News & Events
Making the world a better place was the theme of the September 15, 2009 International von Kármán Wings Award ceremony which honored international leaders and aerospace pioneers Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India and distinguished professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, and Yannick d'Escatha, chairman and chief executive officer of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Ares J. Rosakis, chair of the Aerospace Historical Society, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering presented the awards to the honorees and stated, "along with their tremendous accomplishments in aerospace, this year's honorees are leaders in international collaboration, climate monitoring, and energy harvesting". [Caltech Press Release]
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]
In a special White House ceremony, President Obama will be presenting three EAS faculty: John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics, and Joel Tropp, Assistant Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics, with the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). "These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. Dabiri,describes the idea behind his PECASE-winning research as "giving underwater vehicles the enhanced performance of fish (e.g. efficiency, stealth, and maneuverablity) without mimicking the shape and swimming motions of fish. Instead, we replicate the vortex dynamics in the wakes of swimming fish." His "bio-inspired systems" were used by Lydia Ruiz (PhD '09 Mechanical Engineering), to demonstrateincreases in vehicle propulsive efficiency of over 50 percent.
McKeon is receiving the PECASE for her research on fundamental questions in complex turbulent boundary layers. McKeon states that "the ultimate goal is to incorporate recent advances in the understanding of flow physics in order to develop low order models of flow over surfaces for Air Force applications". Tropp's PECASE-winning research "focuses on developing new algorithms for solving inverse problems, a basic challenge that arises throughout the mathematical sciences. Inverse problems also appear in medical imaging, in communication systems, in statistical data analysis, and a host of other areas." He uses tools from modern applied mathematics, such as optimization techniques and randomized algorithms to collect partial information about an object of interest, and incorporate additional background knowledge to develop a complete picture of the object.
Other researchers receiving the PECASE award this year are Joshua K. Willis from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the following Caltech Alumni Elizabeth Boon, (PhD '03 CCE), Markus J. Buehler, (Post doc in CCE) Michael J. Hochberg, (Ph.D. '06 EAS - Applied Physics), Justin K. Romberg, (Post doc in EAS - Applied and Computational Mathematics), Cecilia R. Aragon, (B.S. '82 PMA), Jason Graetz, (Ph.D. '03 EAS - Materials Science), and Ioannis Chasiotis, (Ph.D. '02 EAS - Aerospace).
Hans Wolfgang Liepmann, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away at the age of 94 on June 24. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology. He mentored more than 60 students became leaders in the aerospace industry as well as universities around the world. [Caltech Press Release]
Professor G. Ravichandran, the John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and Director of GALCIT has been elected Fellow of the Society of Experimental Mechanics. Designation as an SEM Fellow is reserved to a select group of individuals that have made notable contributions to the Society and to the field of Experimental Mechanics.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has awarded Anatol Roshko, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, the AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award. This award is presented to honor notable achievement in the field of aeronautical science and engineering. Presentation of the award will take place on May 13, 2009 at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. This annual black-tie event recognizes the most influential and inspiring individuals in aerospace, whose outstanding contributions merit the highest accolades. [View 2009 Recipients]
Caltech Faculty Members and Board Chair Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Caltech professors Marianne Bronner-Fraser and Ares Rosakis, as well as Chairman of the Board Kent Kresa, are among the 210 new fellows elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. They join an assembly that was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholars to provide practical solutions to pressing issues.
Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been named chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, effective May 1. After earning his BSc from University of Oxford and his ScM and PhD from Brown University, Rosakis joined the Caltech faculty in 1982. Since 2004, he has served as director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories (GALCIT). Provost Ed Stolper stated that "his remarkable breadth and the leadership skills he has shown as director of GALCIT have demonstrated the mix of interests, temperament, and skills required to lead the EAS division creatively and effectively as it addresses its needs, opportunities, and challenges in research and education."
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.