California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

4.7
#9 of 43 in Things to do in Pasadena
Educational Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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The California Institute of Technology (branded as Caltech) 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.
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.
Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering, managing $332 million in 2011 in sponsored research. 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, 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. 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. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as NASA. 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.
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California Institute of Technology reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
159 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • An extraordinary institution in a beautiful, serene setting. The buildings are 'old world' with many trees adorning the campus and in sight of the beautiful mountains. Th students are very... 
    An extraordinary institution in a beautiful, serene setting. The buildings are 'old world' with many trees adorning the campus and in sight of the beautiful mountains. Th students are very...  more »
  • My family and I had a nice self-guided tour of the campus. Everything is within walking distance, with ample greenery and shade. Each building has unique attributes and an interesting background... 
    My family and I had a nice self-guided tour of the campus. Everything is within walking distance, with ample greenery and shade. Each building has unique attributes and an interesting background...  more »
Google
  • We went on a self-guided campus tour - the gardens and open spaces were open to visitors. This has to be one of the most beautiful places to study and learn. We really enjoyed touring. The campus is sprawling and very nature-oriented. The turtle pond is a must-see, given its historical significance! You can read about it in the Self-guided tour online.
  • California Institute Of Technology is the greatest learning institution on the planet. My personal experience with doctors, teachers, students, alumni and researchers is extraordinary. The campus is beautiful and massive. Located in a prestigious area of South Pasadena, the campus is home to sprawling buildings, gardens, laboratories and understated California architectural masterpieces. If you decide to tour the campus, check out the turtle ponds, the library and the newest additions to the campus, neuroscience and molecular biology research centers. I always get a special feeling walking around the campus having been exposed to the work being done here, big breakthroughs in science, math, medicine and technology happen every day. This university is beautiful, but what's inside, and what comes out of here, is extraordinary. If your mission is changing the world for the better, finding cures, searching for the answers to life's greatest challenges, and saving lives, visit, register, study and volunteer at Cal Tech.

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