News & Events



Professor McKeon Elected APS Fellow


Beverley McKeon, Professor of Aeronautics and Associate Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) “for experimental and theoretical contributions to advancing the understanding of wall turbulence and for elegant interdisciplinary approaches to modeling and flow manipulation.” [APS Fellow Archive]

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Mechanics of Materials Across Nano to Geological Time and Length Scales


A symposium was organized at Brown University on September 16-17, 2016 to celebrate the technical contributions of Professor Ares Rosakis on the occasion of his 60th birthday. The symposium was chaired by Professors Pradeep Guduru, Huajian Gao, and G. Ravichandran. It brought together distinguished engineers and scientists from multiple disciplines to discussion research frontiers relating to the mechanics of materials across nano to geological time and length scales. [Symposium program] [Photos]

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Modular Space Telescope Could Be Assembled By Robot


Professor Sergio Pellegrino and colleagues including Professor Joel Burdick, are proposing a space observatory with a 100 meters diameter primary mirror. Their design calls for the use of more than 300 deployable truss modules that could be unfolded to form a scaffolding upon which a commensurate number of small mirror plates could be placed to create a large segmented mirror. In this concept, a spider-like, six-armed "hexbot" would assemble the trusswork and then crawl across the structure to build the mirror atop it. [Caltech story]

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Caltech Mechanics Reunion at International Conference


More than 70 students, faculty, friends, and alums from GALCIT and MCE attended a Caltech Mechanics Reception during the 2016 International Conference on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, which was held in Montreal on August 23, 2016. Attendees ranged from current students to a 1965 Mechanical Engineering undergraduate. All appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with the extended Caltech mechanics family.

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Michael Watkins Joins GALCIT Faculty


Michael Watkins, Director of JPL, has joined the GALCIT faculty as Professor of Aerospace and Geophysics. Professor Watkins holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has published in both engineering and science, contributed more than 100 conference presentations, and serves or served on the boards of numerous international scientific and engineering societies. In addition, he has taught estimation, filtering theory and system engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and at Caltech. [Caltech announcement]

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The Utility of Instability


Professors Dennis M. Kochmann and Chiara Daraio along with colleagues from Harvard have designed and created mechanical chains made of soft matter that can transmit signals across long distances. Because they are flexible, the circuits could be used in machines such as soft robots or lightweight aircraft constructed from pliable, nonmetallic materials. "Engineers tend to shy away from instability. "Though there are many applications, the fundamental principles that we explore are most exciting to me," Kochmann says. "These nonlinear systems show very similar behavior to materials at the atomic scale but these are difficult to access experimentally or computationally. Now we have built a simple macroscale analogue that mimics how they behave." [Caltech story]

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122nd Commencement Ceremony


Caltech’s 122nd commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 10, 2016. The commencement speaker was surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande, MD, MPH. He reminded the graduates that, “today, you become part of the scientific community, arguably the most powerful collective enterprise in human history. In doing so, you also inherit a role in explaining it and helping it reclaim territory of trust at a time when that territory has been shrinking.” He also cautioned them and explained, “the mistake … is to believe that the educational credentials you get today give you any special authority on truth. What you have gained is far more important: an understanding of what real truth-seeking looks like. It is the effort not of a single person but of a group of people—the bigger the better—pursuing ideas with curiosity, inquisitiveness, openness, and discipline.” [The Mistrust of Science]

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Tyler Okamoto Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Mechanical Engineering student Tyler Okamoto, mentored by Professor Sergio Pellegrino, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is working with Professor Pellegrino’s team to build an autonomous reconfigurable space telescope using multiple nanosatellites that align in space to create a camera and mirror assembly. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

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Professor McKeon Receives Diversity Award


Beverley J. McKeon, Professor of Aeronautics and the Associate Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, is the 2016 recipient of the Fred Shair Program Diversity Award. Each year the Caltech Center for Diversity asks students, staff, and faculty, to nominate Caltech community members who have contributed to initiatives and efforts that advance diversity. One of the nominations for Professor McKeon read, “she is a tireless advocate for diversity in all of its forms. She is very conscientious in her role as the GALCIT Option Representative – and really works to shine a light on unconscious bias in the selection process and stick to processes that highlight the best candidates according to a pre-specified set of criteria.  Professor McKeon effectively works both behind the scenes and in front of the camera carrying her message that diverse teams enable excellent results.”

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Professor Rosakis Elected to the National Academy of Sciences


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). His research interests span a wide spectrum of length and time scales and range from the mechanics of earthquake seismology, to the physical processes involved in the catastrophic failure of aerospace materials, to the reliability of micro-electronic and opto-electronic structures and devices. The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.[Caltech story] [List of NAS members]

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Department of Aerospace (GALCIT)