Below is the list of courses for MMSS 2024. Specific offerings will vary by session.

An Introduction to Cryptography: From the Caesar Cipher to the One Time Pad and BeyondPat Boland (SESSION 1 & 3 FULL)
How do we transmit private information in a secure, yet feasible way? This question has challenged humans for thousands of years and has become increasingly more important with the technological advances of the 20th and 21st centuries. This course will study a number of cryptographic techniques and the mathematics used to implement and analyze each. We will attempt to pay homage to the work of former University of Michigan undergraduate student Claude Shannon in his development of modern cryptographic theory. For example, we will ponder: What technique should we use if the “enemy” knows the system? Mathematically we will introduce and use elements of combinatorics, probability and statistics, modular arithmetic, elementary number theory (including factorization as a means to study the RSA algorithm), and the concept of random number generation. This course will be interactive with a focus on group work and scholar presentations. We will also use the University computer labs to help implement and analyze ciphers.

An Introduction to Ecological & Micrometeorological Instrumentation – Cheyenne Lei (FULL)
How does a precipitation gauge record rainfall? Do you know how a wind vane measures the 3 dimensional wind vertices? How do we measure plant productivity and stress? How do we determine soil moisture for irrigation? Modern meteorology includes a wide variety of in situ instruments that are designed to observe aspects of our atmospheric environment, yet many of these instruments remain a mystery in their implementation and use. This course bridges the gap in introductory weather and climate, and ecology centered on commonly used micrometeorological instrumentation through hands-on assignments. Topics will include direct and indirect temperature measurements, rainfall, wind, plant chlorophyll and soil moisture. Each section will also discuss how each topic is important to the changing climate, how it ties into STEM careers for students.

Art and Mathematics –  Martin Strauss (FULL)
With just a little historical revisionism, we can say that Art has provided inspiration for many fields within Mathematics. Conversely, Mathematics gives techniques for analyzing, appreciating, and even creating Art, as well as the basis for gallery design, digital cameras, and processing of images. In this class we will explore the Mathematics in great works of Art as well as folk art, as a way of studying and illustrating central mathematical concepts in familiar and pleasing material. And we’ll make our own art, by drawing, painting, folding origami papers, and more. Major topics include Projection, Symmetry, Wave Behavior, and Distortion. Projection includes the depiction of three-dimensional objects in two dimensions. What mathematical properties must be lost, and what can be preserved? How does an artwork evoke the feeling of three-dimensional space? We’ll study perspective, depictions of globes by maps, and the role of curvature. Turning to symmetry, we’ll study rotational and reflective symmetry that arise in tiling and other art and math. We’ll study more generalized symmetry like scaling and self-similarity that occurs in fractals as well as every self-portrait, and is central to mathematical concepts of dimension and un very different from the work at coarser scales—it is not self-similar. Describing light as waves and color as wavelength at once explains how mirrors, lenses, and prisms work and explains some uses of light and color in art. Finally, we ask about distorting fabrics and strings, and ask about the roles of cutting, gluing, and of stretching without cutting or gluing. Is a distorted human figure still recognizable, as long as it has the right number of organs and limbs, connected properly? Background in Math and interest in Art suggested. No artistic talent is necessary, though artistically talented students are encouraged to bring art supplies if they are inexpensive and easily transportable.

Brain and Behavior Jen Cummings (FULL)
Ever wonder how that gelatinous blob in your head controls everything you do and think? What exactly are neurons? How do they talk to each other? And to the rest of your body? Have you ever wondered about things like: how does stress affect your body? Is exercise really that good for your brain? What happens if you miss a few nights of sleep? It makes sense that your brain affects your experiences- but can experiences actually change your brain?? We will answer these questions (and more!) in Brain and Behavior, as we explore the amazing field of behavioral neuroscience. We will begin with a section on the basic functionality of the brain and nervous system, and then will go on to investigate how the system can be affected by things like stress, learning & memory, hormones, and neuropsychiatric disorders. We will leave some time for a session on student-selected topics in behavioral neuroscience, so if there’s something else you’ve been pondering with respect to the brain, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

Catalysis, Solar Energy and Green Chemical SynthesisCorey Stephenson & Corinna Schindler (FULL)

“Catalysis, Solar Energy, and Green Chemical Synthesis” will provide a fun and intellectually stimulating hands-on experience that instills a historical appreciation for the giants whose trials and tribulations have enabled our modern understanding of chemistry and biology. Students will learn modern laboratory techniques including how to set up, monitor, and purify chemical reactions, and most importantly, how to determine what they made! Experiments include the synthesis of biomolecules using some of the most transformative reactions of the 20th century and exposure to modern synthetic techniques, such as the use of metal complexes that absorb visible light to catalyze chemical reactions; an important development in the “Green Science” movement. Finally, industrial applications of chemistry such as polymer synthesis and construction of photovoltaic devices will be performed. Daily experiments will be supplemented with exciting demonstrations by the graduate student instructors.

Climbing the Distance Ladder to the Big Bang: How Astronomers Survey the Universe  – Dragan Huterer, Minh Nguyen (SESSION 1 & 3 FULL)
The furthest objects that astronomers can observe are so distant that their light set out when the Universe was only 800 million years old; the light from these objects has been traveling to us for about 13 billion years. Even the Sun’s neighborhood – the local part of our Galaxy, where astronomers have successfully searched for planets around other stars – extends to hundreds of light years. How do we measure the distance to such remote objects? Certainly not in a single step! Astronomers construct the so-called “Distance Ladder,” finding the distance to nearby objects, thus enabling those bodies to be understood and used as probes of yet more distant regions. This class will explore the steps in this ladder, using lectures, discussions, field trips, and demonstrations. Students will learn basic computer programming, culminating in a project to model the motion of massive bodies interacting gravitationally. We will go to a nearby “mountain” near Ann Arbor to do night-time observing, guided by members of a local amateur astronomers’ club. We will cover concepts involving space, time, and matter that go far beyond the distance ladder, and involve some of the most fascinating mysteries in cosmology and astrophysics: What is it like inside a black hole? What is the Dark Matter? What is the Dark Energy that makes the Universe expand faster and faster? Is there other life in the Universe? The class is recommended for students with solid high-school mathematics background, including some exposure to vectors.

Dissecting Life: Human Anatomy and Physiology  – Mary Orczykowski (FULL)
What are the systems of the human body and how do they work together to allow us to exist in the world? How can unique adaptations in animals teach us more about ourselves? In Dissecting Life, students will work together to learn the complexities and wonders of the human body through comparative anatomy dissections, observation of anatomy in action, case discussions, and studying plastinated and osteological anatomical donors within the University of Michigan Medical School’s Gross Anatomy Laboratories. Through this course, students will learn gross anatomy in detail and gain a basic understanding of physiology and histology as a foundation to study form and function.

Forensic Physics Ramon Torres-Isea (SESSION 1 & 2 FULL)
A fiber is found at a crime scene. Can we identify what type of fiber it is and can we match it to a suspect’s fiber sample, for example from a piece of clothing? Likewise, someone claims to have valuable ancient Roman coins, a newly-found old master painting, or a Viking map of America predating Columbus’ voyage. Are they authentic or fakes? How can we determine that using some physics-based techniques? (These are real examples the Viking map proved to be a forgery). Also for example, how is a laser-based molecular-probing technique used to stop criminals from trading billions of dollars of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and endangering thousands of lives? These are a few among many examples of experimental physics methods applied to several areas of Forensics. In this session, students will be introduced to these methods and have opportunities to make measurements using molecular, atomic and nuclear forensic techniques. In addition, applications to medical imaging and diagnostics will be introduced. Students will be working at our Intermediate and Advanced Physics Laboratories with the underlying physics for each method presented in detail, followed by demonstrations and laboratory activities, which include the identification of an “unknown” sample. Various crime scenes will challenge students to select and apply one or more of the methods and use their Forensic Physics skills to conduct investigations.

From Nuclei to Particles: Physics at the Smallest Scales –  Jianming Qian (FULL)
Ever wonder how stars produce their energy? How did the Universe evolve in its first second? What are the fundamental building blocks of Nature? How do particles interact with each other? How do we study physical phenomena at the shortest distances? These are example questions that this course will try to answer. The course will be divided into three distinct but related subjects: nuclear physics, standard model of particle physics, and particle-matter interaction and detection. We will begin with a short introduction of modern physics, followed by discussions of topics in nuclear physics including nuclear stability and decays, energy generation through nuclear fission and fusion processes, and nucleosynthesis. We will then go over the standard model (SM) of particle physics, introducing quarks and leptons and reviewing major discoveries that led to the development of the SM. Finally, we will survey techniques and tools for studying physics at the smallest scales including particle accelerators and radiation detectors.

From Physics through Biology to Medicine Ari Gafni (FULL)
From its humble beginning in the early 19th century in explaining the mechanics of steam  engines, the branch of physics called thermodynamics evolved to provide a foundation on  which the scientific discipline called biophysics was built. Current biophysicists use a variety of  concepts and tools from physics chemistry and biology to address important problems in basic,  applied, and medical sciences. In this course we will discover how biophysicists approach  scientific problems, what tools they use in their research, and highlight several interesting  areas of current research. The lectures will begin by reviewing the rules of thermodynamics in  a clear and intuitive way, including demonstrations and lab experiments. We will then move to  discuss the intriguing and complicated question of how a protein molecule, initially produced as  a long linear chain of amino acids devoid of biological activity, undergoes metamorphosis into  a precisely folded structure that is perfectly designed to fulfill its specific function. This  question, called the protein folding problem, has been studied by both theoretical and  experimental approaches and therefore serves as an excellent introduction into biophysics.  Using hemoglobin as our protein example, we will explore its biological function in transporting  oxygen from the lungs to tissues and discuss how it performs this task with great efficiency.  We will learn how hemoglobin’s structure was solved and how this knowledge has been used to explain in detail its mechanism of function. Finally, we will see how using purely biophysical  approaches led to the discovery of the molecular origin of the devastating disease sickle cell  disease, a disease that involves an aberrantly folded hemoglobin molecule. This discovery led  to the development of a therapeutic approach to this disease. We will end by discussing  several other protein folding diseases where research to explain their molecular origin is still at  the forefront of biophysics.

Graph Theory –  Doug Shaw (SESSION 1, 2, & 3 FULL)
Ignore your previous knowledge of algebra, geometry, and even arithmetic! Start fresh with a simple concept: Take a collection of points, called vertices, and connect some of them with lines called edges. It doesn’t matter where you draw the vertices or how you draw the lines – all that matters is that two vertices are either related, or not. We call that a “graph” and you’ve taken the first step on the Graph Theory road! Graphs turn up in physics, biology, computer science, communications networks, linguistics, chemistry, sociology, mathematics- you name it! In this course we will discuss properties that graphs may or may not have, hunt for types of graphs that may or may not exist, learn about the silliest theorem in mathematics, and the most depressing theorem in mathematics, learn how to come up with good algorithms, model reality, and construct some mathematical proofs. We will go over fundamental results in the field, and also some results that were only proved in the last year or so! And, of course, we will present plenty of currently unsolved problems for you to solve and publish!

Human Identification: Forensic Anthropology Methods –  Isabel Hermsmeyer (FULL)
Forensic anthropology methods are used to aid in human identification with skeletal remains. Applications of forensic anthropology lie in the criminal justice system and mass disaster response. In this course, we will address questions such as: What are important differences between male and female skeletons? Utilizing skeletal remains, how would you tell the difference between a 20-year old and an 80-year old? How do you distinguish between blunt force and sharp force trauma on the skull? In this hands-on, laboratory-based course, you will become familiar with human osteology (the study of bones] and bone biology. Through our exploration of forensic and biological anthropology methods, you will learn how to develop a biological profile [estimates of age at death, sex, ancestry and stature], assess manner of death, estimate postmortem interval, investigate skeletal trauma and pathology, and provide evidence for a positive identification from skeletal remains. Additionally, we will explore various forensic recovery techniques as they apply to an outdoor complex, including various mapping techniques. Towards the end of the course, you will work in small groups in a mock recovery of human remains and analyze the case utilizing the forensic anthropological methods learned throughout the course.

Hunting for the Dark: Black Holes and Dark Matter in the Milky WayMonica Valluri (FULL)
This course deals with how astronomers determine the properties of two of the most mysterious “dark components” of the universe – dark matter and black holes. While dark matter is only known by its gravitational influence on normal matter, black holes make their presence known by swallowing material from their surroundings. Prior to being swallowed, the in-falling matter forms a glowing hot accretion disk whose spectrum tells us much about the black hole such as its mass and spin. This course will discuss stars, how they evolve and lead to formation of exotic objects like white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. We will then move on to discussing the components and the structure of our own Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxies in the Universe, including dark matter and supermassive black holes. The course will focus on how astronomers gain information about these dark components of the universe using observations over the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves, visible light, X-rays and gamma rays and from the recently discovered gravitational waves. The course will include an introduction to the basic physics and astronomy necessary to understand the advances that astrophysicists have made in our understanding of these strange and fascinating objects. It will include daily lab activities, Python programming and working with astronomical data. The class is recommended for students with a strong high-school mathematics background, including some exposure to geometry, trigonometry, logarithms and vectors.

Informational Thermodynamics: Turning Knowledge Into PowerSean Fancher (FULL)
As you read these words, your brain is performing an incredible feat. Oxygen and sugar molecules are being broken down to fire neurons in intricate patterns, thus allowing you to decipher the message stored within this paragraph. This is one of the many, many ways in which we consume energy to generate information on a daily basis. However, if it is not only possible but commonplace to convert energy into information, is it also possible to run such a process in reverse and literally turn knowledge into power? In this course we will explore this intriguing possibility by approaching the enigmatic field of thermodynamics through the lens of information theory as laid out in Claude Shannon’s foundational 1948 work. Along the way we will uncover the roots of probability theory found in games of chance, discover the relation between the kind of information stored in computer hard drives and that of living organisms, encode messages in temperature variation, and learn about the limits placed on everyday interactions by the laws of thermodynamics. Through these efforts we will develop a deep understanding of the oft ill defined concept known as “entropy” and see the pivotal role it plays in the operations of the universe. Finally, we will investigate some modern research on these topics and build our own model information engine.

Introduction to Quantum Computing – Vanessa Sih (FULL)
The development of quantum physics at the beginning of the 20th century made possible current technology, including computer chips, solar cells, and flat screen displays.  We are now at an exciting time when quantum computers are being developed that could more efficiently solve some problems than existing “classical” computers.  However, quantum physics is mysterious and predicts behavior that is not intuitive.  What does it mean for a particle to tunnel through a barrier?  How can objects exist in a superposition like the Schrodinger’s cat, which is both dead and alive?  How is a quantum computer different from a “classical” computer?  This course will introduce students to quantum theory and its applications in modern technology and quantum computing and incorporate a mix of group problem solving and hands-on activities, including demonstrations, laboratory activities, and simulations.

It’s in my DNA: From Gene to Protein Anati Azhar and Hector Mendoza (FULL)
Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s in our DNA?”. This inspirational concept is commonly used to describe unique qualities and behaviors that make a person successful: honesty, courage, integrity, etc. But from a scientific perspective, what exactly does this expression mean? In this two-week course, we are going to embark on a journey of discovering exactly how DNA holds the blueprint for an organism and how this blueprint is interpreted. In the first week, we will review the structure and function of DNA during interactive lectures, complemented with exhilarating laboratory experiments that will challenge students’ investigational processes and creativity to maximize comprehension of the material. In the second week of the course, students will be introduced to the processes through which DNA is transformed into RNA and protein. These two molecules are crucial to understand how and why life “looks” a certain way. A great analogy to understand the flow of genetic information is to think of DNA as a cookbook, with many recipes (RNA) that give rise to many different dishes (proteins). Get your aprons and utensils ready, and let’s get cooking!

Mathematics and Music Theory –  Lon Mitchell (FULL)
Mathematicians can create complex and beautiful theorems from relatively basic assumptions, while Music Theorists often try to identify basic patterns and rules in complex and beautiful music. In this course, we will explore some of the recent attempts to meet in the middle, connecting mathematical patterns and structures to music from the ancient to the modern. In Mathematics, we will explore topics such as group theory, graph theory, geometry, and metric spaces, encountering some of the most important structures in the modern discipline. Fundamental results of these areas will be discussed, and students will construct and explore examples and related patterns. In Music Theory, we will take existing music by composers such as Bach and Beethoven and use mathematical structures to provide a possible explanation of what they were thinking as they composed. In addition, we will investigate the techniques of modern composers such as Arnold Schoenberg who advocated composition based on prescribed axioms. Students will be given the chance to write music using these different techniques. Although we will use the modern (Western) twelve-tone scale as a reference, our explorations will take us into discussions of tuning, temperament, and the physics of sound. We will investigate mathematical theories of what makes the best scale, how some of those scales occur in the music of other cultures, and how modern composers have engineered exotic scales to suit their aesthetics. Software allowing students to experiment with creating their own musical systems will be provided. Prospective students should have a good command of (high-school) algebra and experience with reading music in some form.

Mathematics and the Internet  –  Mark Conger (FULL)
How can gigabytes of information move over unreliable airwaves using unreliable signaling, and arrive perfectly intact? How can I have secure communication with a website run by a person I’ve never met? How can a large image or sound file be transferred quickly? Why is Google so good at finding what I’m looking for? How do computers work, anyway? The answers to all these questions involve applications of abstract mathematics. In Mathematics and the Internet, we’ll develop the math on its own, but also show how it is essential to making the Internet operate as it does. Our journey will take us through logic, probability, group theory, finite fields, calculus, number theory, and any other areas of math that might come up. We’ll apply our results to coding theory, cryptography, search engines, and compression. We’ll also spend several days building primitive computers out of transistors, logic gates, and lots of wire. If all goes well, we’ll connect them to the Internet!

Mathematics of Decisions, Elections and Games –  Michael A. Jones (FULL)
You make decisions every day, including whether or not to sign up for this course. The decision you make under uncertainty says a lot about who you are and how you value risk. To analyze such decisions and provide a mathematical framework, utility theory will be introduced and applied to determine, among other things, a student’s preference for desserts and for the offer the banker makes to a contestant in the television show Deal or No Deal. Our analysis will touch on behavioral economics, including perspectives of 2017 Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler. Elections are instances in which more than one person’s decision is combined to arrive at a collective choice. But how are votes tallied? Naturally, the best election procedures should be used. But Kenneth Arrow was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1972, in part, because he proved that there is no best election procedure. Because there is no one best election procedure, once the electorate casts its ballots, it is useful to know what election outcomes are possible under different election procedures – and this suggests mathematical and geometric treatments to be taught in the course. Oddly, the outcome of an election often stays more about which election procedure was used, rather than the preferences of the voters! Besides politics, this phenomenon is present in other settings that we’ll consider which include: the Professional Golfers’ Association tour which determines the winner of tournaments under different scoring rules (e.g. stroke play and the modified Stableford system), the method used to determine rankings of teams in the NCAA College Football Coaches poll, and Major League Baseball MVP balloting. Anytime one person’s decisions can affect another person, that situation can be modeled by game theory. That there is still a best decision to make that takes into account that others are trying to make their best decisions is, in part, why John F. Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994 (see the movie A Beautiful Mind, 2002). Besides understanding and applying Nash’s results in settings as diverse as the baseball mind games between a pitcher and batter and bidding in auctions, we’ll examine how optimal play in a particular game is related to a proof that there are the same number of counting numbers {1, 2, 3, } as there are positive fractions. We will also examine the Gale-Shapley algorithm, which is used, for example, to match physicians to residency programs and to match students to colleges (the college admissions problem). Lloyd S. Shapley and Alvin E. Roth were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2012 for their work on matching.

Science of Happiness –  Dina Gohar (SESSION 2 & 3 FULL)
This course will introduce you to the exciting field of positive psychology–the scientific study of positive experiences, traits, relationships, and the institutions and practices that facilitate their development. Although psychological science has traditionally concentrated on “fixing what is wrong” (e.g., treating depression, anxiety, and other disorders), positive psychology focuses on “cultivating what is right” (e.g., promoting happiness and flourishing) and what makes life worth living. What truly makes us happy? How can YOU feel happier and more satisfied in your life? As you will learn, core research findings suggest that happiness is inextricably linked to: 1) using your strengths and contributing to something bigger than yourself, 2) staying grateful and optimistic, and 3) cultivating strong social connections. You will not only learn about but also practice some research-based strategies to improve both your learning and your own happiness and life satisfaction this summer. Through lively lectures, seminar-style discussions, activities, and interactive technology (e.g., documentaries, TED talks, etc.), we will examine the major topics of concern in positive psychology–pleasure, engagement, and meaning in life, and a critical source of these experiences: interpersonal relationships–and explore its applications to your everyday life as teenagers. We may also have some time to cover student-selected topics related to happiness in our last week. 

Surface Chemistry  –  Zhan Chen (FULL)
This course will be divided into three units: applications, properties, and techniques. The first unit will introduce students to surface science that exists within the human body, surfaces in modern science and technology, and surfaces found in everyday life. Our bodies contain many different surfaces  that are vital to our well-being. Surface reactions are responsible for protein interaction with cell surfaces, hormone receptor interactions, and lung function. Modern science has explored and designed surfaces for many applications: anti-biofouling surfaces are being researched for marine vessels; high temperature resistant surfaces are important for space shuttles; and heterogeneous catalysis, studies by surface reactions, is important in industry and environmental preservation. The usefulness of many common items is determined by surface properties; contact lenses must remain wetted; while raincoats are designed to be non-wetting; and coatings are applied to cookware for easy cleanup. The second unit will examine the basic properties of surfaces. Lectures will focus on the concepts of hydrophobicity, friction, lubrication, adhesion, wearability, and biocompatibility. The instrumental methods used to study surfaces will be covered in the last unit. Traditional methods, such as contact angle measurements will be covered first. Then vacuum techniques will be examined. Finally, molecular level in situ techniques such as AFM and SFG will be covered, and students will be able to observe these techniques in the lab. Multimedia PowerPoint presentations will be used for all lectures. By doing this, it’s hoped to promote high school students’ interest in surface science, chemistry, and science in general.

Sustainable Polymers  –  Anne McNeil (FULL)
From grocery bags and food packaging to contact lenses and therapeutics, there is no doubt that polymers have had a positive impact in our lives. Most of these polymers are made from petroleum-based feedstocks, which are dwindling in supply. And although some plastics are recycled, most of them end up contaminating our lands and oceans. Through hands-on lab work and interactive lessons, this class will introduce the future of polymer science – that is: polymers made from sustainable materials that ultimately biodegrade! Students will conduct research experiments to make, analyze, and degrade renewable plastics. We will also examine commercial biodegradable materials and plastics used for energy and environmental remediation, and practice science communication through a creative stop-motion animation project.

The Biology of Extreme Adaptations –  Sarah Raubenheimer (FULL)
Earth is full of weird and wonderful creatures and plants. The real interesting thing is why they are how they are! This course will investigate the foundations of life and survival in fauna and flora living in extreme and/or hazardous environments. We will use examples of plants and animals that persist in harsh environments (e.g., deserts, deep seas, arctic regions, caves, volcanoes, within humans and other mammals) to delve into the evolutionary adaptations that have enabled them to move into and persist in these environments. We will also relate these adaptations to global change and elaborate on how living things will need to adapt to a changing climate and how those already adapted to things like drought and extreme temperatures may be at an advantage or disadvantage depending on the system. Students taking this course will have the opportunity to research their own favorite weird and wonderful extreme forms of life, presenting this to the class as a showcase of the organisms’ lifestyle and evolutionary history (a great excuse to learn about something new and to get some experience with research and communicating science to an audience). There are so many amazing plants and animals living in extreme places, and with everything rapidly changing with global change, this creates a fascinating topic to explore as a group.

The Geometry of Music – Alessandro Danelon (FULL)
Math and music are related in multiple ways. From the Western historical point of view we find connections in the math of Pythagoras, in the development of the equal temperament, and in the theoretical and artistic work of Iannis Xenakis. One can use group theory to phrase music structures, and both mathematicians and musicians claim the creative process as the moving power of their discipline. Composers used symmetries in their compositions, and scientists tried to associate sounds to their objects of study according to their inner mathematical structure. The aim of this course is to highlight some geometric and algebraic structures in the theory of music. We will start reviewing musical notions like scales, intervals, triads, harmonic progressions, tonality, modality and harmonic rhythm together with the physics of the sound (pitch and frequencies). We will then study the geometry of pitch organization and transposition and move on to explore the harmonic structure and harmonic structure of a phrase, together with the geometry of chromatic inversions. At this point we revise musical scales and intervals with geometric tools and move on to discover the geometry of harmony: Riemann’s Chromatic inversions, and Euler’s Tonnetz. On the algebraic side, we will introduce groups, their theory, and use their language in the theory of music. We will also discuss how a deeper understanding of the underlying music can help us in improving our playing and performances. Performers are encouraged to bring their instruments.

The Physics of Magic and the Magic of Physics  –  Georg Raithel (FULL)
Rabbits that vanish; objects that float in air defying gravity; a tiger that disappears and then reappears elsewhere; mind reading, telepathy and x-ray vision; objects that penetrate solid glass; steel rings that pass through each other: these are some of the amazing tricks of magic and magicians. Yet even more amazing phenomena are found in nature and the world of physics and physicists: matter than can vanish and reappear as energy and vice-versa; subatomic particles that can penetrate steel; realistic 3-D holographic illusions; objects that change their dimensions and clocks that speed up or slow down as they move (relativity); collapsed stars that trap their own light (black holes); x-rays and lasers; fluids that flow uphill (liquid helium); materials without electrical resistance (superconductors.) In this class students will first study the underlying physics of some classical magic tricks and learn to perform several of these (and create new ones.) The “magic” of corresponding (and real) physical phenomena will then be introduced and studied with hands-on, minds-on experiments. Finally, we will visit a number of research laboratories where students can meet some of the “magicians” of physics – physics students and faculty – and observe experiments at the forefront of physics research.

What Really Happens at Night in a Museum?: Multidisciplinary Approaches for Exploring Ecology and Evolution Randy Singer (FULL)
Everything we know about our planet has been learned from the collection of biological research specimens. Anytime a new species is discovered, a new behavior is witnessed, or an ecosystem is explored all the data are documented and stored in a museum. Not the type of museum you might be thinking about, but rather a research museum collection. When you visit a natural history museum you are typically only seeing about 1% of what the museum actually has stored away in cabinets, jars and on sheets of paper. These specimens and data are stored for use by researchers to ask and answer almost any type of question. When all the data from all the specimens in every collection across the world are combined we form an irreplaceable network of data that can only be compared to a time machine. Want to go back to the age of dinosaurs and see what they are eating? Want to see how primates communicate with one another? Want to explore the farthest reaches of the ocean, but you don’t have a submarine? Museums can do this and more! Come on an adventure between the shelves, on the pages and in the digital realm of natural history collections and learn about how we can explore our planet and protect its future through the use of museum specimens!