return if they still need funding. Puikei will invite them to come next week. Social Director (Michelle): ASCIT Formal: April 13th 9pm - 1pm Buses will transport students at 7:45. Dinner begins at 9pm DJ Matt Gudis and Blown Out will be performing Security and Bob Paz have been hired Lloyd Interhouse was this weekend. Upcoming events: Blacker Interhouse (Week 4), Iron Man 3 (Week 6), BFP (Week 8)

Circulation Manager Michael Paluchniak Advisor Richard Kipling The Tech is published weekly except during vacation and examination periods by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology, Inc. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the authors and advertisers. Letters and submissions are welcome; e-mail submissions to [email protected] as plain-text attachments, including the author’s name, by Friday of the week before publication. The Tech does accept anonymous contributions under special circumstances. The editors reserve the right to edit and abridge all submissions for any reason. All written work remains property of its author. The advertising deadline is 5 PM Friday; all advertising should be submitted electronically or as camera-ready art, but The Tech can also do simple typesetting and arrangement. All advertising inquiries should be directed to the business manager at [email protected] For subscription information, please send mail to “Subscriptions.”

The California Tech

Secretary (Allika): Checked in with Jon Webster about Coffee House Manager position. Resolved confusion over the Sustainability Council Representatives.

get paid up to $30

If anyone has any questions or concerns about a section of the minutes please email the appropriate officer. We are happy to answer any questions. Meeting Adjourned: 10:15

The California Tech


April 8, 2013


Administration unjustly punished Ricketts I am not a Skurve, nor would I of the scientist personality. They Additionally, the approach that the administration has taken in necessarily enjoy their activities, but experiment, question, and create. dealing with the entire situation I respect them. Their outspokenness Science is about creativity, about The houses do a lot for us seems needlessly damaging. and bluntness makes them pushing existing boundaries— undergrads. They are our safety Nearly a month after the original natural leaders. Skurves think for Ricketts has this spirit. nets during our first years away If Caltech intends to admit those punishments were announced, a themselves. Of all of the houses, from home. They provide support, large portion of Ricketts House members of Ricketts have one of with the scientist personality, it friendship, and assistance when we still has not been told what it has the strongest senses of equality— cannot avoid admitting those who need it most. For many of us, the done to warrant the reaction. they may insult a person, but you will be naturally Skurve-like. There houses are our surrogate families. The administration has cited can be assured that they will insult is no eHarmony test, no preliminary So it should be no surprise to screening that the admissions office privacy concerns, but for me, this the next just as much. anyone why I, along with many Furthermore, even if the current could use that would ever change only makes their actions more other undergraduates, find the suspect. Only a House-wide policy Ricketts disappears, I do not see this fact. Creativity and orthodoxy effective disbandment of one violation should invoke a House- the number of problems that the are fundamentally contradictory of these houses to be extremely wide penalty; Ricketts House is not administration has to deal with goals. If Caltech wants freethinkers, protected by FERPA—there should decreasing. There are new freshmen it will have to put up with its rulealarming. be no reason that any legitimate every year, some of whom will be breakers. For those of you who have charge could not be revealed to the prone to getting into more trouble not been informed of what has Personally, I do not think that than others. Even if we make the the actions threatened by the house as a whole. occurred, I will give a summary. By withholding charges from assumption that these freshmen are administration against Ricketts are On Friday, March 1, shortly after the accused, the administration somehow all ending up in Ricketts, justified. 3 p.m., an email was sent to the is denying Ricketts members the disbanding the house will make members of Ricketts house from The deans have handled chance to dispute inaccurate claims, little difference in whether they the entire case horribly from the Dean’s office. According to putting unnecessary are present or not. However, rather a procedural standpoint; their the email, members stress on the students. than being around undergraduates arguments are full of holes. Rather of Ricketts had One would think with similar personalities who have than proceeding in a reasonable, committed “incidents that the deans, who gone through similar experiences open way, the administration has that violate[d] Institute Science is about creativity, about pushing are supposed to and can help on a day-to-day basis been closed and brash. For the policy,” and that be mental health (the advantage that the house-level sake of the Caltech undergraduate “[b]ecause of the existing boundaries - Ricketts has this spirit. resources, would be safety net has over anything the RAs, community and the housing egregious nature of the keen to avoid this RLCs, or deans could ever hope to system, I want to see Ricketts live actions—both actual sort of unnecessary do), these freshmen will be around and thrive under their own terms, and planned—the administration has no choice but to next?’, I have a hard time wrapping strain. Additionally, while the those who may have fundamentally not extorted by outside forces that intervene.” Without detailing what my head around as to what sort of administration may not be a different values, those who do not take impetuous actions out of lack these actions were, except saying reasonable justification the deans formal court of law, their actions in understand. Thus, disbanding of understanding. that they were “confidential,” the could possibly give for disbanding recent events would be considered Ricketts would neither decrease I can only hope that in the a severe breach of habeas corpus if the administrators’ workload nor future, those in the administration email continued, describing the Ricketts. improve student mental health. punishment to the house. The will take to heart the meaning of I can understand how a person, it were. Even if the deans are basing their Fundamentally, the Skurve the phrase “Prend moi tel que je punishments were as follows: especially an administrator, “We are removing the leadership exasperated by Ricketts. logic on what some rumors have personality is just an expression suis.” of Ricketts House from their Historically, Ricketts has never described as “decades positions, effective immediately. been the easiest dorm for the of past problems,” I “The house’s bursar’s account administration to deal with. In its do not feel this to be a has been frozen, and no social eight or so decades of existence, legitimate argument. Firstly, assuming events will be approved until it has been accused of infractions further notice. related to drugs, alcohol, sexual that some of these of past “Ricketts will not participate in harassment, property damage, “decades rotation this fall. hazing, and a whole slew of other problems” were already “Current members of Ricketts forms of general indecency. To say dealt with the first are not guaranteed a spot in the that Ricketts is blameless is just time they occurred, house next year. They will need wrong. In fact Ricketts, historically, using these to accuse to apply along with any other has probably been one of the houses current students is a interested students, and residency that has had the most incidents gross breach of double will be approved by the dean’s brought up between it and the jeopardy. administration. Yet, despite all of The law does not office.” In the past few weeks, additional this, no administrator in the past reopen cases that actions against Ricketts have come has been so brash as to act as they have already been to light. Specifically, Admissions have in response to recent events. In tried; neither should was told that students in Ricketts the past, if Ricketts did something Caltech. Secondly, this are not allowed to host Prefrosh wrong, the first thing that the and are barred from holding events administrators did was to deal with argument assumes guilt those that had caused the problem. by association. There during Prefrosh Weekend. Since then, Ricketts House has If Ricketts broke a window, people is a reason why the not been informed of charges against in the house were told to pay for children of criminals them. While some individuals of it. If an individual was seen playing are not automatically to be Ricketts have been informed of cases with fire, that individual was given presumed Open to non-business majors only: recent graduates against themselves, there has been due process through the CRC and criminals themselves. no specific information released dealt with by regulated trial. As Just because members or college juniors and seniors as to why actions are being taken frustrated as those administrators of a house have been against Ricketts as a whole. As far may have been, they dealt with the difficult in the past Taught by faculty from the internationally ranked as the undergraduate population is events on a case-by-case basis, not does not mean that aware, the “non-negotiable stance as punishment to be doled out to new freshmen in that USC Marshall School of Business of the administration” is that all members that happen to be in a house automatically inherit the guilt. “Ricketts needs to change by next group, innocent or otherwise. Study business principles in 5 key areas: leadership Thirdly—and Indeed, having been on the year – a lot.” A momentary aside: I know BoC and seeing other BoC this will probably be & communication, strategy & organization, finance & that some readers may have issue reps in action for a while, I am the greatest point of managerial accounting, marketing, and operations with my use of “punishment.” often most impressed by the contention—Ricketts, While I know that there have been Caltech community’s precision for all the mistakes letters circulating both among and care that its members have that it makes, all of its undergraduates and members of in making judgments on those immaturity, insolence, APPLY NOW! the Alumni Association saying that that have committed wrongs. In and impatience, is (213) 740-8990 SESSION DATES: “[the actions] are not meant to be regards to recent events however, still a community that [email protected] July 8 - August 2 punitive, but rather to underscore this discretion seems almost should exist at this school. for all our students that there are nonexistent.

MOYa Chen Contributing Writer

consequences to the choices that they make,” I find this to be a clever, but ultimately inaccurate, redefinition. Actions taken purely for the sake of creating consequences (rather than, say, repairing or illustrating damages), is, by definition, punitive. For example, the removal of rotation privileges would only be nonpunitive if Ricketts had committed some rotation violation. As far as we know, this has not been the case—I will thus be using the word “punishment,” as it accurately describes the situation. For me, this whole situation raises a barrage of questions. From ‘What could have been so deplorable, so problematic, that the only solution that the deans could find was to effectively disband a house?’ to ‘Why now?’ and ‘What’s

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April 8, 2013


The California Tech

Evil Dead brings horror genre back to its roots CAMERON ALLEN Contributing Writer

***WARNING! THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*** ‘Don’t run into the woods! Don’t go down there! Ah!! Don’t trust her, you idiot!’ These thoughts ran through my mind as I alternated between occupying the edge of my seat and seeking shelter and hiding by physically merging with the cushions. I never shielded my eyes, however, for fear of missing even one frame. I simply could not look away. This year’s Evil Dead is a remake of the 1981 horror cult classic, The Evil Dead. Like the original film, it tells a story that has become an archetype horror film: five college students drive out into the backwoods of rural America to spend time in a secluded cabin. Upon exploring the cellar, they come across the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis – The Book of the Dead. Some of its passages are recited, and an evil force is awakened and begins to possess the characters, forcing those remaining to do whatever is necessary to stay alive. Sam Raimi, the director of the original, produced this film and noticeably exhibited some creative control. At the center of the story, we have Mia. A character without much glamour, she is a heroin junkie in desperate need of an intervention. The story is framed around this addiction; Mia’s friends take her out to the cabin as a method of making her go cold turkey. The sickening withdrawal symptoms add an extra layer of depth to the first act, as it is often unclear whether Mia’s experiences are real or just hallucinations. Mia is portrayed by Jane Levy, an actress I had personally never heard of, but her performance was convincing and really displayed the frustration she was facing. I hesitate to call Mia the protagonist, however; her brother David carries out much of the action in the second half of the movie and connects more with the viewer, representing the heroic everyman doing the best he can in an extreme situation. One issue that comes up when comparing the original film to its remake is the protagonist. In the 1981 version, the main character was Ash, a goofy yet lovable guy who became Raimi’s personal punching bag. He was played by a young Bruce Campbell, the man whose jawline is said to have launched a thousand ships. Best friends since childhood, Raimi and Campbell have co-created many original works. Their decision to leave Ash out of the movie was mature and executed well, as having another young actor play the same role would have felt unsettling. This iteration in the series abandons the goofy tone first seen in Evil Dead II (and later in Army of Darkness) and returns to straight horror, possibly as a result of eliminating the charming and campy Ash. Even before the

evil comes, the atmosphere has an oppressive weight. The lowfrequency hums of the soundtrack subconsciously make the audience squirm. One girl cuts some meat with an electric turkey carver (and you just know she is going to use it again). Frantic, sweeping tracking shots take us through the woods and around the cabin. There is actually a slow buildup of tension, which is rarer nowadays. But, once the satanic words are uttered and

big mess by the end. Imagine if Jackson Pollock rode a unicycle down the Spanish Steps whilst gripping a bucket of red paint in one hand and a crate of Strawberry Splash Go-Gurt in the other. Now grab a mop. With the prevalence of severed limbs, you would think the characters expected candy to pour out of them, like from a festive donkey piñata. Characters get buried alive, thrown down cellar

The actual horror in this film is not what modern audiences are accustomed to; that is, the horror is not built around children crouching on refrigerators or bed sheets suddenly floating up in the breeze as a passive-aggressive sound engineer pours a jar of marbles on his keyboard. I get surprised when I drink my boba and find out firsthand that the waitress misheard and thought I ordered “sawdust milk tea,” but I probably would


the evil is stirred from its slumber, the horror becomes unrelenting and nearly constant, allowing you only a few brief moments for you to catch your breath. Let me be very clear: the violence in this movie sits somewhere between liberal and gratuitous, and at no point was the creator’s vision compromised. Usually, gore is uncomfortable; that is, until you get to a certain point, and then it becomes silly in its excess. Evil Dead keeps on going, with even more explicit gore, and then it wraps around and falls right back into the uncomfortable zone. It is still quite a spectacle, but it is engineered to make you cringe. There’s a lot of blood. A lot. Everywhere. On the floor, on the ceiling, on the walls. The cabin is a great

stairs, shot with nail guns, stabbed, burned—you name it. And because of the director’s refusal to use CGI, all of these are performed with practical effects, and feel uncomfortably realistic. The makeup design is truly nightmare fuel. The actors are possessed and look undead, but are still eerily recognizable. The production also includes some truly astonishing set pieces; one that comes to mind is a scene in which one of the girls is chased through the woods by an unknown force, and ends up entangled in vines that come alive. The entire film is shot beautifully. Grimy bathrooms, grungy cellars, and foggy woods all have a striking visual style, and each shot has purposeful lighting and composition.

not call the experience terrifying. Although there are a few jumpscares, the film does not depend on them. Most of the action is in your face, and you can actually enjoy and absorb the visuals, rather than cover your eyes. This brings out your excitement, as you imagine and look forward to what you might be shown next, rather than feel dread or boredom in the cheap surprises. The film prefers to be upsetting and disturbing, instead of “scary” in the strictest sense. When he created The Evil Dead, Raimi understood that the scariest monster imaginable is us. More specifically, we fear our friends and family will turn on us, trick us, and try to hurt us. This fear manifests as an evil spirit possessing Mia’s

friends, causing them to hurt themselves and each other. Sure, the gore is uncomfortable to watch, but when you realize that these lifelong friends were forced to hurt each other in desperate defense, an emotional reaction is also elicited. A few truly heartwarming moments towards the end make us feel as though we might get away with a happy ending this time... and we sort of do. These emotional times, in addition to a climactic finale involving a downpour and a chainsaw (whose use was teased throughout), form one of the most exhilarating and spectacular third acts in recent memory. When I originally heard about this project, I immediately assumed that it would be schlock, another tired reboot, a boring and shameless retread of old material without the soul or heart that was invested in the original. Recently, a popular trend in Hollywood has been remaking old horror films from the ‘70s and ‘80s as cheaply as possible. Why? Money, mostly. These films often earn five to ten times their budget at the box office. Michael Bay’s production company, Platinum Dunes, has done various revivals from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to A Nightmare on Elm Street, each one more disrespectful to its property than the last. This is definitely not the case with Evil Dead. With the success of his Spiderman trilogy and Oz the Great and Powerful, Raimi finally had the resources and time to create this pet project, one that he and Campbell have been working on for years. The two reunited with Robert Tapert, the producer of the original trilogy, and the three hand-selected a Uruguayan director, Fede Alvarez, who had previously only directed short films. However, Alvarez has proven that he has a fresh approach and can breathe new life into the franchise (a topical quality, I suppose). They could have easily turned a quick buck selling out the franchise based on its name recognition alone, but their goal was never to make money; it was to introduce a new generation of movie-goers to the wonders and magic of Evil Dead. And in that intention, they have certainly succeeded. Raimi has said that the reason he loves filmmaking is that he has the opportunity to please and entertain the audience, and that he considers his work to be a success if viewers are “uplifted” by the experience. Evil Dead was the most fun I have had watching a movie in a long time, and has reminded me of the reasons we go to the cinema to begin with: entertainment, escape, and immersion. I believe this installment will both please fans of the original trilogy and hopefully inspire new fans to delve deeper into the mythology and watch the classic films. If you are a fan of horror, you simply must see this one. For appropriate audiences, Evil Dead earns my strong recommendation, and a score of 9/10. Go see it!

The California Tech


April 8, 2013


Will changes to patent law hurt Caltech? ella dodd Contributing Writer

“It’s like a Cuisinart—everything gets chopped up,” Dr. Raymond Deshaies, a professor of biology and an appointed investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, explained as he pointed to a brightly colored model of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). The UPS is kind of like a garbage disposal for cells, and Deshaies has spent the last 17 years at Caltech studying how the UPS helps regulate cell growth and looking for potential cancer treatments that take advantage of that regulation. By 2011, he had patented nine inventions, co-founded two biopharmaceutical companies, and helped to raise over $44 million for his companies’ drug development programs. Deshaies is only one of the many research professors at universities throughout the United States who have patented and licensed their discoveries, and Caltech has been one of the leading competitors in this world of intellectual property for decades. According to a 2010 report by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on the number of patents granted to American universities between 1969 and 2008, only the University of California and MIT had more patents than Caltech. Stanford University, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, was ranked fifth. All that could change, however, due to several key provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) that recently came into effect. The AIA calls for major changes to patent law that could have a serious impact on the way universities like Caltech and Stanford handle their intellectual property. Caltech, Stanford, MIT, and nearly every other technical university in America has an office of technology transfer (OTT) that is responsible for taking concepts developed by professors and turning them into commercial products. This is typically accomplished by means of patents and licensing agreements, both of which benefit the university as well as the public. Patents help protect the investment made in research, and they can attract corporate and federal funding in the future. Licensing agreements ensure that discoveries have the opportunity to reach the stream of commerce, where the public can use them, and they often generate income for the inventor and for the furtherance of instruction and research at the university. More importantly, Deshaies noted, startup companies “produce broader societal value” when they license patents, since they create job openings, and, in his case, make novel treatments for diseases. Although Deshaies described the technology transfer process as “still rather opaque,” the OTT tries to make this process “as user friendly as possible,” according

to its website. When a Caltech Deshaies said he went through application and $190 to file a nonprofessor makes an important “several good cop/bad cop routines” provisional patent application. discovery, he or she typically hands with the OTT when he started his Starting sometime in the 2013 over a manuscript detailing the company. On one hand, Caltech fiscal year, however, these fees innovation and gets right back to only wants to license patents to will be reduced to $65 and $70, companies that are fully funded respectively. the lab. Dr. Jennifer Hodas, a licensing and can actually make use of the Hodas said that Caltech is “very associate at Caltech’s OTT, said technology. On the other hand, aggressive about patent filing,” but that the OTT then uses this it has been Deshaies’ experience the reduced filing fees are unlikely manuscript to file a provisional that venture capitalists “tend to be to lead to any significant savings. patent application, a cheaper, less highly risk-averse” and only want According to their website, the detailed patent application that to fund companies that already OTT has successfully pursued does not require any complicated have a licensing agreement for the patent protection for an average of 110 new technologies in each claims and gives Caltech a year patents they need. The OTT is “pretty hands-off,” of the last five years, and they filed to figure out how to proceed. In the meantime, Caltech’s patent Deshaies said. “They’ve got the at least twice as many provisional policy dictates that the professor right philosophy—their mission patent applications. At this rate, shall be free to publish his or her is to help faculty commercialize lower filing fees would save Caltech manuscript in a timely manner inventions, not to manage faculty.” about $25,000 annually—enough, and that “the cost of acquisition of He attributed Caltech’s success in for example, to pay just half of such patents shall in no instance be the intellectual property realm to an undergrad’s tuition and living the combination of “very innovative expenses for a single academic borne by the employee.” Eight or nine months after the and entrepreneurial faculty” and year. initial disclosure, the OTT revisits “enlightened” OTT staff members. But perhaps the biggest change the invention and works with the A report by The Chronicle prescribed by the AIA is the switch professor to determine whether of Higher Education shows just from a first-to-invent system to or not to pursue patent a first-inventor-toprotection for the file system. Suppose technology. According to inventor A discovers the OTT’s website, these a novel technology decisions are “made and inventor B through a discussion independently between OTT and the discovers the same inventors based on the technology a week commercial potential of later. Under the the invention, the state current first-to-invent system, the USPTO of development, and other factors.” The OTT will always award the estimates that nearly patent to inventor A half the time these (the first to invent), discussions lead to the even if he is not the first filing of regular (noninventor to file a patent provisional) patent application. Under the applications. new first-inventorA non-provisional to-file system, the patent application outcome no longer consists of detailed depends on who drawings of the makes the discovery invention, a complete first. If inventor A files written description of a patent application how to make and use first, then inventor A the invention, and a gets the patent. But set of specific claims— if inventor B files a statements that define Prof. Deshaies has co-founded two companies and patent application the legal basis for patent holds a number of patents. before inventor A files - protection. Essentially, his, then inventor B the inventor pays a small fee and how successful the university’s gets the patent. shares with the public what his technology transfer strategy has The new law cites as its goal to or her discovery is and how to been. In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, “promote the progress of science replicate it. In return, the USPTO Stanford’s licensed technologies and the useful arts” and to “provide grants the inventor exclusive rights generated over $65 million in inventors with greater certainty to that discovery for 20 years. revenue; Caltech’s generated over regarding the scope of protection” If a company wants to $51 million. Stanford, however, has provided by their patents. The manufacture and sell the patented 1,350 professorial faculty members switch to a first-inventor-toinvention, it must negotiate a compared to Caltech’s 300, so on a file system, the law states, will licensing agreement with the per-faculty member basis, Caltech “promote harmonization of the OTT, which acts on behalf of comes out ahead. And given that US patent system with the patent the university and the inventor. both universities fostered ten start- systems commonly used in nearly Professors usually have a feel up companies during this time, all other countries throughout for which companies might be there are indications that Caltech the world… and thereby promote interested in their research, and in must be doing something right. greater international uniformity some cases they may even receive But Caltech’s hardworking and certainty” in patenting funding from these companies. OTT may soon be put to the test. procedures. This makes the OTT’s job easier, Although Congress passed the AIA Edward McCaffery, professor of since Caltech already has working in September of 2011, some of the law and economics at Caltech and relationships with a number of provisions will go into full effect for elected American Law Institute potential licensees. the first time this month, on March fellow, suggested a more pressing If a professor wants to start his 16, 2013. reason for the switch. Given the or her own company, the OTT can One of the changes prescribed tremendous number of patent provide business advice and set up by the AIA is the lowering of applications filed each year, the meetings with venture capitalists. university filing fees for both AIA will “take some pressure off the But when the fledgling company provisional and non-provisional USPTO” by replacing complicated goes to the OTT to negotiate a patent applications. The USPTO “who was the first to invent” license for the patent, things can currently charges universities questions with easily answered get complicated. $125 to file a provisional patent “which inventor was the first to file”

questions. This could shorten the wait time between filing a patent application and actually receiving patent protection, which would reassure inventors and potential licensees. The impact switching to a firstinventor-to-file system will have on universities is less certain. Pursuing a patent is expensive—universities often spend $7,000-$10,000 just preparing the application—and there is no guarantee that the patent will actually be granted. To lessen their financial risk, universities often delay filing until they have a licensee who is willing to bear these costs. This strategy will not work under the AIA, however, because now there is a strong incentive to file patent applications as soon as inventions are reported to the OTT. There will be more pressure on professors to report their inventions quickly, and there will be more pressure on the OTT to accurately determine the patentability and marketability of these inventions. Although the AIA calls for broad changes in the US patent system, Hodas said that the new laws “won’t really hurt or change much in our operations,” in part because the OTT is so aggressive about patenting. She argued that “this office is unusual because we file provisional patent applications on everything.” In other words, the OTT’s technology transfer process already makes it likely that professors will be the first inventors to file patent applications for their discoveries. Director of Stanford’s OTT Katharine Ku stated in an email that the AIA was unlikely to change anything in her office either. “We will probably have to decide to file sooner than we’d like,” but in a university-wide memo on the AIA, Ku warned against filing too early. “While it is true that the AIA emphasizes filing early, it is also true that provisional patent applications still need to be as complete and detailed as possible at the time of filing.” Hodas noted that since “lots of professors collaborate with other universities” and the AIA “will change how other universities operate,” Caltech could be indirectly affected by the new laws. When professors from different universities collaborate on a research project, the technology transfer offices have to work together to coordinate a patent strategy. But Hodas was not worried. She smiled and said that, in her experience at least, “most of them tend to agree with us.” McCaffery seemed pretty relaxed about Caltech’s future under the AIA. He said that “anytime you have a change, you have fears,” but he figured that “Caltech is a sophisticated repeat player” in the world of intellectual property. For him, Caltech’s history of successful technology transfer strategies is evidence enough that the university’s OTT will adapt to the new US patent system with ease.



April 8, 2013

The California Tech

Today’s Puzzle: Crossword Across

46. Jinx 48. Jury decision 1. Geological formation 52. Gleam 5. Long-tailed parrot 54. Peruse 10. Ring 55. Spoil 14. Singing voice 56. Bread 15. Religious meal 57. Marine carnivore 16. Woodwind instrument 59. Information 17. Stupefy 60. Not in favor 18. Heavy pin 61. Out of fashion 62. Matured 19. Entrance 63. Converge 20. Decimal base 64. Poplar tree 21. Fit and healthy 65. Additional 22. Located outside 23. Newspaper piece Down 25. Cover with liquid 27. Female person 1. You need dough to 28. Period of time make it 29. Encountered 2. Change 32. No longer new 3. Unusual or dangerous 35. Disastrous defeat feat 36. Perceive sound 4. Male offspring 37. Water pipe 5. Hard rock 38. One of the senses 6. Nimble 39. One time only 40. Remove from a position 7. Grotto 8. Simian of office 9. Moisture 41. Fiend 10. Fake 42. Cleanse 11. Respite 43. Argument in favor 12. Musical symbol 44. Musical work 13. Cervid animal 45. Armed conflict

21. Dull pain 22. Belonging to us 24. Small island 25. Tennis term 26. Expletive 28. Belonging to you 30. Apiece 31. Woody plant 32. Retail outlet 33. Journey 34. Companion 35. Rascal 36. Cache 38. Peaks 42. Lyric poet 44. Metal-bearing mineral 45. Undermine 47. Unsound 48. Rhyme 49. Adult insect after metamorphosis 50. Provide a service 51. Commercial exchange 52. Close violently 53. Sharpen 54. File 57. Health resort 58. Possesses 59. Water barrier


Caltech Public Events is now hiring student ushers. $15 per hour to work concerts, performances, lectures, films and parties. No experience needed, no hard labor, flexible schedules. *Requirements: Caltech student, Positive attitude, Friendly personality To apply email Adam Jacobo ([email protected]) or call (626)395-5907 For info on Caltech Public Events visit: www.caltech. edu/content/public-events

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Mens tennis team falls to Pomona-Pitzer The Real Sports Editor

The nationally ranked PomonaPitzer men’s tennis team posted a 9-0 win over Caltech on Saturday afternoon. The Beavers mixed-up their singles line-up as several players competed at higher spots than they have all season. Rushikesh Joshi played at the top spot for the first time in 2013. The first-year played a spirited match before falling 6-4, 7-6 (2) to Frankie Alinson. Luka Mernik moved up to the second singles spot as he fell 6-2, 6-1 to Kevin Prescott. The steady play of Alex Henny nearly pulled out a three-set victory. After winning the first set in a tiebreak, Henny dropped the final two sets with the final set a 10-4 super tiebreak. The Sagehens swept


the three doubles matches en route to the win. Caltech got a solid effort from Joshi and JD Co-Reyes at the No. 3 spot before falling 8-6 in a tight match-up. During the previous day, The Occidental men’s tennis team recorded an 8-1 win over Caltech. The Tigers drooped just five games en route to sweeping the doubles points. Occidental took four of the six singles matches in straight sets as they posted their seventh team win of the season. Caltech got solid singles plays from Alex Henny and Luka Mernik. Henny won his third match of the season as they first-year posted a 6-4, 7-5 win at the No. 4 singles position. Mernik won the first set at the No. 3 singles spot but couldn’t hold the momentum as he fell in a three-set match.

Kitto breaks school record against La Verne The Real Sports Editor

In Caltech’s women’s tennis match with La Verne on Saturday afternoon Rebekah Kitto made school history. Kitto remained undefeated in her 14 matches at the No. 2 singles spot. Her 14 wins set a new school record for most singles wins in a season. She pass the mark set by Natsuko Kagawa and Alexis Johnson. La Verne won the team match 8-1 as they swept five of the six singles matches in straight sets. The top doubles match saw a pair of regionally ranked teams square off. The Leopards duo of Laina Matsuda and Jeanette Losaria came into the match ranked 10th while Kitto and Monica Li had a ranking of eight. The La Verne combo won the match by an 8-5 tally.

Just a day prior to that, the Caltech women’s tennis team picked up its first SCIAC win of the season with a dominating win over Occidental. The Beavers swept the doubles matches then won five of the six singles matches in posting the 8-1 victory. Caltech posted solid wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles spots as they combined to drop just two games. The No. 2 doubles match was a tight one throughout but the tandem of Michelle Lee and Jessica Yu prevailed 9-8 (7-3). With all the momentum in their favor Caltech swept four of the six singles matches in straight sets. The matched was clinched when Michelle Lee completed her 6-0, 6-1 win at the No. 5 slot. Caltech continues SCIAC play when they host Pomona-Pitzer next Friday afternoon at 2pm on their home court

April 8, 2013

Ishan Mehta attempts to swallow his bottom lip in order to distract his opponent.



Rebekah Kitto shoots a mean glare at the opposition, daring them to challenge her impressive win streak. -

Upcoming sports events April 10: Women’s Water Polo at Cal Lutheran

April 12: Women’s Tennis vs. Pomona-Pitzer Baseball at Chapman April 13: Track/Field at Pomona-Pitzer Invite Women’s Water Polo vs. P-P Baseball vs. Chapman Men’s Tennis at Claremont-M-S

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Acquired Taste

April 8, 2013


by Dr. Z

Raj’s short, funny fiction corner of fun Raj Katti Contributing Writer You may think the Murderer of Weaver Lake is a myth. Think again. Many years ago when I was in college, I had a close group of friends: John, Tommy, Rob, and two girls whose names we never cared to find out. We did everything together, from getting drunk at football games, to partying hard on Friday nights, to warning preteens about the dangers of alcoholism under court mandate. Well, it was Spring Break. My uncle had a cabin on Weaver Lake way up in northern Minnesota, and he said we could spend our Spring Break there. So, we all piled into John’s station wagon, strapped the girls to the roof, and hit the road. A few miles before we got to the cabin, we stopped for gas. The gas station attendant, a peculiar old man nearly blind with cataracts,

hobbled over and muttered, “You be careful. Strange things been happening around here.” But we didn’t take his warning very seriously, especially because he had directed it toward a broken gas pump. When we got to the cabin, we could all sense something strange about it. But none of us wanted to admit it. So, we unloaded the girls, set to work cleaning the cabin, and ripped the electrical and telecommunications wiring out of the walls. That night, we were sitting around the living room. The girls had stripped down to their bras and panties. We asked them why, but they didn’t really know either. Just as we had begun pairing off to have affectionless sex, there was a tremendous thump outside. The cabin fell silent. Tommy murmured that he wanted some fresh air and went to check out the noise.

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We were nervous but soon calmed down upon realizing that the thump was probably just due to theshoddy, dangerous architecture of the cabin. Suddenly, something heavy came crashing through the window. It rolled to a stop at my feet—Tommy’s severed, bloody head. At that moment, we realized something very fishy was going on. The girls screamed, and the guys ran to grab anything that could be fashioned into a weapon. I ran to call the police but soon remembered our spirited game of “Defenestrate The Electronics” during the long car ride. Knowing that help would not be coming, we gathered in the living room and took a deep breath. We didn’t know what was out there, but whatever it was had just broken one of my uncle’s favorite windows. As we walked outside, armed and ready, Rob asked, “Guys,

can we split up?” It seemed like a reasonable request. I began walking into the dense forest and was working out the second verse of my newest polka-punk single when I heard a blood curdling scream to my left. Then a cry from my right. “Polka all night, Polka feels right,” I thought. It was then that I saw the masked man running towards me. He was hideous. Looked like a collection of corpses sewn together, with strips of scaly flesh flapping like cherry blossoms in a gentle, spring rain. I ran back to the station wagon, jumped in, and started the engine just as the man threw himself on the hood. Our gazes met. Mine, fragile and inexperienced; his, bespeaking a carnal intensityrepulsive yet strangely irresistible. Then, I threw the transmission into reverse, hit the gas, and spedout of there, throwing the masked man off the car and running over Rob in the

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process. I consideredgoing back for the others, but deep in my heart I knew they were already dead or I had just run them over. When I got back home, I didn’t tell anyone what had happened because there just never felt like a good time to bring it up. Sure, there was a police investigation, but we were white college students, two of us female, so society didn’t really care. But that was long ago. Nothing like that has ever happened again, at least not to my knowledge. I’m just glad that that everything is finally back to norm— Whoops, my pen ran out of ink. Like I was saying, I’m just glad that everything is back to n— Goddammit! I need a new pen. What I’m trying to say is that I’m glad that everything . . . what was that? Is … NO! GET AWA— Sorry about that. I’m just glad everything is finally back to normal. Totally normal.