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Professor Siapas Receives NIH Pioneer Award

09-22-11

Thanos Siapas, Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pioneer Award.  He plans to use the award to develop neural probes for large-scale recordings of brain activity. "Brain functions such as perception, learning, and memory arise from the coordinated activation of billions of neurons distributed throughout the brain," Siapas says. "While we know a lot about the properties of individual neurons, much less is known about how assemblies of neurons interact to perform computations. Our goal is to develop large-scale, multielectrode arrays that will enable the monitoring of many neurons simultaneously across different brain areas. We hope that such arrays will expose new fundamental insights into brain activity, and will find application in the study of animal models of brain disorders." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE honors research highlights health NIH Thanos Siapas

Visualizing Flow Fields

09-22-11

The research of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, on visualizing flow fields around jelly fish and ocean circulation is featured in the recent issue of the National Geographic Magazine. [Excerpt from magazine]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri

2011 Caltech Space Challenge

09-20-11

The Caltech Space Challenge was a Keck Institute for Space Studies workshop led by Aerospace graduate students Prakhar Mehrotra and Jon Mihaly. It brought together two teams of students from around the world to develop plans for deep-space missions that could carry humans to an asteroid and back. Both teams planned missions to an asteroid known as 1999 AO10, which is between 45 and 100 meters in length and is thought to have a relatively slow spin rate. Since relatively little is known about this asteroid, both teams called for robotic precursor missions that could gather information needed to help plan the later human mission. The competing mission descriptions, from Team Explorer and Team Voyager, were so evenly matched that the jurors had to use three different judging methods to finally settle on a winner. In the end, the victory and shiny new iPads went to Team Voyager. [Caltech Feature] [NPR Broadcast]

Tags: GALCIT KISS Prakhar Mehrotra Jon Mihaly Space Challenge

CHIP Goes to Washington

09-06-11

The high-tech house built by a joint team of students from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), known as Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype (CHIP), is heading to Washington D.C. for the 2011 Solar Decathlon competition. The SCI-Arc / Caltech team has been supported by a variety of people including Richard Murray, Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, and Harry Atwater, Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science; Director, Resnick Sustainability Institute. CHIP will be competing with 18 other teams for the title of the most energy-efficient, affordable, and attractive house. [Caltech Feature] [Walkthrough video of CHIP]

Tags: APhMS energy Harry Atwater CMS Richard Murray Solar Decathlon

Summer Engineering and Computer Science Institute

08-29-11

Computing and Mathematical Sciences Lecturers Michael Vanier and Donnie Pinkston partnered with the Caltech Center for Diversity to work with 23 diverse and gifted high school sophomores and juniors who came to Caltech as part of the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Summer Engineering Institute.  The student's summer projects included a Sudoku solver, a "15-puzzle" sliding-tile puzzle game, and a Pong game. The games were a great hit at the final presentations involving Caltech faculty and staff, parents, and representatives from Apple Inc. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: CMS Michael Vanier Donnie Pinkston Center for Diversity

Building A Wind Tunnel To Produce Shear Flow

08-24-11

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) student, Yuyang Fan, working with Research Scientist Daegyoum Kim and Professor Morteza Gharib, has built a wind tunnel that produces shear flow—flow in which wind speed changes with position or time.  The tunnel is six feet long, four feet wide, and four feet tall.  It is made from 100 coaster-sized computer fans that blow air at around nine meters per second. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT Morteza Gharib SURF Yuyang Fan Daegyoum Kim

Nano-mechanics of Carbon Nanotube Research Wins Art Competition

08-22-11

Siddhartha (Sid) Pathak, a W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) Postdoctoral Fellow in Material Science, has received the first prize in the NanoArt 2011 International Competition. The inspiration for Dr. Pathak's entry entitled "In-situ SEM deformation of CNT micro-pillars" is his research on nano-mechanics of carbon nanotubes.  As a KISS postdoc Dr. Pathak is working with  Professor Julia Greer on mechanical testing of carbon nanotubes at submicron length scales, with a particular emphasis towards space applications.  

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Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Julia Greer KISS Siddhartha Pathak postdocs

Intel Acquires Company Founded by CMS Alumni

08-19-11

Fulcrum Microsystems Inc., a company founded by former students of Professor Alain J. Martin, has been acquired by Intel Corporation. Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) alumni Uri V. Cummings (Ph.D. '05) and Andrew M. Lines (M.S. '95) founded Fulcrum Microsystems in late 1999 to commercialize on the nearly two decades of work that they and Professor Martin had done to come up with clockless, low-power, high-bandwidth chips for managing switched communications. [Press Release]

Tags: energy research highlights CMS alumni Alain Martin Uri Cummings Andrew Lines

Computer Scientists Assist with Conservation Planning

08-16-11

Postdoctoral Scholar Daniel R. Golovin and colleagues including Professor Andreas Krause have won the Outstanding Paper Award in the Computational Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence Track at the 2011 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Conference  for their paper entitled Dynamic Resource Allocation in Conservation Planning. The paper was selected from 975 submissions.  It addresses how computer science (in particular machine learning and adaptive optimization) can help conservation planning, by making recommendations about how to best protect rare species. [Read the paper]

Tags: honors CMS Andreas Krause Daniel Golovin postdocs

Disorder Is Key to Nanotube Mystery

08-12-11

William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics; and Posdoctoral Scholar Tod Pascal believe to have solved the mystery of why water spontaneously flows into extremely small tubes of graphite or graphene, called carbon nanotubes.  Using a novel method to calculate the dynamics of water molecules they have found that entropy is the missing key.  "It's a pretty surprising result," says Professor Goddard "People normally focus on energy in this problem, not entropy." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights William Goddard Tod Pascal