Seeing Quantum Motion
Keith Schwab, Professor of Applied Physics, has found a way to observe and control the quantum motion of an object that is large enough to see. Schwab's group has learned how to cool the motion of small micrometer-scale objects to produce the quantum ground state. This quantum motion is theoretically an intrinsic part of the motion of all objects. Schwab and his colleagues designed a device that would allow them to observe this quantum motion and then manipulate it. The ability to control quantum noise could one day be used to improve the precision of very sensitive measurements, such as those designed to search for signs of gravitational waves. [Caltech Story]
New EAS Division Chair Announced
Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been selected as the new chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) effective September 1, 2015. "I believe, based on the evaluation of the search committee and on my own interactions with him, that Ravi not only has the judgment, energy, and vision to lead the division creatively and effectively, but that he will also be an outstanding advocate for the division," said Edward Stolper, Carl and Shirley Larson Provostial Chair and William E. Leonhard Professor of Geology, in an announcement to the EAS faculty. Professor Ravichandran commented, "During my tenure, I would like to see that we attract the best faculty and students to EAS and the Institute who will enable interdisciplinary activities across Caltech and contribute to frontiers of engineering science and technology. I would like to see a more diverse body of students and faculty, who will enrich EAS and the Institute, and I would like to see EAS be at the forefront of technological revolution based on our unique ability to drive advances through basic research.” [Caltech Release]
Preparing for Earthquakes with ShakeAlert
United States Geological Survey (USGS) has announced an approximately $4 million in awards to Caltech, University of California Berkeley, the University of Washington and the University of Oregon, for the expansion and improvement of the ShakeAlert, an earthquake early-warning system. "Caltech's role in ShakeAlert will focus on research and development of the system so that future versions will be faster and more reliable," said Professor Thomas Heaton. "We currently collect data from approximately 400 seismic stations throughout California. The USGS grant will allow Caltech to upgrade or install new stations in strategic locations that will significantly improve the performance of ShakeAlert." [Caltech story]
Professor Gharib Receives APS Fluid Dynamics Prize
Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2015 Fluid Dynamics Prize of the American Physical Society (APS). This prize is the highest award given by the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics for outstanding contributions to fundamental fluid dynamics research. It recognizes Professor Gharib's seminal contributions to measurement techniques in experimental fluid mechanics, elucidation of governing physical principles in flow-structure interactions and vortex dynamics, and creative application of these concepts to a variety of important problems in biological fluid dynamics and beyond.