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An update for Caltech neighbors

Winter 2021

Dear Neighbor,

We hope that you are healthy and that 2021 has begun well for you. This update continues our tradition of periodically providing information on significant campus developments.

COVID-19 notes

Caltech continues to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in alignment with public health guidance: undergraduate instruction is online, all staff members who can work from home are doing so, and staff, students, and faculty who are approved to work on campus are regularly tested for illness and follow protocols that help prevent contagion.

The Institute and its researchers are also advancing the fight against COVID-19. Locally, Caltech is supporting vaccine distribution efforts by making ultralow-temperature freezer space available to public health agencies. In other recent developments, researchers have created a top-performing AI-driven COVID-19 prediction model and evaluated the effectiveness of different types of masks. Learn more through our new webinar series, Conversations on COVID-19.

Reminder: All visitors, including those just passing through campus, are required to use face coverings outdoors and indoors. If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, you may not enter campus. People from different households may not gather on campus. Thank you for helping to keep this learning and research community, and our neighborhood, safe and healthy. See more Caltech news and research related to COVID-19.


As building and renovation projects progress on campus, Caltech always aims to minimize disruption. Crews are required to follow city construction guidelines and COVID-19 safety protocols.

Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Neuroscience Research Building

With its state-of-the-art laboratories and ample collaboration spaces, this new facility (pictured at upper right) will enable and inspire groundbreaking discoveries. We invite you to join Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum for an online dedication ceremony and virtual tour on January 29 at 3 p.m. Learn more.

Cooling infrastructure

Caltech plans to replace its aging cooling tower on Wilson Avenue south of California Boulevard, with construction expected to begin in summer 2021. The upgrade will bring sustainability benefits, including increased efficiency, and will improve the facility's appearance and seismic safety.

AWS Center for Quantum Computing

Construction is under way on the Amazon Web Services Center for Quantum Computing. This new facility on South Holliston Avenue adjacent to the Pasadena Fire Department station is scheduled to be completed in June 2021. It will bring together researchers from Caltech, other universities, and AWS, and is expected to shape the future of technology, extend Caltech's long leadership in quantum information, and attract technical talent and investment to Pasadena.

Join us at Caltech events

What Cosmic Fireworks Unveil About the Universe

Learn about the explosions of stars, which synthesize most of the chemical elements. Professor Mansi Kasliwal will explain how she and other astronomers use robotic telescopes to discover these spectacular fireworks, then study them with light, neutrinos, and gravitational waves. Registration is required for this free online event, which is a part of the Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series and will be held February 17 at 5 p.m. Learn more.

Mars 2020 Landing

The Perseverance rover is expected to touch down on Mars on February 18 at about 12:30 p.m. The landing site, a 28-mile-wide crater that once contained a lake, is thought to be an ideal place to find any evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars. Learn more.

Stay connected

If you would like to receive communications by email, please send a note to neighbor@caltech.edu.

A portion of the south facade of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Neuroscience Research Building