Chiara Daraio

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Chiara Daraio is an Italian-American materials scientist and acoustical engineer. She is a professor of mechanical engineering and applied physics at the California Institute of Technology.[1]


Daraio's research contributions include a version of Newton's cradle that can generate "sound bullets"—sound waves focused tightly enough to disrupt matter;[2][3] walls filled with ball bearings that can pass sound in only one direction;[4][5] 3d-printed self-assembling rolling robots;[6] solar panels for space missions made of a shape-memory polymer that unfolds in sunlight;[7] and heat-sensitive artificial skin made out of pectin for both robotic and prosthetic uses.[8]

Education and career[edit]

Daraio earned a laurea in mechanical engineering from Marche Polytechnic University in 2001, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering in 2006 from the University of California, San Diego.[1] Her dissertation, Design of materials: Configurations for enhanced phononic and electronic properties, was jointly supervised by Sungho Jin and Vitali Nesterenko.[9]

She joined the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) faculty in 2006, and has remained there since with a leave from 2013 to 2016 to take a chair of Mechanics and Materials at ETH Zurich. At Caltech, she was initially in the Aeronautics and Applied Physics department, where she was promoted to full professor in 2010; she moved to the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics in 2016.[1]


Daraio won the Felice De Carli Medal of the Italian Metallurgical Society in 2006,[10] and the Richard von Mises Prize of the Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik in 2008.[11]

In 2018 she won the UC San Diego Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Outstanding Alumna Award, "for outstanding achievements in mechanical metamaterials and materials science".[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Group chair: Chiara Daraio", Daraio Research Group, California Institute of Technology, retrieved 2020-02-27
  2. ^ Carey, Bjorn (November 30, 2010), "Brilliant 10: Chiara Daraio, the Sound Magician", Popular Science
  3. ^ Than, Ker (April 5, 2010), ""Sound Bullets" to Zap Off Tumors? Popular office toy inspired new acoustic device", National Geographic
  4. ^ Smalley, Eric (July 28, 2011), Super soundproofing is all about little balls, CNET
  5. ^ Melanson, Donald (July 29, 2011), "Caltech researchers devise acoustic diode that sends sound one-way, could harvest energy", engadget
  6. ^ Khan, Amina (August 22, 2019), "This 3D-printed robot assembles itself and then rolls away", Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ Crane, Leah (July 3, 2019), "A solar panel that unfolds in sunlight could power spacecraft", New Scientist
  8. ^ Choi, Charles Q. (February 1, 2017), "Heat-Sensitive Skin Could Let Prosthetics Feel Warmth: New heat sensors are as sensitive as those of rattlesnakes", IEEE Spectrum
  9. ^ Daraio, Chiara (2006), Design of materials Configurations for enhanced phononic and electronic properties, PhD Dissertation, University of California, San Diego, Bibcode:2006PhDT........31D – via University of California eScholarship Publishing
  10. ^ Awards, Italian Metallurgical Society, retrieved 2020-02-27
  11. ^ Richard von Mises Prize winners, GAMM, retrieved 2020-02-27
  12. ^ MAE Alumni Awards Recipients, UCSD Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, November 20, 2018, retrieved 2020-02-27

External links[edit]