News & Events


Moriah Bischann Wins SURF Speaking Competition


Material science undergraduate student Moriah Bischann, mentored by aerospace postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Owen Kingstedt, is the winner of the Doris S. Perpall Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Speaking Competition. She was recognized as the best speakers-out of the 200 students who presented their SURF research. Her summer research focused on exploring the next generation of structural materials. During her ten week SURF project she studied the effects of alloying and processing on the dynamic behavior of magnesium (Mg). This work was done to address the larger question of whether Mg is a useful material for the automotive, aerospace, energy, and defense industries where a material is needed that has low density, but also the strength to withstand high impact forces.

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Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT research highlight Moriah Bischann Owen Kingstedt

Cancer Treatment in a Painless Patch


Mechanical engineering undergraduate student, Teo Wilkening, spent this past summer working with Professor Gharib to test the preliminary design for an alternative—and possibly much less painful—method of chemotherapy drug delivery through a patch. To avoid the pain caused by the large needle traditionally used for such an intravenous injection, the team envisioned a patch containing hundreds of micrometer-scale needles, too small in diameter to be sensed by the nerves in the skin. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT MedE MCE Morteza Gharib research highlight Teo Wilkening

Digital Holographic Microscopy


Professor Morteza Gharib, and Dr. Jay Nadeau from GALCIT, as well as Dr. Christian Lindensmith from JPL are three of the four principle investigators on the holographic microscope project, dubbed SHAMU (Submersible Holographic Astrobiology Microscope with Ultraresolution). Their ultimate goal is to send the microscope on a spacecraft to search for biosignatures—signs of life—on other worlds such as Mars or Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. Holography is a method for recording holistic information about the light bouncing off a sample so that a 3-D image can be reconstructed at some later time. Compared to microscopy, holography offers the advantages of focusing over a relatively large volume and of capturing high-resolution images, without the trouble of moving parts that could break in extreme environments or during a launch or landing. [Caltech feature] [Videos of microbial mobility]

Tags: GALCIT Morteza Gharib JPL research highlight Jay Nadeau Christian Lindesmith

Dr. Rittel Recognized by Academy of Sciences of Turin


Dr. Daniel Rittel, long term GALCIT Visiting Associate working with Professors Ravichandran and Rosakis, has been awarded the 2015 “Angiola Gili e Cataldo Agostinelli” international prize for Applied or Theoretical Mechanics by the Academy of Sciences of Turin, Italy. Dr. Rittel has performed pioneering research in the mechanics of materials, with particular focus on the coupling thermomechanical solids. His work has demonstrated that the energy stored in the material is not only due to thermodynamic effects, but also due to changes in the microstructure identified as dynamic recrystallization. His research has also led to a paradigm shift in the modeling of the localization phenomena of sliding dynamics, combining the science of materials with the mechanics using numerical simulations. [List of past recipients]

Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT Guruswami Ravichandran Ares Rosakis Daniel Rittel

Space Solar Power Initiative


Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights GALCIT Harry Atwater Ares Rosakis Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

How To Study High-Speed Flows


Joanna Austin, Professor of Aerospace, researches fundamental problems in reactive, compressible flows with applications in hypervelocity flight and planetary entry, supersonic combustion and detonation, bubble dynamics, and explosive geological events. She remarks, “gas dynamics, and particularly looking at gas dynamics in reacting flows… [is] the thing I really love. It's a very challenging, coupled, problem. As the fluid is going through the model that you're studying, you also have to account for the fact that the state of the fluid is changing—the gas is chemically reacting, so it's changing from reactants to products, or it's redistributing its energy states, or both. Understanding how best to model these processes, that's what excites me.” [Interview with Professor Austin]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Joanna Austin

Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List


Caltech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs have been ranked fourth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Engineering graduate programs ranked very well with second in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical, third in mechanical, third in applied math, fourth in electrical / electronic / communications, sixth in materials, and eight in environmental / environmental health. [All 2015 Caltech Rankings]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE CMS ESE Graduate school rankings

Professor Ravichandran Receives SEM Murray Lecture and Medal


Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of GALCIT, has been awarded the Society of Experimental Mechanics (SEM) William M. Murray Lecture and Medal. He delivered the 2014 Murray Lecture entitled, Three-Dimensional Quantitative Visualization: Application to Studying Cell-Matrix Interactions, on June 3, 2014 during the SEM Annual Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics. The award was made in recognition of his pioneering contributions in experimental mechanics of deformation, damage and failure of materials under multiaxial dynamic loading. The Murray Lecture is the highest distinction awarded by SEM and is the prestige lecture of its annual conference.  The Murray Lecture was established in 1952 in honor of the first President of SEM, William MacGregor Murray who was a Professor and Executive Officer of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

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Tags: honors research highlights GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran Ares Rosakis Wolfgang Knauss

Caltech and JPL Collaborate with Indian Space Program


The Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Charles Elachi, and the Chair of Caltech’s EAS Division, Ares Rosakis, recently hosted the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Dr. Koppillil Radhakrishnan.  The visit focused on plans regarding a joined Earth-orbiting  mission that will be the first radar mission to systematically and globally study the solid Earth, the ice masses, and ecosystems, all of which are sparsely sampled at present.  While at Caltech Dr. Koppillil Radhakrishnan visited research facilities and delivered the Klein Lecture in Aerospace.  In his presentation he highlighted the long history of connections between engineers and scientist at Caltech and in India.  Dr. Radhakrishnan prides himself to be the last student of Caltech alumnus Satish Dhawan (Eng '49, PhD '51) who participated in the creation of India's space program.  “Caltech has been instrumental in the training of many international space leaders,” explains Chair Rosakis “these include Satish Dhawan who was pivotal in the creation of the Indian space program and Qian Xuesen (also known as Tsien Hsue-Shen) who was the father of Chinese rocketry.” Last year the Indian Department of Space and ISRO established a fellowship at Caltech in the name of Satish Dhawan to further encourage the training of Indian students at Caltech and specifically at GALCIT.

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Tags: GALCIT ESE Ares Rosakis Qian Xuesen Tsien Hsue-Shen Charles Elachi JPL Satish Dhawan Koppillil Radhakrishnan

Using Space Wisely


The Winter 2013 issue of Engineering & Science features Professor Sergio Pellegrino's Space Structures Laboratory in the Guggenheim building. “The goal for much of my work,” says Pellegrino, “is to make simpler and cheaper spacecraft. I want to use clever structural engineering to make access to space more affordable.” The article also describes him and his team's work on the AAReST project (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope) as well as applications of his work to solar concentrators. [E&S Article]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT Sergio Pellegrino