News & Events


GALCIT Alumnus Allen E. Puckett Passes Away


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]

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EE students Win $100K Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships


Professor Babak Hassibi’s students Kishore Jaganathan, and Christos Thrampoulidis as well as Professor Pietro Perona’s students Ron Appel, and Krzysztof Chalupka, have won the 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Jaganathan, and Thrampoulidis’ proposal is entitled Interference Alignment via Matrix Completion for Cellular Networks and Network Coding. Appel, and Chalupka’s proposal is entitled Energy-Efficient Multiclass Classification for Visual Applications on Mobile Devices.  Each winner will receive a $100K fellowship. This year there were 137 submissions and only 9 winners have been announced. Caltech is the only school to have two winning teams. [List of Winners]

Tags: Babak Hassibi Kishore Jaganathan Christos Thrampoulidis Pietro Perona Ron Appel Krzysztof Chalupka EE honors

Professor Pierce Named 2014 Guggenheim Fellow


Niles A. Pierce, Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering, is one of only two engineers nationwide to be named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Professor Pierce is working to engineer programmable molecular instruments capable of reading out and regulating the state of biological circuitry within intact biological organisms.

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Transforming the Thomas Laboratory


The renovation of the Franklin Thomas Laboratory of Engineering began with a wall breaking ceremony on April 4, 2014. The donors who made this renovation possible are: the Gate Frontiers Fund and Diane Gates Wallach who made the gift in honor of her father, Charles C. Gates Jr. a former life-trustee of Caltech; alumnus Jim Hall (BS ’57) and his wife Sandy; and the Fred L. Hartley Family Foundation.

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Tags: Diane Wallach Jim Hall Ares Rosakis Kaushik Bhattacharya Edward Stolper GALCIT MCE Caltech infrastructure

Quantum Photon Properties Revealed in Another Particle—the Plasmon


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science as well as Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleagues’ experiments have confirmed that two indistinguishable photons can be converted into two indistinguishable surface plasmons that, like photons, display quantum interference. This finding could be important for the development of quantum computing, says Atwater. "Remarkably, plasmons are coherent enough to exhibit quantum interference in waveguides," he says. "These plasmon waveguides can be integrated in compact chip-based devices and circuits, which may one day enable computation and measurement schemes based on quantum interference." [Caltech Release]

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From First Mile to Last Mile


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

New Dean of Undergraduate Students


John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, will become Dean of Undergraduate Students, effective July 1, 2014. Professor Dabiri was suggested for this position by several Institute constituencies and enjoys the confidence and respect of students and faculty alike. He is particularly committed to enhancing faculty-student interactions.

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Raiders of the Lost Can


The students in this year's Mechanical Engineering 72 (ME72) class, a two-term engineering design lab for mechanical engineering majors, not only rolled, they crawled and flew their robotic inventions to deliver their team's soup can to the top of a wooden pyramid outfitted with steel ramps, while simultaneously deploying other robotic vehicles to conduct defensive maneuvers, preventing the opposing team from beating them to the top with their own color-coded soup can. [Caltech Release]

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Professor Greer Named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been selected as a 2014 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Each year the selection Committee, which is headed by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, identifies and recognizes the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world. Candidates are selected based on their proven track record of professional accomplishments, breadth of their expertise, commitment to society and their ability to overcome adversity. [List of 2014 Honourees]

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Bending the Light with a Tiny Chip


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed a new light-bending silicon chip that acts as a lens-free projector--and could one day end up in your cell phone. They were able to bypass traditional optics by manipulating the coherence of light—a property that allows the researchers to "bend" the light waves on the surface of the chip without lenses or the use of any mechanical movement. [Caltech Release]

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