Professor Gharib Constructs Leonardo da Vinci's Model of Flow
Leonardo da Vinci studied the motion of blood in the human body. He was interested in the heart’s passive, three-cusp aortic valve, which he realized must be operated by the motion of blood. He theorized that vortices curl back to fill the cusps in the flask-shaped constriction at the aorta’s neck. Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering; Booth-Kresa Leadership Chair, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories; Director, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies, has used modern imaging techniques to demonstrate the existence of the revolving vortices that Leonardo interpreted as closing the valve. [Nature Article]
Biological Circuits: A Beginner’s Guide
A team of researchers including Noah Olsman (PhD ’19), John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, and Richard Murray, Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, has developed a set of guidelines for designing biological circuits using tools from mechanical and electrical engineering. Like electric circuits—but made out of cells and living matter—biological circuits show promise in producing pharmaceuticals and biofuels. [Caltech story]
CS + Social Good
Through TechReach, a new student club, Caltech undergrads aim to use tech skills to address social problems. Among people who are homeless, lack of connection to family and friends poses an often-overlooked obstacle to stability and well-being. Nivetha Karthikeyan, Myra Cheng, and Andrew Hess address the problem by developing new technological tools for Miracle Messages, a nonprofit that helps reunite homeless people with friends and relatives. Miracle Messages helps homeless individuals record video or audio messages to loved ones they have lost all contact with, and then volunteers scour social media and other digital platforms to find those loved ones and deliver the message. They hope to expand TechReach to five or six new projects involving larger numbers of computer science volunteers and a broader range of issues.