Thomas Anthony Tombrello, Caltech's Robert H. Goddard Professor of Physics, passed away on September 23, 2014, at age 78. His studies of nuclear reactions in the 1960s helped show how chemical elements are created.
Tom Harris came to Caltech with an undeclared major, thinking he would study computer science. But, having been an avid Lego builder as a kid, he was drawn to mechanical engineering. He also has an interest in medieval history, which similarly dates back to his childhood—he loved pirates and knights, and both his parents were history majors—and after he took Brown's medieval history class, his impression of the study of history changed.
Paul D. Asimow, professor of geology and geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has been awarded the Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching—Caltech's most prestigious teaching honor. Asimow was selected for his "exceptional energy, originality, and ability to explain complicated concepts effectively," according to the award citation.
Kip Thorne, Caltech's Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, has been selected to receive the 2012 John David Jackson Excellence in Graduate Physics Education Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).
Classes are in full swing this week, marking the beginning of the school year for students at Caltech. For some lucky freshman, that means spending a bit of quality time with faculty members. Seven new freshman seminar courses were introduced to the curriculum this fall; in each, 12–15 students are paired with professors to discuss topics in-depth and outside of the lecture halls.
Building upon the institute's mission to benefit society through research integrated with education, Caltech is opening its doors to 23 diverse and gifted high school sophomores and juniors this summer. The LEAD Summer Engineering Institute, held on campus July 6–27, gives students the opportunity to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (or STEM) careers.
If you're a student who's ever wanted to plan a manned space mission—or channel your inner Bruce Willis from the movie Armageddon—now's your chance. This September, Caltech will a host a workshop inviting about 20 graduate and undergraduate students from around the world to design a mission to an asteroid or comet in Earth's neighborhood—a so-called Near-Earth Object (NEO)—that would return a sample of rock or ice.
J. Morgan Kousser, professor of history and social science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has been awarded the Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching—Caltech's most prestigious teaching honor. Kousser was selected for his "exceptional ability to draw science and engineering students to appreciate the intellectual rigors of legal thought."
Sure, that lab breakthrough has impressed your colleagues and won you a MacArthur; but how do you turn it into something people will queue up to buy? "it won't sell itself," insists visiting professor of mechanical engineering Ken Pickar. In his course Entrepreneurial Development, Caltech students learn what goes into starting up a start-up. "'If you build it, they will come'? Hardly. First you identify your markets, assess risks, and strategize. Begin to build a great company. Then maybe they'll come."
Congratulations to Chris Hallacy, Brad Saund, and Janet Chen for their victory March 8 in the 26th annual ME 72 engineering design competition. This year's theme: "Extreme Recycling." The mission: Design, build, and deploy two vehicles and traverse difficult terrain (water, sand, rocks, and wood chips, with one type of terrain in each of four different 6' x 10' boxes) to collect plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, and steel cans.