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]
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.”
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]
Living—and Giving—the Caltech Dream
In appreciation for the opportunities Caltech afforded him, Professor Mory Gharib along with his wife Shoreh and daughters, Maral and Alma (PhD ’15), have created an endowed fellowship fund to support new generations of Caltech graduate students. “Mory’s story is an inspiration to us all,” says Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum. “Setting the highest scientific standards, searching for technological interventions to better people’s lives, creating community, and serving that community through personal dedication and philanthropy are qualities rarely found in one individual. We are proud to have Mory as a colleague and his family as members of the Caltech family.” [Caltech story]
Moriah Bischann Wins SURF Speaking Competition
Material science undergraduate student Moriah Bischann, mentored by aerospace postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Owen Kingstedt, is the winner of the Doris S. Perpall Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Speaking Competition. She was recognized as the best speakers-out of the 200 students who presented their SURF research. Her summer research focused on exploring the next generation of structural materials. During her ten week SURF project she studied the effects of alloying and processing on the dynamic behavior of magnesium (Mg). This work was done to address the larger question of whether Mg is a useful material for the automotive, aerospace, energy, and defense industries where a material is needed that has low density, but also the strength to withstand high impact forces.
Philip G. Saffman Graduate Fellowship Established
Mrs. Ruth Saffman, in memory of her late husband, Theodore von Kármán Professor Emeritus, Philip G. Saffman (1931-2008), has established the Philip G. Saffman Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Engineering and Applied Science in the area of mechanics. "Philip Saffman was one of the leading figures in fluid mechanics and a giant in the field of vortex dynamics and its applications... His work continues to motivate and influence contemporary research in fluid dynamics, which attests to the power of his pioneering ideas." Said EAS Division Chair G. Ravichandran. The first recipient of the Saffman Fellowship is GALCIT graduate student Nicholas White.