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Student Cold Storage Project Wins $25,000 Sustainability Prize

11-27-12

Aeronautics graduate student, Prakhar Mehrotra, has won the $25,000 Dow Resnick Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) at Caltech. His team won the prize for an elegantly simple project called Micro Cold Storage. The idea is to manufacture a portable cold storage unit, scaled to fit in a farmer’s truck, that is powered by solar panels. The project’s implications are far reaching for rural farmers in India, to clinics in Africa, to farmer’s markets in Pasadena. [Learn More]

Tags: honors energy research highlights GALCIT health Prakhar Mehrotra

Engineering with Impact

10-23-12

Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran is an expert on breakups—of ceramics and metals, not relationships. The John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and professor of mechanical engineering and the director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech, Ravichandran will give a Watson Lecture about his work at the leading edge of impact mechanics on Wednesday, October 24. [Learn more about Prof. Ravichandran] [Notes from the Back Row]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran

Clean-Energy Research Accelerates

10-22-12

Caltech clean-energy research is accelerating thanks to the renovation of the Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory. Transformed into a cutting-edge facility for energy science, the lab unites two powerhouse programs: the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). "Our researchers are working with Caltech's chemists and chemical engineers to challenge the status quo and translate scientific discovery into clean-energy innovations that will directly benefit society for generations to come," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Release]

Tags: energy research highlights Caltech infrastructure Jorgensen Renovation

Taming Turbulence

08-29-12

"Turbulence is everywhere," says Professor Beverley McKeon—from continent-spanning weather systems down to the swirls of air your car leaves behind itself as you drive. "I think about things like ships, planes, and pipelines," she explains, noting that about half of the energy consumed by each of those three transportation systems goes to counteract turbulence-induced drag. In her Watson Lecture she notes that finding a way to reduce that turbulence by 30 percent would save the global economy well over $100,000,000 dollars in fuel costs annually. [Learn More]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT Beverley McKeon

A Tissue-engineered Jellyfish with Biomimetic Propulsion

07-23-12

Graduate student Janna C. Nawroth, working with Professor John Dabiri and colleagues at Harvard, has turned solid element—silicon—and muscle cells into a freely swimming jellyfish.

"It is fascinating to witness the evolution of the Dabiri group's research from their initial ground-breaking work in understanding the fluid dynamics of jellyfish propulsion to the building of these complex engineered systems using biological materials," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT health John Dabiri Janna Nawroth

Winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced

06-14-12

The student winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special luncheon with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Philip Romero received the prize in Biotechnology for his work on developing statistical models of proteins with Frances Arnold. Michael Mello was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Ares Rosakis on developing a novel methodology for identifying the unique ground motion signatures of supershear earthquakes. Leslie O’Leary received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her pathbreaking work on the properties of semiconductor interfaces with Nate Lewis and Bob Grubbs. This year there were two winners for the prize in Nanotechnology. One winner was Andrew Jennings for his experimental and modeling work in nanomechanics with Julia Greer. The other winner of the Nanotechnology prize was Jordan Raney who has worked with Chiara Daraio to develop new chemical synthesis methods to control the properties of carbon nanotubes.

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT MCE Nate Lewis Julia Greer Ares Rosakis Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Philip Romero Frances Arnold. Michael Mello Leslie O’Leary Bob Grubbs Andrew Jennings Jordan Raney

Paul MacCready Papers to be Digitized

05-06-12

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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Tags: research highlights GALCIT alumni Paul MacCready

Naturally Inspired

01-04-12

Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bioinspired Engineering, and colleagues are studying the properties of the zebrafish embryonic heart to address problems as diverse as ringing in the ears and overheated electronics. They have also developed the first pump built entirely from biological building blocks. “We can actually be more clever than nature,” Gharib says. “We can get inspired by nature and use engineering to come up with better functions. Just look at 747s—they fly from LAX to La Guardia much more efficiently than any bird could.” [E&S Article]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT MedE health Morteza Gharib Bioinspired

Visualizing Flow Fields

09-22-11

The research of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, on visualizing flow fields around jelly fish and ocean circulation is featured in the recent issue of the National Geographic Magazine. [Excerpt from magazine]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri

Building A Wind Tunnel To Produce Shear Flow

08-24-11

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) student, Yuyang Fan, working with Research Scientist Daegyoum Kim and Professor Morteza Gharib, has built a wind tunnel that produces shear flow—flow in which wind speed changes with position or time.  The tunnel is six feet long, four feet wide, and four feet tall.  It is made from 100 coaster-sized computer fans that blow air at around nine meters per second. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT Morteza Gharib SURF Yuyang Fan Daegyoum Kim