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A Worthy Endeavor

09-21-12

The space shuttle Endeavour's final flight ended Friday, September 21, when it landed at Los Angeles International Airport en route to its new life as an exhibit at the California Science Center. But without Caltech professors Christopher Brennen and Allan Acosta and alumnus Sheldon Rubin (ME, '56), the entire endeavor might not have been possible. [Caltech Release] [KTLA 5 Interview with Professor Brennen]

Tags: MCE EAS history Christopher Brennen Allan Acosta

Self-Contained, Photovoltaic Powered Domestic Toilet

08-15-12

Michael Robert Hoffmann, James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science, and his team of graduate students Asghar Aryanfar, Clement Cid, Kangwoo Cho, Daejung Kwon, and Hao Zhang, along with post doctoral scholar Yan Qu have won the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Their winning proposal was to build a toilet that uses the sun to power an electrochemical reactor. The reactor breaks down water and human waste into fertilizer and hydrogen, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells as energy. The treated water can then be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation. [Caltech Feature] [CNN Ideas]

Tags: energy research highlights MCE ESE Michael Hoffmann Asghar Aryanfar Clement Cid Kangwoo Cho Daejung Kwon Hao Zhang Yan Qu

Prof. Ravichandran Inducted into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts

08-10-12

Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering as well as the Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been elected into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts under the class of Technical and Environmental Sciences. The Academy focuses on interdisciplinary discussion across specialist areas, ideologies and scientific cultures as well as promoting transnational dialog and visionary developments of new scientific knowledge and academic thinking.

Tags: GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran

Professor Ravichandran Elected Fellow of AAM

07-23-12

Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who is also the Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been elected as a 2012 Fellow of American Academy of Mechanics (AAM).  He recieved this honor for “his outstanding contributions to the understanding of mechanical behavior of materials under extreme loading environments.” 

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran

Professor Rosakis Receives P.S. Theocaris Award

06-27-12

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the recipient of the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) 2013 P.S. Theocaris Award. This award recognizes a senior professional who is a Fellow of SEM and who has conducted outstanding research throughout his career in the field of experimental mechanics. [Caltech Spotlight] [Caltech Feature

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced

06-14-12

The student winners of the 2012 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special luncheon with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Philip Romero received the prize in Biotechnology for his work on developing statistical models of proteins with Frances Arnold. Michael Mello was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Ares Rosakis on developing a novel methodology for identifying the unique ground motion signatures of supershear earthquakes. Leslie O’Leary received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her pathbreaking work on the properties of semiconductor interfaces with Nate Lewis and Bob Grubbs. This year there were two winners for the prize in Nanotechnology. One winner was Andrew Jennings for his experimental and modeling work in nanomechanics with Julia Greer. The other winner of the Nanotechnology prize was Jordan Raney who has worked with Chiara Daraio to develop new chemical synthesis methods to control the properties of carbon nanotubes.

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT MCE Nate Lewis Julia Greer Ares Rosakis Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Philip Romero Frances Arnold. Michael Mello Leslie O’Leary Bob Grubbs Andrew Jennings Jordan Raney

Walter G. Kortschak Elected to Board of Trustees

06-08-12

Civil Engineering alumnus, venture capitalist, and philanthropist Walter G. Kortschak (MS '82) has been elected to the Board of Trustees of Caltech. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: MCE alumni Walter Kortschak

Finalist for Library Senior Thesis Prize

06-06-12

Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student Robert Karol, who is also minoring in Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, was the finalist for the 2012 Friends of Caltech Libraries Senior Thesis Prize. His thesis is entitled “Peak Seeking Controller for Real Time Mobile Satellite Tracking” and was written under the direction of Professor Richard Murray and Mechanical Engineering alumnus Gunnar Ristroph (BS '06) of IJK Controls.

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Tags: energy research highlights MCE CMS Richard Murray Robert Karol

Better, Stronger, Lighter Armor

05-22-12

Kaushik Bhattacharya, Howell N. Tyson, Sr., Professor of Mechanics and Professor of Materials Science, is the Caltech lead on a $90 million U.S. Army Research Laboratory funded program to improve protective gear and vehicles for soldiers. "…studying materials in very extreme conditions is an area where Caltech engineering really stand out," says Bhattacharya. "The tools we bring, on both the theoretical and experimental sides uniquely bridge deep fundamental principles with unprecedented application.” [Caltech Feature]

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Tags: APhMS GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran Julia Greer William Goddard Michael Ortiz Dennis Kochmann Kaushik Bhattacharya

Greater Insight into Earthquake Cycles

05-10-12

Nadia Lapusta, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and colleagues have developed the first computer model of an earthquake-producing fault segment that reproduces, in a single physical framework, the available observations of both the fault's seismic (fast) and aseismic (slow) behavior. "Earthquake science is on the verge of building models that are based on the actual response of the rock materials as measured in the lab—models that can be tailored to reproduce a broad range of available observations for a given region," says Lapusta. "This implies we are getting closer to understanding the physical laws that govern how earthquakes nucleate, propagate, and arrest." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MCE Nadia Lapusta