News & Events


Caltech's Unique Wind Projects Move Forward


John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, has big plans for a high school in San Pedro, military bases in California, and a small village on Bristol Bay, Alaska. "We have been able to demonstrate that using wind turbines that are 30 feet tall, as opposed to 300 feet tall, could generate sufficient power for wind-farm applications," Dabiri says. "One of the areas where these smaller turbines can have an immediate impact is in the military." The Office of Naval Research is funding a three-year project by Dabiri's group to test the smaller vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) and to further develop software tools to determine their optimal placement. "We believe that these smaller turbines provide the opportunity to generate renewable power while being complementary to the ongoing activities at the base," Dabiri explains. [Learn More]

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Professor Coles Passes Away


Donald E. Coles, Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, passed away on May 2, 2013 at the age of 89. Professor Coles made pioneering contributions towards our understanding of boundary layers, turbulent shear flows, bluff-body aerodynamics, and novel experimental methods in fluid dynamics. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society. In 2011 he was honored with the Donald Coles Lecture in Aerospace. He remained active till his passing, working on a book on Turbulent Shear Flow that is very near completion. [Caltech Obituary]

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2013 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized four Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. They are Y. C. L. Susan Wu (PhD '63 Aeronautics), Sébastien M. Candel (MS '69 and PhD '72 in Mechanical Engineering), Uma R. Chowdhry (MS '70 Engineering Science), and James R. Fruchterman (BS '80 Engineering and Applied Science, MS '80 Applied Physics). [Caltech Release]

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EAS Division Welcomes New Deputy Chair


Peter Schröder, Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, is the new Deputy Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. "I look forward to working with Peter over the next several years as we continue with our quest to remain a unique collaborative community of isolated singularities that sets a compelling model as a research and teaching institution," says Chair Ares Rosakis.

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Professor Hornung Receives Honorary Doctorate


Hans G. Hornung, C. L. Kelly Johnson Professor of Aeronautics, Emeritus, has received an Honorary Doctorate from the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich). He was conferred this honor by the Rector of ETH Zurich, Lino Guzzella at a special ceremony in the Hauptgebaeude of the ETH. Professor Hornung was recognized for his outstanding research contributions to gas dynamics of high-speed currents, especially to reflection and stability of shock waves, to the influence of real gas effects and to the laminar-turbulent transition; in addition the prize is meant as an award of his extraordinary ability to be inspiring when passing his knowledge on to his students. The other recipient of this honor was the Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University. [Learn More] [Caltech Release]

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Student Cold Storage Project Wins $25,000 Sustainability Prize


Aeronautics graduate student, Prakhar Mehrotra, has won the $25,000 Dow Resnick Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) at Caltech. His team won the prize for an elegantly simple project called Micro Cold Storage. The idea is to manufacture a portable cold storage unit, scaled to fit in a farmer’s truck, that is powered by solar panels. The project’s implications are far reaching for rural farmers in India, to clinics in Africa, to farmer’s markets in Pasadena. [Learn More]

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Engineering with Impact


Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran is an expert on breakups—of ceramics and metals, not relationships. The John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and professor of mechanical engineering and the director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech, Ravichandran will give a Watson Lecture about his work at the leading edge of impact mechanics on Wednesday, October 24. [Learn more about Prof. Ravichandran] [Notes from the Back Row]

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Clean-Energy Research Accelerates


Caltech clean-energy research is accelerating thanks to the renovation of the Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory. Transformed into a cutting-edge facility for energy science, the lab unites two powerhouse programs: the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). "Our researchers are working with Caltech's chemists and chemical engineers to challenge the status quo and translate scientific discovery into clean-energy innovations that will directly benefit society for generations to come," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Release]

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Taming Turbulence


"Turbulence is everywhere," says Professor Beverley McKeon—from continent-spanning weather systems down to the swirls of air your car leaves behind itself as you drive. "I think about things like ships, planes, and pipelines," she explains, noting that about half of the energy consumed by each of those three transportation systems goes to counteract turbulence-induced drag. In her Watson Lecture she notes that finding a way to reduce that turbulence by 30 percent would save the global economy well over $100,000,000 dollars in fuel costs annually. [Learn More]

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A Tissue-engineered Jellyfish with Biomimetic Propulsion


Graduate student Janna C. Nawroth, working with Professor John Dabiri and colleagues at Harvard, has turned solid element—silicon—and muscle cells into a freely swimming jellyfish.

"It is fascinating to witness the evolution of the Dabiri group's research from their initial ground-breaking work in understanding the fluid dynamics of jellyfish propulsion to the building of these complex engineered systems using biological materials," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Press Release]

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