Caltech's annual machine competitionto be held December 6

Caltech mechanical engineering students are putting in quality tool time these days to prepare for the annual ME 72 engineering design contest, a celebrated campus event in which teams of robot rovers are pitted against each other in a test of engineering design acumen, strategy, teamwork, and sheer driving skill.

This year's contest, the 17th in the annual series, will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, December 6, in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus.

Machinist provides undergrads withquality time in the Caltech shop

Machinist John Van Deusen looks on approvingly as two Caltech undergraduates prepare to see how well their new robot climbs a curved wall.

The robot performs its task admirably—not necessarily a foregone conclusion in the Caltech machine shop, where dysfunctional robots have been known to come into creation. Van Deusen, ever the diplomat, passes by without commenting one way or the other.

"In ME 72 we bite our tongues a lot," Van Deusen says later. The robot the two undergrads have built is pretty much a set of felt-lined caterpillar treads linked by a single aluminum bar.

Environmental Study of Local Area Conducted by Caltech Team

California Institute of Technology researchers have received a $100,000 grant from the Alice C. Tyler Perpetual Trust to study the human impact on land and water in the San Gabriel Valley and San Gabriel River watershed. Ecosystems bordering major metropolitan areas are subject to intense pressures from pollutants produced by transportation, industrial activities, power generation, and recreational activities. This project will measure and document these environmental changes in order to predict future impacts.

Scientists achieve breakthrough in fuel-cell technology

Gasoline averaging $3 per gallon? Oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife reserve? A need to relax air quality standards? It seems the long-term future of fossil fuels is bleak. One promising solution scientists have been studying is fuel cells, but they've had limitations too. Now, in the April 19 issue of the science journal Nature, the California Institute of Technology's Sossina M. Haile reports on a new type of fuel cell that may resolve these problems.

Impact of Caltech's Computer Science OptionCelebrated with 25th Anniversary Symposium

Computer technology pioneers and today's leading innovators in the field will gather at Caltech on April 9 and 10 for a symposium in honor of the 25th anniversary of the California Institute of Technology computer science option. The event is free and open to the public. Presentations by Caltech alumni, former and current faculty, and distinguished colleagues will take place in Beckman Institute auditorium and in the Jorgensen Laboratory of Information Science.

Caltech's annual machine competition to be held Nov. 30

PASADENA—Caltech engineering students will put their freshly built robotic rovers through their paces when they compete for top honors at the 16th annual ME72 Engineering Design Contest at 2 p.m. Thursday, November 30, in Beckman Auditorium.

The celebrated contest lets undergraduate students match wits and design acumen to see whose machine is best at performing a contrived task. The media are invited to attend and cover the event, which should last about 90 minutes.

NSF awards $9.6 million for materials research center at Caltech

The National Science Foundation today awarded $9.6 million in start-up funding for the Center for the Science and Engineering of Materials (CSEM) at the California Institute of Technology. The new center pioneers a number of exotic and futuristic materials and applications such as "liquid" metals, responsive gels, and tiny medical sensors.

NSF funds new Institute for Quantum Information at Caltech

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $5 million grant to the California Institute of Technology to create an institute devoted to quantum information science—a new field that could ultimately lead to devices such as quantum computers.

The announcement was part of a $90 million information technology research initiative the NSF announced today in Washington. The awards are aimed at seeding fundamental research in innovative applications of information technology.

Two Caltech faculty named MacArthur Fellows

PASADENA—The California Institute of Technology has two new faculty geniuses, and each has been awarded $500,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to prove it.

Caltech Professor Honored with Guggenheim Medal

California Institute of Technology professor emeritus Frank E. Marble receives the Guggenheim Medal and Certificate.

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