Variability Keeps The Body In Balance
By combining heart rate data from real athletes with a branch of mathematics called control theory, John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering and colleagues have devised a way to better understand the relationship between reduced heart rate variability (HRV) and health.
"A familiar related problem is in driving," Doyle says. "To get to a destination despite varying weather and traffic conditions, any driver—even a robotic one—will change factors such as acceleration, braking, steering, and wipers. If these factors suddenly became frozen and unchangeable while the car was still moving, it would be a nearly certain predictor that a crash was imminent. Similarly, loss of heart rate variability predicts some kind of malfunction or 'crash,' often before there are any other indications," he says. [Caltech Release] [Read the Paper]
Programmed to Fold: RNA Origami
Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA. "RNA origami is still in its infancy," says Rothemund. "Nevertheless, I believe that RNA origami, because of their potential to be manufactured by cells, and because of the extra functionality possible with RNA, will have at least as big an impact as DNA origami." [Caltech Release]
The Thomson Reuters compilation of the most highly cited researchers— those in the top 1%—from the period 2002–2012 include EAS professors Harry Atwater, Richard Murray, Joel Tropp, John Seinfeld, Kerry Vahala, and Paul Wennberg. Other Caltech professors were also among the top 1%—including Colin Camerer, Mark Davis, Richard Ellis, William Goddard, Robert Grubbs, Hiroo Kanamori, Jeff Kimble, John O’Doherty, and Charles Steidel. This compilation aims to identify researchers with exceptional impact on their respective fields. [Detailed information on the methodology]
Dae Hyun Kim Receives 2014 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Undergraduate student Dae Hyun Kim, working with Professor Adam Wierman, is the recipient of the 2014 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Dae Hyun is studying computer science with broad interests including computer graphics and machine learning, as well as mathematics and neuroscience. This summer, he plans to work with Professor Shinsuke Shimojo in applying a novel eigenvector based method of analyzing brain dynamics to study inter-brain dynamics in social interaction. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Dae Hyun Kim
Maria I. Lopez Wins Schmitt Staff Prize
Maria I. Lopez, Lead Options Administrator in Computing & Mathematical Sciences, has won the Caltech Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize. The prize is given to a staff member whose contributions embody the values and spirit that enables Caltech to achieve excellence in research and education. "Lopez is in charge of the organization of annual classes taken by more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students," says one of the anonymous individuals who nominated Lopez for the prize. "Maria gets thanked in every thesis defense that I attend. Her positive attitude has been quite contagious among her peers: she literally invigorated her colleagues to play as a team . . . I do not think it is an exaggeration to state that she is the energy source of the whole department." [Caltech Release]
Celebrating with Professor Carver Mead
Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. Professor Mead is best known for his pioneering work on VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s, which made it possible to greatly increase the number of transistors placed on a single semiconductor chip. It is no exaggeration to say that the computer era we live in would not have been possible without VLSI technology. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was. "There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," Mead says. [Caltech interview] [Share Your Memories] [ENGenious article]