News & Events


Professor Phillips Awarded Feynman Teaching Prize


The 2021 Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Caltech's highest teaching prize, has been awarded to Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics, Biology, and Physics. The Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1993 to honor annually a professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. "Being a professor at Caltech has been the signature privilege of my professional life," says Phillips. "Though I am deeply honored by this award, I am also totally cognizant of the generations of students that have joined me in my teaching and research adventures and without whom, none of this would have been possible. I have been surrounded by so many brilliant and dedicated young scientists that have joined me in celebrating the sense of wonder that fuels our science." [Past recipients] [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors Rob Phillips Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching

P. P. Vaidyanathan Receives Athanasios Papoulis Award


P. P. Vaidyanathan, Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering, has been selected to receive the 2021 EURASIP Athanasios Papoulis Award "for outstanding contributions to research and teaching of signal processing and multirate filter bank theory". The Athanasios Papoulis Award is given to honor scientists whose work has had a major impact in various aspects on Signal Processing education. The award is offered only on demand, every time there is an exceptional candidate and not on a regular period of time. [Past Recipients]

Tags: EE honors P. P. Vaidyanathan

New Insight into Nonlinear Optical Resonators Unlocks Door to Numerous Potential Applications


Devices known as optical parametric oscillators are among the widely used nonlinear resonators in optics; they are "nonlinear" in that there is light flowing into the system and light leaking out, but not at the same wavelengths. Though these oscillators are useful in a variety of applications, including in quantum optics experiments, the physics that underpins how their output wavelength, or spectrum, behaves is not well understood. "When you add strong nonlinearity to resonators, you enter what we call a 'rich physics regime,'" says Alireza Marandi, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics. "'Rich' in physics terms usually means complicated and hard to use, but we need nonlinearities to create useful functionalities such as switching for computing." To be able to make full use of nonlinear optical resonators, researchers want to be able to understand and model the physics that underpin how they work. Marandi and his colleagues recently uncovered a potential way to engineer those rich physics, while discovering phase transitions in the light that is generated by the resonators. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights KNI Alireza Marandi

Paul Rothemund Places Molecule-Scale Devices in Precise Orientation


Paul Rothemund, Research Professor of Bioengineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and Computation and Neural Systems, has developed a technique that allows him to precisely place microscopic devices formed from folded DNA molecules in not only a specific location but also in a specific orientation. This method for precisely placing and orienting DNA-based molecular devices may make it possible to use these molecular devices to power new kinds of chips that integrate molecular biosensors with optics and electronics for applications such as DNA sequencing or measuring the concentrations of thousands of proteins at once. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS Paul Rothemund KNI CNS

Kuan-Chang (Xavier) Chen Receives IEEE SSCS Predoctoral Achievement Award


Graduate student Kuan-Chang (Xavier) Chen, working with Azita Emami, Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute; Executive Officer for Electrical Engineering, has received the 2020-2021 IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SSCS) Predoctoral Achievement Award. The IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society awards a small number of promising graduate students annually, which are made on the basis of academic record and promise, quality of publications, and a graduate study program well matched to the charter of SSCS. [2020-2021 Recipients]

Tags: EE honors MedE IST Kuan-Chang Chen Azita Emami

Student-Led Moon Dust Shield Team Named Finalist in NASA Competition


As astronauts walk across the moon, land spacecraft on its surface, drive lunar rovers around, or complete other astronaut tasks, they kick up the dust, and that is a problem because it can cause premature wear on mechanical parts, damage to seals, and may pose a health risk for the people breathing it in. "The sun is shining directly on these particles and giving them an electric charge," says third-year Caltech undergraduate student Luis Pabon. "This causes it to stick to the astronaut's suit or to any sensors or cameras that you put out on the moon." The Caltech team's invention, named Habitat Orientable & Modular Electrodynamic Shield (HOMES), tackles the problem of moon dust entering a potential lunar habitat and wreaking havoc within. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Luis Pabon

Rahul Arun Listed Among Finalists for Hertz Fellowships


Undergraduate Rahul Arun has been selected by the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation as a finalist for the 2021 Hertz Fellowships. “This year’s finalists possess the necessary creativity and desire to push the boundaries of applied science and technology,” said Derek Haseltine, director of the Hertz Fellowship Program. “We commend all applicants for their perseverance in spite of the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve shown incredible resiliency in adapting to changing academic and workforce dynamics.”

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Metals that Work Like Magic


Metals that Work Like Magic, a podcast from the Wall Street Journal, features Jamil Tahir-Kheli, research staff member working with Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. The podcast focuses on the history of superconductivity research over the past forty years and potential applications.

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Carver Mead CNS Jamil Tahir-Kheli

Professor Wei Gao Awarded Sloan Research Fellowship


Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry for 2021. Recipients represent the most promising scientific researchers working today. Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders. [Past Fellows] [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors MedE KNI Wei Gao

Brit Wylie Awarded Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship


Graduate student Brit Wylie has been awarded a Matthew Isakowitz fellowship. The Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program is a highly selective internship, mentorship, and networking program that provides extraordinary summer opportunities to current college juniors, seniors, and graduate students passionate about commercial spaceflight. Brit is excited to work on commercial space accessibility with Rocket Lab and the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program this summer. [2021 Recipients]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Brit Wylie