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EAS Remembers Roddam Narasimha

12-15-20

Caltech Distinguished Alumnus, Roddam Narasimha, passed away on December 14, 2020, at the age of 87. Dr. Narasimha received his Ph.D. (1961) in Aeronautics from Caltech. He was a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Science, and more recently, the Year-of-Science Chair Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. He was also a former director of the Indian National Aerospace Laboratories. Narasimha was a Clark B. Millikan Visiting Professor and a Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at Caltech. He made outstanding and wide-ranging scientific contributions in fluid mechanics and aerodynamics, and was internationally known for his research in turbulence with applications in geophysical fluid dynamics and atmospheric sciences. Narasimha was a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Royal Society. [Obituary]

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EAS Remembers Jakob van Zyl

08-27-20

Jakob van Zyl, Senior Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering and Aerospace, passed away on August 26, 2020 at the age of 63. He came to Caltech in 1982 and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1983 and 1986, respectively. He joined JPL in 1986 and retired in 2019 as the Director of Solar System Exploration. He was world-renowned for his research in imaging radar polarimetry. He made pioneering contributions to the design and development of many synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems, including SIR-C, SRTM, AIRSAR, TOPSAR, and GeoSAR. He held management roles at JPL including, Director for Astronomy and Physics (2006-2011), Associate Director of Project Formulation and Strategy (2011-2015), and Director of Solar System Exploration (2016-2019). He received many honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 2015 for his contributions to space missions, for being a good ambassador for Africa, and for inspiring young scientists and engineers in his home continent. Over the last two decades, he taught EE/Ae 157 Introduction to the Physics of Remote Sensing. He contributed in numerous ways to promote interactions between EAS and JPL.

Tags: EE GALCIT EAS history alumni Jakob van Zyl

Dr. Susan Wu 1932-2020: GALCIT’s First Female PhD

06-01-20

The GALCIT community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Ying-Chu Lin (Y. C. L. Susan) Wu. She was the first woman to receive her PhD in Aeronautics from Caltech in 1963. She joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) and her research area was in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) Power Generation. In 1982 she became the head of the Energy Conversion Programs. She took early retirement from UTSI in 1988 and founded ERC, Inc., an engineering and scientific company. She received many awards and honors including the Faraday Medal for MHD Power Generation, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Plasma Dynamics and Laser Award, and the Achievement Award by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), associate fellow of AIAA, and Life member of SWE. Dr. Wu received the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.

Tags: GALCIT EAS history alumni

EAS Remembers Yuan-Cheng "Bert" Fung

12-23-19

Yuan-Cheng "Bert" Fung passed away on December 15th, 2019, at the age of 100. Dr. Fung received his Ph.D. (1948) in Aeronautics from Caltech and served on the GALCIT faculty until 1966. He then joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego where he founded the Bioengineering program. He made ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the mechanics of living tissues and is known as the father of Biomechanics. He was an elected member of all three branches of the National Academies: Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Fung received Caltech’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. Among his many honors, he was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2000. [Full obituary, UCSD]

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Joel (J.N.) Franklin Passes Away

11-28-17

Joel (J.N.) Franklin, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on November 18, 2017 at the age of 87. Professor Franklin joined Caltech in 1957 and worked closely with Gilbert McCann, professor of applied science, who was one of the early champions of computing at Caltech (and inventor of an analog computer in 1946). Professor Dan Meiron recalls, "Joel excelled as a scholar and researcher … if any of us in applied math—and the Institute in general—had any questions about matrix theory, linear programming, etc. we could consult with Joel and he always pointed us to the relevant results often connected to work he had done in the past." [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT EAS history CMS Dan Meiron Joel (J.N.) Franklin

Professor Anatol Roshko Passes Away

01-23-17

Anatol Roshko (MS '47, PhD '52), Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, at Caltech, passed away on January 23, 2017. Known for his research in several areas of gas dynamics and fluid mechanics, Professor Roshko made contributions to problems of separated flow, bluff-body aerodynamics, shock-wave boundary-layer interactions, shock-tube technology, and the structure of turbulent shear flows. With pioneering aerodynamics researcher Hans Liepmann, he coauthored the widely used textbook Elements of Gasdynamics, published in 1956. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT EAS history Anatol Roshko

Philip G. Saffman Graduate Fellowship Established

02-01-16

Mrs. Ruth Saffman, in memory of her late husband, Theodore von Kármán Professor Emeritus, Philip G. Saffman (1931-2008), has established the Philip G. Saffman Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Engineering and Applied Science in the area of mechanics. "Philip Saffman was one of the leading figures in fluid mechanics and a giant in the field of vortex dynamics and its applications... His work continues to motivate and influence contemporary research in fluid dynamics, which attests to the power of his pioneering ideas." Said EAS Division Chair G. Ravichandran.  The first recipient of the Saffman Fellowship is GALCIT graduate student Nicholas White.

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Professor Frank Marble Passes Away

08-12-14

Frank E. Marble, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, passed away on August 11, 2014 at age 96. He has made pioneering contributions to combustion in jet propulsion systems, flame stabilization, and propagation of acoustic waves. [Caltech Obituary] [Frank E. Marble Lecture in Aerospace]

Tags: GALCIT MCE EAS history Frank E. Marble

GALCIT Alumnus Allen E. Puckett Passes Away

04-15-14

Allen E. Puckett (PhD ’49 Aeronautics), pioneering aerospace engineer and chairman emeritus of Hughes Aircraft Co., passed away on March 31, 2014. He was one of the engineers who made Hughes Aircraft into the United States’ leading defense electronics firm which dominated in the markets for air defense, radar systems, tactical missiles and satellites. He began his PhD in 1941 at Caltech at the invitation of Theodore von Kármán. While at GALCIT he helped design a new supersonic wind tunnel, the first of its kind in the country. Later, he produced the calculations that led to the development of delta wing theory, which predicts the aerodynamics of supersonic aircraft and continues to be applied in the production of modern aircraft. [LA Times Obituary]

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Professor Coles Passes Away

05-06-13

Donald E. Coles, Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away on May 2, 2013 at the age of 89. Professor Coles made pioneering contributions towards our understanding of boundary layers, turbulent shear flows, bluff-body aerodynamics, and novel experimental methods in fluid dynamics. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society. In 2011 he was honored with the Donald Coles Lecture in Aerospace. He remained active till his passing, working on a book on Turbulent Shear Flow that is very near completion. [Caltech Obituary]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT EAS history Donald Coles