Contest Unleashes Aquamania in Millikan Pond
Amphibious robots took to Caltech’s Millikan Pond on Tuesday, March 10, each one hoping to come away with the title "Aquamania champion." At the event, teams of students tested their robotic athletes in the 30th annual Mechanical Engineering 72 (ME72) competition. Eight teams competed for this year's title, and team KATS—named for teammates and Caltech juniors Kristin Eliason, Auggie Nanz, Tammer Eweis-Labolle, and Sheila Lo—walked away with the trophy. [Caltech story]
SURF Honors Professor Murray
Richard M. Murray, Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, has been honored by Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program for making an outstanding contribution to the program, students, and the Institute. Since 1992, Professor Murray has mentored 158 SURF and Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowships (MURF) students. He is known for being a hands-on mentor, as well as a strong advocate for undergraduate research. Each year the “SURF year” is dedicated to someone who has made an outstanding contribution and SURF 2015 was dedicated to Professor Murray.
How Iron Feels the Heat
Brent Fultz, Barbara and Stanley R. Rawn, Jr., Professor of Materials Science and Applied Physics, and colleagues’ recent work provides evidence for how iron's magnetism plays a role in its curious properties—an understanding that could help researchers develop better and stronger steel. With a better computational model for the thermodynamics of iron at different temperatures—one that takes into account the effects of both magnetism and atomic vibrations—metallurgists will now be able to more accurately predict the thermodynamic properties of iron alloys as they alter their recipes. [Caltech story]
How To Study High-Speed Flows
Joanna Austin, Professor of Aerospace, researches fundamental problems in reactive, compressible flows with applications in hypervelocity flight and planetary entry, supersonic combustion and detonation, bubble dynamics, and explosive geological events. She remarks, “gas dynamics, and particularly looking at gas dynamics in reacting flows… [is] the thing I really love. It's a very challenging, coupled, problem. As the fluid is going through the model that you're studying, you also have to account for the fact that the state of the fluid is changing—the gas is chemically reacting, so it's changing from reactants to products, or it's redistributing its energy states, or both. Understanding how best to model these processes, that's what excites me.” [Interview with Professor Austin]