If one were to reduce the story of the California Institute of Technology to numbers, it would be difficult to know where to start.
It is 123 years old, boasts 57 recipients of the US National Medal of Science and 32 Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni (including five on the current staff).
It is the world’s number one university – and has been for the past three years of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings – and has just 300 professorial staff.
In short, it is tiny, and it is exceptionally good at what it does.
Ares Rosakis, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, describes Caltech as “a unique species among universities…a very interesting phenomenon”. “Very interesting” may be something of an understatement.
Caltech’s neat and unassuming campus sits in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Pasadena, in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains.