News & Events


Sheila Shull Has Won One of the Two 2009 Schmitt Staff Prizes


The Schmitt Prize recognizes a staff member of the Caltech community whose contributions embody the values and spirit that enable the Institute to achieve excellence in research and education. Sheila has been with Applied and Computational Mathematics (ACM) for almost 30 years and takes care of almost every aspect of the day-to-day activities in ACM, including proposal submission and grant management; management of staff members, visitors, and students; organization of international conferences; recruitment of students and instructors; utilization of space; and, most importantly, "care and feeding" of the ACM faculty, which is not without its challenges. As one of her nominators wrote: "It is people like her, in direct daily contact with faculty and students, that truly define the atmosphere in our Institute." Kudos Sheila! 

Tags: honors CMS

DOE Names Harry Atwater as Director of EFRC Focusing on Light-Material Interactions


DOE Names Harry Atwater as Director of EFRC Focusing on Light-Material Interactions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science has announced that it will fund the creation of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) over the next five years, including one that will be housed at Caltech. That $15 million EFRC will be headed by Harry Atwater, the Howard Hughes Professor and professor of applied physics and materials science.

Tags: APhMS energy Harry Atwater

John Doyle Discovers the Importance of Fire in Global Climate Change


Scientists Discover Importance of Fire in Global Climate Change. Researchers including John Doyle, Caltech's Braun Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, Emeritus, have determined that fire must be accounted for as an integral part of climate change. Their research shows that intentional deforestation fires alone contribute up to one-fifth of the human-caused increase in emissions of carbon dioxide. According to the article, increasing numbers of natural wildfires are influencing climate as well. [Science Magazine article]

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Caltech Received Top Honors in Several Categories for Best Graduate Schools Rankings


U.S. News & World Report collected data from more than 12,000 graduate programs to determine their annual Best Graduate Schools rankings, and Caltech received top honors in several categories: number one in aeronautical engineering, chemistry, Earth sciences, geochemistry, geophysics and seismology, cosmology, and elementary particles/fields/string theory. Many other Institute programs also placed highly. The rankings are published in the April 28 issue of the magazine. For details, check the U.S. News website.

Antonio Rangel Pinpoints the Mechanisms of Self-Control in the Brain


Caltech Researchers Pinpoint the Mechanisms of Self-Control in the Brain. Study of dieters shows how two brain areas interact in people with the willpower to say no to unhealthy foods. "A very basic question in economics, psychology, and even religion, is why some people can exercise self-control but others cannot," notes Antonio Rangel, a Caltech Associate Professor of Economics and the paper's principal investigator. [Caltech Press Release]

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Niles Pierce gives Earnest C. Watson Lecture


Niles Pierce, Associate Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering, and the Executive Officer for Bioengineering at Caltech, to give Earnest C. Watson Lecture "In Pursuit of Programmable Molecular Technologies" Our bodies contain amazing molecular machines whose function is encoded within the molecules themselves – RNA and protein sequences programmed by evolution to synthesize molecules, haul cargo within our cells, or regulate our development and repair. These remarkable biological proofs-of-principle inspire the emerging field of molecular programming and suggest the possibility of new technologies in which the function of therapeutic drugs and scientific instruments can be programmed at the molecular level. The lecture takes place May 20 at 8:00 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium.

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EAS Remembers George W. Housner


A memorial service for George W. Housner (1910 - 2008), who was the Braun Professor of Engineering and considered the father of earthquake engineering, was held on Saturday, April 18, 2009. For more on the life and legacy of Housner, see the Caltech Archives presentation of the life of George W. Housner.

Tags: MCE EAS history George Housner

Anatol Roshko Awarded the AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award


The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has awarded Anatol Roshko, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, the AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award. This award is presented to honor notable achievement in the field of aeronautical science and engineering. Presentation of the award will take place on May 13, 2009 at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. This annual black-tie event recognizes the most influential and inspiring individuals in aerospace, whose outstanding contributions merit the highest accolades. [View 2009 Recipients]

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Professor Rosakis and Chairman Kresa Named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Caltech Faculty Members and Board Chair Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Caltech professors Marianne Bronner-Fraser and Ares Rosakis, as well as Chairman of the Board Kent Kresa, are among the 210 new fellows elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. They join an assembly that was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholars to provide practical solutions to pressing issues.

Tags: honors GALCIT Ares Rosakis AMACAD Ken Kresa

Pietro Perona Trains Computers to Analyze Fruit-Fly Behavior


Researchers led by Pietro Perona, the Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and David J. Anderson, the Roger W. Sperry Professor of Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, have trained computers to automatically analyze aggression and courtship in fruit flies, opening the way for researchers to perform large-scale, high-throughput screens for genes that control these innate behaviors. The program allows computers to examine half an hour of video footage of pairs of interacting flies in what is almost real time; characterizing the behavior of a new line of flies "by hand" might take a biologist more than 100 hours. "This is a coming-of-age moment in this field," says Perona. "By choosing among existing machine vision techniques, we were able to put together a system that is much more capable than anything that had been demonstrated before." This work is detailed in the April issue of Nature Methods. [Caltech Press Release]

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