News & Events


Ares Rosakis Awarded the Timoshenko Medal


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, will receive the 2018 Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his pioneering work on unveiling the mechanics behind earthquakes. "Many of my mentors and scientific Idols have received this award, so I really feel especially honored and humbled to be recognized with them," Professor Rosakis says. [Caltech story] [List of award recipients]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis

Graduate Student Wins Experimental Mechanics Scholarship


Mechanical engineering graduate student Kimberley Mac Donald has received the 2018 Gary Cloud Scholarship from the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM).  The scholarship is in recognition of her unique aspirations to pursue a graduate degree in experimental mechanics and to create new knowledge that leads to sustainable improvements in the human condition. [List of past recipients]

Tags: honors MCE Kimberley Mac Donald

2018 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized three Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Gary Demos (BS '71, Engineering and Applied Science), Gary A. Flandro (MS '60, PhD '67, Aeronautics), and Ronald H. Willens (BS '53 Physics, MS '54 Mechanical Engineering, PhD '61 Engineering Science). Demos was recognized “for his pioneering achievement in the development of computer-generated images (CGI) for use in motion pictures, and in digital film scanning and recording.” Flandro was recognized for “his seminal contributions to the design and engineering of multi-outer-planet missions, including the Grand Tour, the course set for the epic explorations of the Voyager spacecraft.” Willens was honored for “his innovative and revolutionary contributions to advanced internet connectivity and telecommunications. He pioneered the Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) as an access server authentication and accounting protocol, which was adapted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards.” [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE alumni Gary Demos Gary Flandro Ronald Willens

No Motor, No Battery, No Problem


Chiara Daraio, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, and colleagues have developed robots capable of self-propulsion without using any motors, servos, or power supply. Instead, these first-of-their-kind devices paddle through water as the material they are constructed from deforms with temperature changes. "Combining simple motions together, we were able to embed programming into the material to carry out a sequence of complex behaviors," says Caltech postdoctoral scholar Osama R. Bilal, who is co-first author of the PNAS paper is titled "Harnessing bistability for directional propulsion of soft, untethered robots." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Chiara Daraio MCE APh postdocs Osama Bilal

Professor Ravichandran To Give 2018 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture


Guruswami (Ravi) Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been selected to give the 2018 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Robert Henry Thurston Lecture at ASME Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in November. He has been awarded this lectureship "for pioneering contributions to mechanics of materials, particularly dynamic deformation, damage and failure, micro/nano mechanics, wave propagation, composites, active materials, cell mechanics and experimental methods.” The lecture was established by the first ASME president to provide an opportunity for leaders in engineering to give a thought provoking lecture on a subject of broad interest to engineers.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Guruswami Ravichandran

Ida Qin Receives 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Mechanical engineering student Yidan (Ida) Qin, advised by Professor Joel Burdick, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is interested in robotics and machine learning and is developing innovative rehabilitation treatment plans for patients with spinal cord injury using machine learning techniques and the control of bipedal robots inspired by them. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record in their discipline.

Tags: honors MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Joel Burdick Yidan (Ida) Qin

Caltech Climate School


To mark the start of Earth Week, Caltech hosted a two-day series of lectures about climate and climate change, which the organizers dubbed "climate school". The speakers included Professor Austin Minnich whose presentation focused on the myths and misconceptions associated with climate change. "Instead of asking for people to trust us, we should ask them notto trust and instead give them guidance for how they can check out what's going on for themselves," Minnich said. [Caltech story]

Tags: MCE Austin Minnich APh

Erika Ye Wins 2018 Google PhD Fellowship


Graduate student Erika Ye co-advised by Professors Austin Minnich, Garnet Chan, and Fernando Brandao, has been awarded a 2018 Google PhD Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students doing exceptional research in computer science and related disciplines. Erika is attempting to discover what current quantum computers can do that classical computers cannot. Currently she is focusing on computational chemistry—particularly, calculating the behavior of electrons in complex molecules, which ultimately could provide detailed information about reaction rates or how enzymes in cells work. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors MCE CMS Austin Minnich Fernando Brandão APh Erika Ye Garnet Chan

Professor Andrade Receives Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize


José Andrade, George W. Housner Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering; Cecil and Sally Drinkward Leadership Chair, Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering; Executive Officer for Mechanical and Civil Engineering, has been awarded the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the highest civil engineering research award aimed at mid-career researchers who have made notable contributions to their discipline. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has recognized him, "for revolutionizing the field of granular geo-materials" by creating "rigorous multiscale modeling approaches based on scientific understanding of the mechanics and physics across scales and for defining new frontiers for the civil engineering profession including planetary exploration.” [Caltech story]

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In Grueling Combat, The Riveters Emerge Victorious


This year's ME 72 design competition consisted of fleets of robot tanks built by undergraduate students climbing hills, capturing bases, and shooting each other with foam balls in an epic series of battles on the Caltech Beckman Mall. After 20 rounds of battle, the Riveters—Mohar Chatterjee, Caroline Paules, Diandra Almasco, and Hannah Chen, who dubbed their team in honor of Rosie the Riveter—emerged victorious, having never lost a single match. They utilized a track-wheeled tank design topped by flywheel-based cannons, and relied on a consistent and effective strategy of capturing two key bases quickly and holding onto them for the remainder of the match. Though the Riveters were the only all-female team, women actually outnumbered men in this year's ME 72 course for the first time in its 33-year history. [Caltech story]

Tags: MCE ME72 Mohar Chatterjee Caroline Paules Diandra Almasco Hannah Chen