Professor Lapusta Receives GSC Mentoring Award
The Caltech Graduate Student Council (GSC) has selected Professor Nadia Lapusta as the recipient of the 2017-2018, GSC Mentoring Award. The GSC Teaching and Mentoring Awards recognize individuals “who have an extraordinary impact on Caltech graduate students through their roles as teachers and mentors.” Nominators described Professor Lapusta as being an excellent cheerleader who fosters her students' ties with the community. Despite leading a large group, she makes significant amounts of time for her students. One student said, "the path ahead always seems more optimistic after our meetings."
The Possibilities are Mote and Remote
Professor Azita Emami’s work in high-speed data communications has led to a breakthrough that could spare millions of people the need to prick themselves with needles. As she engineers a more connected world, she also is working to make it a healthier one. Professor Emami doesn’t draw a line between the different endeavors. “Electronic systems for cell phones and computers are very, very advanced,” she explains. “So why not take the knowledge we have gained developing those technologies and find ways to apply it toward solutions in medicine?” [Breakthrough story]
Student-Built Satellite Telescope Prepares for Space
After nearly a decade of work, a modular reconfigurable space telescope designed by students in the Ae 105 Aerospace Engineering class is nearly ready to launch. That telescope, which came to be known as AAReST (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope), was designed and built in large part by the students in the class, working in collaboration with the Surrey Space Centre in England and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology. Professor Pellegrino says that the students working on AAReST have learned how to collaborate across continents and gained skills that will continue to serve them for years to come. In addition, he says, he's proud to have given several generations of aerospace students the opportunity to work on a real space mission. When the mission launches in 2019, dozens of past and present Caltech students—along with their collaborators nearby and abroad—will be watching and holding their breath to see whether their hard work pays off. [Caltech story]
Engineers Taught a Drone to Herd Birds Away From Airports
Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds, Professor Chung says, adding that the team plans to explore ways to scale the project up for multiple drones dealing with multiple flocks.[Caltech story]
Graduate Student Places 4th in National Soaring Competition
GALCIT Graduate student Michael Marshall, who is a member of Professor Sergio Pellegrino’s Space Structures Laboratory, has received the Rudolph W. Mozer Trophy from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) for being the highest ranking contestant under 26 years of age at any U.S. National Soaring contest. He also placed 4th in the U.S. National Soaring contest. Soaring involves flying without flapping wings or using engine power, or as described by the SSA “to fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.” [SSA news]
Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves
Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]
Winners of the 2018 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced
The student winners of the 2018 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at the end of this academic year. Claire Bedbrook, advised by Professors Frances H. Arnold and Viviana Gradinaru received the prize in Biotechnology. Her research is in engineering proteins capable of controlling and reading out neural activity to advance neuroscience research. Nicholas Dou, advised by Professor Austin Minnich received the prize in Nanotechnology. Nicholas focuses on developing and characterizing novel nano-architected materials that are exceptionally lightweight, mechanically resilient, and thermally insulating. Xiaoqi Ren, advised by Professor Adam Wierman received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources. Xiaoqi’s research is focused on optimization of today's large-scale data centers, including online scheduling, energy usage and sustainability, and new market mechanisms for electricity markets and data clouds. Daniel C. Bowden, advised by Professors Joann M. Stock and Victor Tsai has received the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection. Daniel has worked on a range of projects relating to the propagation of seismic waves in the Earth's crust. Colin Cook, advised by Professor Yu-Chong Tai has receive the prize in Entrepreneurship. Colin is working on a phototherapeutic contact lens to treat diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness.
Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes