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Lab Earthquakes Show How Grains at Fault Boundaries Lead to Major Quakes

06-07-22

By simulating earthquakes in a lab, Caltech engineers have provided strong experimental support for a form of earthquake propagation now thought responsible for the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that devastated the coast of Japan in 2011. "Our novel experimental approach has enabled us to look into the earthquake process up close, and to uncover key features of rupture propagation and friction evolution in rock gouge," says Vito Rubino, research scientist and lead author of the Nature paper. The Nature paper is titled "Intermittent lab earthquakes in dynamically weakening fault gouge." Rubino and his co-authors Nadia Lapusta, Lawrence A. Hanson, Jr., Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, show that so-called "stable" or "creeping" faults are not actually immune to major ruptures after all, as previously suspected. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis Nadia Lapusta Vito Rubino

Tech Brief: Bringing a New Dimension into Black Hole Imaging

06-06-22

The goal of this project is to develop a method to uncover the 3D structure of the glowing hot gas surrounding a black hole.

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Tags: Katie Bouman Aviad Levis

Kuan-Chang Chen Wins Charles Wilts Prize

06-03-22

Kuan-Chang Chen, advised by Professor Azita Emami is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Energy-Efficient Receiver Design for High-Speed Interconnects." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

Tags: EE honors Wilts Prize Kuan-Chang Chen Azita Emami

Jin Sima Wins Charles Wilts Prize

06-03-22

Jin Sima, advised by Professor Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Correcting Errors in DNA Storage." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

Tags: EE honors Jehoshua Bruck Wilts Prize Jin Sima

Artificial Skin Gives Robots Sense of Touch and Beyond

06-02-22

A new artificial skin can now give robots the ability to sense temperature, pressure, and even toxic chemicals through a simple touch. The multimodal robotic-sensing platform, dubbed M-Bot, was developed in the lab of Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute; Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar. It aims to give humans more precise control over robots while also protecting the humans from potential hazards. "I think we have shown a proof of concept," says Gao. "But we want to improve the stability of this robotic skin to make it last longer. By optimizing new inks and new materials, we hope this can be used for different kinds of targeted detections. We want to put it on more powerful robots and make them smarter, more intelligent." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights MedE Wei Gao You Yu Jiahong Li Samuel Solomon Jihong Min Changhao Xu Jiaobing Tu Yu Song

Winners of the 2022 New Horizons Award Announced

06-01-22

The winners of the 2022 New Horizons Award were announced at the end of this academic year. Haley Bauser was recognized for sustained dedication and commitment to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus, which inspired conversations and actions from members of EAS and the broader campus community. Adam Blank was recognized for efforts to advocate for and improve the student experience at Caltech, especially for students from backgrounds that have been historically marginalized in STEM. Heather Lukas was recognized for Founding Womxn in EAS and campus efforts in support of gender equity, and for sustained service to Caltech and the broader community. Emily Palmer was recognized for the development of a new seminar series and discussion group on History, Ethics and Identity in STEM and for demonstrating that the engineering curriculum can be expanded to include social, historic and political dimensions. Elizabeth Qian was recognized for a conscientious approach to teaching and mentoring, for cultivating positive camaraderie and awareness in her research group, and for contributions to the CMS department’s examination of its culture and policies.

Tags: honors GALCIT MedE CMS Adam Blank Haley Bauser Heather Lukas Emily Palmer Elizabeth Qian

Melany Hunt Awarded CCID Agent of Change Award

05-31-22

The Caltech Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CCID) recently honored 10 campus leaders, each nominated by members of the Institute community, at its annual Celebration of Excellence award ceremony. Melany Hunt, Dotty and Dick Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, received the CCID Agent of Change Award for her service as chair of the DEI committee within the Division of Engineering and Applied Science and her creation of a new course to support Freshman Summer Research Institute (FSRI) participants. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors MCE Melany Hunt

Nanofabrication Courses Let Caltech Undergraduates Get Hands-on at the Smallest Scales

05-27-22

The course combines topical lectures that give the students a preview of what they will be doing in the cleanroom along with hands-on practical training. Both components are conducted as a team effort between Scherer and the KNI technical staff. The first two lectures of the term were presented by KNI’s microscopist, Dr. Annalena Wolff, who lectured on scanning electron and focused ion beam microscopy. Additional lectures were presented by KNI’s Associate Director of Technical Operations, Dr. Guy DeRose, on electron beam lithography.

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Tags: APhMS EE research highlights MedE Axel Scherer KNI Changsoon Choi Paromita Mitchell Annalena Wolff Guy DeRose Bert Mendoza Alex Wertheim Kelly McKenzie

The 2022 Caltech Space Challenge—to Titan and Back

05-26-22

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only planetary body in our solar system besides Earth where there is clear evidence of surface liquid. This is an essential element to life as we know it and makes Titan a prime target in the search for extraterrestrial life. Two teams of 16 space exploration enthusiasts, including five Caltech students along with university students from around the globe, were given five days to design an autonomous mission to collect three different samples from Titan. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights Brit Wylie Maximilian Adang Lucas Pabarcius Liam Heidt Josefine Graebener Eric Smith Theresa Marlin

Myra Cheng and Saehui Hwang Tapped for Stanford Scholarship Program

05-19-22

Myra Cheng and Saehui Hwang, two graduating Caltech seniors, have been selected as Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University. The program provides up to three years of funding as well as additional leadership training, workshops, lectures, projects, and travel opportunities for graduate students in order to prepare them for leadership roles in addressing global challenges. [Caltech story]

Tags: Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Myra Cheng Saehui Hwang