Light as a Feather, Stiffer Than a Board
Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues have developed the world’s lightest solid material, with a density of 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimeter. The new material, called a micro-lattice, relies, on a lattice architecture: tiny hollow tubes made of nickel-phosphorous are angled to connect at nodes, forming repeating, asterisklike unit cells in three dimensions. "We're entering a new era of materials science where material properties are determined not only by the microscopic makeup of the material but also by the architecture of the constituents," Greer says. [Caltech Feature]
Stimulating Electrode Array Assists Paraplegic Man to Stand and Move Legs Voluntarily
Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues including Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, have used a stimulating electrode array to assist a paralyzed man to stand, step on a treadmill with assistance, and, over time, to regain voluntary movements of his limbs. Using a combination of experimentation, computational models of the array and spinal cord, and machine-learning algorithms, Professor Burdick and his colleagues are now trying to optimize the stimulation pattern to achieve the best effects, and to improve the design of the electrode array. Further advances in the technology should lead to better control of the stepping and standing processes. [Caltech Press Release]
Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List
Caltech continues to rate among America's top graduate engineering programs, according to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report list of the best grad schools. U.S. News surveyed administrators at more than 1,200 programs and 13,000 academics and professionals to determine the rankings, which place Caltech among the top five schools in the country in several engineering programs, including first in Aeronautical Engineering, fourth in Mechanical Engineering, and fifth in Electrical Engineering. Overall, the engineering graduate program was rated seventh in the nation. The program, which is among the nation's smallest, was singled out as being the most selective, admitting only 9 percent of prospective students. "Given our minute size, these rankings are great," said Chair Ares Rosakis.
Graduate school rankings