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Weak Electrical Fields in the Brain Help Neurons Fire Together

02-03-11

Costas Anastassiou, a postdoctoral scholar working with Professor Christof Koch, and colleagues have found that coordinated behavior occurs in the brain whether or not neurons are actually connected via synapses.  To tease out the effects, Anastassiou and his colleagues, focused on strong but slowly oscillating fields, called local field potentials (LFP), that arise from neural circuits composed of just a few rat brain cells.  Measuring those fields and their effects required positioning a cluster of tiny electrodes within a volume equivalent to that of a single cell body—and at distances of less than 50 millionths of a meter from one another. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch Costas Anastassiou postdocs

Professor Tropp Receives the Monroe H. Martin Prize

02-01-11

Joel A. Tropp, Assistant Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics,  is one of two winners of the eighth Monroe H. Martin Prize competition.  The prize is awarded to an outstanding paper in applied mathematics by a researcher who is younger than 36 years old.  Professor Tropp's winning paper is entitled "On the conditioning of random subdictionaries."

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Tags: honors research highlights CMS Joel Tropp

New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight

01-20-11

Sossina Haile, Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, and colleagues have built a reactor at the heart of which is a cylindrical lining of ceria—a metal oxide. The reactor takes advantage of ceria's ability to "exhale" oxygen from its crystalline framework at very high temperatures and then "inhale" oxygen back in at lower temperatures - concentrating solar energy in order to convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels .  Ultimately, Haile says, the process could be adopted in large-scale energy plants, allowing solar-derived power to be reliably available during the day and night. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Sossina Haile fuel metal oxide reactor

Caltech-Led Team Creates Damage-Tolerant Metallic Glass

01-20-11

William Johnson, Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, and colleagues have developed a new alloy—a combination of the noble metal palladium, a small fraction of silver, and a mixture of other metalloids—that has a combination of strength and toughness not previously seen in any other material. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights William Johnson Metallic Glass

Graduate Student's Application of the MUSIC Algorithm Receives Best Paper Award

01-10-11

Piya Pal, graduate student in Electrical Engineering, received the best student paper award at the IEEE Digital Signal Processing workshop for her paper, coauthored with Professor P. P. Vaidyanathan, entitled "Coprime sampling and the MUSIC algorithm."

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Tags: EE honors research highlights P. P. Vaidyanathan Piya Pal Digital Signal Processing

Graduate Student Creates Droid

01-04-11

Peter Trautman, graduate student in the Control and Dynamic Systems option, has created a droid to study interactions between humans and machines. The lunch crowd should watch out because the Chandler cafeteria is one of the droid's testing laboratories. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights CMS Peter Trautman

Product Design for the Developing World

12-10-10

The only way to pass Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ken Pickar's E/ME 105 class, Product Design for the Developing World, is by designing something—a machine, a tool, a gadget, a process—to help improve the lives of the billions of people in the world who live on two or three dollars a day. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MedE MCE Ken Pickar

Amnon Yariv Awarded National Medal of Science

10-15-10

Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering, has received one of the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, and engineers. He is a recipient of the National Medal of Science. Professor Yariv's research group has pioneered the field of optoelectronics. Many innovations such as distributed Feedback (DFB) Semiconductor Lasers, Integrated Optoelectronic Circuits, Optical Phase Conjugation, External Cavity Tunable Semiconductor Lasers, Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIP's), and all-fiber add/drop filters have found their beginnings in his research group. Currently, his group’s research aims at developing the new technologies that will be mandated by the seemingly endless appetite for optical bandwidth. Specifically, they are working at extending, to the field of laser optics, some key ideas that form the foundation of the microwaves and the radio frequencies fields. [Caltech Press Release], [White House Press Release] [Watch the White House Cermony]

Tags: Amnon Yariv APhMS EE honors energy research highlights

Caltech's Approach to Graduate Education Validated

10-15-10

All of the 24 ranked graduate programs at Caltech have placed exceptionally high in the National Research Council (NRC) study of more than 5000 graduate research programs, validating the Caltech approach to graduate education. With respect to the EAS Division: Aeronautics, Bioengineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Science and Engineering, and Materials Science were ranked in the top five nationally irrespective of size. [Caltech NAS Rankings]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE ESE

Chiara Daraio Named One of Popular Science's Brilliant 10

10-14-10

Chiara Daraio, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Physics, has been named one of Popular Science's Brilliant 10. The article states that Professor Daraio is "brilliant because: she manipulates simple laws of physics to make cancer-destroying 'sound bullets'." [Learn More on page 80-01]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Chiara Daraio GALCIT