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A Pathway to Longer-Lasting Lithium Batteries

08-06-20

The energy density of batteries have been a major challenge for consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy sources. Julia R. Greer, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering; Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, has made a discovery that could lead to lithium-ion batteries that are both safer and more powerful. Findings provide guidance for how lithium-ion batteries, one of the most common kinds of rechargeable batteries, can safely hold up to 50 percent more energy. "Every power-requiring application would benefit from batteries with lithium instead of graphite anodes because they can power so much more," says Greer. "Lithium is lightweight, it doesn't occupy much space, and it's tremendously energy dense." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE Julia Greer KNI

Dabiri Receives Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation

08-05-20

The National Science Foundation (NSF) honors John O. Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, with the 2020 Alan T. Waterman Award. The Alan T. Waterman Award is given to an outstanding young U.S. scientist or engineer along with a medal and other recognition. "This year's scientific pioneers are innovators who are creatively addressing some of the most challenging scientific questions," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "John Dabiri has looked to the fluid mechanics of sea life for inspiration to build better wind farms that appear to boost efficiency with a much smaller footprint." [NSF story] [Caltech story

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE John Dabiri Waterman Award

Ari Rosner Develops Tool That Configures Socially-Distanced Students In Classrooms

07-31-20

Mechanical engineering student Ari Rosner, has developed an interactive Excel worksheet powered by advanced algorithms to help schools with social distancing in classrooms. Schools can plug a room’s dimensions and social distancing parameters into the worksheet, and the most efficient configuration of students for a designated classroom would automatically be mapped out. Rosner’s model situates students in rows or in a hexagonal pattern, depending on a room’s shape, in order to safely maximize space. "I cried when I saw how this worked," said Rachael Burton, the development director at a small private school in Brooklyn, New York. "I knew Ari’s mathematical chart could save our lives." [Forbes story]

Tags: research highlights MCE Ari Rosner

Winners of the 2020 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced

06-24-20

The student winners of the 2020 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at the end of this academic year. Manuel Bedrossian, advised by Professor Moretza Gharib has received the prize in Biotechnology. His research is in the development of novel optical imaging devices to investigate and characterize microbial populations in extreme environments around the world. Vinayak Narasimhan, advised by Professor Moretza Gharib and Hyuck Choo has received the prize in Biotechnology. His research is in the utilization of nanostructures inspired from nature in practical biomedical applications. Tyler Ross, advised by Professor Matt Thomson and Professor Paul Rothemund has received the prize in Nanotechnology. His research is in guiding biomolecular filaments and motors to form structures and flow fields with patterned light. Adam Neumann, advised by Professor Michael Roukes has received the prize in Nanotechnology. His research involves incorporating nanoscale sensors into a mass spectrometer and using them to weigh individual molecules and perform rudimentary imaging of them. Joaquin Garcia Suarez, advised by Professor Dominiki Asimaki has received the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection. His research is in fundamental research in Continuum Mechanics to better understand the behavior of civil structures during earthquakes.

Tags: honors MedE MCE Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Vinayak Narasimhan Joaquin Garcia Suarez Adam Neumann Tyler Ross Manuel Bedrossian

Ishani A. Karmarkar Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

06-22-20

Applied and computational mathematics student Ishani A. Karmarkar is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Ishani is interested in data science and numerical algorithms, as well as applications to physical problems. This summer, she will be working on a SURF project on graph-based semi-supervised learning algorithms with Bamdad Hosseini, Senior Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate, and Andrew Stuart, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. In the past, she has also worked on a fluid modelling project with Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and completed a summer internship at Facebook. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MCE CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Sandra Troian Andrew Stuart Ishani Karmarkar

Myra Cheng Receives Goldwater Scholarship

06-12-20

Myra Cheng, an undergraduate student in computing and mathematical sciences, has been selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program awards scholarships to college sophomores or juniors who intend to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. Myra works with Yisong Yue, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and Joel Burdick, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, on optimization algorithms that can learn individual preferences based on real-time interaction with people. These algorithms can be used in wearable exoskeletons that help mobility-impaired individuals walk. "I'm interested in how machine learning interacts with humans and, more broadly, human society," she says. Cheng has also been working with Katie Bouman, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Astronomy; Rosenberg Scholar, and Claire Ralph, Lecturer in Computing and Mathematical Sciences; Director, Career Development Center, on developing algorithms that address questions of explainability and algorithms that affect social change. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors MedE CMS Joel Burdick Yisong Yue CNS Claire Ralph Katie Bouman Myra Cheng Goldwater Scholarship

Chengzhe Zhou Receives 2020 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award

06-11-20

Chengzhe Zhou, a graduate student in Physics supervised by Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, is a recipient of the 2020 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. His doctorate research focuses on the development of novel theoretical and computational tools for quantifying the nonlinear evolution and control of moving liquid boundaries driven by external fields. He hopes his findings offer new and useful analytic tools for investigating emergent small-scale dynamic phenomena in strongly driven nonlinear systems. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MCE Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award Sandra Troian Chengzhe Zhou

ASCIT Teaching Award

06-11-20

Michael Mello, Teaching Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2019-2020 ASCIT Teaching Award. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently.

Tags: honors MCE teaching Michael Mello

Daniel Neamati Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

06-08-20

Daniel Neamati is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Daniel’s interests sit at the cross-section of mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, and planetary science. Daniel's research includes modern computational techniques in microfluidic analyses, and he has contributed to JPL projects such as the Europa Lander and Mars 2020. In the near future, Daniel plans to conduct a SURF at Stanford, and a senior thesis with Soon-Jo Chung, Bren Professor of Aerospace; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, in the Aerospace Robotics and Control Laboratory. Thereafter, Daniel plans to pursue a Ph.D. in control systems in aerospace engineering. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors GALCIT Henry Ford II Scholar Award Soon-Jo Chung Daniel Neamati

IRCA Best Paper Awards

06-08-20

Two teams of Caltech researchers have won three International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Best Paper Awards in multiple categories along with the overall best paper award. The ICRA is the largest and most prestigious robotics conference of the year. Awards are given on the basis of technical merit, originality, potential impact on the field, clarity of the written paper, and quality of the presentation. Maegan Tucker, Ellen Novoseller, Claudia Kann, Yanan Sui, Yisong YueJoel Burdick, and Aaron Ames, have won the ICRA Best Conference Paper Award and the ICRA Best Paper Award on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) for their paper entitled "Preference-Based Learning for Exoskeleton Gait Optimization." Amanda Bouman, Paul Nadan, Matthew Anderson, Daniel Pastor, Jacob Izraelevitz, Joel Burdick, and Brett Kennedy, have won the ICRA Best Paper Award on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for their paper entitled "Design and Autonomous Stabilization of a Ballistically Launched Multirotor." [Virtual Award Ceremony]

Tags: EE honors MedE MCE CMS Joel Burdick IST Yisong Yue CNS Aaron Ames Maegan Tucker Ellen Novoseller Claudia Kann Yanan Sui Amanda Bouman Paul Nadan Matthew Anderson Daniel Pastor Jacob Izraelevitz Brett Kennedy