Notable Alumni at Caltech

December 26, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Notable Alumni at Caltech

Introduction to Caltech

Caltech is the other name given to the California Institute of Technology, which is located in Pasadena, California. Caltech is a private research university and is well-known for its prowess in the fields of science and engineering.

It is one of a select few institutes of technology in the United States that is primarily focused on the education of students in both pure and applied scientific fields. Caltech is one of the most well-known schools in the United States and it always belongs to the top rankings of national universities as well.

Amos G. Throop established the university in 1891 as a preparatory and vocational school. Beginning in the early 20th century, the school began to draw renowned scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan.

In 1910, the college’s vocational and preparatory schools were dismantled and spun off into separate institutions. In 1920, the college adopted its current name. Caltech was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934. The precursors to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán’s leadership in 1936 and 1943. Caltech continues to manage and operate NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory today.

A Caltech signage

Caltech has six academic departments, and all of them put a lot of emphasis on science and engineering. In 2011, Caltech managed $332 million worth of funded research.

Its principal campus spans approximately 11 miles northeast of the central area of Los Angeles and encompasses 124 acres. At Caltech, it is a requirement for first-year students to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates choose to live in its house system.

Student life is supervised by an honor code that permits instructors to assign take-home tests. The Caltech Beavers are members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which is part of NCAA Division III. The Beavers play in 13 different collegiate sports (SCIAC).

Scientists and engineers from the university, as well as notable alumni at Caltech, have been instrumental in the development of many cutting-edge scientific discoveries and innovations, such as recent advancements in the fields of sustainability science, quantum physics, earthquake monitoring, protein engineering, and soft robotics, to name just a few.

At AdmissionSight, we are committed to helping students get into their dream colleges. We can provide substantial guidelines and proper tools and resources to improve the chances of a student being admitted. Our team is comprised of professionals that have extensive years of experience in their respective fields. You can depend on their expertise during the admission season.

If Caltech is your dream college and you’re already seeing yourself as an alumnus of this prestigious college one day, then you should finish this entire article to get interesting facts about the notable alumni at Caltech. Let us discuss them in the succeeding parts of this article.

Acceptance Rate for the Caltech Class of 2026

What is the acceptance rate for the Caltech Class of 2026? Caltech didn’t make any headlines for the record of applications they received for this particular incoming class, along with its acceptance rate.

You won’t find a single sentence that mentions their historically low admission rate. Instead, the school shared information about how many students are expected to join its Class of 2026, as well as demographic breakdowns based on gender, location, and other factors.

However, Caltech did indicate the total number of admitted students, which is 432, combining the accepted students from the early and regular decisions. In addition, a record number of 35 students participated in the QuestBridge National College Match. Furthermore, approximately 66 percent of the students in the class had previously attended public schools.

A woman talking to a student in a library.

A hallmark of the incoming class is its international geographic diversity, which includes students from a total of 25 nations, including Thailand, Kenya, Libya, Jamaica, Qatar, China, Zimbabwe, Austria, Poland, and the United Kingdom. Out of all the applicants Caltech has been able to accept, they expect to accept about 235 students.

How hard is it to get into Caltech?

How hard is it to get into Caltech? The admissions process at Caltech can be competitive since the institute is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world for research and scientific study. However, in contrast to many other elite institutions and schools, Caltech’s enrollment process is far more predictable.

Group of students working on a table with strewn papers.

Caltech places the highest importance on demonstrated talent and performance in subjects connected to science and mathematics. Take a look at the list of notable alumni at Caltech and you will find that the majority of them have focused solely on the fields of science and mathematics.

You are advised to attain the following in order to have a positive outcome in the admission process at Caltech:

Keep in mind that you have the option of submitting your application to Caltech via either the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or the QuestBridge National College Match.

Get high grades

A near-perfect grade point average in the higher tiers of high school, as well as exemplary performance in the most challenging science and mathematics courses. A perfect grade point average in all of your science and math classes in college, especially physics classes.

Two students using a laptop.

Caltech does not have a minimum GPA criterion for admission. However, to remain competitive, you should still have a grade point average of at least 3.5. You should try to have a grade point average that is somewhat close to 4.19, as this is the average GPA of admitted students at Caltech.

Participate in national competitions

You should strive to participate in the International Math or Physics Olympiads as a representative of your country, provided that you come from a nation that has a robust Olympiad program. If you come from a less developed nation, simple representation is not enough; you also need to do well enough to earn a medal. You should also participate in and win the Science Talent Search.

Acquire letters of recommendation

Get good letters of recommendation that indicate that you are one of the best students during your time at high school, with evidence of such claims as well.

Things from the aforementioned list cannot be compensated for by having great extra-curricular or leadership experiences or by having a unique story similar to other prestigious colleges and their admissions requirements.

Teacher talking to students while in a computer room.

This is one of the unique aspects of the admissions process at Caltech. Those would be of great assistance, but you need to be exemplary in physics and mathematics, such as the notable alumni at Caltech, whose discoveries in mathematics, physics, and pure science became phenomenal.

Caltech Alumni Interview

Is there a Caltech alumni interview? At Caltech, there are no interviews for undergraduate students. The most effective way to establish a personal connection with an admissions officer is through your writing and instructor recommendations.

In addition, Caltech prioritizes the online application, which as mentioned earlier, can be submitted through the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge National College Match. This makes the application process very easy to understand and complete. The application has several steps that the student must complete before it can be sent in.

Caltech Graduation Rate

What is the Caltech graduation rate? For the past few years, Caltech’s graduation rate has been often between 80% and 89%, which is lower compared to other prestigious colleges in the country. Experts say that it is due to a number of different factors, which are indicated below.

To begin, Caltech is an institute that focuses solely on the study of science, to the exclusion of any other fields. They have a very excellent program in economics, but other than that, the humanities and social sciences are not their focus. However, one of the difficulties of the American educational system is that many individuals head off to college without being quite clear on what they want to specialize in.

For example, if you enroll at other universities to major in physics but later discover that you would rather study classics, you are free to switch your major. If you decide that you wish to study something other than STEM subjects at Caltech, with very few exceptions, you will likely need to continue your studies somewhere else.

As mentioned earlier, all of the famous public figures of notable alumni at Caltech had their concentration in the fields of science and mathematics alone.

Second, there are numerous courses at Caltech that have very rigorous criteria, making it tough to graduate from college in four years without a couple of heavy loads.

Thirdly, the environment at Caltech is highly challenging. It is far more difficult than the vast majority of universities. Students sometimes either excel with their exceptional intelligence or hard work. However, neither was sufficient on its own at Caltech; rather, a combination of the two was required, and if you lacked it, there was a chance you might not graduate.

Lastly, some individuals find the atmosphere repulsive. Due to the relatively modest size of Caltech, there are not nearly as many unique student communities. Because there isn’t a liberal arts program, the imbalance between men and women in science is especially clear.

How many alumni does Caltech have?

How many alumni does Caltech have? After graduating from Caltech, you will become a part of an engaged alumni community that numbers more than 24,000 people all around the world.

Some of the most recent graduates have been accepted to well-known institutions like Meta and SpaceX, as well as a variety of research labs and graduate schools. One of them will even serve as an EMT before going to medical school.

You’ll have the chance to interact with the Caltech Alumni Association, which can provide you with professional and social possibilities, as well as advice on your future career. You will also be told about the most recent things that have happened to other graduates of the school.

List of notable alumni at Caltech

In this part, we shall discuss the highlight of this article, which is the list of notable alumni at Caltech. To start, here is a list of the number of Caltech graduates along with the great things they have done:

  • (78) Nobel laureates, including 42 alumni and faculty members (43 prizes), with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes.
  • (4) Fields Medal winners
  • (6) Turing Award recipients
  • who has received the National Medal of Science or Technology from the United States
  • (8) Crafoord Laureates
  • (4) United States Air Force Chief Scientists
  • (56) non-emeritus faculty members who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies

There are a significant number of academic members who are also affiliated with NASA and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A survey that was conducted in 2015 by Pomona College found that when it came to the percentage of graduates who went on to get a Ph.D., Caltech placed first in the United States.

The notable alumni at Caltech have made significant contributions in practically every industry. The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to deserving former students on an annual basis. Here are just a few examples of the many different jobs that Caltech graduates have gone on to do:

  • Frank Borman: Mission commander for the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, which was the first time men orbited the moon
  • Ozires Silva: Founded Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace company. The company is known for producing commercial, military, and executive aircraft. It has risen to become the third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world
  • Laurie Leshin: The first woman to ever hold the position of director of JPL
  • Ronald W. Davis: He serves as the Director of Stanford University’s Genome Technology Center
  • Chester F. Carlson: Inventor of Xerography (also known as photocopying)
  • Regina Dugan: First woman to ever be appointed to the position of Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
  • France Córdova: Director of The National Science Foundation
  • Sandra Tsing Loh: Writer and actor who is renowned for her work on the shows If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home by Now, Aliens in America, and Depth Takes a Holiday.
  • Harold J. McGee: Author in the field of food science. He is credited with being the person who “introduced science to the art of cooking.” Awarded a spot in “The Time 100” for the year 2008. “The Curious Cook” is the name of the author’s monthly column in The New York Times in which she discusses the science behind the food.
  • Howard Hughes: Prominent figure in the aviation industry and a film producer who became known for his eccentric behavior
  • Linus Pauling: Awarded two Nobel prizes and regarded as one of history’s most prominent scientists.
  • Frank Capra: Filmmaker in the United States during the 1930s
  • Benoit Mandelbrot: Mathematician
  • William Shockley: Physicist
  • Charlie Munger: Investor
  • David Bohm: Scientist
  • John McCarthy: Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at a University; Engineer; Computer Scientist
  • Kip Thorne: Physicist
  • Gordon Moore: Businessman
  • Frank Borman: Officer in the United States Air Force, test pilot, astronaut, aviator, autobiographer
  • Harrison Schmitt: Geologist
  • Ivan Sutherland: Computer scientific researcher
  • Adam D’Angelo: Businessperson
  • David Brin: Scientist
  • Harry Turtledove: American author who is best known for his works titled “Southern Victory,” “World War,” and “Crosstime Traffic”
  • John Lilly: Physician, neuroscientist, and psychoanalyst, as well as the inventor of the “Floatation Tank”
  • Donald Knuth: A well-known mathematician and computer scientist, he is most known for his book series titled “The Art of Computer Programming,” which is comprised of multiple volumes
  • Vernon L. Smith: Professor of Economics at a university
  • Eugene Merle Shoemaker: American geologist who is most known for his contribution to the discovery of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9
  • Sidney Gottlieb: American chemist and spymaster who led the Project Mkultra
  • Fei-Fei Li: Computer scientific researcher
  • Robert Tarjan: Computer scientific researcher
  • Sprague de Camp: One of the most well-known authors of science fiction throughout the 1930s and 1940s
  • Qian Xuesen: Astrophysicist and astronautical engineer
  • Chester F. Carlson: Physicist
  • Stephen Wolfram: Mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, businessperson, university professor, inventor of a patent, and writer
  • Ardem Patapoutian: Famous for his work in defining the PIEZO1, PIEZO2, and TRPM8 receptors, which are responsible for sensing pressure, menthol, and temperature
  • George M. Whitesides: Chemist who also holds a position as a chemistry professor at Harvard University
  • Amy Mainzer: Astronomer from the United States who specializes in astronomical instrumentation and infrared astronomy
  • David Ho: Taiwanese-American Doctor whose contribution led to the understanding of HIV infection and the development of treatments for it
  • Michael Rosbash: Geneticist and chronobiologist from the United States who is best known for his discoveries about the term “circadian rhythm”
  • Howard Martin Temin: American geneticist and virologist, as well as the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1975
  • Serge Lang: Mathematician best known for his contributions to the theory of numbers
  • Alexei Filippenko: Well-known for his research on exploding stars known as supernovae, active galaxies, black holes, and the accelerating expansion of the universe
  • Matthew Meselson: Geneticist and molecular biologist from the United States who is most known for his demonstration of “semi-conservative DNA replication

Each of the notable alumni at Caltech is an extraordinary individual who entrusted their college education to Caltech, one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States. If you’re eager to enter this college, you should be dedicated to each step of its admission process. Your ideal life as a student at Caltech can become a reality with our professional assistance at AdmissionSight. Contact us today and we will talk about strengthening your profile to increase your chances of admission.



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