Dear alumni and friends of the Division,

Just over one year has passed since I began serving as the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS). My goal has been to enhance the Division's resources and strategies so that we continue to move forward as an intellectually vibrant, diverse, and inclusive destination for the top engineering scholars in the world and maintain our leadership in undergraduate and graduate education, research, mentoring, tech transfer, and outreach. I hope you will see some of the fruits of these efforts in the pages of this issue of ENGenious.

It is my pleasure to report that we are continuing to attract the best minds in the world, with five new faculty members joining us this year. Our faculty are unique in that they drive advances that benefit humanity through basic engineering research that addresses deep challenges, and our new hires continue in this tradition. Three of the new faculty are joining EAS as Bren Professors: Aaron Ames (Mechanical and Civil Engineering), Andrew Stuart (Computing and Mathematical Sciences), and Lihong Wang (Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering). The Bren Professorships have been established under Caltech's initiative to explore new territory through interdisciplinary approaches to the biological and information sciences, including approaches that have roots in engineering fields. We also welcome Soon-Jo Chung to our Aerospace Department (GALCIT), and the new director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Michael Watkins, to GALCIT as well.

Attracting the best minds in the world means we bring exceptional students to Caltech, and this issue of ENGenious features the adventures and accomplishments of 14 current EAS students. As you might expect, they are embedded in research groups that are pushing the limits of engineering education and research, but they are also applying their talents to endeavors that range from school leadership activities to mentoring students from underserved communities.

Covering research in depth, we offer two progress reports in this issue. The first looks at advances in nano- and micro-technologies related to the human eye, and the second considers silicon photonics, which, although still in its infancy, is the basis for the next revolution in communications. In both of these areas, the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech plays a vital role. In conversation with the directors and staff of the KNI, we discover how the KNI supports myriad research efforts at Caltech, helps push the frontiers of quantum science and engineering, and also plays a crucial educational role in motivating and nurturing students.

Finally, as many of you know, I firmly believe that EAS alumni play a key role in our success and are our best advocates and champions. In this issue, we profile two alumni whose Caltech education has propelled them into becoming influential players in their respective fields, financial services and the construction industry. Their stories illustrate just two of the infinite ways our alumni are shaping our society and the world.

I wish you the greatest success personally and professionally, and, as always, I look forward to receiving your thoughts and comments.

G. Ravichandran
Otis Booth Leadership Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science

Caltech Graduating Class of 2016
54% of Caltech graduates are from the Division of Engineering & Applied Science (EAS)
53% of BS degrees earned are in EAS
69% of MS degrees earned are in EAS
44% of PhD degrees earned are in EAS

The Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science consists of seven departments and supports close to 90 faculty who are working at the leading edges of fundamental science to invent the technologies of the future.

2016 cover

Message from the Chair

G. Ravichandran
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Snap Shots
  • CMS Partners Program
  • Robotics Team Takes First Place at RoboSub Competition
  • Autonomous Systems and Technologies
  • Partnering to Diversify the STEM Workforce

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Who's New

New Faculty
Moore Scholar
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Progress Report

New Sight for Sore Eyes
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Alumni Profile

Eduardo Repetto: Communicating Difficult Concepts
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EAS Student Feature

Pushing the Limits of Engineering Education and Research
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Progress Report

Photons, Electrons, Silicon: Caltech's Electric Light Orchestra
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Alumni Profile

Cecil Drinkward: Focused on Getting an Education after WWII
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Campus Resource

Nurturing Nanoscience:
The Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech
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Trity Pourbahrami


Vicki Chiu


Leona Kershaw

Copy Editor

Sara Arnold

Contributing Writers

Eric Mankin
Jeff Mortimer

Image Credits

Cover: Illustration: Vicki Chiu; Darbe, Monge Osorio: Briana Ticehurst; Miyazono: Courtesy of Evan Miyazono
pp. 2 (top), 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31: Vicki Chiu
pp. 2 (bottom), 3 (top), 4 (CMS Partners Program), 6 (Stuart), 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26: Briana Ticehurst
p. 3 (Ravichandran): Lance Hayashida
p. 4 (RoboSub): Tyler Okamoto
p. 6: Ames: Courtesy of Aaron Ames; Chung: Courtesy of Soon-Jo Chung
p. 7: Wang: Courtesy of Lihong Wang; Koumoutsakos: Courtesy of Petros Koumoutsakos; Watkins: Courtesy of Michael Watkins
p. 32: top: Courtesy of Amnon Yariv; bottom: Courtesy of Ali Hajimiri
p. 33: Courtesy of Azita Emami
p. 34: Ki Youl Yang
p. 36: Connor Carey
p. 37: Courtesy of Hoffman Construction Company
Inside back cover (top to bottom): Seth Taylor, The Painter Group, Sameer Walavalkar (Scherer Group)