News & Events


Professor Ravichandran Elected to Academia Europaea


G. Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea). The Academia Europaea was founded in 1988 and is an organization of eminent, individual scholars from across the continent of Europe. The 3000 members cover a wide range of academic disciplines including the humanities, social, physical and life sciences as well as mathematics, engineering and medicine. In addition to Professor Ravichandran, EAS Past Chair Ares Rosakis, Caltech's Provost Edward Stolper, the Institute's Past President David Baltimore, and Professor Alexander Varshavsky are members of the Academy.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran

How Friction Evolves During an Earthquake


Professor Ares Rosakis, and colleagues including Professor Nadia Lapusta and Research Scientist Vito Rubino, are studying the way friction changes along a fault during a seismic event by simulating quakes in a lab. "Our unique facility … allows us for the first time to study friction point-wise and without having to assume that sliding occurs uniformly, as is done in classical friction studies," Rosakis explains. Professor Lapusta adds, “some numerical models of earthquake rupture … have used friction laws with slip-velocity dependence… It is gratifying to see those formulations validated by the spontaneous mini-earthquake ruptures in our study. " [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis Nadia Lapusta Vito Rubino

Professor Rosakis Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This honor is given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. [AGU release]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Professor Rosakis Named ICF Honorary Fellow and Vice President


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been named an honorary fellow of the International Congress on Fracture (ICF) which is the premier international body for promotion of worldwide cooperation among scientists and engineers concerned with the mechanics and mechanisms of fracture, fatigue, and strength of solids. He has also been elected as one of the group's three vice presidents.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Earthquakes Can Make Thrust Faults Open Violently and Snap Shut


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues at Caltech and École normale supérieure in Paris have discovered that fast ruptures propagating up toward the earth's surface along a thrust fault can cause one side of a fault to twist away from the other, opening up a gap of up to a few meters that then snaps shut. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis Hiroo Kanamori Harsha Bhat Vahe Gabuchian

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

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]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Sergio Pellegrino Joel Burdick

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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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]

Tags: research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT MCE Dennis Kochmann

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.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Sergio Pellegrino Tyler Okamoto