News & Events


Building Infrastructure to Handle Growing Populations


Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student, Eric Chang, has been named a Watson Fellow. The fellowship enables graduating seniors to spend a year traveling around the world, exploring and learning about topics of their choice. Chang will spend about three months each in Taiwan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hyderabad, India. In Asia, more and more people are moving from rural areas to the cities, and these cities must be able to build the infrastructure to handle the new population. "I wanted to see how these problems are being approached in these countries," he says. "These issues are going to have a large impact on the world." [Caltech Feature]

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Innovation In Image Annotation


Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues including graduate student, Peter Welinder, have been selected for the Innovation Corps (i-Corps) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The aim of the i-Corps program, which was highlighted by the NSF Director at a recent Wouk Lecture, is to guide promising research with commercial potential out of university laboratories. The winning Caltech proposal is entitled "Combining Machine Vision and Crowdsourcing for Convenient and Accurate Image Annotation." The team has proposed to combine the complementary strengths of human annotators and machines into a hybrid system that would annotate a large body of images which would be a valuable in scientific, medical, as well as many commercial applications. [Video of Wouk Lecture]

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Liquid-like Materials May Pave Way for New Thermoelectric Devices


Jeff Snyder, Faculty Associate in Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have identified a liquid-like compound whose properties give it the potential to be even more efficient than traditional thermoelectrics. [Caltech Press Release]

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Professor Seinfeld Wins 2012 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement


John H. Seinfeld, Louis E. Nohl Professor and Professor of Chemical Engineering, and past Engineering and Applied Science Division Chair has recieved the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an honor regarded as the top prize of environmental science, environmental health, and energy. He has won the prize for "his groundbreaking work leading to the understanding of the origin, chemistry, and evolution of particles in the atmosphere." [Caltech Feature

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Plasmas Torn Apart


Using high-speed cameras to look at jets of plasma in the lab, Paul M. Bellan, Professor of Applied Physics, and colleagues have made a discovery that may be important in understanding phenomena like solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source. "Trying to understand nature by using engineering techniques is indeed a hallmark of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech," says Ares Rosakis, Chair of the Engineering and Applied Science Division. [Caltech release] [Plasma movie]

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Student Leads New Keck Institute for Space Studies Program


Melissa M. Tanner, a Mechanical Engineering graduate student, is the student lead for a new Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) mini-program called, Tools and Algorithms for Sampling in Extreme Terrain. This program will give a handful of undergraduate students the opportunity to help develop instruments for an extreme-terrain rover called Axel, which could one day be used to explore the moon, Mars, or an asteroid. The Caltech faculty mentor to the mini-program is Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, who is part of the Caltech and JPL team developing Axel. [Caltech Feature]

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New Computer Model Explains Lakes and Storms on Titan


A new computer model of the atmosphere and methane cycle of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, explains baffling observations of its lakes and storms. "We have a unified explanation for many of the observed features," says Tapio Schneider, the Frank J. Gilloon Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering. "It doesn't require cryovolcanoes or anything esoteric." [Caltech Press Release]

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Naturally Inspired


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Bioinspired Engineering, and colleagues are studying the properties of the zebrafish embryonic heart to address problems as diverse as ringing in the ears and overheated electronics. They have also developed the first pump built entirely from biological building blocks. “We can actually be more clever than nature,” Gharib says. “We can get inspired by nature and use engineering to come up with better functions. Just look at 747s—they fly from LAX to La Guardia much more efficiently than any bird could.” 

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Explaining Superconductivity at High Temperatures


William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics, and colleagues have developed a hypothesis to explain the strange behavior of high-temperature superconductors—copper oxides, or cuprates, that conduct electricity without any resistance at temperatures much higher than other superconducting metals. Their hypothesis also points the way to a method for making even higher-temperature superconductors. [Caltech press release]

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Four EAS Faculty Receive Named Chairs


Professors James (Jim) L. Beck, Sossina M. Haile, Melany L. Hunt, and Rob Phillips have received named chairs.  Jim Beck has been named the George W. Housner Professor of Engineering and Applied Science.  Sossina Haile has been named the Carl F Braun Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. Melany Hunt has been named the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Rob Phillips has been named the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology.

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