News & Events


Alumna Receives Young Investigator Award


MCE alumna Mary Dunlop is the recipient of the ACS Synthetic Biology 2017 Young Investigator Award. The award recognizes the contributions of a scientist who has made a major impact on the field of synthetic biology, early on in their career. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Boston University. Dr. Dunlop’s Caltech graduate advisor was Professor Richard Murray. [Read her thesis] [Dunlop Lab]

Tags: MCE alumni Richard Murray Mary Dunlop

2017 Library Thesis Prize


Senior Daniel Lim has received the 2017 Library Friends' Senior Thesis Prize for his work on sculpting nanofilms with laser illumination. Lim's thesis, titled "Revolution in large-area curved surface lithography: Nanofilm sculpting by thermocapillary modulation," is based on experimental research he conducted over two years in the laboratory of Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering Sandra M. Troian. "Our group has been working on thermocapillary sculpting of nanofilms for several years now,” says Troian. "Daniel advanced this concept by demonstrating an inverse projection method, which imbues the sculpting process with far greater versatility. Daniel is an exceptional student—a rare combination of superb talent, tremendous drive, utmost professionalism, and entrepreneurial chops. " [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights MCE Sandra Troian Daniel Lim

123rd Commencement Ceremony


Caltech’s 123rd commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 16, 2017. The commencement speaker was Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut. Looking up, she said, allows us to remember that there is more that connects us than divides us. "Connection to the greater universe is something I hope for you throughout your lives. Never forget to look up and keep the bigger picture in mind. Look up at the sky, the moon, the stars when you need to recharge. Let the gravity of Earth give you a warm hug when you're feeling low. Look up to remember what inspires you. Keep the sparkle in your eyes, keep it long past graduation." [Caltech story]

Tags: Commencement Mae Jemison

Winners of the 2017 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced


The student winners of the 2017 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes have been announced. Manuel Alejandro Monge Osorio received the prize in Biotechnology for his work with Professor Azita Emami which involves developing novel techniques for the miniaturization of implantable medical electronics in two important pillars: localization of medical devices and electrical stimulation. Pinaky Bhattacharyya was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Professor Jim Beck investigating an information-theoretic approach to the problem of the optimal sensor placement for Bayesian system identification of structures using response time-history data. Bryan M. Hunter, working with Professor Harry Gray, received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for his work on the development and characterization of a nickel-iron layered double hydroxide water oxidation catalyst with the goal of developing a solar-driven device for the synthesis of fuels, with hydrogen production as a target. The winner of the prize in Nanotechnology was Anupama Thubagere Jagadeesh whose research interests are focused on understanding the engineering principles behind designing and synthesizing programmable molecular machines.. Anupama’s graduate advisor was Professor Lulu Qian. The prize in Entrepreneurship was given to Ken Y. Chan who was advised by Professor Viviana Gradinaru. His research interests lie in developing tissue clearing technologies to render whole organs transparent for optical investigation..

Tags: EE honors MedE MCE CMS Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes James Beck Lulu Qian Harry Gray Azita Emami Manuel Alejandro Monge Osorio Pinaky Bhattacharyya Bryan Hunter Ken Chan Viviana Gradinaru Anupama Thubagere Jagadeesh

Kun ho (John) Kim Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Computer science and mechanical engineering student Kun ho (John) Kim is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. John is working with Professors Burdick and Perona to develop novel machine learning methods for medical applications and crowd sourced data mining. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors MCE CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Pietro Perona Joel Burdick Kun ho (John) Kim

One Step at a Time: A Conversation with Professor Ames


Aaron Ames, Bren Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, handbuilds bipedal robots and designs the algorithms that govern how they walk. These algorithms couple efficiency equations with boundary constraints to teach robots to generate their own walking gait. [Interview with Professor Ames]

Tags: research highlights MCE CMS Aaron Ames

Earthquakes Can Make Thrust Faults Open Violently and Snap Shut


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues at Caltech and École normale supérieure in Paris have discovered that fast ruptures propagating up toward the earth's surface along a thrust fault can cause one side of a fault to twist away from the other, opening up a gap of up to a few meters that then snaps shut. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis Hiroo Kanamori Harsha Bhat Vahe Gabuchian

The Future is Autonomous


On April 19, 2017 Electrical Engineering alumnus Evangelos Simoudis (BS '83) moderated a panel titled "The Road Ahead: A Panel on the Future of Driverless Vehicles," hosted by the Caltech Associates. The panel members were Professors Mory Gharib, Richard Murray, and Pietro Perona, along with Reuters automotive industry reporter, Paul Lienert. They discuss a variety of opportunities and challenges associated with autonomous technologies and systems. Beyond the legal and ethical challenges, several technological obstacles must be overcome before driverless cars become common on the road. One key challenge is teaching driverless cars how to read the behavior of other cars and react accordingly. Professor Perona described the problem of a car attempting to merge onto a crowded freeway. A driverless car would see an impenetrable wall of vehicles, but a human driver could edge forward and wave at other drivers to work his or her way into the line of traffic. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE GALCIT CMS Morteza Gharib Pietro Perona alumni Richard Murray Evangelos Simoudis Paul Lienert

Professor Beck Receives Housner Medal


James L. Beck, George W. Housner Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Engineering Mechanics Institute to receive the 2017 George W. Housner Structural Control and Monitoring Medal “For his exceptional and influential scholarship in structural monitoring and control research, and for his leadership in tackling uncertainty and model complexity through probabilistic approaches with emphasis on Bayesian methods.”

Tags: honors MCE CMS James Beck

The Human Side of Engineering


The course Design for Freedom from Disability (E/ME/MedE 105a) taught by Professor Ken Pickar and Andy Lin, a rehab engineer at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab Center, has given undergraduate students Stephanie Moon and Lawrence Lee a new view of the power engineers have to benefit others. [Learn more]

Tags: MCE Ken Pickar Andy Lin Stephanie Moon Lawrence Lee