News & Events


Bionic Jellyfish Swim Faster and More Efficiently


John Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has developed a tiny prosthetic that enables jellyfish to swim faster and more efficiently than they normally do, without stressing the animals. Dabiri is envisioning a future in which jellyfish equipped with sensors could be directed to explore and record information about the ocean. "Only five to 10 percent of the volume of the ocean has been explored, so we want to take advantage of the fact that jellyfish are everywhere already to make a leap from ship-based measurements, which are limited in number due to their high cost," Dabiri says. "If we can find a way to direct these jellyfish and also equip them with sensors to track things like ocean temperature, salinity, oxygen levels, and so on, we could create a truly global ocean network where each of the jellyfish robots costs a few dollars to instrument and feeds themselves energy from prey already in the ocean." [Caltech story]

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Students Receive KPMG Innovation Award


Amanda R. Bouman and Elena-Sorina Lupu, students in Caltech's Center on Autonomous Systems and Technology (CAST) program, receive the 2019 KMPG Innovation Award. The students are recognized for their extraordinary efforts in exploring interdisciplinary research in the field of autonomy.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Amanda R. Bouman Elena-Sorina Lupu

Bees "Surf" Atop Water


Chris Roh, Research Engineer, working with Professor Morteza Gharib, discovered a unique way that bees navigate the interface between water and air. When a bee lands on water, the water sticks to its wings, robbing it of the ability to fly. However, that stickiness allows the bee to drag water, creating waves that propel it forward."I was very excited to see this behavior and so I brought the honeybee back to the lab to take a look at it more closely," Roh says. [Caltech release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Morteza Gharib Chris Roh

Professor McKeon Unlocked Secrets Behind Turbulence


Beverley McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, has unlocked some of the secrets behind turbulence, a much-studied but difficult-to-pin-down phenomenon that mixes fluids when they flow past a solid boundary. "We knew that, underlying these very complicated structures, there had to be a very simple pattern. We just didn't know what that pattern was until now," says McKeon. [Caltech story]

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New Polymer Heart Valve Implanted in First Patient


Professor Morteza Gharib, has designed a new generation of heart valves that are longer-lasting, cost less to manufacture, and are more biocompatible than options that are currently available to patients. One of the new valves has been implanted into a human for the first time. "This is among my proudest moments. Creating something with the potential to save and improve lives is one of the reasons I became an engineer," Gharib says. [Caltech release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib

Professor Knauss Receives 2019 Founder’s Award


Wolfgang Knauss, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, Emeritus, has received the 2019 Founder’s Award from the International Digital Image Correlation Society (iDICs). It recognizes individuals who have made a pioneering contribution, either through a novel application of image correlation or development of methodologies that have significantly impacted the field. [List of award recipients]

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Professor Ortiz Receives John von Neumann Medal


Michael Ortiz, Frank and Ora Lee Marble Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2019 U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM) John von Neumann Medal "for pioneering and sustained contributions in developing computational methods to elucidate material behavior across length and time scales (atomistic to continuum), development of the quasi-continuum method, and authorship of highly cited articles." This is highest award given by USACM. It honors individuals who have made outstanding, sustained contributions in the field of computational mechanics generally over periods representing substantial portions of their professional careers. [List of award recipients]

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Professor Ortiz Receives Doctorate Honoris Causa from Polytechnic University of Madrid


Michael Ortiz, Frank and Ora Lee Marble Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has received the highest academic distinction from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) in a ceremony chaired by its Rector, Guillermo Cisneros, accompanied by José Manuel Torralba, general director of Universities and Superior Artistic Teachings of the Community of Madrid. Professor Ortiz was recognized as one of the leaders in theoretical and computational solid mechanics. Rector Cisneros stated that the curriculum and life path of Professor Ortiz is "an example of what a true Master - teacher with capital letters - should achieve or at least maintain as a goal. " [elEconomista Coverage]

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Professor Gharib Constructs Leonardo da Vinci's Model of Flow


Leonardo da Vinci studied the motion of blood in the human body. He was interested in the heart’s passive, three-cusp aortic valve, which he realized must be operated by the motion of blood. He theorized that vortices curl back to fill the cusps in the flask-shaped constriction at the aorta’s neck. Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering; Booth-Kresa Leadership Chair, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories; Director, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies, has used modern imaging techniques to demonstrate the existence of the revolving vortices that Leonardo interpreted as closing the valve. [Nature Article]

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David Huynh Receives 2019 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award


David Huynh, a graduate student working with Professor Beverley McKeon, is a recipient of the 2019 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. His doctoral research investigates the interaction between a turbulent boundary layer and a compliant surface through experiments that employed a unique dynamic roughness forcing. 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 David Huynh