"Turbulence is everywhere," says Professor Beverley McKeon—from continent-spanning weather systems down to the swirls of air your car leaves behind itself as you drive. "I think about things like ships, planes, and pipelines," she explains, noting that about half of the energy consumed by each of those three transportation systems goes to counteract turbulence-induced drag. In her Watson Lecture she notes that finding a way to reduce that turbulence by 30 percent would save the global economy well over $100,000,000 dollars in fuel costs annually. [Learn More]
Dennis Kochmann, Assistant Professor of Aerospace, has received the 2012 International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM) Bureau Prize in Solid Mechanics. The prize is awarded every four years by the union to outstanding young scientists based on their papers and presentations at the international congress. Professor Kochmann's presentation was entitled "Making positive use of instability - ultra-high stiffness and damping composites and structures due to constrained instabilities". The presentation described how engineers can make positive use of mechanical instabilities. While engineering design commonly aims to prevent instabilities of any kind (leading to failure or collapse), controlled and careful use of mechanical instabilities can result in new material and structural systems that possess superior properties such as very high stiffness (meaning minimal deformation under loads) and high damping (meaning any external vibrations are effectively attenuated). [Past Winners of Prize]
Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as the Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been elected into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts under the class of Technical and Environmental Sciences. The Academy focuses on interdisciplinary discussion across specialist areas, ideologies and scientific cultures as well as promoting transnational dialog and visionary developments of new scientific knowledge and academic thinking.
Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, has won a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Daraio was recognized for her "pioneering contributions to nonlinear mechanical phenomena in acoustic crystals, granular material, and multifunctional nanostructures, and for mentoring women and providing research opportunities for high school and undergraduate students."
"The entire Caltech community is proud to see Professor Daraio recognized with this presidential honor, not only for her pioneering research accomplishments, but also for her commitment to students and diversity," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "Even though she is near the beginning of her career she already embodies the key attributes of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech." [Caltech Release]
Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who is also the Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been elected as a 2012 Fellow of American Academy of Mechanics (AAM). He recieved this honor for “his outstanding contributions to the understanding of mechanical behavior of materials under extreme loading environments.”
Graduate student Janna C. Nawroth, working with Professor John Dabiri and colleagues at Harvard, has turned solid element—silicon—and muscle cells into a freely swimming jellyfish.
"It is fascinating to witness the evolution of the Dabiri group's research from their initial ground-breaking work in understanding the fluid dynamics of jellyfish propulsion to the building of these complex engineered systems using biological materials," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Press Release]
For the past few years, students in Professor Sergio Pellegrino's Aerospace Engineering course (Ae105), have helped design, prototype, and test various pieces of AAReST, a space-telescope demonstration mission currently under development. "It's really different from all of our other classes," says Aerospace graduate student Manan Arya. "You're actually doing work that's going to go into space. It's really exciting." [Caltech Feature]
Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the recipient of the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) 2013 P.S. Theocaris Award. This award recognizes a senior professional who is a Fellow of SEM and who has conducted outstanding research throughout his career in the field of experimental mechanics. [Caltech Spotlight] [Caltech Feature]
Philipp Boettcher, a graduate student working with Joe Shepherd, is the recipient of the 2012 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Dr. Boettcher has observed and characterized a new puffing flame instability in premixed initially stagnant flammable mixtures. The award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.