News & Events



Dr. van Zyl Receives Honorary Doctorate


Dr. Jakob J. van Zyl (PhD ’86 EE), Caltech Senior Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering and Aerospace, as well as the Associate Director of Project Formulation and Strategy at JPL, will receive an honorary Doctor of Engineering (DIng) degree from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Dr. van Zyl was born in Outjo, Namibia and received his first degree in electrical engineering from the University of Stellenbosch . He then came to Caltech where he obtained his Masters and PhD in electrical engineering.

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GALCIT Alumnus Allen E. Puckett Passes Away


Allen E. Puckett (PhD ’49 Aeronautics), pioneering aerospace engineer and chairman emeritus of Hughes Aircraft Co., passed away on March 31, 2014. He was one of the engineers who made Hughes Aircraft into the United States’ leading defense electronics firm which dominated in the markets for air defense, radar systems, tactical missiles and satellites. He began his PhD in 1941 at Caltech at the invitation of Theodore von Kármán. While at GALCIT he helped design a new supersonic wind tunnel, the first of its kind in the country. Later, he produced the calculations that led to the development of delta wing theory, which predicts the aerodynamics of supersonic aircraft and continues to be applied in the production of modern aircraft. [LA Times Obituary]

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Alumnus Launches Antares Rocket


Aerospace alumnus (MS ‘78) and Caltech Board of Trustee member David W. Thompson and his team at Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched the first Antares Rocket on Sunday April 21, 2013. With this rocket Orbital is introducing USA's newest medium-class space launch vehicle. When asked about the experience Thompson commented, "next to GALCIT exams, launching big rockets for the first time is about as hard as things get!" [ENGenious Profile] [Caltech Feature] [Orbital Release]

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Four EAS Alumni are Named 2013 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized four Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. They are Y. C. L. Susan Wu (PhD '63 Aeronautics), Sébastien M. Candel (MS '69 and PhD '72 in Mechanical Engineering), Uma R. Chowdhry (MS '70 Engineering Science), and James R. Fruchterman (BS '80 Engineering and Applied Science, MS '80 Applied Physics). [Caltech Release]

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Distinguished Caltech Alumnus Receives Civilian Honor from the President of India


Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Roddam Narasimha (PhD '61, AE) has received the honor of Padma Vibhushan which is the second highest civilian honor of the Government of India. [The Hindu News]

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Paul MacCready Papers to be Digitized


The MacCready family have made a generous gift for the processing and digitizing of the papers of Caltech alumnus, inventor and entrepreneur Paul B. MacCready (1925-2007).  Paul B. MacCready pioneered alternative energy solutions through his company,  AeroVironment. In the mid-1970s he began work on the celebrated human-powered Gossamer aircraft series, beginning with the Gossamer Condor. He continued to work on the problems of solar-powered flight and unmanned aircraft, but his interest in environmentally friendly technology also led him to innovative electric and hybrid automotive vehicles, micro-air vehicles and the high altitude, long endurance Helios solar aircraft for telecommunications, imaging and scientific research.

The MacCready digitization project will be the first on the part of the Caltech Archives to make an entire paper, artifact, image and analog media collection available on the internet to the widest possible public.  [Archives News]

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David Thompson Receives International von Kármán Wings Award


Alumnus David W. Thompson (M.S. '78) who is also the co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orbital Sciences Corporation is the 2011 recipient of the prestigious International von Kármán Wings Award. He was honored for his leadership of Orbital over the past three decades, which has pioneered new classes of rockets and satellites that have helped to make space applications more affordable and accessible to people and enterprises around the world. The von Kármán Wings Award acknowledges outstanding contributions by international innovators, leaders, and pioneers in aerospace and is presented by the Aerospace Historical Society, which is part of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech (GALCIT). [Orbital Press Release]

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EAS Remembers David Barish


Aeronautics alumni David Barish, who among other accomplishments was the developer the paraglider, passed away on December 15, 2009. [New York Times Article]

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Economist Article Draws on the Work of EAS Alumni and Faculty


A recent Economist article entitled "Lagrangian Coherent Structures: The skeleton of water" draws on the work of alumni George Haller (PhD '94 in Applied Mechanics) and Francois Lekien (PhD '03 in Control and Dynamical Systems), as well as John Dabiri, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering and Jerrold Marsden, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Control and Dynamical Systems, and Applied and Computational Mathematics. [Economist Article]

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EAS Remembers Tsien Hsue-Shen


Qian Xuesen (also known as Tsien Hsue-Shen) (Aeronautics PhD '39), passed away on October 31, 2009. He was a student of Professor Theodore von Kármán and one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Dr. Tsien Hsue-Shen was one of the great scientist-engineers of the past century. He played an important role in the history of Caltech and the development of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We are also very proud of his many accomplishments in China." said President Chameau. [Caltech Archives]

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Department of Aerospace (GALCIT)