Life in the Department

Work Environment

Hollywood Caltech sign Pasadena has nearly 300 sunny days a year, with temperatures typically between 65° and 90° F, and cool nights even in the summer thanks to the marine layer, a cool layer of air coming in from the ocean at night. Despite this idyllic weather, the proximity of beaches, mountains, and an overwhelming choice of activities all around Los Angeles, members of the department enjoy working collaboratively in the Annenberg Center and the Steele house---our two side-by-side locations. Caltech is so close to Hollywood that sometimes, we borrow their sign.

Social Gatherings

Lunch Bunch The department promotes social interaction through various gatherings. Lunch bunches, for instance, are weekly informal gatherings (with lunch provided!), centered around a scientific-american level presentation by a faculty member, visitor, or post-doc of the CMS department---a great way to remain current on the wide variety of scientific research projects happening around us. We also have a monthly CMS bash to meet and greet the newcomers or just catch up with our colleagues. Options also have their own activities: CMS graduate students meet every Friday for tea while a student presents a recent topic or paper; CDS teas only involve food and drinks, but technical debates are common. Our lounge is also a place where chance encounters often end up in ideas being derived and explored on the whiteboard.

Students Recognition

Award Besides the undergraduate and graduate degrees granted by the department, we also have two departmental awards given every year:

  • Bhansali Family Prize in Computer Science. The Bhansali Family Prize was established in 2001 by Vineer Bhansali (B.S. ’87, M.S. ’87) in memory of his grandfather, Mag Raj Bhansali. The prize and honorarium are awarded to an undergraduate student for outstanding research in computer science in the current academic year. Awardees are selected by a committee of computer science faculty.
  • W. P. Carey & Co. Prize in Applied Mathematics. The Carey & Co. Prize was established by William P. Carey and from W. P. Carey & Co., Inc. The prize and honorarium are awarded to outstanding doctoral dissertations in applied mathematics in the current academic year. Awardees are selected by a committee of applied mathematics faculty.
  • Fredrick J. Zeigler Memorial Award. The Fredrick J. Zeigler Memorial Award was established in 1989 to honor Fredrick J. Zeigler, a member of the class of 1976 and an applied mathematics major. The award recognizes excellence in scholarship as demonstrated in class activities or in the preparation of an original paper or essay in any subject area within mathematics or applied mathematics.

In their own words...

Here are what some of our alumni have to say about their experience at Caltech.