News & Events
Qian Xuesen (also known as Tsien Hsue-Shen) (Aeronautics PhD '39), passed away on October 31, 2009. He was a student of Professor Theodore von Kármán and one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Dr. Tsien Hsue-Shen was one of the great scientist-engineers of the past century. He played an important role in the history of Caltech and the development of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We are also very proud of his many accomplishments in China." said President Chameau. [Caltech Archives]
James K. Knowles, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday November 1, 2009. He was a remarkable teacher and mentor; he inspired and influenced generations of students and scholars. He made fundamental research contributions to the Theory of Nonlinear Elasticity, to Wave Propagation and Phase Transformations. His seminal contributions were recognized by the Eringen Medal of the Society of Engineering Science and the Koiter Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Hans Wolfgang Liepmann, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away at the age of 94 on June 24. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology. He mentored more than 60 students became leaders in the aerospace industry as well as universities around the world. [Caltech Press Release]
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.
Thomas McGill, professor of applied physics, emeritus, passed away on March 19. An expert in nanostructures, he discovered how to stack silicon layers on chips in a way that could lead to significant new advances in silicon-based electronics. [Caltech Press Release]
Christopher Brennen, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been elected as a Fellow of the School of Engineering at The University of Tokyo in recognition of his contribution to the research and education of the school, as well as his outstanding accomplishments in research and education in the field of engineering.
Studies of the brains of blind persons whose sight was partially restored later in life have produced a compelling example of the brain's ability to adapt to new circumstances and rewire and reconfigure itself. The research, conducted by postdoctoral researcher Melissa Saenz along with Christof Koch, the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and professor of computation and neural systems, and their colleagues, shows that the part of the brain that processes visual information in normal individuals can be co-opted to respond to both visual and auditory information. [Caltech Press Release]
Christopher Brennen, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, delivered the plenary opening lecture at the Twelfth International Symposium on Transport Phenomena and Dynamics of Rotating Machinery in February. After, he was awarded the organization's ISROMAC Award in recognition of "his outstanding research contributions in the area of cavitation and hydrodynamics in rotating machinery."
Christof Koch, the Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, and his colleagues, have found that changes in pupil diameter correspond to the moment when a simple decision is made. The pupil, which is about 2 mm wide in bright light, dilated by as much as 1 mm at that moment--a change that, in theory, could be noticeable to a casual observer. [Caltech Press Release]