News & Events


EAS Remembers Jakob van Zyl


Jakob van Zyl, Senior Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering and Aerospace, passed away on August 26, 2020 at the age of 63. He came to Caltech in 1982 and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1983 and 1986, respectively. He joined JPL in 1986 and retired in 2019 as the Director of Solar System Exploration. He was world-renowned for his research in imaging radar polarimetry. He made pioneering contributions to the design and development of many synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems, including SIR-C, SRTM, AIRSAR, TOPSAR, and GeoSAR. He held management roles at JPL including, Director for Astronomy and Physics (2006-2011), Associate Director of Project Formulation and Strategy (2011-2015), and Director of Solar System Exploration (2016-2019). He received many honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 2015 for his contributions to space missions, for being a good ambassador for Africa, and for inspiring young scientists and engineers in his home continent. Over the last two decades, he taught EE/Ae 157 Introduction to the Physics of Remote Sensing. He contributed in numerous ways to promote interactions between EAS and JPL.

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EAS Remembers Yuan-Cheng "Bert" Fung


Yuan-Cheng "Bert" Fung passed away on December 15th, 2019, at the age of 100. Dr. Fung received his Ph.D. (1948) in Aeronautics from Caltech and served on the GALCIT faculty until 1966. He then joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego where he founded the Bioengineering program. He made ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the mechanics of living tissues and is known as the father of Biomechanics. He was an elected member of all three branches of the National Academies: Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Fung received Caltech’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. Among his many honors, he was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2000. [Full obituary, UCSD]

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Alumnus Gary Clinard Creates Innovation Fund


Entrepreneur and Caltech alumnus Gary Clinard (BS ’65, Engineering, MS ’66, Mechanical Engineering) has created an innovation fund to advance interdisciplinary research in engineering and applied science at Caltech. [Read full article]

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Best Student Paper Award at International Workshop


The paper "Distributed multi-target relative pose estimation for cooperative spacecraft swarm" co-authored by GALCIT students Kai Matsuka, Sorina Lupu, Yashwanth Kumar Nakka, and Rebecca Foust, as well as Professor Soon-Jo Chung and JPL Chief Technologist, Dr. Fred Hadaegh has won one of the two Best Student Paper awards at the 2019 International Workshop on Satellite Constellations and Formation Flying (IWSCFF). The paper presents a multi-agent localization algorithm architecture applied to a large-scale spacecraft swarm. The proposed algorithm is verified by simulation and robotic experiments using the air-bearing spacecraft simulators. The team also acknowledged the work of two Caltech undergraduate students Aaron Feldman and Jennifer Sun for their contribution to the robotic experiments. [Read the paper]

Tags: honors alumni Soon-Jo Chung student Fred Hadaegh Kai Matsuka Yashwanth Kumar Nakka Rebecca Foust Sorina Lupu

Undergraduate Fellowship Winner Will Study Artificial Intelligence and Machine-learning Applications for Health Care


Meera Krishnamoorthy, a senior in electrical engineering, has received a National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC) Fellowship that will fund up to six years of graduate training. Krishnamoorthy will be enrolling in a computer science PhD program at the University of Michigan, studying artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications for health care, such as turning complex medical data into actionable knowledge that ultimately improves patient care. "Engineering is a great way to solve problems in multiple disciplines," she says. Krishnamoorthy's interest in machine learning was sparked by coursework and a research project she worked with Professor Yisong Yue, and her academic advisor has been Professor Steven Low. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE honors CMS alumni Steven Low Yisong Yue Meera Krishnamoorthy

Undergrad Weighs in on Privacy Laws


Computer science junior Rona Yu has embarked on a yearlong project to answer the question: “What should the nation be doing, right now, to draft a privacy regulation?" She has written a paper that covers the points that new privacy legislation should be prioritizing, as well as the potential unintended consequences of the legislation that has been proposed. She is also preparing a document describing her findings that I will submit to the Federal Trade Commission. [Caltech story]

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Bob McEliece Passes Away


Robert J. McEliece (BS '64, PhD '67), Caltech alumnus and Allen E. Puckett Professor and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on May 8, 2019 at the age of 76. "Bob McEliece was renowned for his contributions to a wide range of problems in information transmission and storage," said EAS Chair Ravichandran. "His contributions are drivers for numerous applications in modern communications. He was an outstanding researcher and a beloved and inspiring teacher, mentor, and colleague." [Caltech story]

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Robots Make a Big Splash in Annual Engineering Competition


On Tuesday Milikan Pond was transformed into an aquatic arena where amphibious robots duked it out in Caltech's annual ME72 design competition. The competition serves as the final exam for the ME72 Engineering Design Laboratory course, which is taught by Michael Mello (PhD '12). The event challenged four student teams to build three robots each. The robots had to be capable of traversing both land and water and collecting floating balls. [Caltech story & videos]

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Best Paper Award


Professor Pietro Perona along with Caltech alumni David Hall and Steve Branson have won the 2018 U. V. Helava Best Paper Award from the ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Their paper “From Google Maps to a fine-grained catalog of street trees” was selected for the award. The jury described the work in the paper as “innovative, and applicable for large areas of tree classification and inventories. The developed methodology would affect practices of urban tree management globally.” [Read the paper]

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Electrical Engineering Student Selected for 2019 Knight-Hennessy Scholars Class


Kavya Sreedhar, a senior double majoring in electrical engineering and business, economics, and management, has been named to this year's class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, a graduate-level scholarship program founded by Stanford University. The program aims to develop a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. Sreedhar will receive a scholarship providing full tuition, room and board, and a living stipend while she pursues a PhD in electrical engineering. Her graduate work will be focused on circuits and hardware research for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. She is joined by 67 other students chosen from a pool of 4,424 applicants for the program's 2019 cohort. [Caltech story]

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