2017 Caltech Distinguished Alumna


Caltech has recognized Engineering and Applied Science alumna Regina Dugan (PhD '93 Mechanical Engineering) with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Dr. Dugan is being honored for her sustained record of leadership and innovation in technology and business. [Caltech story]

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Alphabet Chief Sees AI Helping Spur Scientific Discovery


Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet and the former CEO of Google, visited Caltech on February 17, 2017. Schmidt suggested that artificial intelligence (AI) could transform the way science is done by allowing researchers to conduct "hypothesis-free" investigations of massive amounts of data. [Caltech story]

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Computing with Biochemical Circuits Made Easy


Lulu Qian, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, is working to create circuits using not the usual silicon transistors but strands of DNA. "A DNA circuit could add 'smarts' to chemicals, medicines, or materials by making their functions responsive to the changes in their environments," Qian says. "Importantly, these adaptive functions can be programmed by humans." [Caltech story]

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A Conversation with Lior Pachter


Lior S. Pachter, Bren Professor of Computational Biology, applies computational methods to biology problems. He has interests in both the development of computational methods and in answering specific biology questions, primarily related to the function of RNA, a molecule central to the function of cells. [Caltech story]

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New President of the French Academy of Sciences


Alumnus Sébastien Candel (PhD '72) has been elected as president of the French Academy of Sciences (Académie des sciences, Institut de France). The Academy, which was created in 1666, is committed to the advancement of science and advises government authorities on scientific issues.  Candel obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Caltech and is a receipient of the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions to aerospace. [Caltech story] [Candel's Marble Lecture]

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Robot Drone That Mimics Bat Flight


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, and colleagues have recreated the key flight mechanisms of bats with unprecedented fidelity in the Bat Bot—a self-contained robotic bat with soft, articulated wings. [Caltech story]

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Taking Flight: Professor Soon-Jo Chung


Soon-Jo Chung, Associate Professor of Aerospace and Bren Scholar; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, has wide research interests ranging from the creation of a robotic bat with flexible wings and realistic flight dynamics to the control of swarms of small satellites to the development of computer-vision-based navigation systems. [Interview with Professor Soon-Jo Chung]

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Caltech Computes: Disrupting and Uniting Science and Engineering


About 200 Caltech alumni, students, faculty, and friends filled the Beckman Institute Auditorium on November 12 for the Caltech Alumni Association's sold-out event, Caltech Computes: Disrupting Science and Engineering with Computational Thinking, which showcased the impact of a computational approach on a variety of fields, including biology, astronomy, and economics. [Caltech story] [Videos of event]

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The Mechanical Universe Now on YouTube


The critically acclaimed television series The Mechanical Universe… And Beyond, created at Caltech and broadcast on PBS from 1985-86, is now available in its entirety on YouTube thanks to the efforts of Caltech's Institute's Information Science and Technology initiative. [Caltech story] [Watch the show]


A Birder in the Hand: Mobile Phone App Can Recognize Birds From Photos


Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed the Merlin Bird Photo ID mobile app which uses machine-learning technology to identify hundreds of North American bird species it "sees" in photos. "This app is the culmination of seven years of our students' hard work and is propelled by the tremendous progress that computer-vision and machine-learning scientists are making around the world," says Professor Perona. "A machine that recognizes objects in images, like humans do, was a distant dream when I was a graduate student and now it's finally happening." [Caltech story]

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