News & Events


Student-Led Lunar Architecture Team Named Finalist in NASA Competition for Second Consecutive Year


Caused by collisions from asteroids, comets, and other astronomical objects, lunar craters give our moon its characteristic pockmarked façade. These craters hold the materials necessary for building sustained human settlements on the moon. Accessing the materials inside lunar craters is no easy task. NASA seeks new ways of getting around the moon that do not rely on wheels. The agency's Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge asks university teams to go beyond wheeled rovers and create new solutions to the problem of traversing lunar craters. A team of more than 30 Caltech undergraduates in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science is among seven 2022 BIG Idea finalists. [Caltech story]

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A New Soliton Offers a Path Toward Compact Molecular Sensing


Scientists know that molecules in our exhaled breath can reveal a vast amount of medical information; for example, sensors to precisely measure minute changes in the concentrations of different vapors in breath may one day replace the standard blood test.” However, no technology is yet available to access this data from exhaled breath in a timely, affordable way. A new process for generating self-reinforcing wave pulses, also known as solitons, may pave the way toward bringing optical molecular sensing out of the lab and into medical devices with a compact footprint. 

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EAS Remembers Roy W. Gould


Roy W. Gould, Simon Ramo Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, passed away on February 19, 2022. He was 94 years old. Gould earned his bachelor's degree from Caltech in 1949, a master's from Stanford University in 1950, and a doctorate from Caltech in 1956. After leaving Stanford, he worked as an engineer on missile guidance and control at JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA, and then at Hughes Aircraft. He joined Caltech's faculty in 1955. Gould started as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, became Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1958, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics in 1960, and Professor in 1962. He was named Professor of Applied Physics in 1974 and became Ramo Professor of Engineering in 1980. He served as Executive Officer of Applied Physics from 1973–79 and Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science from 1979–85. Gould's research focused on plasma physics and thermonuclear fusion. During his long career, Gould earned numerous awards and recognitions. [Caltech story]

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Chaining Atoms Together Yields Quantum Storage


Engineers at Caltech have developed an approach for quantum storage that could help pave the way for the development of large-scale optical quantum networks. "The ability to build a technology reproducibly and reliably is key to its success," says graduate student Andrei Ruskuc. "In the scientific context, this let us gain unprecedented insight into microscopic interactions between ytterbium qubits and the vanadium atoms in their environment." The new system relies on nuclear spins—the angular momentum of an atom's nucleus—oscillating collectively as a spin wave. This collective oscillation effectively chains up several atoms to store information. "Based on our previous work, single ytterbium ions were known to be excellent candidates for optical quantum networks, but we needed to link them with additional atoms. We demonstrate that in this work," says Andrei Faraon, Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering. [Read the paper] [Caltech story]

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Professor Mirhosseini Receives Okawa Foundation Research Grant


Mohammad Mirhosseini, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, has been selected as a recipient of 2021 Okawa Foundation Research Grant for developing optical interconnects for microwave quantum processors. [Research Grant Recipients]

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Professor Anandkumar Tackles COVID-19 with AI


A pair of papers coauthored by Anima Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, were selected as finalists for the 2021 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. The purpose of the award is to recognize the innovative parallel computing contributions towards the solution of the global crisis. "All the six finalists this year had some component in their calculations that used AI," Anandkumar says. "This has enabled unprecedented understanding of the coronavirus that would not have been possible with conventional tools." [Caltech story]

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New Graduate Track to Combine Study of Medical and Electrical Engineering


In an effort to create more opportunities for students, increase interdisciplinary research, and gain visibility for a first-of-its kind program, Caltech is creating a new graduate education track that combines medical engineering and electrical engineering. Students entering the joint track will be eligible to earn a single PhD in electrical and medical engineering, and would perform research in each field and, ideally, in a combination of the two fields. "All my students from both departments have a strong interest in this joint track," says Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. "This will be good for them because it will broaden their horizons by exposing them to both fields. This will also allow MedE to recruit students from the EE track, and EE will be able to recruit from MedE." [Caltech story]

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Nano-architected Material Refracts Light Backward—An Important Step Toward One Day Creating Photonic Circuits


A newly created nano-architected material exhibits a property that previously was just theoretically possible: it can refract light backward, regardless of the angle at which the light strikes the material. "Negative refraction is crucial to the future of nanophotonics, which seeks to understand and manipulate the behavior of light when it interacts with materials or solid structures at the smallest possible scales," says Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute. [Caltech story]

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Charles Elachi Receives Distinguished Alumni Award


Charles Elachi, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science, Emeritus, has received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his distinguished leadership in space exploration and planetary science as the longtime director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he was instrumental to realizing missions across the solar system including our own planet Earth, and for his many contributions helping to map out NASA’s long-term scientific future. Caltech’s annual Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment. [Caltech story]


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Vaidyanathan and Liu Receive Best Paper Award


P. P. Vaidyanathan, Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Chun-Lin Liu, Assistant Professor, National Taiwan University, have been selected to receive the 2021 IEEE SPS Signal Processing Letters Best Paper Award for their paper titled "Remarks on the Spatial Smoothing Step in Coarray MUSIC". [Read the paper]

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