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A Third of California Methane Traced to a Few Super-Emitters

11-07-19

Professor Christian Frankenberg, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, is helping California create a detailed, statewide inventory of methane point sources. The new data can be used to target actions to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. "This work shows unequivocally that methane point sources not only exist in the oil and gas industry but also in landfills and agriculture. Finding these large point sources is the trickiest part; mitigation can ensue quickly after that, representing a win-win for both the environment as well as industry," says Frankenberg. [Caltech story]

Tags: ESE Christian Frankenberg

Jing Li Receives AAAR Sheldon Friedlander Award

10-28-19

Jing Li, a postdoctoral scholar working with Professor Michael R. Hoffmann, is the recipient of the 2019 Sheldon K. Friedlander Award from the American Association of Aerosol Research (AAAR). The award recognizes an outstanding dissertation by an individual who has earned a doctoral degree in any discipline related to the physical, biomedical or engineering sciences in the field of aerosol science and technology. In her doctoral thesis, Jing focused on studying the global PM-borne biologicals and their toxicity, more broadly in bioaerosol field. Her dissertation work raises the awareness of airborne transmission of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), as well as global differences of local source-specific PM toxicity. [Past recipients]

Tags: honors ESE Michael Hoffmann Jing Li

Stewart and Lynda Resnick Pledge $750 Million to Caltech to Support Environmental Sustainability Research

09-27-19

Stewart and Lynda Resnick have announced a $750 million pledge to Caltech to support cutting-edge research into the most pressing challenges in environmental sustainability. "Stewart and Lynda Resnick's generosity and vision will permit Caltech to tackle issues of water, energy, food, and waste in a world confronting rapid climate change," says Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS ESE Resnick

Luis Phillipe Tosi Receives 2019 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award

06-24-19

Luis Phillipe Tosi, a graduate student working with Professor Tim Colonius, is a recipient of the 2019 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. His doctorate research focuses on experiments, numerical simulations, and modeling to understand fluid-structure instabilities that make flow energy harvesting devices possible. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

Tags: honors MCE Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award Tim Colonius Luis Phillipe Tosi

New Climate Model to Be Built from the Ground Up

12-13-18

"Projections with current climate models—for example, of how features such as rainfall extremes will change—still have large uncertainties, and the uncertainties are poorly quantified," says Professor Tapio Schneider, principal investigator of the Climate Modeling Alliance (CliMA). "For cities planning their stormwater management infrastructure to withstand the next 100 years' worth of floods, this is a serious issue; concrete answers about the likely range of climate outcomes are key for planning." The new climate model will be built by a consortium of researchers led by Caltech, in partnership with MIT; the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS); and JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA. It will use data-assimilation and machine-learning tools to improve itself in real time, harnessing both Earth observations and the nested high-resolution simulations. "The success of computational weather forecasting demonstrates the power of using data to improve the accuracy of computer models; we aim to bring the same successes to climate prediction," says Professor Andrew Stuart. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights CMS ESE Tapio Schneider Andrew Stuart

Caltech President’s 2018 End of Year Message

12-11-18

President Thomas F. Rosenbaum’s end of the year message to the Caltech community highlights the InSight spacecraft landing and the celebration of Frances Arnold’s 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He states, “these recent events … underscore the extraordinary technological acumen that is necessary to realize the implications of big ideas. The Institute is known throughout the world for its mastery of fundamental science, but it is the connection of these fundamental precepts to engineering innovation that sets Caltech apart.” [Read the full message]

Tags: Thomas Rosenbaum

President Rosenbaum Highlights Postdocs as "Unsung Heroes"

09-24-18

In a letter to the Caltech community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, the Caltech President emphasizes the role this key group plays at the Institute. He stated, “Caltech's mission of world-leading research and education depends crucially on our postdoctoral scholars. Although their time at Caltech may be short, they quickly become vital parts of the Institute's intellectual fabric.” [President’s Letter] [EAS Postdoc Resource Page]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MedE MCE CMS ESE Thomas Rosenbaum postdocs

Graduate Student Wins AAAS Mass Media Fellowship

04-30-18

Giuliana Viglione, a graduate student in Professor Andrew Thompson’s group and a member of the first E111 class has been selected to join the 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program. The fellows are placed at media organizations nationwide and trained to sharpening their abilities to communicate complex scientific issues to the public. In her research, Giuliana uses robots to investigate small-scale motions in the ocean and what their effect on climate may be.  She will be spending the summer working at King5, an NBC affiliate in Seattle, where she will use her expertise to report on the effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.

Tags: honors research highlights ESE Andrew Thompson Giuliana Viglione

Scientists Discover Unexpected Side Effect to Cleaning Up Urban Air

12-19-17

For decades, efforts to reduce air pollution have led to cleaner air in U.S cities like Los Angeles, with subsequent improvements in public health. Those efforts have targeted both nitric oxides and hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are emitted from many sources including gasoline-powered cars, trucks, solvents, cleaners used both at home and in industrial settings, and even trees.  Professor Paul O. Wennberg and colleagues have found that there is another chemical pathway for forming organic hydroperoxides—one that occurs at nitric oxide levels substantially higher than can be found in the atmosphere over unpopulated regions. "This is chemistry that does not exist in any of the models of how nitric oxide and hydrocarbons interact," says Professor Wennberg. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Paul Wennberg

Professor Hoffmann Elected to Chinese Academy of Engineering

11-27-17

Michael R. Hoffmann, Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science, has been elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). Professor Hoffman was one of 18 foreign experts, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who were inducted into the CAE which is the foremost engineering academy in China. [CAE announcement]

Tags: honors ESE Michael Hoffmann