News & Events


Postdoctoral Scholar Receives Dissertation Award From American Physical Society


Moureen C. Kemei, Resnick Sustainability Institute Prize Postdoctoral Scholar in Applied Physics & Materials Science, has recieved the American Physical Society's Richard L. Green Dissertation Award in Experimental Condensed Matter or Condensed Matter Physics. The award recognizes her outstanding thesis on "Magnetostructural and Magnetodielectric Coupling in Spinel Oxides" citing her achievement in employing advanced characterization tools to gain new insights into the structure and electronic properties of magnetic materials and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathode materials. The exploration of SOFC cathode materials is the focus of Moureen’s research at the Resnick Sustianability Institute, which she works on in the lab of Professor Sossina Haile. [Dr. Kemei’s Dissertation]

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New Technique Could Harvest More of the Sun's Energy


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science as well as Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleagues have created a new technique to harness the lost energy from solar panels. “Silicon absorbs only a certain fraction of the spectrum, and it's transparent to the rest. If I put a photovoltaic module on my roof, the silicon absorbs that portion of the spectrum, and some of that light gets converted into power. But the rest of it ends up just heating up my roof," explains Professor Atwater. Now they have found a way to absorb and make use of these infrared waves with a structure composed not of silicon, but entirely of metal. [Caltech story]

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New Center for Data-Driven Discovery (CD3)


The new Center for Data-Driven Discovery (CD3) aims to hasten data-driven discoveries by making expertise and advanced computational tools available to Caltech researchers in various disciplines. The center also complements the resources available at JPL's Center for Data Science and Technology. [Caltech story]

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Professor Ravichandran Receives the Warner T. Koiter Medal


Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, as well as Director of GALCIT, has been awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Warner T. Koiter Medal. He received the medal, “for outstanding scientific, engineering, and mentoring contributions in the areas of ultra-high strain rate mechanics of ceramics and metals, and pioneering and innovative experiments to advance our understanding of coupled phenomena in the fields of smart materials and cellular mechanics.”

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Professor Bordoni Receives Young Investigator Award in Environmental Sciences


Simona Bordoni, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, has received a Young Investigator Award in Environmental Sciences from the Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation (ISSNAF). The award is given to early stage investigators working in North America whose commitment to their discipline of study is innovative, impactful, and honors their country of origin. Professor Bordoni received the award for her research in fundamental monsoon dynamics, specifically aquaplanet monsoons and their response to climate changes. She has also received a medal from the President of the Italian Republic, "Medaglia di Rappresentanza del Presidente della Repubblica Italiana." [Research abstract]

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Converting Data Into Knowledge


Yisong Yue, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, has focused his research in machine learning. He explains, “machine learning is the study of how computers can take raw data or annotated data and convert that into knowledge and actionable items, ideally in a fully automated way—because it's one thing to just have a lot of data, but it's another thing to have knowledge that you can derive from that data.” [Interview with Professor Yue] [ENGenious article]

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Heat Transfer Sets the Noise Floor for Ultrasensitive Electronics


Austin Minnich, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have identified a source of electronic noise that could affect the functioning of instruments operating at very low temperatures, such as devices used in radio telescopes and advanced physics experiments. The team's findings also suggest that it may be possible to develop engineering strategies to make phonon heat transfer more efficient at low temperatures. For example, one possibility might be to change the design of transistors so that phonon generation takes place over a broader volume. "If you can make the phonon generation more spread out, then in principle you could reduce the temperature rise that occurs," Professor Minnich says. "We don't know what the precise strategy will be yet, but now we know the direction we should be going. That's an improvement." [Caltech release]

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Making Hotter Engines and Lasting Artwork


Katherine Faber, Simon Ramo Professor of Materials Science, studies the reasons why brittle ceramics fracture—and how these materials can be made stronger and tougher in the future. Her research interests have also been applied to sustainability and the arts. [Interview with Professor Faber] [ENGenious article]

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Professor Rosakis Elected to Academia Europaea


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering as well as the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in the section of Physics and Engineering Sciences. The Academia Europaea was founded in 1988 and is an organization of eminent, individual scholars from across the continent of Europe. The 3000 members cover a wide range of academic disciplines including the humanities, social, physical and life sciences as well as mathematics, engineering and medicine. In addition to Professor Ares Rosakis, Caltech's Provost Edward Stolper, the Institute's past president David Baltimore, and Professor Alexander Varshavsky are members of the Academy.

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Professor Thompson Receives Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering


Andrew Thompson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, who uses autonomous underwater instruments and numerical models to study ocean currents and eddies.  As well as their impact on Earth's ecology and climate, has been awarded a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Packard Fellowships are awarded to the nation's "most innovative early-career scientists and engineers" to provide them with "flexible funding and the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their fields," according to the foundation. [Caltech Release]

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