David Rutledge Named Chair of Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science

David Rutledge, a leading researcher in the wireless telecommunication revolution, has been named chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology. The announcement was made today by David Baltimore, president of Caltech.

Research on Biological Jet Flows Could Lead to New Diagnostic Tools for Heart Disease

If you're a squid, your typical day consists of leisurely squirting water behind you to move forward, and occasionally squirting larger quantities of water behind you to stay off someone else's lunch menu. If you're a human with heart disease, your day consists of pumping blood through your heart valves much more forcefully than you did when you were young and healthy.

New Propane-Burning Fuel Cell Could Energize a Future Generation of Small Electrical Devices

Engineers have created a propane-burning fuel cell that's almost as small as a watch battery, yet many times higher in power density. Led by Sossina Haile of the California Institute of Technology, the team reports in the June 9 issue of the journal Nature that two of the cells have sufficient power to drive an MP3 player. If commercialized, such a fuel cell would have the advantage of driving the MP3 player for far longer than the best lithium batteries available.

Autonomous Racing: Bob, Meet Alice

Enter Alice. It's the new driverless vehicle being built by Team Caltech 2005--a group of undergrads (more than 50 in the last nine months), graduate students, and faculty advisers--that will compete in this year's race on October 8.

Five from Caltech Faculty Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Five faculty members at the California Institute of Technology are among this year's newly elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They join 191 other Americans and 17 foreign honorees as the 225th class of fellows of the prestigious institution that was cofounded in 1780 by John Adams.

Seismic experiments provide new clues to earthquake wave directionality and growth speed

In recent years, seismologists thought they were getting a handle on how an earthquake tends to rupture in a preferred direction along big strike-slip faults like the San Andreas. This is important because the direction of rupture has a profound influence on the distribution of ground shaking. But a new study could undermine their confidence a bit.

Caltech fluid dynamics expert wins annual Feynman Award for excellence in teaching

Chris Brennen has many pleasant memories of the "frosh camp" trips he used to make to Catalina Island with famed physicist Richard Feynman. As two California Institute of Technology faculty members who were particularly willing to accompany the new crop of Caltech freshmen on the annual orientation trip, Brennen and Feynman shared various interesting experiences at the rustic Camp Fox.

New light-emitting device could eliminate the bottleneck that slows down electrical circuits

Applied physicists at the California Institute of Technology have invented a light-emitting transistor that could potentially bypass a major bottleneck that slows down electronic circuitry. The new device could pave the way for on-chip optical interconnections that would enable the marriage of two great modern technologies--communications based on the transmission of photons, and computing with silicon-based devices that are driven by electric currents. A successful optical interconnection technology would allow information to move around inside a silicon chip at the speed of light while creating substantially less heat, leading to dramatically faster computers.

Caltech Launches New Information Initiative

The California Institute of Technology has launched a university-wide initiative called Information Science and Technology (IST)--drawing back the curtain on the nature of information itself and redefining the way we approach, understand, and use science and engineering. IST will cut across disciplines, eventually involving over 25 percent of all faculty and nearly 35 percent of students on campus, likely altering the Institute's intellectual and organizational landscape.

Fuel Cells: the Next Generation

Sossina Haile, an associate professor of materials science and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is an expert in fuel cells, and she has been whittling away at the heat problem for years. Now she and her colleagues have not only solved the problem, they've smashed it. They've brought the temperature down to about 600 degrees Celsius (1100 degrees Fahrenheit), while achieving more power output than others are achieving at the higher temperatures--about 1 watt per square centimeter of fuel cell area.

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