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EAS New Horizons Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

05-04-21

The Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences seeks nominations to recognize and honor individuals within the EAS community who have actively contributed to EAS’s goal to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive engineering community. The award is available to members of the EAS community, including current students, postdoctoral scholars, staff, and faculty. Nominations are due Wednesday, May 19, 2021 and are accepted from anyone in the EAS community, EAS alumni and members of the Caltech community. Click here for full description of how to make a nomination.

Tags: APhMS EE honors GALCIT MedE MCE CMS ESE

Measuring Ventilation to Quantify COVID-19 Risk

04-26-21

There are many different factors that play into models of COVID-19 transmission. One of these factors is ventilation of indoor spaces. A cross-disciplinary group of Caltech researchers as well as members of the Institute's facilities team are adapting technology used by geochemists and atmospheric scientists to survey ventilation rates in buildings across campus. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Paul Wennberg Alex Sessions Elizabeth Niespolo John Crounse Ted Present Nathan Dalleska

Soil Moisture Drives Year-to-Year Change in Land Carbon Uptake

04-01-21

Earth's land ecosystems absorb a large portion of all the carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities, helping to slow global warming. On average for a given year, plants and soil take up, or fix, about 30 percent of human emissions. But from one year to the next, that number can be as high as 40 percent or as low as 20 percent. Climate scientists aim to pin down exactly what produces this variability so they can account for it and create the most accurate models for predicting future climate. "Our results show that soil moisture significantly impacts near-surface temperatures and atmospheric humidity because of these land–atmosphere feedbacks," says Christian Frankenberg, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Christian Frankenberg postdocs Vincent Humphrey

Solar Geoengineering May Not be a Long-Term Solution for Climate Change

11-23-20

Pumping aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, thus cooling Earth, is one last-ditch method for dealing with climate change. According to new research, solar geoengineering may fail to prevent catastrophic warming in the long run. It would not prevent high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from destabilizing low-lying clouds, opening the door to extreme warming. "Solar geoengineering ultimately may not fix the problem if high greenhouse gas emissions continue for more than a century," says Tapio Schneider, Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Tapio Schneider

FUTURE Ignited

11-04-20

Nearly 200 undergraduates from more than 120 colleges and universities across the country joined Caltech for FUTURE Ignited, a virtual event that aimed to encourage students of color to pursue graduate studies in science and engineering. The goal of FUTURE Ignited is to diversify STEM with students of color who will go on to become incredible graduate students and scientific leaders in their respective fields. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE GALCIT MCE CMS ESE FUTURE Ignited

EAS Remembers James J. Morgan

09-21-20

James (Jim) J. Morgan, Marvin L. Goldberger Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, Emeritus, passed away on September 19, 2020. Dr. Jim Morgan came to Caltech in 1965 as Associate Professor of Environmental Health Engineering. After 35 years of distinguished service to the Institute, he became emeritus in 2000. He served as the Academic Officer for Environmental Engineering Science, 1971-72, Dean of Students, 1972-75, Executive Officer for Environmental Engineering Science, 1974-80 and 1993-96, Acting Dean of Graduate Studies, 1981-84, and Vice President for Student Affairs, 1980-89. Professor Morgan’s research was concerned with the chemistry and technology of water treatment, the scientific basis for establishing criteria and standards for water quality protection, and manganese in fresh and marine waters. He was renowned as a caring teacher and mentor to generations of students and scholars. His book on Aquatic Chemistry, which he co-authored with his advisor Werner Stumm, remains the standard reference on the subject (cited more than 25,000 times) and has become a worldwide classic. He received numerous awards and honors, including election to the National Academy of Engineering and the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for Water Science and Technology from the National Water Research Institute. Jim Morgan and Werner Stumm were awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 1999. [Caltech story]

Tags: EAS history ESE James Morgan

Undersea Earthquakes Shake Up Climate Science

09-19-20

Researchers show how they are able to make use of existing seismic monitoring equipment, as well as historic seismic data, to determine how much the temperature of the earth's oceans has changed and continues changing, even at depths that are normally out of the reach of conventional tools. They do this by listening for the sounds from the many earthquakes that regularly occur under the ocean, says Jörn Callies, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering. Callies says these earthquake sounds are powerful and travel long distances through the ocean without significantly weakening, which makes them easy to monitor. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Jörn Callies

Professor Victoria Orphan Named Member of AAAS

04-24-20

Victoria J. Orphan, James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology and the director of the Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions (CEMI), has been honored as a new member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Orphan focuses on communities of microbial life involved in the cycling of elements such as sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen. She has spent decades studying the partnership of a species of bacteria and a species of archaea that live within deep-sea methane seeps in what is called a consortia, a kind of symbiotic aggregate of multiple species. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors ESE Victoria Orphan

International Alliance of Universities Addressing Climate Change

04-09-20

Caltech has joined dozens of universities around the globe in launching the International Universities Climate Alliance (IUCA). The alliance is a network of fourty universities in eighteen countries, each with different strengths in analyzing and addressing climate change. "The IUCA hopes to be a resource to governments and other stakeholders that provides an independent and respected international voice on matters related to climate science, impacts, mitigation, and adaptation," says Andrew Thompson, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights ESE Andrew Thompson CNS

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