New Faculty Members in EAS Zoom in on the Nanoscale

Three new faculty members in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) have big ideas about really small things. Assistant professors Hyuck Choo, Dennis Kochmann, and Austin Minnich focus on quite different challenges, but they all home in on the nanoscale, where they manipulate, model, and measure structures and phenomena at the level of individual atoms.

Caltech Faculty Receive Gates Foundation Grants for Global Health Initiatives

On December 15, the Gates Foundation and Grand Challenge Canada announced over $31 million in new grants to help advance healthcare in the developing world. James Heath, Gilloon Professor and professor of chemistry, and Axel Scherer, Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, and Physics, were among the 12 grant recipients who will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Caltech was the only organization to receive more than one award.

Light as a Feather, Stiffer Than a Board

Julia Greer, assistant professor of materials science and mechanics at Caltech, is part of a team of researchers who have developed the world’s lightest solid material, with a density of just 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimeter, or approximately 100 times lighter than Styrofoam™. Though the material is ultra-low in density, it has incredible strength and absorbs energy well, making it potentially useful for applications ranging from battery electrodes to protective shielding.

 

Auctions, Traffic, Selfishness, and Data Privacy—It All Comes Down to Math

Katrina Ligett, a new assistant professor of computer science and economics, is fascinated by problems that involve a conflict or tension between individual incentives and more global objectives. She uses ideas from computer science and mathematics to approach problems of algorithmic game theory.

An Incredible Shrinking Material

They shrink when you heat 'em. Most materials expand when heated, but a few contract. Now engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have figured out how one of these curious materials, scandium trifluoride (ScF3), does the trick—a finding, they say, that will lead to a deeper understanding of all kinds of materials. 

 

Early Years of GALCIT Featured in New Display

The Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) was a key component in the success of the Southern California aeronautic industry, which took flight in the 1920s. Working Together, Learning to Fly is a historical look at the research and industry collaborations at Caltech during the early years of GALCIT and is currently on display at Parsons-Gates Hall of Administration. 

 

Caltech Retains Top Spot in Engineering and Technology Rankings

In addition to their recent ranking of Caltech as first among world universities, for the second consecutive year the Times Higher Education has also ranked the Institute first for its engineering and technology programs.

Caltech Engineer Receives Popular Mechanics Award

Each year, Popular Mechanics magazine honors inventors, engineers, and researchers with Breakthrough Innovator Awards for their significant advances in medicine, technology, entertainment, and more. At a ceremony in New York City on October 10, Caltech engineer Joel Burdick was among the recipients of a Breakthrough Award for his work that helped a paralyzed man stand. The awards are in recognition of "innovators whose inventions will make the world smarter, safer, and more efficient in the years to come."

Caltech Named World's Top University in New Times Higher Education Global Ranking

Caltech has been rated the world's number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, displacing Harvard University from the top spot for the first time in the survey's eight-year history. 

Caltech Team Uses Laser Light to Cool Object to Quantum Ground State

For the first time, researchers at Caltech, in collaboration with a team from the University of Vienna, have managed to cool a miniature mechanical object to its lowest possible energy state using laser light. The achievement paves the way for the development of exquisitely sensitive detectors as well as for quantum experiments that scientists have long dreamed of conducting.

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