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]
Y. C. L. Susan Wu (PhD '63 Aeronautics), for pioneering research and business entrepreneurship. As a researcher, Wu developed analytical models for magnetohydrodynamic power generation and performance. She then founded ERC Inc., a distinguished provider of scientific and engineering services supporting the nation's defense and space-exploration activities.
Sébastien M. Candel (MS '69 and PhD '72 in Mechanical Engineering), for his extensive and pioneering technical contributions to aerospace. Candel has published seminal papers on combustion theory, advanced rocket combustion processes, and computational aeroacoustics, and, from 1978 to 2001, he led the mechanical and aerospace studies program at the prestigious French institute École Centrale Paris.
Uma R. Chowdhry (MS '70 Engineering Science), for her influential career as a researcher and global business leader. Chowdhry's research in materials science has generated more than 20 patents and led to new commercial materials that are now widely used in electronics. From 2006 to 2010, Chowdhry served as the chief science and technology officer at DuPont (she was the first female in that role at a Fortune 500 company). Her global research and development strategy helped to move the corporation into new countries and scientific fields.
James R. Fruchterman (BS '80 Engineering and Applied Science, MS '80 Applied Physics), for championing the idea of social entrepreneurship by developing technological products and methods that can benefit society. Fruchterman developed an optical text-recognition system to assist the blind and then founded Benetech, a technology nonprofit focusing on global literacy, human-rights issues, and the environment.