Ares J. Rosakis Ares J. Rosakis
Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and
Mechanical Engineering

News Releases


The World University RankingsProfessor Ares Rosakis, and colleagues including Professor Nadia Lapusta and Research Scientist Vito Rubino, are studying the way friction changes along a fault during a seismic event by simulating quakes in a lab. "Our unique facility … allows us for the first time to study friction point-wise and without having to assume that sliding occurs uniformly, as is done in classical friction studies," Rosakis explains. Professor Lapusta adds, “some numerical models of earthquake rupture … have used friction laws with slip-velocity dependence… It is gratifying to see those formulations validated by the spontaneous mini-earthquake ruptures in our study." [Caltech story] 8.30.17

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This honor is given to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and gained prominence in their respective fields of Earth and space sciences. [AGU release] 7.28.17

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been named an honorary fellow of the International Congress on Fracture (ICF) which is the premier international body for promotion of worldwide cooperation among scientists and engineers concerned with the mechanics and mechanisms of fracture, fatigue, and strength of solids. He has also been elected as one of the group's three vice presidents. 7.21.17

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues at Caltech and École normale supérieure in Paris have discovered that fast ruptures propagating up toward the earth's surface along a thrust fault can cause one side of a fault to twist away from the other, opening up a gap of up to a few meters that then snaps shut. [Caltech story] 5.1.17


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). His research interests span a wide spectrum of length and time scales and range from the mechanics of earthquake seismology, to the physical processes involved in the catastrophic failure of aerospace materials, to the reliability of micro-electronic and opto-electronic structures and devices. The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. [Caltech story] [List of NAS members]

Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, will receive the Theodore von Kármán Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The medal recognizes distinguished achievement in engineering mechanics. Professor Rosakis is being honored for "discovering several fundamental physical phenomena in dynamic fracture of heterogeneous materials and interfaces at various length and time scales.” [Caltech story] 3.22.16

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been inducted into the Academy of Athens in the class of Natural Sciences for his “exceptional contributions to science, in particular in experimental science, in the mechanics of solids, and in aerospace.” He was indicated as a Corresponding Member of this selective academy - there are only 76 members in his section and class. [Video of event] [Caltech story] 1.12.16


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, is the 2015 recipient of the Sia Nemat-Nasser Medal “for innovative singular theoretical and experimental contributions in dynamic fracture and optical techniques, and their application to rupture faults.” The Sia Nemat-Nasser Medal is awarded by the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) and recognizes an individual for distinguished, innovative, and outstanding work that has realized the impact of experimental mechanics on other scientific and engineering fields through an integrated multidisciplinary research. Professor Rosakis received the award at the 2015 SEM annual conference. 6.22.15

Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release] 4.28.15

Through three gifts to the EAS Division, investor and philanthropist Foster Stanback and his wife, Coco, aim to help Caltech advance innovation in space exploration, with the attendant benefits of an educated workforce, skilled jobs, and spinoff technologies. "The Stanback gifts contribute vitally to the EAS strategy of attracting the best faculty and students, then giving them the resources, acknowledgement, and support to shine. For space engineering, these gifts will allow us to perpetually fund bold seed projects—many of which will lead to spectacular inventions and technologies,” explains EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] 1.27.15


Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering as well as the Otis Booth Leadership Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in the section of Physics and Engineering Sciences. The Academia Europaea was founded in 1988 and is an organization of eminent, individual scholars from across the continent of Europe. The 3000 members cover a wide range of academic disciplines including the humanities, social, physical and life sciences as well as mathematics, engineering and medicine. In addition to Professor Ares Rosakis, Caltech's Provost Edward Stolper, the Institute's past president David Baltimore, and Professor Alexander Varshavsky are members of the Academy. 11.3.14

The World University RankingsWhat keeps Caltech at the top of the Times Higher Education university rankings? In a series of highly candid and extraordinary interviews with EAS Chair Ares Rosakis, BBE Chair Steven Mayo, and their faculty colleagues, the editor of the Times reports on the Institute. He observes: "While diminutive scale may be a disadvantage for some institutions, for Caltech, it is at the heart of its being, and perhaps the single most important aspect of its extraordinary global success." [Read the full article] [pdf of article]


Booth and Rosakis With a $10 million gift, the Los Angeles–based Otis Booth Foundation has created and endowed the Otis Booth Leadership Chair for the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) at Caltech. "The first funds from the endowment will support time-sensitive research that is too high risk for most traditional grants," says Chair Ares Rosakis, the inaugural holder of the Booth Leadership Chair. "I am excited to see what inventions and ideas become realities as Dr. Rosakis and his successors at the helm of EAS use this endowment now and far into the future," says Lynn Booth, president of the Otis Booth Foundation, a Caltech trustee, and a prominent Los Angeles philanthropist. [Caltech Release] 7.3.13

The Indian Department of Space / Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has established a fellowship at Caltech in the name of Caltech alumnus Satish Dhawan (Eng '49, PhD '51) who is a pioneer of India's space program. "The ISRO is honoring Dhawan and Caltech with this fellowship, and it is also recognizing the historical connections between engineers and scientists in the United States and India," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "India has a very strong domestically grown space program," explains GALCIT Director G. Ravichandran. "The ISRO is hoping to maintain its momentum by training students in much the same way that Dhawan was trained when he went through GALCIT decades ago." [Learn More] [Caltech Release] 7.30.13



Ares RosakisActing Caltech President Ed Stolper, JPL Director Charles Elachi, Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques recipient Ares Rosakis, and Consul General of France in Los Angeles Axel Cruau

Ares Rosakis
has been selected to receive the Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, which is the Commander grade of the French Republic's Order of Academic Palms. Founded by Napoleon in 1808 to honor educators and scholars, this distinction recognizes eminent personalities who have made significant contributions to the development of French culture, science, and education. It is currently awarded by the Prime Minister of France.

The Order of Academic Palms, was originally created to reward service to French universities and academies. In 1955, Charles de Gaulle broadened the mandate to include researching, teaching, and disseminating knowledge of the French culture around the world. The Order comprises of three grades: Commandeur (Commander — medallion worn on necklet), Officier (Officer — medallion worn on ribbon with rosette on left breast), and Chevalier (Knight — medallion worn on ribbon on left breast). It is one of the world’s oldest orders of chivalry, still in existence, and in distinction the Order of Academic Palms comes right after honors such as the Legion of Honor and the Order of the Liberation. Past recipients of the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques include classical greek scholar Jacqueline de Romilly, Prince Albert II of Monaco, filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, and mathematician Jean Frédéric Auguste Delsarte. [Caltech Feature] 1.6.12


Ares Rosakis has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Rosakis was elected for discovery of intersonic rupture, contributions to understanding dynamic failure, and methods to determine stresses in thin-film structures.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.  Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education." 2.8.11



Ares Rosakis gave the closing remarks at the 2010 National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges National Summit. Professor Rosakis' presentation entitled "Where Have All the Rocket Scientists Gone?" wrapped up a two day event involving leading scientists and engineers, educators, policy leaders, innovators and corporate executives. Watch Event Highlights (m4v video) (Download pdf) 10.12.10

Ares J. Rosakis is the recipient of the 2010 Brown Engineering Alumni Medal (BEAM). The medal is awarded to distinguished Brown alumni who have established exceptional records of accomplishment in their careers. Professor Rosakis received the medal at a ceremony held in the Brown Alumnae Hall accompanied by his former teacher Rodney J. Clifton, Dean of Brown University School of Engineering, L. Ben Freund, Rosakis' PhD advisor and former Chair of Brown University Division of Engineering, as well as Rosakis' classmate Wei Yang, President of Zhejiang University in China [in photo standing from left to right]. At the same ceremony it was announced that the Division of Engineering at Brown University has been elevated to the School of Engineering at Brown. 6.2.10

James Cameron and Ares Rosakis

Avatar Director James Cameron met with Caltech faculty and students on May 4, 2010 to discuss a variety of topics including space structure systems, interdisciplinary materials and device research, and cognitive neuroscience. All present were impressed by Mr. Cameron's level of interest and engagement. Ares Rosakis said "if Mr. Cameron was not such an accomplished director I bet he would have made a wonderful engineer." 5.18.10

Ares J. Rosakis has been selected to receive the 2010 Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "for pioneering contributions to the field of fracture and failure mechanics of microelectronic, engineering and geological materials and structures, spanning a wide range of length scales; and for visionary leadership in promoting interdisciplinary research and education in mechanical engineering." 5.6.10

Ares Rosakis' Intersonic Earthquakes: What Laboratory Earthquakes Teach Us About Real Ones lecture is available on iTunes U. 4/15/10

Watson Lecture: Creating Laboratory Earthquakes [Caltech Press Release] [pdf] 2/15/10

The Los Angeles Times magazine has featured Ares Rosakis, EAS
Chair; Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of
Mechanical Engineering, as a visionary - "someone who has the
perception to see past entrenched, received ideas about what is
possible and conjure revolutionary concepts". In the article entitled
"Information Sage" Chair Rosakis discusses the IST initiative and
highlights the interconnectedness of the research being conducted in
the EAS division. [LA Times Article] 1/04/10


Caltech Committee on Institute Programs Presents: Ares Rosakis: Intersonic Earthquakes: What Laboratory Earthquakes Teach us About Real Ones. Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 8:00 PM Beckman Auditorium. FREE; no tickets or reservations required Find out about this event... 12/08/09

imageimageMaking the World a Better Place was the theme of the September 15, 2009 International von Kármán Wings Award ceremony which honored international leaders and aerospace pioneers Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India and distinguished professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, and Yannick d'Escatha, chairman and chief executive officer of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Ares J. Rosakis, chair of the Aerospace Historical Society, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering presented the awards to the honorees and stated, "along with their tremendous accomplishments in aerospace, this year's honorees are leaders in international collaboration, climate monitoring, and energy harvesting". Read more ... 09/15/09

Seismic Boom [New Scientist Article] 8/1/09

Caltech Faculty Members and Board Chair Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Caltech American Academy of Arts & Sciences professors Marianne Bronner-Fraser and Ares Rosakis, as well as Chairman of the Board Kent Kresa, are among the 210 new fellows elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. They join an assembly that was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholars to provide practical solutions to pressing issues. Read More... 04/21/09

Ares Rosakis, Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and Hiroo Kanamori, John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, with their students and colleagues were featured in the documentary How the Earth Was Made (History Channel on February 10, 2009). The segment concerns the San Andreas fault and features a part which was filmed in the Solid Dynamics Lab at GALCIT. It also features an interview on supershear earthquake ruptures with Rosakis and Kanamori. View "How the Earth was Made." ©2009, 126MB .mov, 3:44 minutes. Purchase History Channel DVD here. 02/09/09



Professor Ares Rosakis has been elected to the grade of Fellow in the Society of Experimental Mechanics. Designation as an SEM Fellow is reserved to a select group of individuals that have made notable contributions to the Society and to the field of Experimental Mechanics. The formal presentation of the 2009 Fellow Award will take place at the Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, June 2, during the SEM Annual Conference that is scheduled to be held 1-3 June 2009 in Albuquerque, NM. 10/15/08

One of Five Centers of Excellence for Predictive Science. With a $17 million grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the California Institute of Technology becomes one of five new centers of excellence that will focus on the emerging field of predictive science. Michael Ortiz, the Dotty and Dick Hayman Professor of Aeronautics, professor of mechanical engineering, and director of Caltech's new Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP) Center, says Caltech will focus its efforts on the high-energy density dynamic response of materials, with demonstrations of hypervelocity impact response. Hypervelocity impact is central to a number of scientific and application areas, including the design of protective shields for space structures and the understanding of meteorite impact cratering, Ortiz says. Accurate computer simulation is critical to the understanding of experiments that involve velocities reaching 10 kilometers per second, pressures in the megabar range, and extraordinarily high temperatures and deformation rates. 03/13/08

Professor Ares Rosakis, Professor G. Ravichandran, and their student George Lykotrafitis have been awarded the 2008 Hetenyi Award, named in honor of Dr. Miklos Hetenyi, for the best research paper published in Experimental Mechanics. The title of the paper is "Particle Velocimetry and Photoelasticity Applied to the Study of Dynamic Sliding Along Frictionally-Held Bimaterial Interfaces: Techniques and Feasibility" which was published in 2006. Their award will be presented in a ceremony at the awards luncheon at the SEM XI International Congress and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics scheduled to be held in June 2008 in Orlando, Florida. 1/31/08

Professor Ares Rosakis has been named the Astor Visiting Professor and Lecturer at Oxford University, his alma matter. He is scheduled to deliver the Astor Lecture at the Oxford University, Museum Lecture Theatre on Friday, May 2, 2008. The title of his lecture is Intersonic Earthquakes: What laboratory earthquakes can teach us about real ones. 1/31/08



Full video presentation of the Fifty Years in Space Conference held at Caltech is now available: click here for details. 11/30/07

Ares Rosakis and team documented for the first time a systematic variation in earthquake rupture patterns called pulselike and cracklike ruptures. [Caltech Press Release] 11/30/07

Ares Rosakis received the 2007 D. R. Harting Award, from the Society of Experimental Mechanics (SEM) for the "Best Paper" published in Experimental Techniques. The title of the paper is "Supershear and Sub-Rayleigh to Supershear Transition Observed in Laboratory Earthquake Experiments". Rosakis and his co-authors, Dr. Kaiwan Xia and Professor Hiroo Kanamori received this award in June 2007 at the SEM Annual Conference, Springfield, MA. 11/9/07

Professor Ares Rosakis was invited to give the Alwin Schaller Distinguished Lecture, at the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, on May 1, 2007. The title of his talk was "Laboratory Earthquakes". 6/22/07

Professor Ares Rosakis has been invited to give the Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Lecture at Stony Brook University, New York, on Friday, January 26, 2007. The title of his talk is "Laboratory Earthquakes." 1/9/07


A new study by Ares Rosakis and colleagues has revealed important findings about the nature of ruptures and sliding behavior, which could impact how we respond to earthquakes and other disasters. [Caltech Press Release] 9/21/06


Ares Rosakis and colleagues seismic experiments provide new clues to earthquake wave directionality and growth speed. Knowing the wave speeds of the materials in different tectonic plates and the stresses acting on them, could someday have an improved ability to predict which areas along a major fault might be more powerfully hit. [Caltech Press Release] 4/25/05


Ares Rosakis and Hiroo Kanamori demonstrate existence of earthquake supershear phenomenon. [Caltech Press Release] 3/18/04

Ares Rosakis, Hiroo Kanamori, and Kaiwen Xi study the speeds at which earthquakes travel. [Star News Article] 3/18/04

Researchers say 'Super-shear' could aid quake preparedness [The Desert Sun Article] 3/22/04


Ares Rosakis and his graduate students Omprakash Samudrala and Demirkan Coker generate cracks that move as fast as the speed of sound, and resemble certain earthquake shear ruptures. [Caltech Press Release] 5/20/99

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Rosakis with NAS President Marcia McNutt and Prof. Zdenek Bazant


Rosakis addressing the Academy of Athens


Caltech    last update: 08/30/2017