New EAS Division Chair Announced
Guruswami Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has been selected as the new chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) effective September 1, 2015. "I believe, based on the evaluation of the search committee and on my own interactions with him, that Ravi not only has the judgment, energy, and vision to lead the division creatively and effectively, but that he will also be an outstanding advocate for the division," said Edward Stolper, Carl and Shirley Larson Provostial Chair and William E. Leonhard Professor of Geology, in an announcement to the EAS faculty. Professor Ravichandran commented, "During my tenure, I would like to see that we attract the best faculty and students to EAS and the Institute who will enable interdisciplinary activities across Caltech and contribute to frontiers of engineering science and technology. I would like to see a more diverse body of students and faculty, who will enrich EAS and the Institute, and I would like to see EAS be at the forefront of technological revolution based on our unique ability to drive advances through basic research.” [Caltech Release]
Preparing for Earthquakes with ShakeAlert
United States Geological Survey (USGS) has announced an approximately $4 million in awards to Caltech, University of California Berkeley, the University of Washington and the University of Oregon, for the expansion and improvement of the ShakeAlert, an earthquake early-warning system. "Caltech's role in ShakeAlert will focus on research and development of the system so that future versions will be faster and more reliable," said Professor Thomas Heaton. "We currently collect data from approximately 400 seismic stations throughout California. The USGS grant will allow Caltech to upgrade or install new stations in strategic locations that will significantly improve the performance of ShakeAlert." [Caltech story]
Charles C. Gates Jr.–Franklin Thomas Laboratory
The Charles C. Gates Jr.–Franklin Thomas Laboratory, the newly renovated home of the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and the administrative offices for the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, was officially dedicated with an opening ceremony on Monday, June 1. The renovation includes the building's original iron railings as well as artistic etchings and imagery that reference prior research in earthquake engineering and hydrodynamics. Looking to the future, the energy-efficient, renovated building features state-of-the-art laboratories and experimental and computational facilities, along with open spaces where faculty, scholars, and students can share ideas across disciplines. [Caltech story]
An Earthquake Warning System in Our Pockets?
Thomas H. Heaton, Professor of Engineering Seismology, and colleagues’ recent study suggests that all of our phones and other personal electronic devices could function as a distributed network, detecting any ground movements caused by a large earthquake, and, ultimately, giving people crucial seconds to prepare for a temblor. "Thirty years ago it took months to assemble a crude picture of the deformations from an earthquake. This new technology promises to provide a near-instantaneous picture with much greater resolution," says Professor Heaton. [Caltech story]