Right Now This Term: Exciting Spring Classes
This page highlights spring term classes that may be of particular interest to freshmen.
HASS Exploration (HEX) Subjects
If you unsure of what HASS subject to take next semester, try a HASS Exploration (HEX) subject. Recommended by the Faculty these subjects explore a topic or theme from multiple viewpoints and provide the opportunity to interact directly with MIT faculty. To learn more about HEX subjects, visit: http://web.mit.edu/hassreq/exploration.html.
The Freshmen/Alumni Summer Internship Program (F/ASIP)
F/ASIP (SP.800) is a graded, credit-bearing career development class that provides self-assessment and career exploration; access to employers and alumni for networking; internship search training and support; Alumni / Professional mentor for the first summer experience. Click on the F/ASIP website or write to email@example.com
Interested students must pre-register for SP.800 on WebSIS by December 30
6.S062: Find Your Path through EECS (for experienced freshmen only)
Professors Saman Amarasinghe and Gerald Jay Sussman
Prereq: 8.02 and 18.02
Permission of Instructors Required -- You must write to the instructors at 6S062@lists.csail.mit.edu with the following documents:
- Your resume
- A short statement describing your existing expertise
- A short statement describing your expectations for an EECS program
This 6-unit experimental subject is for freshmen who have serious interests in EECS and who have serious knowledge or experience with the early material of EECS and are ready for more advanced material. See the informational flyer (in PDF format) for complete information.
21A.500J Technology and Culture
(Same subject as STS.075J)
Lecture: R10-12 (56-180)
Examines the intersections of technology, culture, and politics in a variety of social and historical settings ranging from 19th-century factories to 21st-century techno dance floors, from Victorian London to anything-goes Las Vegas. Discussions and readings organized around three questions: what cultural effects and risks follow from treating biology as technology; how computers have changed the way we think about ourselves and others; and how politics are built into our infrastructures. Explores the forces behind technological and cultural change; how technological and cultural artifacts are understood and used by different communities; and whether, in what ways, and for whom technology has produced a better world. Limited to 40.
S. Helmreich, H. Paxson
No textbooks required
ES.S40: Getting Beyond Us and Them: Living Ethically in a Complex World
6 credits; P/F
Mondays from 3:30-5:00 pm
In this lively, interactive seminar, we will read Joshua Greene's book Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them (book will be provided). The seminar will kick off with a public forum with Dr. Greene and Dr. Emile Bruneau (MIT SaxeLab) on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:00 pm. We will also draw on conversations with invited guests, video resources, and short articles from history, cognitive science and philosophy. Substantial snacks and tea will be provided.
Students will be required to prepare a one-page reflection and present a 5-minute presentation/reflection on one moral dilemma that matters to you and how the readings, discussions, and guests might influence your decisions.
ESG Spring 2014 Seminars
All seminars are 6 P/F units and are open to MIT and Wellesley students.
ES.010 Chemistry of Sports: Understanding how exercise affects your body chemistry
The seminar is designed to look at the science of a triathlon/sports from a molecular/chemical/biological point of view. We will be able to use our own bodies to see how exercise affects the system, through observations written in a training journal. We will also improve the overall fitness of the class through maintaining a physical fitness program over the course of the term. The end of the term will have us all participate in a mini-triathlon in the Z center pool/Mac court/Charles River Esplanade on Wednesday May 9th. This 6-unit seminar has the potential to add two extra PE points.
Dr. Patti Christie is a lecturer in Biology and Chemistry for the Experimental Study Group (ESG). Patti has been teaching the chemistry and biology GIRs at ESG since 1999 and helps manage the chemistry department GIRs. She has also taught several seminars including two Kitchen Chemistry seminars and a new seminar on From Farm to Table (to be taught this spring). Patti is a triathlete in training and spends her summers in Singapore teaching general chemistry at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Steve Lyons has been involved in the sport of triathlon for 20 years. He is a former member of the US National Team and a veteran of 13 Ironman races, including the world championships in Kona, Hawaii. He is a successful lawyer in civil and criminal litigation and a partner in the Boston firm of KSL & G Assigned Readings.
ES.S10 Drugs and the Brain
Instructor: Zak Fallows (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Time and location: Tuesdays 7-9 p.m. in 24-619
From Abilify to Zyrtec, the world is full of fascinating drugs. If you are poisoned by sarin nerve gas, you may be able to save your life by huffing some BZ nerve gas. This class will explain that chemical curiosity, along with a host of other interesting tidbits of pharmacology. The structure of the class interleaves basic concepts with specific examples and entertaining tangents, so it is not loaded with boring abstract theory. In the first class you will learn what a neurotransmitter is, and you will immediately apply that knowledge when we discuss the mechanism of caffeine. The class is highly multidisciplinary, including topics such as patent law and medical ethics.
Zak Fallows is an ESG alumnus and first taught pharmacology with ESG in 2009. This coming spring will be his fourth time teaching this class, although the subject number and name have changed. Zak graduated from Course 9 in 2011. Zak received pharmacology training and mentorship in the lab of Prof. Richard J. Wurtman, MD, who patented the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and the commercially successful diet drug dexfenfluramine. Zak currently works as a software engineer.
ES.S11 From Farm to Table –How MIT and You Deal with Food
Ever wonder where the food on your plate comes from? What the difference between an organic farm and a conventional farm? What sustainable food really means? What about your dining hall? Do you know that MIT composts? This seminar is going to explore food from the farm, through grocery stores and produce suppliers, to your plate, at both home and dorm. We will examine what MIT is doing to support local farms and deal with food preparation, serving and waste disposal. We will be taking field trips to a farm, grocery stores, and campus dining facilities. We will be inviting speakers from around campus and outside to come and speak to us about sustainable food. We will also be participating in the MIT Dining's iron chef competition to learn more about how food gets to your plate and attending the Earth Day festivities on campus.
Dr. Patti Christie is a lecturer in Biology and Chemistry for the Experimental Study Group (ESG). Patti has been teaching the chemistry and biology GIRs at ESG since 1999 and helps manage the chemistry department GIRs. She has also taught several seminars including two Kitchen Chemistry seminars, and Chemistry of Sports (being offered this spring). Patti enjoys all things about food and spends her summers in Singapore teaching general chemistry at the Singapore University of Technology and Design
Naomi Carton is the Associate Dean of Residential Life and Dining. Naomi has been at MIT for three years. Before coming to MIT, she led a course on sustainability at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She is the house director at Westgate and is helping create programs and activities around campus for graduate students and their families.
ES.S20 The Mathematics of Toys and Games
This course will examine the mathematical structure and strategy for many common games and puzzles, culminating in a project exploring an existing game, an open problem, or a new game design. Using games as a model, we will explore the fundamental ideas behind AI, groups, game theory, computational complexity, probability, and cellular automata. Each class session will involve a discussion of a new kind of game or design and game play.
Robert Sloan is a junior in Physics and Computer Science and is one of ESG's teaching assistants. He spends most of his time working with digital logic. He prides himself on being entirely unable to make a decent list of interests, but at least enjoys making music which is usually electronic and finding excuses to tell stories.
ES.S41 Speak Italian...with your mouth full!
Instructor: Paola Rebusco (email@example.com)
Time and location: Tuesdays 7-9 p.m. in 24-615
The participants to this seminar will dive in the Mediterranean diet while learning basic conversational Italian. For the past 50 years scientists have studied the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, but a good diet is not based on recipes only, it is also rooted in healthy habits and in culture. On the other hand it is well known that language immersion courses are more effective and lasting than traditional language courses. Each class is based on the preparation of a delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture. At the end of the seminar the participants will be able to cook some healthy and tasty recipes in their dorm and to understand and speak basic Italian.
Dr. Paola Rebusco is a native Italian, who among other things worked as a cook on a sailing boat. She earned her master in theoretical physics at the University of Trieste (Italy) and received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the Ludwig Maximillian University (Munich, Germany). She came to MIT as a Pappalardo Postdoctoral Fellow and is now teaching Physics at ESG. Paola is also interested in how specialized knowledge is made publicly accessible. She is member of the European Southern Observatory Outreach Network and is a commentator upon scientific news for the Italian radio program Moebius.
ES.S60 The Art and Science of Happiness
Instructor: Holly Sweet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Time and location: Tuesdays 3-5 p.m. in 24-618
In the seminar we will look at current theories on happiness and positive psychology as well as practical implications of those theories for our own lives. We will explore the concept of happiness, different cultural definitions of happiness, and the connection between happiness, optimism, and meaning. Time will be spent on sources of unhappiness particularly applicable to undergraduates (such as academic failure and social rejection) and how to help turn those crises into opportunities for growth. Weekly class discussions will be supplemented with speakers, movie clips, in-class exercises, surveys, and student presentations on a topic of their choosing. Each week a student will present a different type of meditation. Readings will include excerpts from The Art of Happiness, Stumbling into Happiness, The Geography of Bliss, and Learned Optimism.
Dr. Holly Sweet is the Associate Director of ESG and a psychologist in part-time practice in the Brookline area. She has taught a number of psychology-based seminars at MIT in the past, including Psychology Looks at the Freshman Year, Transitions and Connections, and Sex Roles and Relationships. She has co-authored a book on a creative approach to exploring one’s life (based on a seminar she team-taught at MIT a few years ago) and recently edited a book on women counseling men. She hopes to write a book someday about skiing on all seven continents and believes a positive psychology approach will help her get there.
ES.S71 Increasing Your Physical Intelligence, Enhancing Your Social Smarts
Instructor: Noah Riskin (email@example.com)
Time and location: Mondays and Wednesdays 2-3 p.m. in W32-109 (MIT gymnastics facility), optional gym session on Thursdays 2-3 p.m.
Mind overworked and body underused? Want to feel more capable and confident in your body to carry and present yourself better? You may not realize how your body affects your friendships, grades or, indeed, your entire MIT experience. But, how you feel and function in your body means so much; it's still the most important way we meet and interact with the world and other people.
Using the MIT gymnastics facility, this class takes a cognitive approach to physical activity and uses a wide range of innovative exercises (e.g., blindfolded movement, trampoline, high-speed video, experiments with gravity, etc.) to coax the powers of concentration and problem solving you possess down into the body. Along the way, you'll not only develop better balance, strength, flexibility and coordination, but a more robust and better balanced YOU. If you're interested in improving how you feel and function in your body, this class is for you––even if (especially if) you've never been inside a gym.
This class is being offered in conjunction with an MIT research study: The Impact of Physical Intelligence on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is designed to investigate whether a range of simple, physical exercises can help people with some of the challenges associated with ASD. Students are not required to participate in the study associated with this class, but may do so if they wish. Please contact the instructor for more information.
Noah Riskin is former champion gymnast, an artist and writer. He was the Head Men's Gymnastics Coach, a Physical Education Instructor and Director of the Physical Intelligence Initiative at MIT for ten years. Currently, Noah writes and lectures on the meaning of the body to the human experience. He is preparing a forthcoming book, Body of Knowledge, with coauthor Mia Keinänen.