News & Events


Professor Fredric Raichlen Passes Away


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]

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Professor Greer Receives Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and graduate student Lucas R. Meza’s paper entitled “Mechanical characterization of hollow ceramic nanolattices” is the winner of the 2014 Journal of Materials Science Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize. The prize recognizes a truly exceptional original research paper published in the journal in a particular calendar year. The winning paper is selected from the twelve finalists by a panel of distinguished materials scientists

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Professor Ravichandran Receives the Warner T. Koiter Medal


Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, as well as Director of GALCIT, has been awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Warner T. Koiter Medal. He received the medal, “for outstanding scientific, engineering, and mentoring contributions in the areas of ultra-high strain rate mechanics of ceramics and metals, and pioneering and innovative experiments to advance our understanding of coupled phenomena in the fields of smart materials and cellular mechanics.”

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Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics


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]

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Professor Rosakis Elected to Academia Europaea


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering as well as the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in the section of Physics and Engineering Sciences. The Academia Europaea was founded in 1988 and is an organization of eminent, individual scholars from across the continent of Europe. The 3000 members cover a wide range of academic disciplines including the humanities, social, physical and life sciences as well as mathematics, engineering and medicine. In addition to Professor Ares Rosakis, Caltech's Provost Edward Stolper, the Institute's past president David Baltimore, and Professor Alexander Varshavsky are members of the Academy.

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Dr. Josette Bellan Receives JPL Magellan Award for Excellence


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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Seismology and Resilient Infrastructure


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]

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Professor Andrade Elected to Engineering Mechanics’ Board of Governors


José E. Andrade, Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected as a member of the Board of Governors for the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) . The goal of the EMI is to stimulate and support mechanics-related activities by enabling new technologies, developing rational and quantitative decision-making paradigms, advancing mechanics as a science, and playing key roles in the education of university students and practicing engineers.

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Professor Greer Awarded the Kavli Early Career Lecture in Nanoscience


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been awarded the Kavli Early Career Lecture in Nanoscience. This honor recognizes significant novel contributions to materials science by a young researcher in the early stages of her career. Professor Greer’s nomination emphasized her creative, ingenious, and elegant work in nanoscience.

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Ceramics Don't Have To Be Brittle


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]

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