News & Events


Avatar Director James Cameron Met With Caltech Faculty and Students


Avatar Director James Cameron met with Caltech faculty and students on May 4, 2010 to discuss a variety of topics including space structure systems, interdisciplinary materials and device research, and cognitive neuroscience. All present were impressed by Mr. Cameron's level of interest and engagement. Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said "if Mr. Cameron was not such an accomplished director I bet he would have made a wonderful engineer."

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis James Cameron

Establishing the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE)


John O. Dabiri, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, has purchased two acres of land north of Los Angeles, where he is establishing the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE). The goal is "to extract significantly more wind energy from a given parcel of land than is currently possible... [by taking] advantage of constructive aerodynamic interference between closely spaced vertical-axis wind turbines." says Dabiri whose inspiration for this project came from observation of schooling fish. [Caltech Press Release]

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Molecules that Behave Like Robots


Erik Winfree, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, and colleagues from Columbia University, Arizona State University, and the University of Michigan have programmed an autonomous molecular "robot" made out of DNA to start, move, turn, and stop while following a DNA track. The development could ultimately lead to molecular systems that might one day be used for medical therapeutic devices and molecular-scale reconfigurable robots—robots made of many simple units that can reposition or even rebuild themselves to accomplish different tasks. [Caltech Press Release]

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Effects of Soot on Global Warming


John H. Seinfeld, Louis E. Nohl Professor and Professor of Chemical Engineering, and colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology are studying the effects of soot on global warming. The research suggests that controls on black carbon soot might not slow global warming as much as previously thought. [CMU Article]

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Aseismic Slip as a Barrier to Earthquake Propagation


Tectonics Observatory researchers including Nadia Lapusta, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, have explored the effects of aseismic slip in the aftermath of the 2007 Peru earthquake. "This large area of aseismic slip is good news," says Jean-Philippe Avouac, Director of the Tectonics Observatory and Professor of Geology. "It lowers the seismic hazard in that region, and allows us to be a little bit predictive. We cannot tell you when there will be an earthquake, but we can tell you where there is stress buildup, and where there is no stress buildup. Where there is no stress buildup, there will be no seismic rupture. That is where the earthquakes are going to stop." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MCE Nadia Lapusta Jean-Philippe Avouac

Ares Rosakis Receives 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "for pioneering contributions to the field of fracture and failure mechanics of microelectronic, engineering and geological materials and structures, spanning a wide range of length scales; and for visionary leadership in promoting interdisciplinary research and education in mechanical engineering."

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Professor Knauss Receives the 2010 Timoshenko Medal


Wolfgang G. Knauss, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, has been selected to receive the 2010 Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "for fundamental contributions to the mechanics of fracture, covering mixed-mode fracture, dynamic fracture, and interface and adhesive fracture; and the characterization of material response and failure at the microscale, with an emphasis on experimental mechanics." The Timoshenko Medal was established in 1957 and is conferred in recognition of distinguished contributions to the field of applied mechanics.

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Novel Negative-Index Metamaterial that Responds to Visible Light


Stanley Burgos, researcher at the Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion Energy Frontier Research Center, Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have engineered a novel negative-index metamaterial that responds to visible light. This material bends light in the "wrong" direction from what normally would be expected, irrespective of the angle of the approaching light. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Harry Atwater Stanley Burgos

Caltech Researchers Create "Sound Bullets"


Alessandro Spadoni, Postdoctoral Scholar, and Chiara Daraio, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, have built a nonlinear acoustic lens that produces highly focused, high-amplitude acoustic signals dubbed "sound bullets." The combination of the acoustic lens and sound bullets have "the potential to revolutionize applications from medical imaging and therapy to the nondestructive evaluation of materials and engineering systems," says Professor Daraio. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT health Alessandro Spadoni postdocs

Professor Effros and Colleagues Appear in Scientific American


Michelle Effros, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have written an interesting piece in Scientific American on how wireless networks that do not depend on a fixed infrastructure will allow for ubiquitous connectivity. [Scientific American Article]

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