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Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics

11-10-14

Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have identified a source of electronic noise that could affect the functioning of instruments operating at very low temperatures, such as devices used in radio telescopes and advanced physics experiments. The team's findings also suggest that it may be possible to develop engineering strategies to make phonon heat transfer more efficient at low temperatures. For example, one possibility might be to change the design of transistors so that phonon generation takes place over a broader volume. "If you can make the phonon generation more spread out, then in principle you could reduce the temperature rise that occurs," Professor Minnich says. "We don't know what the precise strategy will be yet, but now we know the direction we should be going. That's an improvement." [Caltech release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Austin Minnich

Professor Rosakis Elected to Academia Europaea

11-03-14

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering as well as the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in the section of Physics and Engineering Sciences. The Academia Europaea was founded in 1988 and is an organization of eminent, individual scholars from across the continent of Europe. The 3000 members cover a wide range of academic disciplines including the humanities, social, physical and life sciences as well as mathematics, engineering and medicine. In addition to Professor Ares Rosakis, Caltech's Provost Edward Stolper, the Institute's past president David Baltimore, and Professor Alexander Varshavsky are members of the Academy.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Dr. Josette Bellan Receives JPL Magellan Award for Excellence

10-22-14

Josette Bellan, Caltech Visiting Associate in Mechanical and Civil Engineering as well as Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), has received the Magellan Award for Excellence for the development of new Large Eddy Simulation methodologies for particle laden and supercritical mixing layers. The Magellan Award is the highest JPL award presented to an individual for her scientific or technical accomplishments.

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Seismology and Resilient Infrastructure

10-10-14

Domniki Asimaki, Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, is interested in the behavior of geotechnical systems under the influence of forces such as wind, waves, and seismological activity. Using this information, she hopes to make predictive computer models that can lead to the design of an infrastructure that is resilient to natural and man-made hazards. Her work also relates to the harvesting of wind energy and she explains, “People like myself with an engineering background, but also with scientific curiosity, can work in areas like this and set the performance and design standards from scratch. But because the energy-harvesting industry is just starting out, we need to make it innovative while still financially feasible.” [Interview with Professor Asimaki] [ENGenious article]

Tags: research highlights MCE Domniki Asimaki

Professor Andrade Elected to Engineering Mechanics’ Board of Governors

09-25-14

José E. Andrade, Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected as a member of the Board of Governors for the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) . The goal of the EMI is to stimulate and support mechanics-related activities by enabling new technologies, developing rational and quantitative decision-making paradigms, advancing mechanics as a science, and playing key roles in the education of university students and practicing engineers.

Tags: honors MCE Jose Andrade

Professor Greer Awarded the Kavli Early Career Lecture in Nanoscience

09-23-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been awarded the Kavli Early Career Lecture in Nanoscience. This honor recognizes significant novel contributions to materials science by a young researcher in the early stages of her career. Professor Greer’s nomination emphasized her creative, ingenious, and elegant work in nanoscience.

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Ceramics Don't Have To Be Brittle

09-11-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and her colleagues are on the path to developing materials that possess unheard-of combinations of properties. "Ceramics have always been thought to be heavy and brittle," says Professor Greer. "We're showing that in fact, they don't have to be either. This very clearly demonstrates that if you use the concept of the nanoscale to create structures and then use those nanostructures like LEGO to construct larger materials, you can obtain nearly any set of properties you want. You can create materials by design." [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Julia Greer

Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List

09-11-14

Caltech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs have been ranked fourth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Engineering graduate programs ranked very well with second in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical, third in mechanical, third in applied math, fourth in electrical / electronic / communications, sixth in materials, and eight in environmental / environmental health. [All 2015 Caltech Rankings]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE CMS ESE Graduate school rankings

Professor Frank Marble Passes Away

08-12-14

Frank E. Marble, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, passed away on August 11, 2014 at age 96. He has made pioneering contributions to combustion in jet propulsion systems, flame stabilization, and propagation of acoustic waves. [Caltech Obituary] [Frank E. Marble Lecture in Aerospace]

Tags: GALCIT MCE EAS history Frank E. Marble

Professor Iwan Honored by Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

08-07-14

Wilfred Iwan, Professor of Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, has been selected as an honorary member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). Honorary memberships are awarded in recognition of sustained and outstanding contributions to the field of earthquake engineering. Professor Iwan’s research focuses on fundamental areas of mechanics, understanding and characterization of strong earthquake ground motion, analysis and monitoring of the response of structural systems subjected to extreme events, and public policy regarding disasters.

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