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]
Yue Yang, a graduate student working with Dale Pullin, is the recipient of the 2011 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Dr. Yang has developed a novel Lagrangian formulation and multi-scale diagnostic tools to study fluid turbulence and vortex dynamics. The award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award
G. Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories (GALCIT) has been selected to receive the Chevalier de l'ordre des Palmes Académiques, which is the Knight grade of the French Republic's Order of Academic Palms. Founded by Napoleon in 1808 to honor educators and scholars, this distinction recognizes eminent personalities who have made significant contributions to the development of French culture, science, and education.
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]
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]
Caltech continues to rate among America's top graduate engineering programs, according to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report list of the best grad schools. U.S. News surveyed administrators at more than 1,200 programs and 13,000 academics and professionals to determine the rankings, which place Caltech among the top five schools in the country in several engineering programs, including first in Aeronautical Engineering, fourth in Mechanical Engineering, and fifth in Electrical Engineering. Overall, the engineering graduate program was rated seventh in the nation. The program, which is among the nation's smallest, was singled out as being the most selective, admitting only 9 percent of prospective students. "Given our minute size, these rankings are great," said Chair Ares Rosakis.
Graduate school rankings
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has awarded Hans G. Hornung, C. L. Kelly Johnson Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, the 2011 AIAA Fluid Dynamics Award. This is the highest and most prestigious award given by the AIAA Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee. This award recognizes Professor Hornung's outstanding career accomplishments, specifically his theoretical and experimental contributions to the transition between normal and Mach reflections, and the nonequlibrium boundary layer transition. [Past Recipients]
Graduate student Xiaowei Deng and Sergio Pellegrino, Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Civil Engineering, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist, have received the Best Paper award from the 11th AIAA Gossamer Systems Forum for their technical paper "Wrinkling of Orthotropic Viscoelastic Membranes". [Read the Paper]