News & Events


Professor Chandrasekaran Wins AFOSR Young Investigator Award


Venkat Chandrasekaran, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences and Electrical Engineering, has won a 2016 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award. The objectives of this program are: to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering. Professor Chandrasekaran received the award for his proposal entitled, “Latent Variable Graphical Modeling for High-Dimensional Data Analysis. [AFOSR Press Release]

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Electrical Vehicle Design and Racing


The students in the CS/EE/ME 75 class, Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, invited industry experts to their midterm design review on the evening of February 11, 2016. The students are currently in the manufacturing phase and plan to finish the vehicle frame this week and attach the mounting brackets shortly thereafter. They aim to have a running prototype electrical vehicle by mid-March to get early testing data before refining their design for the upcoming Formula SAE competition. The course is co-taught by Professors Guillaume Blanquart, Azita Emami, and Richard Murray as well as the Executive Director for the Resnick Institute, Neil Fromer. Several students in the course are also members of the Caltech Sustainable Vehicle Club led by undergraduate student Robert Anderson. [Huffpost Education Blog]

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Professor Dimotakis Elected to the National Academy of Engineering


Paul E. Dimotakis, John K. Northrop Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Applied Physics, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Dimotakis was elected for his contributions to the fluid mechanics of jet propulsion and other processes involving turbulence, mixing, and transport. [Caltech story]

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Tiny Diatoms Boast Enormous Strength


Researchers in the lab of Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, have recently found that diatom shells have the highest specific strength—the strength at which a structure breaks with respect to its density—of any known biological material, including bone, antlers, and teeth. [Caltech story]

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Moriah Bischann Wins SURF Speaking Competition


Material science undergraduate student Moriah Bischann, mentored by aerospace postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Owen Kingstedt, is the winner of the Doris S. Perpall Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Speaking Competition. She was recognized as the best speakers-out of the 200 students who presented their SURF research. Her summer research focused on exploring the next generation of structural materials. During her ten week SURF project she studied the effects of alloying and processing on the dynamic behavior of magnesium (Mg). This work was done to address the larger question of whether Mg is a useful material for the automotive, aerospace, energy, and defense industries where a material is needed that has low density, but also the strength to withstand high impact forces.

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Philip G. Saffman Graduate Fellowship Established


Mrs. Ruth Saffman, in memory of her late husband, Theodore von Kármán Professor Emeritus, Philip G. Saffman (1931-2008), has established the Philip G. Saffman Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Engineering and Applied Science in the area of mechanics. "Philip Saffman was one of the leading figures in fluid mechanics and a giant in the field of vortex dynamics and its applications... His work continues to motivate and influence contemporary research in fluid dynamics, which attests to the power of his pioneering ideas." Said EAS Division Chair G. Ravichandran.  The first recipient of the Saffman Fellowship is GALCIT graduate student Nicholas White.

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Novel Calibration Tool Will Help Astronomers


Kerry Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics; Executive Officer for Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have developed a novel calibration tool, called a laser frequency comb, which could allow astronomers to take a major step in discovering and characterizing earthlike planets around other stars. The comb produces easily resolvable lines, without any need for filtering and is built from off-the-shelf components developed by the telecommunications industry. "We have demonstrated an alternative approach that is simple, reliable, and relatively inexpensive," says Professor Vahala. [Caltech story]

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Innovation in Aerospace


At the "Innovation in Aerospace" forum held at Caltech —part of the Idea 2 Innovation series cosponsored by Innovate Pasadena and Caltech—three of the aerospace industry's biggest companies discussed some of their most exciting new ventures. Northrop Grumman's Starshade project could help find life on other planets. Boeing's new unmanned Echo Seeker submarine is capable of diving 20,000 feet below sea level. Lockheed Martin's new imaging technology could radically shrink the size of space telescopes, making it far more efficient to send them deep into space. [Video of event] [Caltech story]

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Microscopic Materials


Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, is fascinated by the interactions of quasiparticles and how they give rise to the world around us. He explains, “I'm most excited about the emphasis on fundamental science here. People can be really tempted by "flashy" science or experiments on hot topics. But to compute what I'm trying to look at, we have to first build our understanding on simple experiments and materials—boring things—before we are able to tackle materials at the frontier of condensed matter research.” [Interview with Prof. Bernardi]

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Professor Rosakis Inducted Into the Academy of Athens


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been inducted into the Academy of Athens in the class of Natural Sciences for his “exceptional contributions to science, in particular in experimental science, in the mechanics of solids, and in aerospace.” He was indicated as a Corresponding Member of this selective academy - there are only 76 members in his section and class. [Video of event] [Caltech story]

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