News & Events


One-way Transmission System for Sound Waves


Postdoctoral scholar, Georgios Theocharis, and GALCIT alumnus Nicholas Boechler; working with Professor Chiara Daraio, have created the first tunable acoustic diode- a device that allows acoustic information to travel only in one direction, at controllable frequencies. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT Georgios Theocharis Nicholas Boechler

Wind-turbine Placement Produces Tenfold Power Increase


Field tests of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, and colleagues' vertical-axis wind turbines have shown that the power output of wind farms can be increased by an order of magnitude—at least tenfold— by optimizing the placement of turbines on a given plot of land. "Dabiri's bioinspired engineering research is challenging the status quo in wind-energy technology," says Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "This exemplifies how Caltech engineers' innovative approaches are tackling our society's greatest problems." [Caltech Press Release] [Videos of Turbines]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri

Experiments Settle Long-Standing Debate about Mysterious Array Formations in Nanofilms


Sandra M. Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues' experiments have confirmed which of three possible mechanisms is responsible for the spontaneous formation of three-dimensional (3-D) pillar arrays in nanofilms (polymer films that are billionths of a meter thick). "My ultimate goal is to develop a suite of 3-D lithographic techniques based on remote, digital modulation of thermal, electrical, and magnetic surface forces," Troian says. Confirmation of the correct mechanism has allowed her to deduce the maximum resolution or minimum feature size ultimately possible with these patterning techniques. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights GALCIT MCE Sandra Troian

How an Idea Becomes a Business


Students in Ken Pickar's course Entrepreneurial Development (E 102) have the opportunity to identify a technology currently under study at Caltech and develop a business plan for it. The ideas used by the students this year included a solid-state memory technology developed by Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering. In this business plan the students proposed targeting Netflix and other high-volume streaming content providers. Another team pinpointed a new market for the vertical wind turbines of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering. A third team pitched a noninvasive method for breaking up arterial plaques using the concentrated-acoustic-pulse technology developed by Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics. [Caltech Feature]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT Jehoshua Bruck John Dabiri Ken Pickar

Chiara Daraio Named One of Popular Science's Brilliant 10


Chiara Daraio, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, has been named one of Popular Science's Brilliant 10. The article states that Professor Daraio is "brilliant because: she manipulates simple laws of physics to make cancer-destroying 'sound bullets'." [Learn More on page 80-01]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT

Professor Gharib Named Vice Provost


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bio-Inspired Engineering, is the new Vice Provost with a special focus on research. Professor Gharib has made contributions to a wide array of research topics ranging from the fundamental analysis of biological flows, to the development of bio-inspired medical devices, to advanced flow visualization techniques. One of his more unusual studies was his work with a SURF student several years ago where they raised a 30000-pound obelisk into place using a single kite and speculated that the ancient Egyptians may have moved the massive stones from which the pyramids were built and raised obelisks by flying them into place! His breadth, technical strength, and enthusiasm will serve him and Caltech well as he takes on the role of Vice Provost. [Caltech Today Article]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib

2010 World Cup Jubalani Soccer Ball Tested in Wind Tunnel


Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics, and her team test the 2010 World Cup Jubalani soccer ball in the Lucas Adaptive Wall Wind Tunnel. Their results may explain the seemingly unpredictable nature of the ball. [Caltech Press Release and Video]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Beverley McKeon

Avatar Director James Cameron Met With Caltech Faculty and Students


Avatar Director James Cameron met with Caltech faculty and students on May 4, 2010 to discuss a variety of topics including space structure systems, interdisciplinary materials and device research, and cognitive neuroscience. All present were impressed by Mr. Cameron's level of interest and engagement. Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said "if Mr. Cameron was not such an accomplished director I bet he would have made a wonderful engineer."

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis James Cameron

Establishing the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE)


John O. Dabiri, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, has purchased two acres of land north of Los Angeles, where he is establishing the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE). The goal is "to extract significantly more wind energy from a given parcel of land than is currently possible... [by taking] advantage of constructive aerodynamic interference between closely spaced vertical-axis wind turbines." says Dabiri whose inspiration for this project came from observation of schooling fish. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri

Ares Rosakis Receives 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "for pioneering contributions to the field of fracture and failure mechanics of microelectronic, engineering and geological materials and structures, spanning a wide range of length scales; and for visionary leadership in promoting interdisciplinary research and education in mechanical engineering."

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis