Beverley McKeon, Professor of Aeronautics and Associate Director of GALCIT, and her colleagues have developed a new and improved way of looking at the composition of turbulence near walls, the type of flow that dominates our everyday life. "This kind of turbulence is responsible for a large amount of the fuel that is burned to move humans, freight, and fluids such as water, oil, and natural gas, around the world," Professor Mckeon describes. They have devised a new method of looking at wall turbulence by reformulating the equations that govern the motion of fluids—called the Navier-Stokes equations—into an infinite set of smaller, simpler subequations, or "blocks," with the characteristic that they can be simply added together to introduce more complexity and eventually get back to the full equations. [Caltech Release]
With a $10 million gift, the Los Angeles–based Otis Booth Foundation has created and endowed the Otis Booth Leadership Chair for the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) at Caltech. "The first funds from the endowment will support time-sensitive research that is too high risk for most traditional grants," says Chair Ares Rosakis, the inaugural holder of the Booth Leadership Chair. "I am excited to see what inventions and ideas become realities as Dr. Rosakis and his successors at the helm of EAS use this endowment now and far into the future," says Lynn Booth, president of the Otis Booth Foundation, a Caltech trustee, and a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist. [Caltech Release]
Ian Jacobi, a graduate student working with Professor Beverley McKeon, is the recipient of the 2013 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. Dr. Jacobi has studied the effect of roughness-based forcing on the turbulent boundary layer and investigated means by which macroscopic perturbation of the boundary layer can be used to control the small-scale flow physics important for the reduction of viscous drag. He is continuing his studies in fluid mechanics as a post-doctoral scholar at Princeton University, where he is exploring drag reduction from the perspective of low-Reynolds number micro-fluidic devices. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.
Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award
Caltech's 119th Commencement Ceremony was held on Friday, June 14th, 2013 celebrated the accomplishments of 588 graduates, awarding 256 bachelor's degrees, 96 master's degrees, 2 engineer degrees, and 236 doctoral degrees. The graduates were addressed by the University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman. She used the life and career of Caltech alumnus Frank Robert Capra, one of America's most powerful directors during the 1930s and the directory of It's a Wonderful Life (1946), to inspire the graduating students. She emphasized the main message of the movie "that each of us touches more than we can appreciate". [Facts about the class of 2013]
John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, has big plans for a high school in San Pedro, military bases in California, and a small village on Bristol Bay, Alaska. "We have been able to demonstrate that using wind turbines that are 30 feet tall, as opposed to 300 feet tall, could generate sufficient power for wind-farm applications," Dabiri says. "One of the areas where these smaller turbines can have an immediate impact is in the military." The Office of Naval Research is funding a three-year project by Dabiri's group to test the smaller vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) and to further develop software tools to determine their optimal placement. "We believe that these smaller turbines provide the opportunity to generate renewable power while being complementary to the ongoing activities at the base," Dabiri explains. [Learn More]