Wilfred Iwan Receives Bruce Bolt Medal
Wilfred Iwan, Professor of Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, has received the Bruce Bolt Medal. The medal is awarded jointly by the Consortium of Organizations for Strong Motion Observation Systems, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and Seismological Society of America to recognize individuals worldwide whose accomplishments involve the promotion and use of strong-motion earthquake data and whose leadership in the transfer of scientific and engineering knowledge into practice or policy has led to improved seismic safety. Iwan is honored for his many accomplishments in advancing earthquake strong-motion monitoring networks and instrumentation in the US and internationally, his research accomplishments in earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, and his effective leadership roles in professional organizations to further the acquisition and application of strong-motion data.
Abdul Kalam and Yannick d'Escatha Receive von Kármán Wings Awards
Making the world a better place was the theme of the September 15, 2009 International von Kármán Wings Award ceremony which honored international leaders and aerospace pioneers Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India and distinguished professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, and Yannick d'Escatha, chairman and chief executive officer of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Ares J. Rosakis, chair of the Aerospace Historical Society, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering presented the awards to the honorees and stated, "along with their tremendous accomplishments in aerospace, this year's honorees are leaders in international collaboration, climate monitoring, and energy harvesting". [Caltech Press Release]
Regina Dugan Named Director of DARPA
Regina Dugan (PhD '93 Mechanical Engineering) has been named director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. Dugan, the founder and CEO of RedXDefense, LLC, a Maryland-based firm that develops technologies to detect and counter explosives, becomes the 19th director and first woman to head DARPA, the DoD's principal research and development agency.
President Obama Presents Three EAS Faculty with the PECASE
In a special White House ceremony, President Obama will be presenting three EAS faculty: John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics, and Joel Tropp, Assistant Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics, with the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). "These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. Dabiri,describes the idea behind his PECASE-winning research as "giving underwater vehicles the enhanced performance of fish (e.g. efficiency, stealth, and maneuverablity) without mimicking the shape and swimming motions of fish. Instead, we replicate the vortex dynamics in the wakes of swimming fish." His "bio-inspired systems" were used by Lydia Ruiz (PhD '09 Mechanical Engineering), to demonstrateincreases in vehicle propulsive efficiency of over 50 percent.
McKeon is receiving the PECASE for her research on fundamental questions in complex turbulent boundary layers. McKeon states that "the ultimate goal is to incorporate recent advances in the understanding of flow physics in order to develop low order models of flow over surfaces for Air Force applications". Tropp's PECASE-winning research "focuses on developing new algorithms for solving inverse problems, a basic challenge that arises throughout the mathematical sciences. Inverse problems also appear in medical imaging, in communication systems, in statistical data analysis, and a host of other areas." He uses tools from modern applied mathematics, such as optimization techniques and randomized algorithms to collect partial information about an object of interest, and incorporate additional background knowledge to develop a complete picture of the object.
Other researchers receiving the PECASE award this year are Joshua K. Willis from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the following Caltech Alumni Elizabeth Boon, (PhD '03 CCE), Markus J. Buehler, (Post doc in CCE) Michael J. Hochberg, (Ph.D. '06 EAS - Applied Physics), Justin K. Romberg, (Post doc in EAS - Applied and Computational Mathematics), Cecilia R. Aragon, (B.S. '82 PMA), Jason Graetz, (Ph.D. '03 EAS - Materials Science), and Ioannis Chasiotis, (Ph.D. '02 EAS - Aerospace).
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!