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eng e n i o u s
of the California Institute of Technology

a publication for alumni and friends of the division of engineering and applied science

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The Division of Engineering and Applied Science consists of thirteen Options working in five broad areas: Mechanics and Aerospace, Information and Communications, Materials and Devices, Environment and Civil, andBiology and Medicine. For more about E&AS visit

Division Chair David B. Rutledge Division Steering Committee K. Mani Chandy Simon Ramo Professor and Professor of Computer Science Melany Hunt Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Executive Officer for Mechanical Engineering Jerrold E. Marsden Carl F Braun Professor of Engineering and Control and Dynamical Systems AresRosakis Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering; Director of the Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories Paul Wennberg R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering ENGenious


aeronautics (GALCIT)

applied & computational mathematics


applied physics


civil engineering

computation & neural systems

computer science

control & dynamical systems

electrical engineering editor
Marionne L. Epalle

environmental science and engineering artdirection/design
Jessica Stephens

materials science staff
Briana Ticehurst

mechanical engineering photo credits
Cover image of students, and pages 6, 7 and 17 —Bob Paz; pages 5, 10, 13–29, 32, 35, and 44 —Peter Mendenhall; page 6 olive oil —Keith Birmingham; pages 8, 9, and 52 —Jessica Stephens; page 36 —Mitch Jacobi; page 40 —Gary Kious; page 42 —SallyAristei; page 49 and inside back cover —Briana Ticehurst Comments? Caltech Alumni The mission of the Caltech Alumni Association is to promote the interests of Caltech as a world standard of academic excellence by strengthening the ties of goodwill and communication between the Institute, its alumni, and current students, and by maintaining programs to servetheir needs. For more information on the Association and its activities, visit its website. Support Caltech

© 2007 California Institute of Technology. All Rights Reserved.

eng e n i o u s
5 6 snap shots
‘Round About the Institute

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note from the chair

44 progress report 48 idea flow

44Building a Microscopic Microscope
by Changhuei Yang and Demetri Psaltis


new faculty

Virendra Sarohia
Bringing Academia to the Forefront of Space Research

Who’s New: New Faculty, Joint Appointments, and Moore Distinguished Scholar
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campus resource

Sherman Fairchild Library: Ten Years Later
by Kimberly Douglas

Mechanical Engineering: Celebrating 100 Years ofForward Motion in a Constantly Changing Landscape
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research note

Biochemical Logic: Submerged Circuits of Floating DNA
by Erik Winfree

Powering the Planet
The Caltech Center for Sustainable Energy Research


alumni profile

Alexis C. Livanos
Vision, Ethics, Passion, Transformation —The Shaping of a Leader in Aerospace

Engineering at Caltech. Two 2007 ME72contestants are shown, Jeff Kranski and Tony Kelman, making last-millisecond adjustments to their machines. The lattice figure is from research by current PhD student Vikram Gavini (MS ‘04). It depicts the hierarchy of triangulations that form the basis of a new method (called QC-OFDFT) for conducting electronic structure calculations at continuum length scales. This method probes the quantum-mechanical...
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