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The 2022 Caltech Space Challenge—to Titan and Back

05-26-22

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only planetary body in our solar system besides Earth where there is clear evidence of surface liquid. This is an essential element to life as we know it and makes Titan a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life. Two teams of 16 space exploration enthusiasts, including five Caltech students along with university students from around the globe, were given five days to design an autonomous mission to collect three different samples from Titan. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Brit Wylie Maximilian Adang Lucas Pabarcius Liam Heidt Josefine Graebener Eric Smith Theresa Marlin

Myra Cheng and Saehui Hwang Tapped for Stanford Scholarship Program

05-19-22

Myra Cheng and Saehui Hwang, two graduating Caltech seniors, have been selected as Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University. The program provides up to three years of funding as well as additional leadership training, workshops, lectures, projects, and travel opportunities for graduate students in order to prepare them for leadership roles in addressing global challenges. [Caltech story]

Tags: Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Myra Cheng Saehui Hwang

Böttger Luster: Solving an Artistic Cold Case

05-19-22

In the 18th century, a new purple overglaze enamel emerged from a factory near Dresden, Germany. Named after a German pioneer of porcelain and supposed alchemist, Johann Friedrich Böttger, this iridescent glaze became known as Böttger luster. Why this porcelain overglaze exhibited iridescence when other purple glazes of the time lacked a lustrous shine remained a mystery until now. The research that started at Northwestern University over a decade ago recently finished at Caltech under the leadership of Katherine Faber, Simon Ramo Professor of Materials Science. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights KNI Katherine Faber Celia Chari Zane Taylor Sujing Xie Anikó Bezur

Harsh Bhundiya Receives Tau Beta Pi Fellowship

05-17-22

Harsh Bhundiya has been selected to receive a 2022 Tau Beta Pi Fellowship. Tau Beta Pi Fellowships are awarded on the competitive criteria of high scholarship, campus leadership and service, and promise of future contributions to the engineering profession. 

Tags: honors MCE alumni Harsh Bhundiya

Researchers Help Generate First Image of Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy

05-12-22

A multi-institution collaboration that includes a Caltech-led imaging team has generated the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This result provides conclusive evidence that the body, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*, pronounced "sadge-ay-star"), is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such massive objects, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies. "We not only recovered an image of Sgr A*, but also characterized the uncertainty of features in the image," says He Sun. "This analysis helped the team deliver scientific results with some guarantees." [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Katie Bouman He Sun Junhan Kim Aviad Levis

Caltech Breaks Ground on Resnick Sustainability Center

05-09-22

Philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of the Wonderful Company, joined Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, California governor Gavin Newsom, Pasadena mayor Victor Gordo, and other distinguished guests and members of the Caltech community to break ground on the Resnick Sustainability Center (RSC). When completed in 2024, the Resnick Sustainability Center will open new figurative portals to sustainability in the realms of research, education, and societal impact. "For Lynda and me, this is an incredibly significant investment," said Stewart Resnick, chairman and president of the Wonderful Company, speaking at the ceremony on behalf of himself and Lynda Resnick, co-owner of the Wonderful Company. [Caltech story]

Tags: Thomas Rosenbaum David Tirrell Gavin Newsom Victor Gordo Stewart Resnick Lynda Resnick Jonas Peters

Rapid Adaptation of Deep Learning Teaches Drones to Survive Any Weather

05-05-22

To be truly useful, drones—that is, autonomous flying vehicles—will need to learn to navigate real-world weather and wind conditions. A team of engineers from Caltech has developed Neural-Fly, a deep-learning method that can help drones cope with new and unknown wind conditions in real time just by updating a few key parameters. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT CMS Yisong Yue Soon-Jo Chung Animashree Anandkumar Xichen Shi Guanya Shi Michael O'Connell Kamyar Azizzadenesheli

Caltech Launches Merkin Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics

05-02-22

Caltech trustee Richard Merkin, MD, founder and chief executive officer of the Heritage Provider Network, has made a generous gift to establish a center for pure and applied mathematics at Caltech. The new Richard N. Merkin Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics will catalyze scientific progress by creating a hub for mathematical research on campus. The center will bridge disciplines, connecting research in disparate areas that center on the development of mathematical ideas and foundations, and amplifying campus activities in fields ranging from pure mathematics to computational biology and quantum sciences. "By forging stronger connections among the Institute's mathematics initiatives, the Merkin Center will provide researchers with new and exciting opportunities to collaborate as they tackle important scientific and technological challenges," says Provost David A. Tirrell. [Caltech story]

Tags: CMS

Pioneering New Frontiers in Topological Physics

04-28-22

A team of engineers led by Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, recently opened a new frontier in topological physics, which is the field that seeks to understand the topological properties that arise in coupled systems based on how they are organized and coupled. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights Alireza Marandi James Williams Midya Parto

A Science Journey with Fernando Villafuerte

04-26-22

As part of the Science Journeys lecture series—designed to inspire scientific curiosity, especially among students in eighth grade and higher—graduate student Fernando Villafuerte discussed his path to Caltech and his research on batteries, including their role in sustainability solutions. Villafuerte works in the lab of Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; and Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute. His research focuses on a novel material known as a solid polymer electrolyte, which could potentially be used to create batteries that can store more energy than currently possible. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE MCE Julia Greer Fernando Villafuerte