News & Events


A Winning Sanitation Solution


The inventors of the solar-powered toilet, a unit developed by a team led by Professor Michael Hoffmann, have a new award winning project. Project Seva, which means "service" in Hindi. It was named the first place winner of the Vodafone's Wireless Innovation program. The Seva team realized that because the solar toilet and other sanitation systems like it are relatively simple, inexpensive sensors could be used to monitor the status of those systems' parts. Combining that insight with the knowledge that more than three-quarters of the world's people have access to a mobile phone, the team decided to design a self-diagnosing maintenance system for sanitation solutions that could alert designated local operators of a malfunction via cell phone message. [Caltech story]

Tags: Michael Hoffmann ESE energy research highlights

Gonzalez Wins Charles Wilts Prize


Carlos Roberto Gonzalez, advised by Professors Abu-Mostafa and Perona is the winner of this year’s Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Optimal Data Distributions in Machine Learning." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

Tags: Carlos Palacios Yaser Abu-Mostafa Pietro Perona EE Wilts Prize honors

Winners of the 2015 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The student winners of the 2015 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special luncheon with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Alborz Mahdavi received the prize in Biotechnology for his work with David Tirrell developed a set of important new tools for analyzing protein synthesis in complex biological systems. Srivatsan Hulikal was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Nadia Lapusta on linking macroscopic frictional properties of interfaces to their micromechanics. Lingwen Gan working with Steven Low received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for his work on sustainable power systems and specifically the control and optimization of distributed energy resources in future smart grids. The winner of the prize in Nanotechnology was Niranjan Srinivas  for designing and building a system of DNA machines that, in bulk, implement an oscillator. Niranjan's advisor was Eric Winfree.

Tags: Alborz Mahdavi David Tirrell Srivatsan Hulikal Nadia Lapusta Lingwen Gan Steven Low Niranjan Srinivas Eric Winfree MCE CMS EE Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis honors

Professor Meiron Receives Excellence in Teaching Award


Dan Meiron, Fletcher Jones Professor of Aeronautics and Applied and Computational Mathematics, has received a 2014-2015 Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) Teaching Award. [List of past recipients]

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Professor Ravichandran Receives Werner Köster Prize


Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, and his former postdoctoral scholar Dr. Laurence Bodelot have been selected to receive the 2014 Werner Köster Prize for their paper entitled “Experimental determination of a representative texture and insight into the range of significant neighbouring grain interactions via orientation and misorientation statistics.

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Tags: Guruswami Ravichandran Laurence Bodelot GALCIT MCE honors

Charles C. Gates Jr.–Franklin Thomas Laboratory


The Charles C. Gates Jr.–Franklin Thomas Laboratory, the newly renovated home of the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and the administrative offices for the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, was officially dedicated with an opening ceremony on Monday, June 1. The renovation includes the building's original iron railings as well as artistic etchings and imagery that reference prior research in earthquake engineering and hydrodynamics. Looking to the future, the energy-efficient, renovated building features state-of-the-art laboratories and experimental and computational facilities, along with open spaces where faculty, scholars, and students can share ideas across disciplines. [Caltech story]

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Tags: Diane Wallach Jim Hall Li-San Hwang MCE Caltech infrastructure

Professor Umans Named Simons Investigator in Computer Science


Christopher Umans, Professor of Computer Science, has been named a Simons Investigator in Computer Science by the Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division. The award honors and supports "outstanding scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists." Professor Umans’ research centers on algorithms and complexity. He has made contributions to the understanding of randomness in computation, and algorithms for fundamental algebraic problems which includes developing a group-theoretic approach for matrix multiplication. [List of awardees] [Caltech story]

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Moore Distinguished Scholar Receives Space Technology Award


Robert Braun, Caltech Moore Distinguished Scholar and Georgia Institute of Technology Professor of Space Technology, has received the American Astronautical Society (AAS) Space Technology Award "for extraordinary contributions in technology to enable the landing of vehicles on other planets, and for creating NASA technology development programs designed to build our nation’s future space capabilities and solve grand societal challenges on Earth.” When asked about the award, Dr. Braun remarked, “receiving this inaugural honor while a Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech will always be special to me.”

Tags: Robert Braun GALCIT honors

Professor Hornung Receives 2015 AIAA Hypersonic Systems & Technologies Award


Hans G. Hornung, C. L. Kelly Johnson Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, has been selected to receive the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Award for 2015. The award recognizes sustained, outstanding contributions and achievements in the advancement of atmospheric, hypersonic flight and related technologies. Professor Hornung is receiving it “for lifelong contributions advancing the understanding of high-enthalpy hypervelocity flows and high-enthalpy ground-test experimental techniques.” [Past recipients]

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Taokun Zheng Receives 2015 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Computing and Mathematical Sciences student Taokun (Xander) Zheng, mentored by Professors Alan Barr and Adam Wierman, is a recipient of the 2015 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Xander is working on a network project utilizing photographic media. 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.

Tags: Taokun Zheng Alan Barr Adam Wierman Henry Ford II Scholar Award CMS honors

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