When John Dienes (MS '58, PhD '61) planned his philanthropic legacy, just one place came to mind. "I only thought about Caltech," he says.
With a gift to Caltech and its Break Through campaign, Dienes has established a charitable remainder unitrust to support early-stage research and multiyear projects in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science.
His Caltech education helped Dienes build a career in science. While studying for his master's, he took a one-on-one class on nonlinear mechanics with Thomas Caughey (PhD '54). Professor Caughey was gruff but kind, Dienes recalls, and encouraged him to pursue a doctoral degree.
"The PhD enabled me to continue in research," Dienes says. First at General Atomics and then for 35 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he applied nonlinear theory to problems involving extreme stresses and strain rates. This included both ductile and brittle failure as well as explosive safety.
These days, Dienes enjoys meeting with science-minded friends to discuss the latest advances.
"I am really interested in Caltech's work on gravitational waves," Dienes says. "So many good ideas come out of Caltech."
His generosity will give Caltech scientists and engineers greater freedom to pursue good ideas, wherever they lead.