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California Institute of Technology (Caltech)


California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned and pioneering research and education institution dedicated to advancing science and engineering. It is home to approximately 2,300 students and 300 faculty, and boasts 31 Nobel laureates among its past and current faculty and alumni. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, and owns and operates a global network of astronomical observatories and research facilities.

In September 1891, Pasadena philanthropist Amos Throop rented the Wooster Block building in Pasadena for the purpose of establishing Throop University, the forerunner to Caltech. In November of that year, Throop University opened its doors with 31 students and a six-member faculty. Throop might have remained simply a good local school had it not been for the arrival in Pasadena of astronomer George Ellery Hale. The first director of the Mount Wilson Observatory, Hale became a member of Throop's board of trustees in 1907, and began molding the school into a first-class institution for engineering and scientific research and education.

Scientists, engineers, and—above all—innovative thinkers, Caltech scholars thrive in an environment of intellectual creativity and freedom. Our faculty, alumni, and trustees have been recognized with top national and international honors and the world's most prestigious prizes for their bold scientific explorations and inspired collaborations.

  • 33 Nobel Laureates
  • 58 National Medal of Science Recipients
  • 13 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Recipients
  • 111 National Academies Memberships

For the third year in a row, the California Institute of Technology has been rated the world's number one university in the Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities. Harvard University, Oxford University, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology round out the top five schools in the 2013–2014 rankings.

  • Year established
  • Location
  • Registered students

Academic specialism

  • Biology & Biological Engineering
  • Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
  • Engineering & Applied Science
  • Geological & Planetary Sciences
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy
  • 26 academic options (programs)
  • 49 cross-disciplinary research institutes and centers

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Founded by Caltech in the 1930s and managed for NASA since 1958
  • 19 spacecraft and eight instruments employed in active missions
  • Recently launched missions include the Mars Science Laboratory, Juno, Aquarius, and NuSTAR
  • More than 100 research and mission collaborations with Caltech faculty

Caltech Seismological Laboratory

  • Internationally recognized for excellence in geophysical research
  • Research centers for seismic studies, high-performance computing, and mineral physics
  • Preeminent source for earthquake information in Southern California and around the world

International Observatory Network

  • W. M. Keck Observatory, Hawaii
  • Palomar Observatory, California
  • Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, Hawaii
  • Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy, California
  • W. M. Keck Array, Antarctica
  • Owens Valley Radio Observatory, California
  • Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, Washington and Louisiana
  • Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope, Chile (anticipated 2017)
  • Thirty Meter Telescope, Hawaii (anticipated 2020)


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California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, California, United States
CA 91125
United States
United States
View Location
+1 626-395-6811

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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.