News & Events


2016 SISCA Prize Winners


The Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Dow Chemical Company have awarded a number of exceptional young scientists and engineers with the Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) for outstanding student achievement in sustainability innovation. Graduate students Jinglin Huang and Cong Wang from Professor Gharib’s lab are this year’s runners up for progress in developing a superhydrophobic surface out of carbon nanotubes that will improve the efficiency of solar powered seawater desalination systems. [View past winners]

Tags: honors GALCIT Morteza Gharib Jinglin Huang Cong Wang

GPS Innovator Charles Trimble Receives von Kármán Wings Award


Caltech senior trustee Charles Trimble (BS '63, MS '64), founder and former chief executive officer of Trimble Navigation, Ltd., is the 2016 recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award. He was recognized for his visionary leadership contributions to the aerospace industry, and distinguished service to the nation's defense and aerospace programs. "In addition to his pioneering contributions to GPS commercialization, Charlie has had a big impact on Caltech and JPL," Professor Gharib stated. "As an alumnus and trustee, he deeply understands the needs of Caltech and serves the community with dedication and insight." [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT CMS ESE Morteza Gharib Charles Trimble

Professor McKeon Elected APS Fellow


Beverley McKeon, Professor of Aeronautics and Associate Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) “for experimental and theoretical contributions to advancing the understanding of wall turbulence and for elegant interdisciplinary approaches to modeling and flow manipulation.” [APS Fellow Archive]

Tags: honors GALCIT Beverley McKeon fluid dynamics

Mechanics of Materials Across Nano to Geological Time and Length Scales


A symposium was organized at Brown University on September 16-17, 2016 to celebrate the technical contributions of Professor Ares Rosakis on the occasion of his 60th birthday. The symposium was chaired by Professors Pradeep Guduru, Huajian Gao, and G. Ravichandran. It brought together distinguished engineers and scientists from multiple disciplines to discussion research frontiers relating to the mechanics of materials across nano to geological time and length scales. [Symposium program] [Photos]

Tags: research highlights Guruswami Ravichandran Ares Rosakis Pradeep Guduru Huajian Gao

Modular Space Telescope Could Be Assembled By Robot


Professor Sergio Pellegrino and colleagues including Professor Joel Burdick, are proposing a space observatory with a 100 meters diameter primary mirror. Their design calls for the use of more than 300 deployable truss modules that could be unfolded to form a scaffolding upon which a commensurate number of small mirror plates could be placed to create a large segmented mirror. In this concept, a spider-like, six-armed "hexbot" would assemble the trusswork and then crawl across the structure to build the mirror atop it. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Sergio Pellegrino Joel Burdick

Caltech Mechanics Reunion at International Conference


More than 70 students, faculty, friends, and alums from GALCIT and MCE attended a Caltech Mechanics Reception during the 2016 International Conference on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, which was held in Montreal on August 23, 2016. Attendees ranged from current students to a 1965 Mechanical Engineering undergraduate. All appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with the extended Caltech mechanics family.

Tags: GALCIT MCE alumni

Michael Watkins Joins GALCIT Faculty


Michael Watkins, Director of JPL, has joined the GALCIT faculty as Professor of Aerospace and Geophysics. Professor Watkins holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has published in both engineering and science, contributed more than 100 conference presentations, and serves or served on the boards of numerous international scientific and engineering societies. In addition, he has taught estimation, filtering theory and system engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and at Caltech. [Caltech announcement]

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The Utility of Instability


Professors Dennis M. Kochmann and Chiara Daraio along with colleagues from Harvard have designed and created mechanical chains made of soft matter that can transmit signals across long distances. Because they are flexible, the circuits could be used in machines such as soft robots or lightweight aircraft constructed from pliable, nonmetallic materials. "Engineers tend to shy away from instability. "Though there are many applications, the fundamental principles that we explore are most exciting to me," Kochmann says. "These nonlinear systems show very similar behavior to materials at the atomic scale but these are difficult to access experimentally or computationally. Now we have built a simple macroscale analogue that mimics how they behave." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT MCE Dennis Kochmann

122nd Commencement Ceremony


Caltech’s 122nd commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 10, 2016. The commencement speaker was surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande, MD, MPH. He reminded the graduates that, “today, you become part of the scientific community, arguably the most powerful collective enterprise in human history. In doing so, you also inherit a role in explaining it and helping it reclaim territory of trust at a time when that territory has been shrinking.” He also cautioned them and explained, “the mistake … is to believe that the educational credentials you get today give you any special authority on truth. What you have gained is far more important: an understanding of what real truth-seeking looks like. It is the effort not of a single person but of a group of people—the bigger the better—pursuing ideas with curiosity, inquisitiveness, openness, and discipline.” [The Mistrust of Science]

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Tyler Okamoto Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Mechanical Engineering student Tyler Okamoto, mentored by Professor Sergio Pellegrino, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is working with Professor Pellegrino’s team to build an autonomous reconfigurable space telescope using multiple nanosatellites that align in space to create a camera and mirror assembly. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Sergio Pellegrino Tyler Okamoto