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03/14/2013 10:10:08

Caltech Names Six Distinguished Alumni

Caltech has announced that Juris Hartmanis (PhD '55), Y. C. L. Susan Wu (PhD '63), Sébastien M. Candel (MS '69, PhD '72), Uma R. Chowdhry (MS '70), Stephen Wolfram (PhD '80), and James R. Fruchterman (BS '80, MS '80) are this year's recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award.

First presented in 1966, the award is the highest honor the Institute bestows upon its graduates. It is awarded in recognition of a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment.

The 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are

  • Juris Hartmanis (PhD '55), for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of computer science, including a seminal paper that established the foundations of computational complexity theory. Hartmanis helped to found—and continues to work with—the computer-science department at Cornell University.
  • Y. C. L. Susan Wu (PhD '63), for pioneering research and business entrepreneurship. As a researcher, Wu developed analytical models for magnetohydrodynamic power generation and performance. She then founded ERC Inc., a distinguished provider of scientific and engineering services supporting the nation's defense and space-exploration activities.
  • Sébastien M. Candel (MS '69, PhD '72), for his extensive and pioneering technical contributions to aerospace. Candel has published seminal papers on combustion theory, advanced rocket combustion processes, and computational aeroacoustics, and, from 1978 to 2001, he led the mechanical and aerospace studies program at the prestigious French institute École Centrale Paris.
  • Uma R. Chowdhry (MS '70), for her influential career as a researcher and global business leader. Chowdhry's research in materials science has generated more than 20 patents and led to new commercial materials that are now widely used in electronics. From 2006 to 2010, Chowdhry served as the chief science and technology officer at DuPont (she was the first female in that role at a Fortune 500 company). Her global research and development strategy helped to move the corporation into new countries and scientific fields.
  • Stephen Wolfram (PhD '80), for his contributions to the fields of computation and physics. Drawing upon his research and discoveries, Wolfram created Mathematica, now considered a standard software-language environment for scientific, technical, and algorithmic computation and software development.
  • James R. Fruchterman (BS '80, MS '80), for championing the idea of social entrepreneurship by developing technological products and methods that can benefit society. Fruchterman developed an optical text-recognition system to assist the blind and then founded Benetech, a technology nonprofit focusing on global literacy, human-rights issues, and the environment.

For complete profiles of the recipients, follow the individuals' links.

The awards will be presented at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus.

Written by Kathy Svitil