123rd Commencement Ceremony
Caltech’s 123rd commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 16, 2017. The commencement speaker was Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut. Looking up, she said, allows us to remember that there is more that connects us than divides us. "Connection to the greater universe is something I hope for you throughout your lives. Never forget to look up and keep the bigger picture in mind. Look up at the sky, the moon, the stars when you need to recharge. Let the gravity of Earth give you a warm hug when you're feeling low. Look up to remember what inspires you. Keep the sparkle in your eyes, keep it long past graduation." [Caltech story]
"Hot" Electrons Move Faster Than Expected
For the first time, Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and colleagues have been able to directly observe the ultrafast motion of electrons immediately after they are excited with a laser—and found that these electrons diffuse into their surroundings much faster and farther than previously expected. "Our work shows the existence of a fast transient that lasts for a few hundred picoseconds, during which electrons move much faster than their room-temperature speed, implying that they can cover longer distances in a given time when manipulated with lasers," says Professor Bernardi. "This non-equilibrium behavior could be employed in novel electronic, optoelectronic, and renewable energy devices, as well as to uncover new fundamental physics." [Caltech story]
A Quantitative Study of Living Matter
Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, has reinvents the Caltech freshman biology course. "I believe the most fascinating subject of our time is the quantitative study of living matter, trying to understand the living part of the world with the same precision as we have understood the inorganic world," he says. "Many students think of biology as a subject that is all about a variety of facts. I reject this viewpoint and in teaching this class I aimed to find an alternative to the 'death by powerpoint' approach." [Caltech story]
Aadith Moorthy Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Materials science and computer science student Aadith Moorthy mentored by Professor Brent Fultz is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is working on improving graphene’s ability to store hydrogen, for use in fuel cell cars of the future. Moorthy is also the founder of ConserWater Technologies (conserwater.com), an Artificial Intelligence company that helps farmers reduce water use by up to 30%. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Sarang Mittal Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Applied Physics student Sarang Mittal, advised by Professor Oskar Painter, is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is currently working with Professor Maria Spiropulu’s team to explore the applications of deep learning and artificial intelligence in high energy particle physics. Using data from the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, he is trying to improve the data analysis pipeline at the Large Hadron Collider. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Riding The Crest
Rob Phillips, Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, is one of the hard-core scientists/athletes recently featured in the Caltech Magazine. In the article he is shown seeking surfing solitude in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. He describes, “I try to go places where there’s no one else. In Alaska I found a place never surfed by anybody.” He has also sought surf nirvana in Sumatra, the Maldives, Biarritz, and—closer at hand—off Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara County. On the connection between sports and science, Phillips says, “One of the things I notice about the people I admire the most in science is that they’re still in touch with a childlike enthusiasm, an intensity, a curiosity.” [Read the article]
Tools and Techniques to Track and Study Methane
Methane is less prevalent in the atmosphere than fellow greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), but it presents more difficult challenges for researchers attempting to study it. Professor Wennberg, is working with colleagues from across Caltech to study methane and its effects on the globe and to pioneer tools and techniques needed to identify, track, and characterize the gas and its sources. One such colleague is Professor Vahala who has paved the way for the miniaturization of high-resolution spectrometers. His new soliton-based system is the basis for a new collaboration with Professor Frankenberg to apply dual-comb spectrometer to methane tracking and analysis. [Caltech story]