News & Events


APhMS and EE Students Engineer a One-of-a-kind Machine


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.

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New Insight into Acid Rain Chemistry


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]

Tags: A. J. Colussi Himanshu Mishra Robert Nielsen Michael Hoffmann William Goddard ESE research highlights

Judy Mou and Michael Hirshleifer Receive 2012 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


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.

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Melissa Yeung Wins DOE Fellowship for Computational Science


Graduate student Melissa Yeung, working with Professor Mathieu Desbrun, is one of 21 students nationally to receive a Department of Energy (DOE) 2012 Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. Yeung studies an area of mathematics known as discrete differential geometry, which has diverse applications in such fields as engineering, computer animation, product design, and medicine. [Caltech Feature]

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Best Paper at Green Computing Conference


Professor Adam Wierman, along with students Zhenhua Liu and Minghong Lin have received the Best Paper award at the IEEE Green Computing Conference for their paper "Online algorithms for geographical load balancing". The paper provides near-optimal algorithms that can cloud services to implement "follow the renewables" routing, and to take advantage of solar and wind energy.

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Walter G. Kortschak Elected to Board of Trustees


Civil Engineering alumnus, venture capitalist, and philanthropist Walter G. Kortschak (MS '82) has been elected to the Board of Trustees of Caltech. [Caltech Press Release]

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Alumni Named Broadcom Distinguished Engineers


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]

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Finalist for Library Senior Thesis Prize


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.

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Calculating the Capacity of a Network


Michelle Effros, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and information theorist colleagues have begun to tackle the difficult problem of calculating capacities for large communication networks such as the internet and mobile phone networks. In two recent publications, they introduce techniques useful for improving the performance of current communication networks and for designing the networks of the future. By demonstrating where current technology falls short of what's possible, these techniques provide a new tool for strategically guiding research and development. [Read the Publications]

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Robust Self-Replication


Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, and colleagues including Caltech alumnae Rebecca Schulman, have created a new system to copy sequence information. In their approach, tiny DNA tile crystals consisting of many copies of a piece of information are first grown, then broken into a few pieces by mechanically-induced scission, or force. The new crystal bits contain all the information needed to keep copying the sequence. Each piece then begins to replicate its information and grow until broken apart again—without the help of enzymes, an essential ingredient in biological sequence replication. [Caltech Press Release]

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