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Michael Gonzalez Receives 2022 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

06-23-22

Michael Gonzalez, advised by Joel Burdick, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, is one of four recipients of the 2022 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Michael is interested in the crossover between Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, focusing specifically on the widespread applications of robotics. This summer, Michael will be working as a SURF fellow under Professor Soon-Jo Chung with a focus on revamping the ARCG’s autonomous flying ambulance. 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 MCE CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Soon-Jo Chung Michael Gonzalez

Benedikt Barthel Receives 2022 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award

06-17-22

Benedikt Barthel, a graduate student working with Professor Beverley McKeon, is a recipient of the 2022 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. At Caltech he worked on the resolvent based analysis of turbulent flows. His work focuses on using variational, and optimization-based methods to extend the resolvent framework to the modeling of nonlinear dynamics. He is particularly interested in analytical and asymptotic methods, and how these can be combined with numerical, and data driven methods to derive simple yet useful models of complex physical phenomena. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

Tags: honors GALCIT Beverley McKeon Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award Benedikt Barthel

Lab Earthquakes Show How Grains at Fault Boundaries Lead to Major Quakes

06-07-22

By simulating earthquakes in a lab, Caltech engineers have provided strong experimental support for a form of earthquake propagation now thought responsible for the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that devastated the coast of Japan in 2011. "Our novel experimental approach has enabled us to look into the earthquake process up close, and to uncover key features of rupture propagation and friction evolution in rock gouge," says Vito Rubino, research scientist and lead author of the Nature paper. The Nature paper is titled "Intermittent lab earthquakes in dynamically weakening fault gouge." Rubino and his co-authors Nadia Lapusta, Lawrence A. Hanson, Jr., Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, show that so-called "stable" or "creeping" faults are not actually immune to major ruptures after all, as previously suspected. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis Nadia Lapusta Vito Rubino

Winners of the 2022 New Horizons Award Announced

06-01-22

The winners of the 2022 New Horizons Award were announced at the end of this academic year. Haley Bauser was recognized for sustained dedication and commitment to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, which inspired conversations and actions from members of EAS and the broader campus community. Adam Blank was recognized for efforts to advocate for and improve the student experience at Caltech, especially for students from backgrounds that have been historically marginalized in STEM. Heather Lukas was recognized for Founding Womxn in EAS and campus efforts in support of gender equity, and for sustained service to Caltech and the broader community. Emily Palmer was recognized for the development of a new seminar series and discussion group on History, Ethics and Identity in STEM and for demonstrating that the engineering curriculum can be expanded to include social, historic and political dimensions. Elizabeth Qian was recognized for a conscientious approach to teaching and mentoring, for cultivating positive camaraderie and awareness in her research group, and for contributions to the CMS department’s examination of its culture and policies.

Tags: honors GALCIT MedE CMS Adam Blank Haley Bauser Heather Lukas Emily Palmer Elizabeth Qian

The 2022 Caltech Space Challenge—to Titan and Back

05-26-22

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only planetary body in our solar system besides Earth where there is clear evidence of surface liquid. This is an essential element to life as we know it and makes Titan a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life. Two teams of 16 space exploration enthusiasts, including five Caltech students along with university students from around the globe, were given five days to design an autonomous mission to collect three different samples from Titan. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Brit Wylie Maximilian Adang Lucas Pabarcius Liam Heidt Josefine Graebener Eric Smith Theresa Marlin

Rapid Adaptation of Deep Learning Teaches Drones to Survive Any Weather

05-05-22

To be truly useful, drones—that is, autonomous flying vehicles—will need to learn to navigate real-world weather and wind conditions. A team of engineers from Caltech has developed Neural-Fly, a deep-learning method that can help drones cope with new and unknown wind conditions in real time just by updating a few key parameters. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Yisong Yue Soon-Jo Chung Animashree Anandkumar Xichen Shi Guanya Shi Michael O'Connell Kamyar Azizzadenesheli

What Is the Future of Wind Energy?

04-21-22

Humans have used windmills to capture the force of the wind as mechanical energy for more than 1,300 years. Unlike early windmills, however, modern wind turbines use generators and other components to convert energy from the spinning blades into a smooth flow of AC electricity. In this video, John Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering discusses the future of wind energy technology. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE John Dabiri

Student-Led Lunar Architecture Team Named Finalist in NASA Competition for Second Consecutive Year

04-12-22

Caused by collisions from asteroids, comets, and other astronomical objects, lunar craters give our moon its characteristic pockmarked façade. These craters hold the materials necessary for building sustained human settlements on the moon. Accessing the materials inside lunar craters is no easy task. NASA seeks new ways of getting around the moon that do not rely on wheels. The agency's Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge asks university teams to go beyond wheeled rovers and create new solutions to the problem of traversing lunar craters. A team of more than 30 Caltech undergraduates in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science is among seven 2022 BIG Idea finalists. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT MCE Harry Atwater CMS Soon-Jo Chung Brit Wylie Luis Pabon Rithvik Musuku Kaila Coimbra Polina Verkhovodova Tyler Colenbrander Lucas Pabarcius Calle Junker Sravani Boggaram Matticus Brown Sean Chang Bobby Daigle Nico Jimenez-Lozano Alec Laprevotte Joshua Lee Moya Ly Amrita Mayavaram Robert Menezes Nathan Ng Dilichi Nwankwo Jedi Alindogan Diego Attra Sulekha Kishore Aramis Mendoza Winter Pearson Jules Penot Kemal Pulungan Purvi Sehgal Parul Singh Aiden Swann Malcolm Tisdale Tomas Wexler Brooklyn Williams Benjamin Zeng Isabella Zuniga

Professor Bae Awarded Outstanding Referee by Physical Review

04-06-22

H. Jane Bae, Assistant Professor of Aerospace, has been awarded Outstanding Referee by the Physical Review. The Outstanding Referee program was instituted in 2008 to recognize scientists who have been exceptionally helpful in assessing manuscripts for publication in the American Physical Society (APS) journals. By means of the program, APS expresses its appreciation to all referees, whose efforts in peer review not only keep the standards of the journals at a high level, but in many cases also help authors to improve the quality and readability of their articles – even those that are not published by APS. [2022 Outstanding Referees]

Tags: honors GALCIT H. Jane Bae

Michael M. Watkins Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

02-17-22

Michael M. Watkins, Professor of Aerospace and Geophysics, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Watkins was elected for "leadership in the development of space geodesy and leading robotic missions for exploration of the Earth and planetary bodies." Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education." [NAE release] [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT Michael Watkins