Professors James (Jim) L. Beck, Sossina M. Haile, Melany L. Hunt, and Rob Phillips have received named chairs. James Beck has been named the George W. Housner Professor of Engineering and Applied Science. Sossina Haile has been named the Carl F Braun Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering. Melany Hunt has been named the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Rob Phillips has been named the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology.
Professor Beck's research career in earthquake engineering, structural dynamics and stochastic system analysis spans more than 35 years; he is currently focused on earthquake early warning, seismic risk, system reliability, and Bayesian model updating. He has received Senior Research Prizes in Computational Stochastic Mechanics and Computational Structural Dynamics from the International Association of Structural Safety and Reliability, and the European Association of Structural Dynamics, respectively, as well as the Graduate Student Council Excellence in Teaching Award.
Professor Haile's research centers on materials for energy technologies, with particular emphasis on fuel cells and thermochemical fuel production. She has received many awards, including an American Competitiveness Initiative Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists.
Professor Hunt's recent research focuses on heat transfer and fluid mechanics associated with granular and particulate flows, liquid-solid flows and slurries, and porous materials. She received the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and has twice received the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology Excellence in Teaching Award. She has also served Caltech in a variety of capacities and is currently Vice Provost.
Professor Phillips' current research focuses on the physical origins of biological function and combines physical and mechanical models with quantitative experimentation on problems ranging from transcriptional regulation to mechanosensation. He received the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award in 2004 and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has authored two books including, most recently, Physical Biology of the Cell (with Jane Kondev and Julie Theriot).