News & Events


2017 Caltech Space Challenge


Last week 32 students from around the world met up at Caltech for the 2017 Caltech Space Challenge. This year’s competition involved designing a launch-and-supply station—dubbed Lunarport—for future space missions. Lunar in-situ resource utilization could allow larger payloads to be launched from Earth, bringing deep-space a little closer for human exploration. The Caltech student organizers were Ilana Gat and Thibaud Talon. The Caltech and JPL faculty advisers were Professor Paul Dimotakis, Dr. Jakob van Zyl, and Dr. Anthony Freeman. It was an extremely close competition but Team Explorer was finally called the winner because their business plan and cost estimates were more realistic than those of Team Voyager. [Pasadena Weekly] [Radio interview with Ilana Gat] [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT Paul Dimotakis Space Challenge Jakob van Zyl Ilana Gat Thibaud Talon Anthony Freeman

Professor McKeon Named Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow


Beverley J. McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics; Associate Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been named by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a 2017 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow. “The fellowship program provides research awards to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct revolutionary “high risk, high pay-off” research of strategic importance to the Department of Defense,” said Mary J. Miller, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. Professor McKeon has been named a fellow in the area of fluid dynamics. Her research is employs new approaches to modeling and controlling turbulent flow. [DoD release]

Tags: honors GALCIT Beverley McKeon

New President of the French Academy of Sciences


Alumnus Sébastien Candel (PhD '72) has been elected as president of the French Academy of Sciences (Académie des sciences, Institut de France). The Academy, which was created in 1666, is committed to the advancement of science and advises government authorities on scientific issues.  Candel obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Caltech and is a receipient of the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions to aerospace. [Caltech story] [Candel's Marble Lecture]

Tags: GALCIT MCE CMS alumni Sébastien Candel

Robot Drone That Mimics Bat Flight


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have recreated the key flight mechanisms of bats with unprecedented fidelity in the Bat Bot—a self-contained robotic bat with soft, articulated wings. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Soon-Jo Chung

Taking Flight: Professor Soon-Jo Chung


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, has wide research interests ranging from the creation of a robotic bat with flexible wings and realistic flight dynamics to the control of swarms of small satellites to the development of computer-vision-based navigation systems. [Interview with Professor Soon-Jo Chung]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Soon-Jo Chung

Professor Anatol Roshko Passes Away


Anatol Roshko (MS '47, PhD '52), Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, at Caltech, passed away on January 23, 2017. Known for his research in several areas of gas dynamics and fluid mechanics, Professor Roshko made contributions to problems of separated flow, bluff-body aerodynamics, shock-wave boundary-layer interactions, shock-tube technology, and the structure of turbulent shear flows. With pioneering aerodynamics researcher Hans Liepmann, he coauthored the widely used textbook Elements of Gasdynamics, published in 1956. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT EAS history Anatol Roshko

Professor Gharib Receives Rotary Humanitarian STAR Award


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has received the 2016 Rotary Humanitarian STAR Award from the Rotary Club of Sierra Madre. The award honors outstanding humanitarian achievements in science and technology.

Tags: honors GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib

2016 SISCA Prize Winners


The Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Dow Chemical Company have awarded a number of exceptional young scientists and engineers with the Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) for outstanding student achievement in sustainability innovation. Graduate students Jinglin Huang and Cong Wang from Professor Gharib’s lab are this year’s runners up for progress in developing a superhydrophobic surface out of carbon nanotubes that will improve the efficiency of solar powered seawater desalination systems. [View past winners]

Tags: honors GALCIT Morteza Gharib Jinglin Huang Cong Wang

GPS Innovator Charles Trimble Receives von Kármán Wings Award


Caltech senior trustee Charles Trimble (BS '63, MS '64), founder and former chief executive officer of Trimble Navigation, Ltd., is the 2016 recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award. He was recognized for his visionary leadership contributions to the aerospace industry, and distinguished service to the nation's defense and aerospace programs. "In addition to his pioneering contributions to GPS commercialization, Charlie has had a big impact on Caltech and JPL," Professor Gharib stated. "As an alumnus and trustee, he deeply understands the needs of Caltech and serves the community with dedication and insight." [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT CMS ESE Morteza Gharib Charles Trimble

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]

Tags: honors GALCIT Beverley McKeon fluid dynamics