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HEADLINES

Amnon-yariv
A New Laser for a Faster Internet

02-26-14

Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering, and his group have developed a new laser that has the potential to increase by orders of magnitude the rate of data transmission in the optical-fiber network—the backbone of the Internet. "What became the prime motivator for our project was that the present-day laser designs have an internal architecture which is unfavorable for high spectral-purity operation. This is because they allow a large and theoretically unavoidable optical noise to comingle with the coherent laser and thus degrade its spectral purity," Professor Yariv describes. [Caltech Release]

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Erik-winfree
Building Artificial Cells Will Be a Noisy Business

02-24-14

Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, explains, "I tend to think of cells as really small robots. Biology has programmed natural cells, but now engineers are starting to think about how we can program artificial cells. When I program my computer, I can think entirely in terms of deterministic processes. But when I try to engineer what is essentially a program at the molecular scale, I have to think in terms of probabilities and stochastic (random) processes. This is inherently more difficult, but I like challenges. And if we are ever to succeed in creating artificial cells, these are the sorts of problems we need to address." [Caltech Release]

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Cover-medal
ENGenious Wins Silver!

02-19-14

The 2013 issue of ENGenious has won a silver award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII in the Awards of Excellence category of Annual Magazines. The award is given by the CASE District VII Board of Directors and the Awards of Excellence Committee to "superior magazines published once a year." First published in 2001, ENGenious is a publication for alumni and friends of the Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS). The goal of the publication is to highlight the contributions of the EAS faculty, students, and alumni in research, education, and industry. [ENGenious]

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Bill-bridges
Celebrating 50 Years of the Argon Ion Laser

02-14-14

William Bridges, Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, discovered and patented the Argon ion laser on February 14, 1964, while at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today noble gas (argon, krypton, xenon) lasers are used in a variety of applications including DNA sequencers, cell sorters, eye surgery, and laser light shows. Professor Bridges' research work with lasers involved an airborne night reconnaissance system (AN/AVD-3), space communications systems, early high power laser weapons (the carbon dioxide gas dynamic laser), and hydrogen maser clocks for the global positioning system. He also holds the patent for the Ionized Noble Gas Laser. [Oral History of Prof. Bridges]

Tags: William Bridges APhMS EE research highlights EAS history

Gerald-whitham
Professor Gerald Whitham Passes Away

02-12-14

Gerald B. Whitham, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at the age of 86. Professor Whitham was a pioneer in the area of nonlinear waves. His research focused on fluid dynamics and the study of wave phenomena, including sonic booms, supersonic flow and shock-wave dynamics, and ocean waves. He was also instrumental in setting up Caltech's applied mathematics program in 1962, which is now part of the Department of Computing and Mathematical Science . [Caltech Obituary] [History of Department]

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Dennis-kochmann
Everyone Starts Small: How Metals Learn to Behave

02-11-14

In his upcoming Watson Lecture Assistant Professor of Aerospace Dennis Kochmann will explain how controlling a material's complex structural details from the atomic scale up can affect its behavior in everyday life. [Interview with Professor Kochmann] [ENGenious article]

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World-university-rankings
Caltech: secrets of the world’s number one university

02-06-14

What keeps Caltech at the top of the Times Higher Education university rankings? In a series of highly candid and extraordinary interviews with EAS Chair Ares Rosakis, BBE Chair Steven Mayo, and their faculty colleagues, the editor of the Times reports on the Institute. He observes: "While diminutive scale may be a disadvantage for some institutions, for Caltech, it is at the heart of its being, and perhaps the single most important aspect of its extraordinary global success." [Read the full article] [pdf of article] [10 reasons why...]

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Harry-atwater
Nanoscale Materials and Big Solar Energy

02-06-14

As a high school student during the oil crisis of the 1970s, Professor Harry Atwater recognized firsthand the impact of energy supply issues. Inspired to contribute to renewable energies, his research at Caltech today works to develop better thin-film photovoltaics—cheaper, lighter, more efficient alternatives to the bulky cells now used in solar panels. [Interview with Professor Atwater]

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Tropp
Moving from Data to Information to Action

02-05-14

Caltech has created a new graduate program in Computing + Mathematical Sciences that trains students to apply algorithmic thinking to a wide range of problems. Algorithmic thinking is emerging as a fundamental tool for all researchers and drives disciplines ranging from engineering and science to economics and the social sciences.  The graduate program aims to build the student's mathematical and algorithmic foundations required to move from data to information to action. [Rigor + Relevance Blog] [Academic Program Information]

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Alain-martin
25th Anniversary of First Asynchronous Microprocessor

02-04-14

Twenty-five years ago, in December 1988, Professor Alain J. Martin's research group at Caltech submitted the world’s first asynchronous (“clockless”) microprocessor design for fabrication to MOSIS. MOSIS is the oldest integrated circuit foundry service and one of the first Internet services other than supercomputing services and basic infrastructure such as E-mail or File Transfer Protocol. Professor Alain describes this landmark project in his recent paper "25 Year Ago: The First Asynchronous Microprocessor."

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