College News and Fun Facts: California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

The Caltech mascot is the beaver—an homage to nature’s engineer.

Caltech’s founding fathers—astronomer George Ellery Hale, physicist Robert Andrews Millikan, and chemist Arthur Amos Noyes—were nicknamed “Tinker, Thinker, and Stinker.”

Beginning in 2007, the campus hosted fall olive harvest festivals to collect as much as 2,600 pounds of olives from the trees along the famed Olive Walk. The olives yielded anywhere from 50 to 150 gallons of oil depending on the year.

The annual Pumpkin Drop takes place at midnight on Halloween, when students drop pumpkins frozen in liquid nitrogen from the top of Millikan Library to see if they’ll give off a brief glow as they hit the ground and shatter.

Millikan Library is one of the most-often-shaken buildings in the world, as Caltech’s seismologists use it to test earthquake detectors and to gather other types of seismological data.

Residents of Blacker House are known as “moles”—named for the unit of measurement, not the underground creatures.

Robert Andrews Millikan was Caltech’s first Nobel Prize winner, becoming a laureate in 1923.

Every morning during finals week, at 7 a.m. on the dot, Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” is played at an ear-splitting volume.

Rumor has it that the largest In-N-Out burger ever prepared was made for Caltech students.

To celebrate the end of Daylight Savings Time each year, Techers try to pull a negative-time Tommy’s run: The goal is to drive downtown, eat a burger at the original Tommy’s, and arrive back on campus before they left.

The Emmy-nominated television series, The Big Bang Theory, which is set at Caltech, taped an episode on campus that featured a cameo appearance by world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Source.

  • Color: Orange and White
  • Mascot: Beaver
  • Admit Rate: 6.6% (Class of 2022). Read more