News & Events



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]

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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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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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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 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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Professor Rosakis Receives the Von Kármán Medal


Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, will receive the Theodore von Kármán Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The medal recognizes distinguished achievement in engineering mechanics. Professor Rosakis is being honored for "discovering several fundamental physical phenomena in dynamic fracture of heterogeneous materials and interfaces at various length and time scales.” [Caltech story]

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Professor Rosakis Inducted Into the Academy of Athens


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been inducted into the Academy of Athens in the class of Natural Sciences for his “exceptional contributions to science, in particular in experimental science, in the mechanics of solids, and in aerospace.” He was indicated as a Corresponding Member of this selective academy - there are only 76 members in his section and class. [Video of event] [Caltech story]

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Cancer Treatment in a Painless Patch


Mechanical engineering undergraduate student, Teo Wilkening, spent this past summer working with Professor Gharib to test the preliminary design for an alternative—and possibly much less painful—method of chemotherapy drug delivery through a patch. To avoid the pain caused by the large needle traditionally used for such an intravenous injection, the team envisioned a patch containing hundreds of micrometer-scale needles, too small in diameter to be sensed by the nerves in the skin. [Caltech story]

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New EAS Division Chair Announced


Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been selected as the new chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) effective September 1, 2015. "I believe, based on the evaluation of the search committee and on my own interactions with him, that Ravi not only has the judgment, energy, and vision to lead the division creatively and effectively, but that he will also be an outstanding advocate for the division," said Edward Stolper, Carl and Shirley Larson Provostial Chair and William E. Leonhard Professor of Geology, in an announcement to the EAS faculty. Professor Ravichandran commented, "During my tenure, I would like to see that we attract the best faculty and students to EAS and the Institute who will enable interdisciplinary activities across Caltech and contribute to frontiers of engineering science and technology. I would like to see a more diverse body of students and faculty, who will enrich EAS and the Institute, and I would like to see EAS be at the forefront of technological revolution based on our unique ability to drive advances through basic research.” [Caltech Release]

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Department of Aerospace (GALCIT)