Monday, February 29, 2016
Brown Gymnasium – Scott Brown Gymnasium

Animal magnetism

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Avery House – Avery House

The Mentoring Effect: Conference on Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Center for Student Services 360 (Workshop Space) – Center for Student Services

TA Workshop: Getting the Biggest ‘Bang for Your Buck’ - Teaching strategies for busy TAs

Two Named as National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows

Oscar Bruno and Julia Greer have been named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows by the Department of Defense (DoD). Fifteen university faculty scientists and engineers comprise the 2016 class of fellows.

"The program awards grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct long-term, unclassified, basic research of strategic importance to the Defense Department," said Melissa L. Flagg, deputy assistant secretary of defense for research at the DoD, in an announcement of the new fellows. "These grants engage outstanding scientists and engineers in the most challenging technical issues facing the department."

Oscar Bruno is a professor of applied and computational mathematics in Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS). Bruno's work aims to develop high-performance computer software for evaluation of engineering structures and simulation of physical phenomena—including optical devices, communications and remote-sensing/stealth systems, materials-science microstructures and seismic, aerodynamic, and hydrodynamic phenomena. In 1989, Bruno received his PhD, graduating with a Friedrichs Prize for an outstanding dissertation in mathematics from New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He became an associate professor at Caltech in 1995 and a professor of applied and computational mathematics in 1998. Dr. Bruno is a former member of editorial boards of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, and he currently serves in the board of the SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing. He has served as executive officer of Caltech's Applied and Computational Mathematics department, and he is the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He is member of the council of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. In 2013, he was named as a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Julia R. Greer is a professor of materials science, mechanics, and medical engineering in EAS. Her research focuses on creating and studying advanced materials that combine hierarchical architectures and unique nanoscale material properties. Greer received her PhD in materials science from Stanford and did post-doctoral work at the Palo Alto Research Center before joining the Caltech faculty in 2007. Her work was recently featured on CNN's 2020 Visionaries and was recognized among the Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies by the MIT Technology Review in 2015. Greer has received a number of recognitions and awards, including Gilbreth Lectureship by the National Academy of Engineering (2015), Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum (2014), Kavli Early Career Award (2014), Nano Letters Young Investigator Lectureship (2013), Society of Engineering Science Young Investigator (2013), NASA Early Career Faculty (2012), Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award (2012), DOE Early Career (2011), DARPA's Young Faculty (2009), Technology Review's TR-35, (2008). Greer serves as an Associated Editor of the journals Nano Letters and Extreme Mechanics Letters.

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Oscar Bruno and Julia Greer have been named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows by the Department of Defense.

Living—and Giving—the Caltech Dream

Growing up in Tehran, Iran, Mory Gharib (PhD '83) attended large, crowded schools. He was the kid who always raised his hand in class and asked tough questions. He craved one-on-one time with his teachers, which seldom came to pass.

So when the young Gharib read a newspaper article about a school in California with a three-to-one student-faculty ratio, it seemed almost unimaginable. Over the years, though, that school—Caltech—remained in his thoughts.

Years later, Gharib finally made it to Caltech as a graduate student. Since that time, he has built a distinguished career as a  researcher, mentor, inventor, entrepreneur, leader, and benefactor. And he has continued to search for the answers to tough questions.

"I couldn't have done this anywhere else," he says, referring to his career. "Caltech took care of me, and I have to take care of it."

In appreciation for the opportunities Caltech afforded him, Gharib—who currently serves as the Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering, director of Caltech's Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, and vice provost—has created an endowed fellowship fund to support new generations of Caltech graduate students.

Read the full story on the Caltech Giving website.

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In appreciation for the opportunities Caltech afforded him, Mory Gharib is supporting future graduate students through an endowed fellowship fund.
Monday, March 28, 2016 to Friday, April 15, 2016
Center for Student Services 360 (Workshop Space) – Center for Student Services

Spring TA Training -- 2016

Professor Rosakis Receives the Von Kármán Medal

Ares Rosakis, the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, will receive the Theodore von Kármán Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The medal was established and endowed in 1960 by the Engineering Mechanics Division of the society—now the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI)—in order to recognize distinguished achievement in engineering mechanics. The Von Kármán medal is the flagship medal of the EMI.

Rosakis is being honored for "discovering several fundamental physical phenomena in dynamic fracture of heterogeneous materials and interfaces at various length and time scales," according to the award citation. Particularly noted was his proposal of the concept of "laboratory earthquakes" and the associated unique experimental facility, which was established at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) more than a decade ago. Through experiments that reproduce the basic physics of earthquake rupture, he and his collaborators, including Caltech seismologist Hiroo Kanamori, were able to experimentally show that earthquake ruptures may propagate with "super-shear speeds"—speeds in excess of the bulk shear wave speeds of the surrounding material. They also conclusively proved that certain historic, large earthquakes did transition to super-shear and explained the unusual ground-shaking signatures that are characteristic of such catastrophic events.

"I feel extremely honored and humbled to receive the Theodore von Kármán Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers," says Rosakis. "I am especially thrilled to receive an award bearing the name of von Kármán, whose remarkable achievements epitomize Caltech's natural interdisciplinary approach to science and engineering."

Rosakis has also served as the fifth director of GALCIT, which was established and directed by Theodore von Kármán in the early 1920s.

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Ares Rosakis has been selected to receive the Theodore von Kármán Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Quintessentially Caltech

How best to recognize Caltech's own Ahmed Zewail, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics, and director of the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology, who has served on Caltech's faculty for 40 years? President Thomas F. Rosenbaum had the answer: what he would later call a "quintessentially Caltech conference."

And so, on Friday, February 26, more than 1,000 people gathered to hear exceptional researchers, including 5 Nobel Laureates, from across disciplines consider our future as part of the full-day "Science and Society" conference that honored the career of Zewail, whom Rosenbaum called "a wizard of scientific innovation."

Read the full story and view the slideshow

Written by Alex Roth

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More than 1,000 people gathered to hear exceptional researchers consider our future at a conference honoring Ahmed Zewail.

Quintessentially Caltech

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Caltech: A Personal Perspective

Ahmed Zewail, Nobel Laureate
Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics, Caltech

Zewail provided an overview of his journey from a young child in Egypt to Caltech Nobel laureate. On the day he won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics, he recalled, Caltech president David Baltimore came to Zewail's house, but he refused to open the door. "We thought he was paparazzi," Zewail admitted.

Credit: Chris Sabanpan

The End of Disease?

Roger Kornberg, Nobel Laureate
Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine, Stanford, School of Medicine

As advanced as we think we are, Kornberg said, scientists today understand less than 1 percent of human biology. Attracting more young people to the field of medical research is therefore critical. "Young scientists are the most likely to discover something," he said. "And numbers matter."

Credit: Chris Sabanpan

The Future of Medicine

David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate
Caltech President Emeritus
Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology, Caltech

The human body can survive a maximum of roughly 120 years, according to Baltimore. He predicted a future in which scientists work to push that envelope, using gene editing "to liberate us from the process of aging" and "to perfect the human body, whatever that means."

Credit: Chris Sabanpan

The Future of Quantum Physics

H. Jeff Kimble, Member, National Academy of Sciences
William L. Valentine Professor and Professor of Physics, Caltech

Kimble's lecture about the future of quantum physics included predictions about quantum computing, quantum simulation, and quantum metrology. "Science helps hold us together and appreciate our sameness rather than our differences," he said.

 

Credit: Chris Sabanpan

Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe

William Phillips, Nobel Laureate
Physicist, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland

In a hands-on demonstration, Phillips put on a pair of lab goggles and dunked a variety of items—a rose, a racquetball, several inflated balloons—into a vat of liquid nitrogen to help demonstrate his overall point: that we can create super-accurate atomic clocks by cooling down atoms to astoundingly low temperatures.

Credit: Chris Sabanpan

Inequality and World Economics

A. Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate
Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Emeritus
Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Spence discussed a number of global economic trends—including the decline in middle-class jobs and the rise of job-eliminating technologies—in a lecture that considered the disparities between rich and poor. "I'm a little worried about what's going on in the global economy right now and I tend to be an optimist," he said.

Credit: Chris Sabanpan

The Future of Space Exploration

Charles Elachi, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal Recipient
Caltech Vice President
Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Elachi said he believes we will establish a space station on Mars and that humans will begin visiting the planet by 2030. But, he noted, "It's important that we take care of our own planet. It's the only thing we have, at least for now."

 

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How best to recognize Caltech's own Ahmed Zewail, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics, and director of the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology, who has served on Caltech's faculty for 40 years? President Thomas F. Rosenbaum had the answer: what he would later call a "quintessentially Caltech conference."

And so, on Friday, February 26, more than 1,000 people gathered to hear exceptional researchers, including 5 Nobel Laureates, from across disciplines consider our future as part of the full-day "Science and Society" conference that honored the career of Zewail, whom Rosenbaum called "a wizard of scientific innovation."

The speakers lectured on a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from space travel to global economic inequality to what happens when five inflated balloons are stuffed into a vat of liquid nitrogen. Their talks were moderated by Nathan Gardels, editor in chief of The WorldPost, and Peter Dervan, the Bren Professor of Chemistry, who noted while introducing Zewail that they have been close friends ever since their early days starting as assistant professors together at Caltech.

"What an extraordinary day," Rosenbaum said at the conclusion of the event, held in Beckman Auditorium. "It's unusual to find a series of talks at this incredibly high level of excellence—intellectually deep and pedagogically engaging."

As many of the speakers pointed out, Zewail's list of accomplishments is staggering. He has authored some 600 articles and 16 books and was sole recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in femtochemistry. In the post-Nobel era, he developed a new field dubbed four-dimensional electron microscopy. He has been active in global affairs, serving as the first U.S. Science Envoy to the Middle East and helping establish the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Cairo, which he hopes to turn into "the Caltech of Egypt."

"Ahmed is a very special kind of scientist," said Fiona Harrison, chair of Caltech's Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, during the conference's introductory remarks. She noted the "incredible breadth of his research" and cited a colleague's observation that "Ahmed is someone who never has average goals."

Jackie Barton, chair of Caltech's Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, praised Caltech for taking a chance on Zewail four decades ago, when he was a young scientist. "He had this vision," she said. "The vision was to watch the dynamics of chemical reactions, to watch reactions happening on a faster and faster time scale, indeed to watch the making and breaking of chemical bonds."

She added: "He has this intuitive sense of the dynamical motions of atoms and molecules, their coherence, or lack thereof, as the case may be. And then he has this extraordinary attention to every detail, so that he's able to meld together theory and experiment and understand that dance, that choreography of atoms and molecules as they carry out a reaction."

To further honor Zewail, Caltech presented him with a rare book of Benjamin Franklin's speeches and scientific research—on lightning rods and the aurora borealis, among other phenomena—that is signed by Rosenbaum and all of Caltech's former presidents. Caltech Provost Ed Stolper noted that it is the only book authored by Franklin that was published during his lifetime.

As Stolper noted in his introductory remarks, the gift is a fitting one for Zewail, who has come to embody the ideal of Caltech, a place "where scientists and engineers are limited only by their imagination." He added Ahmed is one of the few scientists that, like Benjamin Franklin and Linus Pauling, not only excelled in science but has made a broader impact on society through his writings and actions.

Written by Alex Roth

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Two Named Air Force Young Investigators

Venkat Chandrasekaran and Thomas Vidick have received grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research through its Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). The award, given to scientists and engineers who have received their PhD in the last five years, is intended to foster creative research in science and engineering areas of interest to the Air Force.

Chandrasekaran is an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences and electrical engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. His grant will be used for a YIP project titled "Latent Variable Graphical Modeling for High-Dimensional Data Analysis."

"The analysis of massive datasets arises in a range of contemporary problem domains throughout science and technology," Chandrasekaran says. "A central objective in data analysis is to learn simple or 'concise' models that characterize the statistical correlations among large collections of variables. Concisely specified models provide useful interpretations of the relationships underlying a set of variables. However, unobserved phenomena complicate this task significantly because these extraneous variables induce relationships among the observed variables that are complex to describe. The objective of this research project supported by the Air Force is to develop principled and computationally tractable methods for statistical modeling that account for the effects of unobserved phenomena."

Vidick is an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. His YIP project is titled "Towards a secure quantum network."

"Developing computing devices based on the laws of quantum mechanics will dramatically upend existing communication networks in two major ways," Vidick says. "First, by providing new classes of attacks on existing cryptosystems. Second, by turning formerly impossible cryptographic tasks into game-changing possibilities. My research aims to address the following challenge: What are the protocols and notions of security that will allow efficient and secure interactions in the emerging network of classical and quantum devices?"

"I think it's fantastic that the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is recognizing the urgency of theoretical research in quantum communications and cryptography," he says. "I am honored my research has been selected for the award."

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Two assistant professors have received grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research through its Young Investigator Research Program.

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