Recovery of a CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) sensor at sea.
Monitoring atmospheric chemistry using mass spectrometers built at Caltech.
The Alvin submersible returns from a dive.
Sampling for cosmogenic exposure dating, Kauai.

Scientists from a broad range of disciplines are collaborating at the Linde Center to generate a comprehensive understanding of our global environment—including the impacts of human activities on it. They investigate Earth's atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, and biosphere and their mutual interactions, characterizing their present and past states through innovative measurements, developing models to describe their evolution, and synthesizing measurements and models to produce sound predictions of the future. Among the questions addressed at the Linde Center are:

  • How has Earth's climate varied in the past and how will it change in the future?
  • How does pollution affect air quality locally and far from its sources, and how does it affect cloud cover and climate change?
  • What happens to carbon dioxide after it enters the atmosphere?

The Linde Center is located within the unique Linde + Robinson Laboratory, likely the most energy-efficient laboratory building in the United States. The Linde + Robinson Laboratory and nearby buildings house state-of-the art laboratories for oceanography, atmospheric chemistry, biogeochemistry, environmental microbiology, and environmental chemistry and technology.

More about the Linde Center »

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Solution to the Allusion Hidden in PERCEPTION

The Caltech Community has been stumped and, as a result, $1,000 has been added to the endowment for global environmental science. No one in the Caltech Community came forward within one year with the correct answer to the contest that was announced on January 24, 2012 by alumnus and Vice Chair of Caltech's Board of Trustees, Ronald Linde, at the dedication of Linde+Robinson Laboratory.

Several members of the Caltech community submitted very insightful entries that correctly identified hidden allusions contained in PERCEPTION, and several of the clues were correctly identified. None of the entrants, however, identified the specific allusion that matches all of the clues, as required by the contest rules. Below is the solution:

Solution: The number of parallel hexahedron faces (12) in PERCEPTION equals the number of rare earth elements discovered since Robinson Laboratory was built in 1932. The number of different clues also is 12.

Details: Clues contained in the 'Statement of Clues' are identified below by underlining, with explanations (where deemed helpful) in brackets and red type.


History [of science and of Caltech] and Mystery: A Number [12] of Clues for a Test in PERCEPTION

If Sherlock Holmes, the fictional master of perception, had been a member of the Caltech [Caltech's history] community, he would not have needed a dozen [12 parallel faces/12 discoveries] clues to discover the allusion. At the time of discovery he characteristically would have exclaimed, "Elementary [pertaining to elements], my dear Watson!"

Science has progressed enormously since Robinson Laboratory was built. Now the Global Environmental Science initiative will provide a rare opportunity for Caltech's [same clue as above] divisions, working in concert and in parallel, to address an impending crisis that faces our planet [Earth].

Thank you for everyone's participation and interest. For the Artist's Statement, the original Contest and two additional clues announced late in 2012, please click here or visit

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Ryerson, T. B. and Flagan, R. C. and Seinfeld, J. H. (2013) The 2010 California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex) field study. Journal of Geophysical Research D, 118 (11). pp. 5830-5866. ISSN 2169-897X.

Stewart, Andrew L. and Thompson, Andrew F. (2013) Connecting Antarctic Cross-Slope Exchange with Southern Ocean Overturning. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 43 (7). pp. 1453-1471. ISSN 0022-3670.

Kopf, Sebastian H. and Henny, Cynthia and Newman, Dianne K. (2013) Ligand-Enhanced Abiotic Iron Oxidation and the Effects of Chemical versus Biological Iron Cycling in Anoxic Environments. Environmental Science and Technology, 47 (6). pp. 2602-2611. ISSN 0013-936X

Mbengue, Cheikh and Schneider, Tapio (2013) Storm Track Shifts under Climate Change: What Can Be Learned from Large-Scale Dry Dynamics. Journal of Climate, 26 (24). pp. 9923-9930. ISSN 0894-8755.

Keskinen, H. and Downard, A. J. and Flagan, R. C. (2013) Evolution of particle composition in CLOUD nucleation experiments. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13 (11). pp. 5587-5600. ISSN 1680-7316

Zuend, Andreas and Seinfeld, John H. (2013) A practical method for the calculation of liquid–liquid equilibria in multicomponent organic–water–electrolyte systems using physicochemical constraints. Fluid Phase Equilibria, 337 . pp. 201-213. ISSN 0378-3812

Bird, Lina J. and Coleman, Maureen L. and Newman, Dianne K. (2013) Iron and Copper Act Synergistically To Delay Anaerobic Growth of Bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79 (12). pp. 3619-3627. ISSN 0099-2240

Lucey, Kaitlyn S. and Leadbetter, Jared R. (2013) Catechol 2,3-dioxygenase and other meta-cleavage catabolic pathway genes in the “anaerobic” termite gut spirochete Treponema primitia. Molecular Ecology . ISSN 0962-1083. (In Press)

Holland, Daniel B. and Blake, Geoffrey A. (2013) Development and application of a 100 MHz-resolution terahertz time-domain spectrometer. In: 245th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Abstracts of Papers, April 7-11, 2013, New Orleans, LA.

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Linde Center for Global Environmental Science
California Institute of Technology
1200 E. California Blvd., MC 131-24
Pasadena, CA 91125
Phone: (626) 395-8731

Background image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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