Dennis Kochmann, Assistant Professor of Aerospace, has recieved the 2012 Graduate Student Council (GSC) Excellence in Teaching Award. This award is given by the GSC each year, with participating from the entire Caltech community, to one professor for excellence in classroom teaching.
The student winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special luncheon with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Philip Romero received the prize in Biotechnology for his work on developing statistical models of proteins with Frances Arnold. Michael Mello was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Ares Rosakis on developing a novel methodology for identifying the unique ground motion signatures of supershear earthquakes. Leslie O’Leary received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her pathbreaking work on the properties of semiconductor interfaces with Nate Lewis and Bob Grubbs. This year there were two winners for the prize in Nanotechnology. One winner was Andrew Jennings for his experimental and modeling work in nanomechanics with Julia Greer. The other winner of the Nanotechnology prize was Jordan Raney who has worked with Chiara Daraio to develop new chemical synthesis methods to control the properties of carbon nanotubes.
Applied Physics graduate student, Peter Hung, along with Electrical Engineering undergraduate students Julie Jester, Jeff Sherman, and Sean Keenan, worked with a team of engineering students from across the country to create a one-of-a-kind machine for sharing a Coke.
A multidisciplinary team led by Dr. A. J. Colussi, comprising of graduate student Himanshu Mishra, and Professor Michael Hoffmann along with Dr. Robert J. Nielsen and Professor William A. Goddard III from the Materials and Process Simulation Center, has shown that the dissociation of nitric acid on thin layers of water, such as those in contact with air or biological membranes, is dramatically different from the similar process inside water. They have found that the molecules of nitric acid do not dissociate when they collide with water unless its surface contains at least 1 anion per million water. This work explains how minute concentrations of anions might subtly participate in acid rain chemistry, the cycling of nitrogen oxide pollutants on urban haze, and in the charging of protein surfaces that drive enzyme activities. [The PNAS Article]
Judy Mou, an undergraduate student in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, with an interest in building smart systems that identify patterns in sensory data to perform autonomous actions, is one of the recipients of the 2012 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. The other recipient is undergrade student Michael Hirshleifer who is interested in algorithms, data mining, and the intersection of computer science with economics.
Alumni Tony (Tak) Lee (PhD '95, Computer Science ) and Paul Penzes (PhD '02, Computer Science) have been recognized by Broadcom as 2012 Distinguished Engineers. These former students of Professor Alain Martin, have joined a small group of exceptional Broadcom engineers who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty and are widely recognized by peers as experts in their field. Tony (Tak) Lee is Associate Technical Director of the Broadband Communications Group and was honored for his contributions to Advanced Forward Error Correction Technologies. Paul Penzes is Associate Technical Director of the Office of the Chief Technology Officer and was honored for his contributions to Standard Cell Technology Development. [Broadcom Blog]
Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student Robert Karol, who is also minoring in Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, was the finalist for the 2012 Friends of Caltech Libraries Senior Thesis Prize. His thesis is entitled “Peak Seeking Controller for Real Time Mobile Satellite Tracking” and was written under the direction of Professor Richard Murray and Mechanical Engineering alumnus Gunnar Ristroph (BS '06) of IJK Controls.