For the first time, Professor Morteza Gharib and colleagues have created a stable ring of plasma in open air using just a stream of water and a crystal plate. The team fired the water jet at surfaces of different textures and found that the smoother the surface, the clearer the structure of the plasma ring. The ring is stable, and as long as the water continues to flow, the ring maintains its shape and size. [Caltech story]
Listen to Professor Mathieu Desbrun’s conversation about the history and future of computer graphics research with Ed Catmull (co-founder, Pixar Animation Studios; president, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Tony DeRose (senior scientist, Pixar Animation Studios). [SIGGRAPH Spotlight: Episode 6]
Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have improved a technique for taking three-dimensional (3-D) microscopic images of tissue, allowing them to see inside living creatures with greater precision than before. "This gives us the ability to look through opaque materials and see what's inside," Professor Wang says. "It's like an extension of the human eye, like Superman's X-ray vision." [Caltech story]
Caltech's Hixon Writing Center team has expanded to include two STEM writing specialists, Christina Birch who has a PhD in biological engineering from MIT and Erin Burkett who has a PhD in geophysics from UC Davis. Hixon director Susanne Hall describes, “now a student in any scientific discipline can come into the writing center and get help on their academic writing from a tutor with firsthand experience of the styles and genres of scientific communication." The center has also begun a partnership with the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) to bring STEM writing instruction directly into classrooms. "Communication is of fundamental importance for students today, but it's hard to learn in isolation," Professor Adam Wierman says. "Being able to partner with Hixon to embed writing and communication into my course allowed us to teach students at the moment they needed it.” [Caltech story] [ENGenious snap shot on new EAS course E111]
Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, develops efficient techniques to speed up optimization algorithms that underpin machine-learning systems. Speaking about the connections between industry and academia she explains,“bridging the gap between industry and academia is really important. It is a big part of what brought me to Caltech. The sooner we can take theory and deploy it practically, the faster innovation moves and the more impact it can have.” [Interview with Professor Anandkumar]
Take a deep dive into a crucial moment in technological history with Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. In this first of a series of videos being produced by the Caltech Archives, titled 'My First Chip’, Professor Mead tells the story of meeting Gordon Moore, who would soon predict that every year the semiconductor industry would double the number of transistors that could be fabricated on a commercial integrated circuit. Carver Mead and his students worked on the physics of ultra-small transistors, and showed that, in addition to allowing greater density, they ran faster and used less power. This work proved that Moore’s prediction did not violate any laws of physics, and it became known as 'Moore's Law'–the term coined and made famous by Professor Mead.
The Bat Bot, a self-contained robotic bat with soft, articulated wings, created by Professor Soon-Jo Chung and his colleagues has been selected by the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg to be placed in a special exhibit entitled Animals: Respect / Harmony / Subjugation. Professor Chung’s robotic bat will be on special display along with the work of virtuosos like Albrecht Dürer till March 4, 2018.
Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, has been elected as a 2017 Honorary Member of The Optical Society. He was elected for pioneering scientific and engineering contributions to photonics and quantum electronics that have profoundly impacted lightwave communications and the field of optics as a whole. Professor Yariv joins a very select and highly distinguished group of Honorary Members which include George E. Hale in 1916 and R.A. Millikan in 1950 from Caltech. [List of Honorary Members]
This year’s CMS Techfest was attended by five hundred members of the Caltech Community and brought together more than thirty companies and nonprofits developing the latest technologies related to the computing and mathematical sciences. Two thirds of the companies attending were from the local area, eight have Caltech alumni co-founders, CEOs, or CTOs. The main goals of the event were to expose students to the latest technologies and a wide range of career options, building and supporting the CMS alumni network, and supporting the local start-up ecosystem. This year’s Techfest involved a demo fair focused on providing startups, companies, students, postdocs, and faculty with a chance for meaningful interactions with each other. The Partners Program company members including as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Northrop Grumman showed off cutting-edge research, and brand new technologies. Students learned about the breadth of applications for CMS across industries and networked with company representatives.