News & Events


Caltech Researchers Create "Sound Bullets"


Alessandro Spadoni, Postdoctoral Scholar, and Chiara Daraio, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, have built a nonlinear acoustic lens that produces highly focused, high-amplitude acoustic signals dubbed "sound bullets." The combination of the acoustic lens and sound bullets have "the potential to revolutionize applications from medical imaging and therapy to the nondestructive evaluation of materials and engineering systems," says Professor Daraio. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT health Alessandro Spadoni

Beverely McKeon Shares Her Perspectives on Controlling Turbulence in Science Magazine


Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics, shares her perspectives on controlling turbulence in the March 2010 issue of Science. Professor McKeon states, "more than 100 years after Osborne Reynolds's seminal experiments on the transition of flow through a pipe from a laminar to a turbulent state, the exact physical mechanism that drives this phenomenon still vexes the fluid mechanics community." [Science Magazine Article]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Beverley McKeon

Sergio Pellegrino Receives NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award


Sergio Pellegrino, Professor of Aeronautics and Civil Engineering and Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist, has received the NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award as a member of the superpressure balloon team. The award is for sound engineering and operational development, outstanding teamwork, and perseverance in building a new scientific balloon capability for NASA.

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT MCE Sergio Pellegrino

Sandra Troian and Mathias Dietzel Solve Decade-Long Mystery of Nanopillar Formations


Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Mathias Dietzel have uncovered the physical mechanism by which arrays of nanoscale pillars can be grown on polymer films with very high precision, in potentially limitless patterns. "This is an example of how basic understanding of the principles of physics and mechanics can lead to unexpected discoveries which may have far-reaching, practical implications," said Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. "This is the real strength of the EAS division." [Caltech Press Release] [video] [Download real player]

Tags: APhMS research highlights GALCIT MCE Sandra Troian

John Dabiri and Kakani Katija Link Tiny Sea Creatures to Large-scale Ocean Mixing


John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, and graduate student Kakani Katija have discovered a new mechanism that explains how some of the ocean's tiniest swimming animals can have a huge impact on large-scale ocean mixing. Dabiri describes, "we've been studying swimming animals for quite some time, the perspective we usually take is that of how the ocean—by its currents, temperature, and chemistry—is affecting the animals. But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important—how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment." Ares Rosakis, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering and chair of the EAS Division described the research as, "truly reflective of the type of exciting, without-boundaries research at which Caltech engineering professors excel." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri

Professor Ares Rosakis Featured in a Documentary


Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Hiroo Kanamori, John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, with their students and colleagues will be featured in the documentary How the Earth Was Made airing on the History Channel on February 10, 6pm (PST) or 9:00pm (EST). The segment concerns the San Andreas fault and features a part which was filmed in the Solid Dynamics Lab at GALCIT. It also features an interview on supershear earthquake ruptures with Rosakis and Kanamori.

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Morteza Gharib and Abbas Nasiraei Moghaddam Show Function of Helical Band in Heart


Using an MRI technique, Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bioengineering, and his colleague Abbas Nasiraei Moghaddam, a Caltech graduate and visitor in Bioengineering, were able to create some of the first dynamic images of normal heart muscle in action at the tissue level. They showed that a muscular band--which wraps around the inner chambers of the heart in a helix--is actually a sort of twisting highway along which each contraction of the heart travels. "We tagged and traced small tissue elements in the heart, and looked at them in space, so we could see how they moved when the heart contracts," Gharib explains. "In this way, we were able to see where the maximum physical contraction occurs in the heart and when--and to show that it follows this intriguing helical loop." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE health Morteza Gharib

John Dabiri Named One of "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science Magazine


John Dabiri, assistant professor of aeronautics and bioengineering, has been named one of "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science Magazine. Dabiri is the youngest scientist on the list at just 28 years of age. Dubbed "the jellyfish engineer" by the magazine, he garnered the award for his studies of the intricacies of jellyfish locomotion. Using a custom-built, high-definition video camera and a water-particle-illuminating laser, Dabiri and his colleagues are able to examine the fluid dynamics that determine how jellyfish propel themselves through their watery environment. Their hope is that those insights will be used to improve the designs of nonbiological systems as diverse as military submarines and onshore windmills. [Popular Science Article]

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri fluid dynamics

Morteza Gharib Honored with R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Award


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and professor of bioengineering, and his team has been honored with R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Award recognizing significant new technologies from the past year. The team designed a three-dimensional camera with a vast array of possibilities, ranging from 3-D movement tracking for rehabilitation to underwater surveillance. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT Morteza Gharib

Recent Cover Story in Science News Highlights the Work John Dabiri


550 million years of jet-setting (and jet paddling): modes of jellyfish propulsion are finally being understood and used for engineering inspiration. Read the recent cover story in Science News that highlights
the work of Professor John Dabiri.

Tags: research highlights GALCIT John Dabiri