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GALCIT Alumnus Allen E. Puckett Passes Away

04-15-14

Allen E. Puckett (PhD ’49 Aeronautics), pioneering aerospace engineer and chairman emeritus of Hughes Aircraft Co., passed away on March 31, 2014. He was one of the engineers who made Hughes Aircraft into the United States’ leading defense electronics firm which dominated in the markets for air defense, radar systems, tactical missiles and satellites. He began his PhD in 1941 at Caltech at the invitation of Theodore von Kármán. While at GALCIT he helped design a new supersonic wind tunnel, the first of its kind in the country. Later, he produced the calculations that led to the development of delta wing theory, which predicts the aerodynamics of supersonic aircraft and continues to be applied in the production of modern aircraft. [LA Times Obituary]

Tags: GALCIT EAS history alumni Allen Puckett

From First Mile to Last Mile

03-24-14

Over his 47 year career, William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, has made seminal contributions to the theory and application of computational materials and molecular science which have led to numerous advances in diverse areas of science and engineering. In celebration of his career and 77th birthday his colleagues, students, and collaborators gathered at a celebration at Caltech entitled Bill Goddard and Computational Materials & Molecular Science: From First Mile to Last Mile. Special guests and speakers included Ares Rosakis, Carver Mead, Harry Gray, nobel laureate Rudolph Marcus and Sadasivan Shankar from Intel Corporation. [Tribute article about Professor Gaddard III]

Tags: APhMS EAS history Ares Rosakis William Goddard Carver Mead Harry Gray Rudolph Marcus

Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser

02-14-14

William Bridges, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, discovered and patented the Argon ion laser on February 14, 1964, while at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today noble gas (argon, krypton, xenon) lasers are used in a variety of applications including DNA sequencers, cell sorters, eye surgery, and laser light shows. Professor Bridges' research work with lasers involved an airborne night reconnaissance system (AN/AVD-3), space communications systems, early high power laser weapons (the carbon dioxide gas dynamic laser), and hydrogen maser clocks for the global positioning system. He also holds the patent for the Ionized Noble Gas Laser. [Oral History of Prof. Bridges]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights EAS history William Bridges

Professor Gerald Whitham Passes Away

02-12-14

Gerald B. Whitham, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at the age of 86. Professor Whitham was a pioneer in the area of nonlinear waves. His research focused on fluid dynamics and the study of wave phenomena, including sonic booms, supersonic flow and shock-wave dynamics, and ocean waves. He was also instrumental in setting up Caltech's applied mathematics program in 1962, which is now part of the Department of Computing and Mathematical Science . [Caltech Obituary] [History of Department]

Tags: energy EAS history CMS Gerald Whitham

50th Anniversary of the Launch of the First Geostationary Satellite

07-26-13

On July 26, 1963 Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Harold A. Rosen (MS 1948 EE, PhD 1951 EE) and his team at the defense electronics laboratories of Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City overcame technical and political hurdles to successfully launch the first geostationary satellite, Syncom. Dr. Harold A. Rosen has earned worldwide recognition for his pioneering work in the field of communications satellites and is known as “the father of the geostationary satellite” in that he formed and led the team that designed and built Syncom, and subsequently, as Vice President, went on to help build the world’s largest communications satellite business at Hughes Aircraft Company. [LA Times Article] [Video of Presentation at EE Centennial]

Tags: EE EAS history alumni Harold Rosen

Professor P. T. Narasimhan Passes Away

06-01-13

Distinguished Professor P. T. Narasimhan passed away on May 3rd, 2013 in Sunnyvale, California, USA at the age of 84. After a twenty five year career as a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur he retired and moved to the United States where he initiated a new phase of his research into novel medical and biological applications of magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He conducted part of this research as a Visiting Professor in the laboratory of Professor Scott Fraser at Caltech. Professor Narasimhan is survived by his wife of 57 years, Leena and their children Dr. Nalini Murdter, Dr. Vikram Narasimhan and Dr. Nandini Narayan and six grandchildren. Dr. Nalini Murdter was a Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar and then Senior Research Fellow from 1985-1990. [Full Obituary]

Tags: research highlights EAS history Scott Fraser P. T. Narasimhan

Professor Coles Passes Away

05-06-13

Donald E. Coles, Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away on May 2, 2013 at the age of 89. Professor Coles made pioneering contributions towards our understanding of boundary layers, turbulent shear flows, bluff-body aerodynamics, and novel experimental methods in fluid dynamics. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society. In 2011 he was honored with the Donald Coles Lecture in Aerospace. He remained active till his passing, working on a book on Turbulent Shear Flow that is very near completion. [Caltech Obituary]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT EAS history Donald Coles

Alumnus Launches Antares Rocket

04-23-13

Aerospace alumnus (MS ‘78) and Caltech Board of Trustee member David W. Thompson and his team at Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched the first Antares Rocket on Sunday April 21, 2013. With this rocket Orbital is introducing USA's newest medium-class space launch vehicle. When asked about the experience Thompson commented, "next to GALCIT exams, launching big rockets for the first time is about as hard as things get!" [ENGenious Profile] [Caltech Feature] [Orbital Release]

Tags: GALCIT EAS history alumni David Thompson

Professor Clauser Passes Away

03-05-13

Francis H. Clauser, Clark Blanchard Millikan Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, March 3, at 99 years of age. Professor Clauser, a Caltech alumnus (PhD '37), served as Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science from 1969 to 1974. Upon stepping down as Chair he remained the Millikan Professor until his retirement. Although he retired in 1980, he maintained a vital presence on the Caltech campus, particularly at the Athenaeum round table, until shortly before he passed. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS GALCIT EAS history ESE Francis Clauser

First Person to Dig on the Moon

11-21-12

Among the souvenirs collected by astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean on their trip to the moon aboard Apollo 12 Lunar Excursion Module was the metal scoop that Ronald Scott, Caltech Professor of Civil Engineering, had used to verify that a moon landing could be made in the first place. [Caltech Release]

Tags: MCE EAS history Ronald Scott