Beverley J. McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, is the recipient of the 2018 Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize is awarded to an EAS professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. A nomination for Professor Mckeon read, “she is a firm believer in the importance of having all students, regardless of their ultimate specialty, participate in laboratory coursework. Her courses serve as a solid foundation for graduate level research across disciplines, both technically and with regards to skills relevant to doctoral and industrial research. She takes tough subjects and uses her colorful approach to make the concept easy to comprehend.” [Caltech story]
Professor Kerry J. Vahala and colleagues have developed a prototype of a miniature device that synthesizes frequencies on demand with about 1 Hertz accuracy. It combines a frequency comb developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with a "fine-toothed" frequency comb developed at Caltech. To create the finely spaced comb teeth, the Caltech resonator must be about 100 times larger than the NIST device. Its larger size can potentially make this comb very power hungry. "Too much power in a small space can damage any electronics to which the resonator is connected," Professor Vahala says. "Also, in the future, these synthesizer devices could operate on battery power in smartphone-sized devices where they cannot draw much power." But the Caltech comb can generate specific frequencies with minimal amounts of power. [Caltech story]
Electrical engineering student Shuqing (Erica) Chen, advised by Professor Michelle Effros, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is interested in information theory and communication theory and is working on analyzing lossless source coding in the finite blocklength regime with unknown numbers of transmitters. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record in their discipline.
Thomas Vidick, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2018 ASCIT Teaching Award. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently. [Caltech story]
Mechanical engineering graduate student Kimberley Mac Donald has received the 2018 Gary Cloud Scholarship from the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM). The scholarship is in recognition of her unique aspirations to pursue a graduate degree in experimental mechanics and to create new knowledge that leads to sustainable improvements in the human condition. [List of past recipients]
CMS alumnus Ramruthwick “Ruthwick” Pathireddy (BS ’17) is described as curious, ambitious, and rigorous. “When people talk about Caltech, they think of students studying really hard,” Ruthwick says. “While we do study hard, there’s more to it than that. I don’t think people realize the social opportunities that are available here, how enriching the activities are, and how close the entire undergraduate community is. It’s really like a family.” [Breakthrough story]
Professor Harry A. Atwater, Jr. is an advisor to a multi-disciplinary $100-million project aimed at designing a spacecraft that can be launched to planets surrounding other stars and reach them within our lifetime. The Breakthrough Starshot Program has three big technical challenges: The first is to build the so-called photon engine, the laser that's capable of propelling the sail; the second is to design the sail itself; and the third is to design the payload, which will be a tiny spacecraft capable of taking images and spectral data and then beaming them back to the earth. Professor Atwater’s role is to help the program define pathways to making a viable lightsail that's compatible with the other objectives of the whole program. [Caltech story]
Applied and computational mathematics student Ayya Alieva, advised by Professor Houman Owhadi, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Her research interests include active learning problems and tournament graphs. This summer, she will be working as a Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Carver Mead, one of the fathers of modern computing, combines memoir and instruction in new video series. "My feeling is that these days, if it's not on the web, it doesn't exist," Professor Mead says of the decision to launch the new video channel. The video series is available for free on YouTube, and aims to provide a better understanding of the birth and evolution of modern computing, as told by one of its key participants and witnesses. [Caltech story]
Computation and neural systems student Eshan Govil, advised by Professor Thanos Siapas, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is fascinated by how machines can parallel the human mind, and wants to explore the applications of neurobiological research and neuroengineering to develop smart machinery and brain-computer interfaces. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.