News & Events


Quantum Photon Properties Revealed in Another Particle—the Plasmon


Harry A. Atwater, Jr., Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science as well as Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, and colleagues’ experiments have confirmed that two indistinguishable photons can be converted into two indistinguishable surface plasmons that, like photons, display quantum interference. This finding could be important for the development of quantum computing, says Atwater. "Remarkably, plasmons are coherent enough to exhibit quantum interference in waveguides," he says. "These plasmon waveguides can be integrated in compact chip-based devices and circuits, which may one day enable computation and measurement schemes based on quantum interference." [Caltech Release]

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From First Mile to Last Mile


Over his 47 year career, William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, has made seminal contributions to the theory and application of computational materials and molecular science which have led to numerous advances in diverse areas of science and engineering. In celebration of his career and 77th birthday his colleagues, students, and collaborators gathered at a celebration at Caltech entitled Bill Goddard and Computational Materials & Molecular Science: From First Mile to Last Mile. Special guests and speakers included Ares Rosakis, Carver Mead, Harry Gray, nobel laureate Rudolph Marcus and Sadasivan Shankar from Intel Corporation. [Tribute article about Professor Gaddard III]

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New Dean of Undergraduate Students


John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, will become Dean of Undergraduate Students, effective July 1, 2014. Professor Dabiri was suggested for this position by several Institute constituencies and enjoys the confidence and respect of students and faculty alike. He is particularly committed to enhancing faculty-student interactions.

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Raiders of the Lost Can


The students in this year's Mechanical Engineering 72 (ME72) class, a two-term engineering design lab for mechanical engineering majors, not only rolled, they crawled and flew their robotic inventions to deliver their team's soup can to the top of a wooden pyramid outfitted with steel ramps, while simultaneously deploying other robotic vehicles to conduct defensive maneuvers, preventing the opposing team from beating them to the top with their own color-coded soup can. [Caltech Release]

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Professor Greer Named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, has been selected as a 2014 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Each year the selection Committee, which is headed by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, identifies and recognizes the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world. Candidates are selected based on their proven track record of professional accomplishments, breadth of their expertise, commitment to society and their ability to overcome adversity. [List of 2014 Honourees]

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Bending the Light with a Tiny Chip


Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed a new light-bending silicon chip that acts as a lens-free projector--and could one day end up in your cell phone. They were able to bypass traditional optics by manipulating the coherence of light—a property that allows the researchers to "bend" the light waves on the surface of the chip without lenses or the use of any mechanical movement. [Caltech Release]

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MCE Alumni Baker and Miller Receive Caltech 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards


Mary Baker (PhD ’72 in Applied Mechanics) and Richard Miller (PhD ’76 in Applied Mechanics) have been recognized by Caltech with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Dr. Baker, who is President of ATA Engineering Inc., was recognized for pioneering entrepreneurship and leadership in aerospace. Dr. Miller, who is President of Olin College of Engineering, was recognized for visionary leadership and commitment to innovation in engineering education for the benefit of society. [Caltech Release]

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A New Laser for a Faster Internet


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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Building Artificial Cells Will Be a Noisy Business


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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ENGenious Wins Silver!


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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