Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

News & Events


Michael Elowitz Named HHMI Investigator


Michael Elowitz, Assistant Professor of Biology and Applied Physics and a Bren Scholar, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Elowitz is fundamentally interested in how cells' own genetic circuits dictate what type of cells they become. In work that overturned the steadfastnotion that genes and networks of genes operate in a predictable and fixed fashion, he and his colleagues showed that key properties of the cell, like how actively it turns out different proteins, are intrinsically random. To show that randomness is used to more accurately control the shapes and patterns that make organisms work, Elowitz is turning to larger and more complex animal cells. "I'm grateful to HHMI for the amazing opportunity this appointment presents to focus as much as possible on research. The funds will enable us to explore new directions, especially allowing us to expand approaches we've previously developed primarily in bacteria to mammalian cells." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS honors health Michael Elowitz

Chiara Daraio Wins Richard von Mises Prize


Chiara Daraio, Professor Aeronautics and Applied Physics, has won the 2008 Richard von Mises Prize. This prize is awarded each year by the International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (GAMM) to a young scientist for exceptional scientific achievements in the field of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics. The prize was awarded at the opening ceremony of the Annual meeting of GAMM in March, in Bremen, Germany.

Tags: APhMS honors Chiara Daraio GALCIT

Roukes and Rothemund Display Work at MoMA


"If you make structures that are impeccably designed, they also often tend to work really well," says Michael Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering. He along with senior research associate in computation and neural systems and computer science Paul Rothemund are scientists who can now add artist to their resumes. Rothemund's DNA origami and a colorized electron micrograph of Roukes's nanoscience work were displayed in Design and the Elastic Mind at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Roukes's micrograph was even selected for the museum's permanent collection. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights health Michael Roukes Paul Rothemund

A New Take on Microbrewing


David Boyd, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, graduate student James Adleman, Demitri Psaltis, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and David Goodwin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, have crafted the world's tiniest still to concentrate scant amounts of micromolecules for easier detection. This device may help to overcome difficulties in tracking extremely low-abundance molecular biomarkers, which can indicate disease. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MCE David Boyd

Michael Roukes Contributes to KCET Episode Exploring Nanotechnology


Nanotechnology: The Power of Small will be broadcast on KCET in Los Angeles on consecutive Mondays in April, beginning April 7, at 8pm. Michael Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering, is a contributor to the second episode which explores nanotechnology’s potential contributions to health and human enhancement.

Tags: APhMS Michael Roukes

Azita Emami, Julia Greer, and Beverley McKeon Receieve NSF Career Awards


The NSF has announced three NSF CAREER Awards to Caltech faculty so far this year; they have been awarded to: Azita Emami, Assistant Professor of Electrial Engineering, Julia Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science, and  Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics. Emami's award is for her research on "Hybrid Data Communication in Advanced Integrated Systems"; Greer's awared is for "Experimental Investigation of Plasticity at Nano-scale via in-situ Mechanical Deformation"; and McKeon's award is for her research on "Morphing Surfaces for Flow Control". The CAREER program offers NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. The minimum CAREER award is $400,000.

Tags: APhMS EE honors GALCIT Julia Greer Beverley McKeon Azita Emami-Neyestanak

Goddard and Heath Report that Making Silicon Into Nanowires Could Create Highly Efficient Thermoelectric Materials


Silicon nanowires are laying the foundation for a new type of cheap yet energy-efficient microscopic refrigeration, with no moving parts. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy William Goddard

Book Published by Brent Fultz and James M. Howe


The third edition of the book, Transmission Electron Miscroscopy and Diffractometry of Materials, by Professor of Materials Science and Applied Physics, Brent Fultz, and James M. Howe has been published by Springer.

Tags: APhMS Brent Fultz

Sossina Haile Profiled in Newsweek


Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Sossina Haile, creator of the first solid-acid fuel cell, is profiled in Newsweek. Soild-acid fuel cells operation at much lower temperatures than conventional fuel cells. Early this year, the start-up company Superprotonic—founded by two of her former grad students—will ship the first commercial prototypes to energy-systems makers. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights Sossina Haile