ESP Biography

ALEXANDRA CHURIKOVA, MIT '16, PhD student in Materials Science

Major: Course 3

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Alexandra Churikova

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Hi, I'm Sasha!
When I was a high school student in Splash 2011, I subconsciously suspected that I would love to teach for Splash myself. This is my fourth year teaching and I am thrilled to be part of this fantastic initiative!

I am interested in many aspects of science, and have recently been exploring materials physics in more depth, with a specialization in thin film magnetism. I realized how cool magnetism was when I did a summer internship in Institut Neel in Grenoble, France, researching magnetic nanowires. I love teaching and public outreach, and I continuously strive to make science more accessible to all parts of our community.

At MIT undergrad, I studied physics, concentrated in French. I also:
- conducted research as part of MIT's UROP program
- served as president and Associate Advisor for my living group, French House
- ran around mountains with MITOC
- figure skated in the MITFSC
- sailed and windsurfed at the pavilion

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

M11034: Chaos! in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
Come learn all about chaos! And I'm not talking about the state of your room... I am talking about the state of the universe! Come learn the mathematics behind chaos and discover some of the most beautiful ways it is exhibited in nature.

M9898: Chaos! in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
Come learn all about chaos! An I'm not talking about the state of your room... I am talking about the state of the universe! Come learn the mathematics behind chaos and discover some of the most beautiful ways it is exhibited in nature.

X8633: Spontaneous 5-Minute Classes on Whatever You Want in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
You choose the title, we improvise a 5-minute lesson on it! Bring your wackiest topic suggestions, and watch us embarrass ourselves as we teach you about them on the spur of the moment.

M8743: Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
Strange attractors. Hopf bifurcations. Poincaré maps. What do all of those things have in common besides cool names? Why does the equation $$\dot{v}=\sigma (y-x) \\ \dot{y} = rx - y -xz \\ \dot{z} = xy - bz $$ describe a butterfly? Come learn about what nonlinear dynamics is, where is it found, and why we want to study it!!

S8750: Experiments in Modern Physics in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
Come discover the secrets of modern physics experiments they don't teach in high school. Seemingly simple experiments like the Photoelectric Effect, Michelson Interferometer, Rutherford Scattering, and many other 21st century wonders are not as easy to analyze as they appear in the textbook. When you see how hard it is to actually get any sensible data, you will understand why these breakthroughs gained their respective researchers some VERY Nobel Prizes!

X8800: The Science of Pick-Up Lines in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
Learn great pick-up lines and the science behind them! You'll be reveling in the intelligence of our significant other-snatching verbal techniques.

M7673: Linear Algebra for Reluctant Physics Students in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
You’re a student of physics. You may know all about the four fundamental forces, but do you know all about the four fundamental subspaces? Why should you even care about the nullspace of a matrix, or its transpose? Why should you care if a matrix is positive definite, or if it is Hermitian? It is just some pretty math-y stuff that doesn’t really have much physical sense. Right? Totally wrong! Linear algebra is not only indeed pretty, but also super powerful. Come learn about how matrices and linear algebra are used to solve ordinary differential equations in physics, diffusion problems, wave equations, and finite and infinite dynamical systems.

B7674: The smart French student's survival guide to Paris in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Do you have a pretty good high-school level of French? Then you can do much better than being just a tourist in Paris! Want to pick up some handy phrases and manners that will get you mistaken for a local? How does one make official phone calls, get into every museum for free, and order delicious crêpes in the most un-touristy locations? Want to know where the Parisians hang out, dine, and celebrate; what books they read and what movies they watch? What are some quirks of the Parisian lifestyle which make the city a real cultural gem? Come prepared to pratiquer votre Français and learn why the City of Light is the unquestionably most amazing city in the world.

S6730: Extraordinary physics...ordinary things! in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17 - 18, 2012)
"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry," said one of the greatest physicists of all time, Richard Feynman. I invite you to unravel a few of these mysteries for yourself. What does blotching ink on a spinning top have to do with atmospheric cyclones? How can a paint can illustrate submarine failure, and how can blowing into a straw determine how deep you can snorkel? How can you lose weight in a fraction of a second? Why do instruments sound different when they play the same exact pitch? Come and make Feynman proud by experiencing the pleasure of finding things out with do-it-yourself demos and theoretical discussion.