News & Events


Ali Hajimiri Wins Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching


Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Co-Director, Space-Based Solar Power Project, has won the 2019 Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Caltech's most prestigious teaching honor, the prize was established in 1993 "to honor annually a professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching." 

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Graduate Student Wins First Place At Ferro2019


Mechanical engineering graduate student Ying Shi Teh, advised by Professor Kaushik Bhattacharya, has won first place for her poster presentation at the Fundamental Physics of Ferroelectrics and related materials workshop (Ferro2019). Her poster featured her work on modeling the photovoltaic effect in multi-domain ferroelectric perovskite oxides. The Ferro2019 is the 30th in the series of workshops that has gathered the world’s leading theorists and experimentalists working in the field of ferroelectrics and related materials every year since 1990. [List of award recipients]

Tags: honors MCE Kaushik Bhattacharya Ying Shi Teh

Professor Vaidyanathan Elected to the National Academy of Engineering


P. P. Vaidyanathan, Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Vaidyanathan was elected for “contributions to digital filter bank theory and design.” 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]

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Professor Pellegrino Named Distinguished Visiting Professor At University of Colorado Boulder


Sergio Pellegrino, Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist; Co-Director, Space-Based Solar Power Project, has been named the inaugural Michael M. Byram Distinguished Visiting Professor at University of Colorado (CU) Boulder’s Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department. The professorship brings internationally-renowned external researchers for one or two semesters each year to CU to teach classes, host seminars, and collaborate with the faculty, further amplifying the research impact of the department. [CU Researchpalooza]

Tags: honors GALCIT Sergio Pellegrino

New Materials Exhibit Split Personality


Julia Greer, Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering, and colleagues have determined that the failure of architected materials—the point at which they break when compressed or stretched—can be described using classical continuum mechanics, which models the behavior of a material as a continuous mass rather than as individual (or "discrete") particles. This finding implies a duality to the nature of these materials—in that they can be thought of both as individual particles and also as a single collective. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Julia Greer

Daniel Assumpcao Named Churchill Scholar


Electrical Engineering student Daniel Assumpcao has been named a Churchill Scholar. The scholarship funds one year of graduate study in a STEM field at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge. At Caltech, Daniel studies quantum plasmonics under the supervision of Hyuck Choo, Visiting Associate in Electrical Engineering. Daniel will complete an MPhil in physics at the University of Cambridge working at the university's NanoPhotonics Centre. [Caltech story]

The Moving Earth, Micro to Mega


Nadia Lapusta, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, creates computer models of earthquakes by integrating an astonishing range of data—on scales from thousands of kilometers down to microns and from millennia down to thousandths of a second. “You have to understand the mechanics across the entire earthquake system, starting at the micrometer scale,” says Professor Lapusta. “This is the challenge.” Her numerical models rely upon field observations, seismic monitoring, lab experiments, and theoretical science, while complementing those endeavors with a new perspective. The predictions expand researchers’ view beyond the limits of direct observation—which is important for events that occur across thousands of years. [Breakthrough story] [ENGenious story]

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Meet the 2018 Amazon Fellows


The Amazon Fellows program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon AWS around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The 2018 Amazon fellows are Ehsan Abbasi, Gautam Goel, Jonathan Kenny, Palma London, and Xiaobin Xiong. Abbasi is interest in contributing to a deeper understanding of convex and non-convex learning methods in AI and is an Electrical Engineering graduate student working with Professor Babak Hassibi. Goel’s research interest is at the interface of the theory and practice of machine learning and is advised by Professor Adam Wierman. London is also working with Professor Wierman. She is developing efficient algorithms for solving extremely large optimization problems. The methods are applicable to distributed and parallel optimization. For example in a distributed data center setting, the algorithms are robust to unreliable data transfer between data centers and take into account privacy concerns. Kenny is a Computation & Neural Systems graduate student working with Professor Thanos Siapas on deep neural networks to identify and classify brain states. Xiong is a mechanical engineering graduate student who enjoys working on real physical robots, to make them walk, jump, and run in real life. He is advised by Professor Aaron Ames and their research is focused on robotic bipedal locomotion

Tags: EE honors MCE CMS Adam Wierman Babak Hassibi Thanos Siapas Aaron Ames Ehsan Abbasi Gautam Goel Jonathan Kenny Palma London Xiaobin Xiong

Creating a "Virtual Seismologist"


Professor Yisong Yue is collaborating with Caltech seismologists to use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the automated processes that identify earthquake waves and assess the strength, speed, and direction of shaking in real time. Professor Yue explains, “the reasons why AI can be a good tool have to do with scale and complexity coupled with an abundant amount of data. Earthquake monitoring systems generate massive data sets that need to be processed in order to provide useful information to scientists. AI can do that faster and more accurately than humans can, and even find patterns that would otherwise escape the human eye.” [Read the full Q&A]

Tags: research highlights CMS Yisong Yue Egill Hauksson Zachary Ross Men-Andrin Meier

Community College Students Thrive at Caltech


This summer, Maria Hernandez—a student at Santa Monica Community College—lived in Caltech student housing and spent her days in Professor Beverley McKeon's lab, building an autonomous submersible robot from scratch. This was the second summer in a row that Hernandez participated in a program through the nonprofit organization Base 11, which connects high-achieving, underrepresented students from community colleges throughout the country with top research institutions like Caltech. "This program gave me the inspiration to become an engineer," says Hernandez, now in her fourth year of college. "Throughout high school, I was always good at math, but I never really knew what engineering was. The closest thing to an engineer in the community I grew up in was a mechanic." [Caltech story] [ENGenious snap shot]

Tags: GALCIT Beverley McKeon teaching Maria Hernandez