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Professor Fredric Raichlen Passes Away

12-16-14

Fredric Raichlen, Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on December 13, 2014 at age 82. He was an expert on the mechanics of tsunamis, the waves created by underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geologic events. He was also one of the founding faculty members of Caltech's doctoral program in environmental engineering science. [Caltech Obituary] [ENGenious profile of Prof. Raichlen’s student]

Tags: MCE EAS history ESE Fredric Raichlen

Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics

11-10-14

Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have identified a source of electronic noise that could affect the functioning of instruments operating at very low temperatures, such as devices used in radio telescopes and advanced physics experiments. The team's findings also suggest that it may be possible to develop engineering strategies to make phonon heat transfer more efficient at low temperatures. For example, one possibility might be to change the design of transistors so that phonon generation takes place over a broader volume. "If you can make the phonon generation more spread out, then in principle you could reduce the temperature rise that occurs," Professor Minnich says. "We don't know what the precise strategy will be yet, but now we know the direction we should be going. That's an improvement." [Caltech release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Austin Minnich

Dr. Josette Bellan Receives JPL Magellan Award for Excellence

10-22-14

Josette Bellan, Caltech Visiting Associate in Mechanical and Civil Engineering as well as Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), has received the Magellan Award for Excellence for the development of new Large Eddy Simulation methodologies for particle laden and supercritical mixing layers. The Magellan Award is the highest JPL award presented to an individual for her scientific or technical accomplishments.

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Tags: honors research highlights MCE JPL Josette Bellan

Seismology and Resilient Infrastructure

10-10-14

Domniki Asimaki, Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, is interested in the behavior of geotechnical systems under the influence of forces such as wind, waves, and seismological activity. Using this information, she hopes to make predictive computer models that can lead to the design of an infrastructure that is resilient to natural and man-made hazards. Her work also relates to the harvesting of wind energy and she explains, “People like myself with an engineering background, but also with scientific curiosity, can work in areas like this and set the performance and design standards from scratch. But because the energy-harvesting industry is just starting out, we need to make it innovative while still financially feasible.” [Interview with Professor Asimaki] [ENGenious article]

Tags: research highlights MCE Domniki Asimaki

Ceramics Don't Have To Be Brittle

09-11-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and her colleagues are on the path to developing materials that possess unheard-of combinations of properties. "Ceramics have always been thought to be heavy and brittle," says Professor Greer. "We're showing that in fact, they don't have to be either. This very clearly demonstrates that if you use the concept of the nanoscale to create structures and then use those nanostructures like LEGO to construct larger materials, you can obtain nearly any set of properties you want. You can create materials by design." [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Julia Greer

Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List

09-11-14

Caltech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs have been ranked fourth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Engineering graduate programs ranked very well with second in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical, third in mechanical, third in applied math, fourth in electrical / electronic / communications, sixth in materials, and eight in environmental / environmental health. [All 2015 Caltech Rankings]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE CMS ESE Graduate school rankings

Professor Iwan Honored by Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

08-07-14

Wilfred Iwan, Professor of Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, has been selected as an honorary member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). Honorary memberships are awarded in recognition of sustained and outstanding contributions to the field of earthquake engineering. Professor Iwan’s research focuses on fundamental areas of mechanics, understanding and characterization of strong earthquake ground motion, analysis and monitoring of the response of structural systems subjected to extreme events, and public policy regarding disasters.

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Tags: honors research highlights MCE Wilfred Iwan

Highly Cited

06-20-14

The Thomson Reuters compilation of the most highly cited researchers— those in the top 1%—from the period 2002–2012 include EAS professors Harry Atwater, Richard Murray, Joel Tropp, John Seinfeld, Kerry Vahala, and Paul Wennberg. Other Caltech professors were also among the top 1%—including Colin Camerer, Mark Davis, Richard Ellis, William Goddard, Robert Grubbs, Hiroo Kanamori, Jeff Kimble, John O’Doherty, and Charles Steidel. This compilation aims to identify researchers with exceptional impact on their respective fields.  [Detailed information on the methodology]

Tags: APhMS honors MCE Harry Atwater CMS ESE Paul Wennberg John Seinfeld Joel Tropp Kerry Vahala Richard Murray

Professor Ravichandran Receives SEM Murray Lecture and Medal

06-05-14

Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of GALCIT, has been awarded the Society of Experimental Mechanics (SEM) William M. Murray Lecture and Medal. He delivered the 2014 Murray Lecture entitled, Three-Dimensional Quantitative Visualization: Application to Studying Cell-Matrix Interactions, on June 3, 2014 during the SEM Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics. The award was made in recognition of his pioneering contributions in experimental mechanics of deformation, damage and failure of materials under multiaxial dynamic loading. The Murray Lecture is the highest distinction awarded by SEM and is the prestige lecture of its annual conference.  The Murray Lecture was established in 1952 in honor of the first President of SEM, William MacGregor Murray who was a Professor and Executive Officer of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

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Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran Ares Rosakis Wolfgang Knauss

Professor Greer Named One of Most Creative People in 2014

05-13-14

Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in 2014. "What if you could fabricate nanotrusses--materials made up of tiny, intricate geometric structures linked together--in a way that might resemble, say, the webwork of the Eiffel Tower?" describes Professor Greer. [Fast Company release] [research highlight]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Julia Greer