Ken Pickar
Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering

California Institute of Technology
101 Thomas, Mail Code 104-44
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-4185


E/ME 105

E 102

E/ME 103

Useful Links





Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
Through teaching a collaborative class with IIT Gandinagar, India I have become even more aware how much we have learned about the effect of India culture on us. For example, Martin Luther King fully acknowledged his debt to Gandhi. See Martin Luther King Recording Found In India and
Martin Luther King, Jr.- Influence of Gandhi and Nonviolence.

Recent story about E/ME 105 in the Times of India

Lineup of Courses for 2013-2014

In the winter and spring quarters we are teaching the newly reconstituted two-quarter E/ME 105, Engineering Design of Products for the Developing World. The Class is taught in collaboration with IIT Gandhinagar in the State of Gujarat, India as well Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. My partner is Prof Bhaskar Bhatt who teaches Design at IITGn. Brian Brophy from Caltech Theater Arts will also be participating. The TA is Laura Santoso. We just got back from a great pre-Christmas student trip to Gujarat to research project opportunities. This is discussed more below (cf the E/ME 105 tab).

Entrepreneurship E102 will also be taught in the Spring quarter. In this course we look at a Caltech Technology, and write a business plan to understand its commercialization prospects. Students also bring their own business ideas to the class.

Two publications about E/ME 105 have appeared. In the latest (Spring) Issue of EandS, see "Bridging the Gap" by Katie Neith the Caltech Magazine." Also read Chuck Stern's article "From Pasadena to Kerala: Inside Caltech's Product Design For The Developing World Course" in The Dish Daily.

Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1998-present,
J. Stanley Johnson Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1999-2003

Caltech Associates talk on "Product Design for the Developing World" class. More on Making Wheelchairs for the Developing World.

A recent interview on the Frank Peter's show

Teaching Areas of Interest
My classes are taught at the junction of science, engineering and business by applying my background in mechanical and electrical engineering technology management and in physics.  I am particularly interested in the start-up and continuous growth of technology-based companies, and the modification of normative product development processes to address developing world challenges. 

Faculty Advisor
Entrepreneur's Club
Engineers for a Sustainable World
Consulting Club

Business Background (partial)
Allied Signal (now Honeywell) Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology
GE Corporate R&D Manager of The Electronics Laboratories
Bell Laboratories Member of the Technical Staff

Boards of Director Positions

Public: Neustar (1999-2011) IPO New York Stock Exchange in 2005
Ness Technologies (2003-2008) NASDAQ
Level One (1999-2000) NASDAQ sold to Intel in 2000

H2Scan (2004-2011 )
(also many advisory roles)

Non Profit:

Albany Medical School and Medical Center (1988-1992)
Los Angeles County Regional Food Bank (2004- ). Central food distributer.
South Coast Botanical Garden (2005- ) Los Angeles County Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes
Intelligent Mobility (2007- ) non profit wheelchair provider spun out of E/ME 105
(Also many advisory committees)

Tech Coast Angels (Southern California early stage investing network)
Executive committee LA Chapter (1999- )

B.S., Queens College, City University of New York;
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (Critical Velocity of Superfluid Liquid Helium Films)

The Associated Students of Caltech (ASCIT) Award for Excellence in Teaching (2004-2005)