For one week at the end of March, 32 students from 20 universities and 14 countries came to Caltech for an intensive training experience in space mission design: the Caltech Space Challenge. The teams—Team Explorer and Team Voyager—were tasked with designing a manned mission to an asteroid placed in orbit around the moon. Aside from determining details such as the best type of vehicle to use, the optimal launch date, and how to keep the astronauts safe, each team was asked to explain how its mission would explore and make use of the asteroid to enable future missions to more distant locales, such as Mars. In the end, Team Voyager came out slightly ahead of Team Explorer. According to the jury, the deciding factor was Team Voyager's presentation and success in turning their technically detailed report into a compelling story for the audience. [Caltech Story] [Voyager's presentation] [Explorer's presentation]
Jonathan H. Liu, a senior undergraduate student working with Professor Sandra M. Troian, has received a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research in experimental biophysics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, in Germany. Specifically he will be studying the dynamics of DNA inside hydrodynamic systems subject to convective and thermophoretic forces.
Rob Anderson, a junior on the Caltech men's basketball team, has been named to the 2015 Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches Good Works Team. Anderson, who is studying mechanical engineering and business economics and management, was selected for his extensive work researching and designing sustainable energy projects. "After the Solar Decathlon ended in autumn of 2013, I began looking for another engineering sustainability project," Anderson says. "I noticed there were a few empty gas-engine go-karts in Fleming and I realized I could re-engineer them to use electric power… That's basically how the Sustainable Vehicle Club was born.” [Caltech story]
Undergraduate mechanical engineering student Aaron Krupp has been awarded a Thomas B. Watson Fellowship to conduct a one-year purposeful, independent study outside the United States. Aaron’s project is entitled “the foundation of well-being: technology design to secure safety and necessity.” It will take him to India, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma/Myanmar. He plans to investigate how technologies designed for function and accessibility can help break the cycle of poverty. [Learn more about the Fellows]
Jehoshua Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering, and colleagues' paper entitled “Zigzag Codes: MDS Array Codes With Optimal Rebuilding” has received the 2013 best paper award from the Data Storage Technical Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The award recognizes a paper that has substantial and meaningful impact on both the theory and the practice of the existing or future data storage systems, or on emerging storage technologies that are gaining momentum. By giving these awards, the committee also motivates researchers to continue to make great original contributions to the field of data storage.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, influential women leaders from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Caltech gathered at the JPL von Karman auditorium. Present at the event, entitled Women Making History, were the 2015 honorees for Women@JPL as well as Caltech faculty and staff. It was an opportunity for women at different stages of their career to meet and network. EAS faculty were represented by Professors Bordoni, Greer, and Hunt. The JPL Advisory Council for Women was the lead organizer of the event.
Students in Professor Hillary Mushkin’s media arts seminar (E/H/Art 89 New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries) have once again put on a unique exhibition highlighting art and engineering. The course provides a platform for an expanded understanding of engineering and an active, project-based engagement with art history.
Amphibious robots took to Caltech’s Millikan Pond on Tuesday, March 10, each one hoping to come away with the title "Aquamania champion." At the event, teams of students tested their robotic athletes in the 30th annual Mechanical Engineering 72 (ME72) competition. Eight teams competed for this year's title, and team KATS—named for teammates and Caltech juniors Kristin Eliason, Auggie Nanz, Tammer Eweis-Labolle, and Sheila Lo—walked away with the trophy. [Caltech story]
Richard M. Murray, Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, has been honored by Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program for making an outstanding contribution to the program, students, and the Institute. Since 1992, Professor Murray has mentored 158 SURF and Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowships (MURF) students. He is known for being a hands-on mentor, as well as a strong advocate for undergraduate research. Each year the “SURF year” is dedicated to someone who has made an outstanding contribution and SURF 2015 was dedicated to Professor Murray.