ENGenious is a publication for alumni and friends of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science.

Table of Contents - Issue No.9, Fall 2012

Message From The Chair

Ares Rosakis

Snap Shots

Protecting the Brain with Infrared Light
Testing an Extreme-Terrain Rover
Reinventing the Toilet
Redefining the Limits of Photovoltaic Efficiency
Transforming Our Knowledge of the Quantum World

Who’s New

Venkat Chandrasekaran
Andrei Faraon
Scott Diddams
Peter Schmid

EAS Feature

Medicine, Energy, Defense, Space, and Earthquakes
The Far-Reaching Arm of Solid Mechanics Research at Caltech

Alumni Profile

Janet Blume
Academic Leader, Educator, and Innovator with a Commitment to Time and Care

Research and Teaching Note

Learning from Data
How to Deliver a Quality Online Course to Serious Learners

Idea Flow

Finding the Balance
A New Perspective on the Complex World of Water Management

polycrystalline shape memory alloy

Cover image: The image above shows details of the deformation of a polycrystalline shape memory alloy at the microscale. Shape memory materials are active or smart materials that have an ability to “remember” a given shape. The process of deformation in these materials is extremely complex, with different features emerging at different length-scales. The image shows the pattern at a micron scale and represents three different levels of load. [Image credit: Andrew Richards]

Cell division

Cover image: Cell division is a ubiquitous process in biology. A dividing cell undergoes drastic three-dimensional conformational changes, starting from a spread football shape, then turning into a sphere, and finally splitting apart into two daughter cells. During this process, the cell remains connected to its surroundings through the slender extensions at either tip. The forces applied by the cell to its surroundings can be computed through the Cauchy relation (t = σ n), where t is the traction force, σ is a measure of the stress within the material, and n describes the shape of the cell. [Image credit: Jacob Notbohm, Ayelet Lesman]


Investing in Engineering and Science
We Can’t Afford Not To!

Progress Report

Calculations in the Sand
Random Walks in Physical Biology

Campus Resource

Cultural Ambassador for Science
Brian Brophy, Director of Theater Arts at Caltech


Inside back cover: The Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory has been transformed into a cutting-edge, energy-efficient scientific research facility. Inside are two of Caltech’s most vital forces leading the charge in the reinvention of energy: the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). The Resnick Sustainability Institute fosters transformational advances in all areas of energy science, sustainability, and technology through research, education, and communication. JCAP is the largest U.S. research program dedicated to the development of an artificial solar-fuel generation technology. The building, which was dedicated on October 19, 2012, helps in uniting these visions of creating a world with clean, abundant sources of energy through science, collaboration, and leadership. To learn more, visit resnick.caltech.edu/learn/building.html.

The Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science consists of seven departments and is home to more than 75 faculty who are working at the edges of fundamental science to invent the technologies of the future.

We invite you to learn more about the Division through our website, eas.caltech.edu.


Trity Pourbahrami


Vicki Chiu


Leona Kershaw
Tina Rutch

Copy Editor

Sara Arnold

Contributing Writer

Jill Andrews



Image Credits

Cover: Cell division: Jacob Notbohm, Ayelet Lesman; Polycrystalline shape-memory alloy: Andrew Richards
p. 2: Marc Adams, Jonathan Mihaly, Jon Tandy, Ares J. Rosakis
pp. 3 (Rosakis), 4 (Emami-Neyestanak, Sherman), 6 (Chandrasekaran, Faraon), 8 (Rosakis), 9 (Ortiz), 10 (Andrade), 12 (Daraio), 19 (Bhattacharya), 24, 40, 43: Briana Ticehurst p. 4 (Tanner): Sara Ahmed
p. 5: Toilet Challenge: Lance Hayashida (top), Michael Hoffmann (bottom); LMI: Alain Harrus; IQIM: George Retseck
p. 6: Courtesy of Scott Diddams and Peter Schmid
p. 9 (hypervelocity impact): Michael Ortiz
p. 10: Caltech Geomechanics Group
p. 11 (Parkfield): Courtesy of Nadia Lapusta, featured in Science, May 11, 2012
pp. 11 (Lapusta), 12 (Pellegrino), 13 (background image of Daraio’s research), 14 (Knauss), 15, 21, 27: Vicki Chiu
p. 13 (decelerator): Sergio Pellegrino
p. 14 (crack propagating): Wolfgang Knauss
pp. 16–18: Lance Hayashida
p. 18 (background image of Kochmann’s research): Courtesy of Dennis Kochmann
p. 19 (Knowles): Bob Paz
pp. 20, 22: Courtesy of Janet Blume
pp. 28–29: Courtesy of the California Department of Water Resources
pp. 30, 32–33: Courtesy of Subra Suresh
p. 31: National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 2012
p. 35: Michael Salvatore Tierney
pp. 36–38: Courtesy of Rob Phillips
p. 42: Jonathan Wolfe
p. 44: Cindy de Mesa
Inside back cover: Benny Chan Fotoworks

Division of Engineering and Applied Science