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For the second year the Times Higher Education world university rankings has ranked Caltech as number one in the subject of engineering and technology. [View Rankings] [Caltech Feature] 10.25.11


Chiara Daraio, Professor of Chiara DaraioAeronautics and Applied Physics, has been named the 2012 Journal of Strain Analysis (JSA) Young Investigator Lecturer by the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM). This award recognizes an SEM member in early to mid-career who demonstrates considerable potential in the field of experimental mechanics. The selection is a public statement by their professional peers of the quality and impact of the contributions that they have made thus far in their career. 10.12.11


David W. ThompsonAlumnus David W. Thompson (M.S. '78) who is also the co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orbital Sciences Corporation is the 2011 recipient of the prestigious International von Kármán Wings Award. He was honored for his leadership of Orbital over the past three decades, which has pioneered new classes of rockets and satellites that have helped to make space applications more affordable and accessible to people and enterprises around the world. The von Kármán Wings Award acknowledges outstanding contributions by international innovators, leaders, and pioneers in aerospace and is presented by the Aerospace Historical Society, which is part of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech (GALCIT). [Orbital Press Release] 10.05.11


John O. DabiriThe research of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, on visualizing flow fields around jelly fish and ocean circulation is featured in the recent issue of the National Geographic Magazine. [Excerpt from magazine] 9.22.11


The Caltech Space Challenge was a Keck Institute for Space Studies workshop led by Aerospace graduate students Prakhar Mehrotra and Jon Mihaly. It brought together two teams of students from around the world to develop plans for deep-space missions that could carry humans to an asteroid and back. Both teams planned missions to an asteroid known as 1999 AO10, which is between 45 and 100 meters in length and is thought to have a relatively slow spin rate. Since relatively little is known about this asteroid, both teams called for robotic precursor missions that could gather information needed to help plan the later human mission. The competing mission descriptions, from Team Explorer and Team Voyager, were so evenly matched that the jurors had to use three different judging methods to finally settle on a winner. In the end, the victory and shiny new iPads went to Team Voyager. [Caltech Feature] [NPR Broadcast]

Joseph E. Shepherd, C. Joseph ShepherdL. "Kelly" Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and colleague Kazuaki Inaba have received the 2011 G.E.O. Widera Literature Award for their paper entitled Flexural Waves in Fluid-filled Tubes Subject to Axial Impact. This award is given annually to one outstanding technical paper published in the ASME Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology. [Read the Paper] 8.8.11


Georgios TheocharisPostdoctoral scholar, Georgios Theocharis, and GALCIT alumnus Nicholas Boechler; working with Professor Chiara Daraio, have created the first tunable acoustic diode- a device that allows acoustic information to travel only in one direction, at controllable frequencies. [Caltech Press Release] 7.26.11


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Field tests of John O. Dabiri, Professor of John DabiriAeronautics and Bioengineering, and colleagues' vertical-axis wind turbines have shown that the power output of wind farms can be increased by an order of magnitude—at least tenfold—by optimizing the placement of turbines on a given plot of land. "Dabiri's bioinspired engineering research is challenging the status quo in wind-energy technology," says Ares Rosakis, Division Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "This exemplifies how Caltech engineers' innovative approaches are tackling our society's greatest problems." [Caltech Press Release] [Videos of Turbines] 7.13.11


G. Ravichandran G. Ravichandran, John E. Goode, Jr. Professor of Aerospace and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories (GALCIT) has been selected to receive the Chevalier de l'ordre des Palmes Académiques, which is the Knight grade of the French Republic's Order of Academic Palms. Founded by Napoleon in 1808 to honor educators and scholars, this distinction recognizes eminent personalities who have made significant contributions to the development of French culture, science, and education. 5.26.11


Sandra TroianSandra M. Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues' experiments have confirmed which of three possible mechanisms is responsible for the spontaneous formation of three-dimensional (3-D) pillar arrays in nanofilms (polymer films that are billionths of a meter thick). "My ultimate goal is to develop a suite of 3-D lithographic techniques based on remote, digital modulation of thermal, electrical, and magnetic surface forces," Troian says. Confirmation of the correct mechanism has allowed her to deduce the maximum resolution or minimum feature size ultimately possible with these patterning techniques. [Caltech Press Release] 5.19.11


Students in Ken Pickar's course Entrepreneurial Development (E 102) have the opportunity to identify a technology currently under study at Caltech and develop a business plan for it. The ideas used by the students this year included a solid-state memory technology developed by Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering. In this business plan the students proposed targeting Netflix and other high-volume streaming content providers. Another team pinpointed a new market for the vertical wind turbines of John O. Dabiri, Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering. A third team pitched a noninvasive method for breaking up arterial plaques using the concentrated-acoustic-pulse technology developed by Chiara Daraio, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics. [Caltech Feature] 3.22.11


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.




Director's Announcements

Lester Lees Lecture in Aerospace
Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:30-4:30 pm
Lees-Kubota Auditorium

"Scientists study the world as it is; Engineers create the world that has never been." —Theodore von Kármán

The research at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) has evolved over the past three quarters of a century to include aerospace and biosystems engineering, however, the tradition of integrating basic experiments, theory, and simulations over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales continues to characterize our approach.

Our faculty are highly visible in their fields, and continue to garner numerous awards. Learn more by visiting our spotlight and press release pages. GALCIT contains unparalleled experimental facilities in solids, fluids, biomechanics, propulsion, combustion, and materials, as well as unique large-scale computational capabilities.

Our educational emphasis is on the fundamentals and advanced diagnostics, with a view toward the future: biomechanics, biopropulsion, micro-and nanomechanics, space science, and space technology are all current research thrusts at GALCIT. We take an interdisciplinary view of mechanics—fluids, solids, and materials—and our graduate training reflects this.


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GALCIT Celebrations

No upcoming celebrations at this time.

Entrepreneurs' Forum
Theodore Y. Wu Lecture in Aerospace
27th Annual International von Kármán Wings Award
Caltech Space Challenge

Donald Coles Lecture in Aerospace
Yuan-Cheng (Bert) Fung Lecture in Aerospace

Symposium on Mechanics in Geophysical and Materials Sciences
Anatol Roshko Lecture in Aerospace
Frank E. Marble Lecture in Aerospace

50 Years in Space
Culick at 75

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Comments:    last update: 12/05/2011
Division of Engineering and Applied Science