Donald S. Cohen, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on January 9, 2020, at the age of 85. Cohen was one of the first faculty members recruited for Caltech's newly formed applied mathematics program in 1965. He was named associate professor of applied mathematics in 1967 and earned tenure in 1971. His research covered a variety of topics, including early work in the theory of reaction-diffusion equations. His later research in nonlinear differential equations, pattern formation, stability, and bifurcations had a significant impact on mathematical biology and chemical engineering. Cohen was a popular teacher who received awards for undergraduate teaching excellence in 1979, 1987, and 1998; in 2000, he was awarded the Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. [Caltech story]
Yuan-Cheng "Bert" Fung passed away on December 15th, 2019, at the age of 100. Dr. Fung received his Ph.D. (1948) in Aeronautics from Caltech and served on the GALCIT faculty until 1966. He then joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego where he founded the Bioengineering program. He made ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the mechanics of living tissues and is known as the father of Biomechanics. He was an elected member of all three branches of the National Academies: Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Fung received Caltech’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. Among his many honors, he was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2000. [Full obituary, UCSD]
Manuel P. Soriaga, Research Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, passed away on July 17, 2019. As a principal investigator in Caltech's Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), Soriaga studied electrochemical reactions that make artificial photosynthesis possible. "Manny’s accomplishments as a surface scientist were peerless and of the highest quality, and he made essential and indispensable contributions to JCAP’s mission," says Professor Harry Atwater. "All who knew him well will also remember with fondness the warmth and humor that he brought to his work and life." [Caltech story]
Robert J. McEliece (BS '64, PhD '67), Caltech alumnus and Allen E. Puckett Professor and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on May 8, 2019 at the age of 76. "Bob McEliece was renowned for his contributions to a wide range of problems in information transmission and storage," said EAS Chair Ravichandran. "His contributions are drivers for numerous applications in modern communications. He was an outstanding researcher and a beloved and inspiring teacher, mentor, and colleague." [Caltech story]
Carver Mead, one of the fathers of modern computing, combines memoir and instruction in new video series. "My feeling is that these days, if it's not on the web, it doesn't exist," Professor Mead says of the decision to launch the new video channel. The video series is available for free on YouTube, and aims to provide a better understanding of the birth and evolution of modern computing, as told by one of its key participants and witnesses. [Caltech story]
Joel (J.N.) Franklin, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on November 18, 2017 at the age of 87. Professor Franklin joined Caltech in 1957 and worked closely with Gilbert McCann, professor of applied science, who was one of the early champions of computing at Caltech (and inventor of an analog computer in 1946). Professor Dan Meiron recalls, "Joel excelled as a scholar and researcher … if any of us in applied math—and the Institute in general—had any questions about matrix theory, linear programming, etc. we could consult with Joel and he always pointed us to the relevant results often connected to work he had done in the past." [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]
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.
Bob Cannon, Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science from 1974-1979, and Charles Lee Powell Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Emeritus, at Stanford University, passed away on August 15, at 93. He led a full, fascinating life – and at Caltech is remembered as an upbeat and enthusiastic division chair who was greatly supportive of young faculty.