News & Events


Sergio Pellegrino Receives NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award


Sergio Pellegrino, Professor of Aeronautics and Civil Engineering and Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist, has received the NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award as a member of the superpressure balloon team. The award is for sound engineering and operational development, outstanding teamwork, and perseverance in building a new scientific balloon capability for NASA.

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EAS Remembers Tsien Hsue-Shen


Qian Xuesen (also known as Tsien Hsue-Shen) (Aeronautics PhD '39), passed away on October 31, 2009. He was a student of Professor Theodore von Kármán and one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Dr. Tsien Hsue-Shen was one of the great scientist-engineers of the past century. He played an important role in the history of Caltech and the development of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We are also very proud of his many accomplishments in China." said President Chameau. [Caltech Archives]

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Sandra Troian and Mathias Dietzel Solve Decade-Long Mystery of Nanopillar Formations


Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Mathias Dietzel have uncovered the physical mechanism by which arrays of nanoscale pillars can be grown on polymer films with very high precision, in potentially limitless patterns. "This is an example of how basic understanding of the principles of physics and mechanics can lead to unexpected discoveries which may have far-reaching, practical implications," said Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. "This is the real strength of the EAS division." [Caltech Press Release] [video] [Download real player]

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Annenberg Center and GALCIT Guggenheim Project Win Award


The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology and the GALCIT Guggenheim project have both won top honors from the American Institute of Architects -Pasadena/Foothill Chapter. This is the second time Guggenheim has won an award from the American Institute of Architects!

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Professor Dabiri Featured in Rose Magazine


John O. Dabiri, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, was featured in Rose magazine. [Rose Magazine Article]

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Abdul Kalam and Yannick d'Escatha Receive von Kármán Wings Awards


Making the world a better place was the theme of the September 15, 2009 International von Kármán Wings Award ceremony which honored international leaders and aerospace pioneers Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India and distinguished professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, and Yannick d'Escatha, chairman and chief executive officer of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Ares J. Rosakis, chair of the Aerospace Historical Society, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering presented the awards to the honorees and stated, "along with their tremendous accomplishments in aerospace, this year's honorees are leaders in international collaboration, climate monitoring, and energy harvesting". [Caltech Press Release]

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John Dabiri and Kakani Katija Link Tiny Sea Creatures to Large-scale Ocean Mixing


John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, and graduate student Kakani Katija have discovered a new mechanism that explains how some of the ocean's tiniest swimming animals can have a huge impact on large-scale ocean mixing. Dabiri describes, "we've been studying swimming animals for quite some time, the perspective we usually take is that of how the ocean—by its currents, temperature, and chemistry—is affecting the animals. But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important—how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment." Ares Rosakis, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering and chair of the EAS Division described the research as, "truly reflective of the type of exciting, without-boundaries research at which Caltech engineering professors excel." [Caltech Press Release]

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President Obama Presents Three EAS Faculty with the PECASE


In a special White House ceremony, President Obama will be presenting three EAS faculty: John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics, and Joel Tropp, Assistant Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics, with the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). "These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. Dabiri,describes the idea behind his PECASE-winning research as "giving underwater vehicles the enhanced performance of fish (e.g. efficiency, stealth, and maneuverablity) without mimicking the shape and swimming motions of fish. Instead, we replicate the vortex dynamics in the wakes of swimming fish." His "bio-inspired systems" were used by Lydia Ruiz (PhD '09 Mechanical Engineering), to demonstrateincreases in vehicle propulsive efficiency of over 50 percent.

McKeon is receiving the PECASE for her research on fundamental questions in complex turbulent boundary layers. McKeon states that "the ultimate goal is to incorporate recent advances in the understanding of flow physics in order to develop low order models of flow over surfaces for Air Force applications". Tropp's PECASE-winning research "focuses on developing new algorithms for solving inverse problems, a basic challenge that arises throughout the mathematical sciences. Inverse problems also appear in medical imaging, in communication systems, in statistical data analysis, and a host of other areas." He uses tools from modern applied mathematics, such as optimization techniques and randomized algorithms to collect partial information about an object of interest, and incorporate additional background knowledge to develop a complete picture of the object.

Other researchers receiving the PECASE award this year are Joshua K. Willis from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the following Caltech Alumni Elizabeth Boon, (PhD '03 CCE), Markus J. Buehler, (Post doc in CCE) Michael J. Hochberg, (Ph.D. '06 EAS - Applied Physics), Justin K. Romberg, (Post doc in EAS - Applied and Computational Mathematics), Cecilia R. Aragon, (B.S. '82 PMA), Jason Graetz, (Ph.D. '03 EAS - Materials Science), and Ioannis Chasiotis, (Ph.D. '02 EAS - Aerospace). 

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EAS Remembers Hans Wolfgang Liepmann


Hans Wolfgang Liepmann, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away at the age of 94 on June 24. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology. He mentored more than 60 students became leaders in the aerospace industry as well as universities around the world. [Caltech Press Release]

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G. Ravichandran Elected Fellow of the Society of Experimental Mechanics


Professor G. Ravichandran, the John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and Director of GALCIT has been elected Fellow of the Society of Experimental Mechanics. Designation as an SEM Fellow is reserved to a select group of individuals that have made notable contributions to the Society and to the field of Experimental Mechanics.

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