ESP Biography

ERIC GENTRY, MIT Student -- Physics + Environmental Engineering

Major: Physics

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2014

Picture of Eric Gentry

Brief Biographical Sketch:

A senior at MIT, hailing from the Philadelphia suburbs, Eric Gentry is majoring in Physics, focusing on astronomy and education. I am currently studying a galaxy with an active galactic nucleus, and hope to later study models of planetary formation.

But let's not forget that people are multi-dimensional (not in a string theory sort of way...). I love the outdoors, and I care about not screwing it up.

Other misc. interests:
- Running
- Language
- Music
- Swing dancing
- Replacing sleep with late-night discussions

Class of 2014

Past Classes

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

S8355: Physics Lightning Lectures! in Spark 2014 (Mar. 15 - 16, 2014)
Ever wanted to learn about special relativity or how the universe formed? Want a quick introduction to how quantum mechanics works? Come join us in for the physics lightning lectures this Spark!

W8356: Physics Walk-in Demos! in Spark 2014 (Mar. 15 - 16, 2014)
Come join us for demos in freezing things in a flash using liquid nitrogen, viewing magnetic fields with ferrofluids, and experimenting with non-Newtonian fluids!

X7477: Swing Dancing with the Stars in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Out-class all your friends with some fancy swing moves at the next dance! Learn the basic steps plus awesome turns & spins, and maybe even a dip if you're adventurous. Plus we have tasty brownies!

S7518: Illuminating Dark Matter in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
There are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. There's also a supermassive blackhole at the center of the Milky Way. While that makes for a lot of mass, its only about 20% of the mass of the Milky Way. Come learn about the other 80% -- the dark matter! We'll talk about the discovery of dark matter, what we think it might be. We'll also discuss how it shapes the structure of galaxies and the landscape of the universe. Some of this will cover similar material as previous years, but there is also much that will be new.

S7519: Geomagnetism! in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Magnets are cool. Using planets as magnets is even cooler. Come learn about the earth's magnetic field, how it is actually produced. By understanding Earth's magnetic field, we'll use that to explore what that means about other planets and their past.

S7523: Physics Lightning Lectures! in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Ever wanted to learn why neutrinos pass right through us or about the curvature of spacetime? Were you ever curious about how we use atoms to do quantum computation? Learn all of it in our series of 5 minute in our lightning lectures on popular topics in physics!

W7524: Physics Demos - Fun with Liquid Nitrogen! in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Want to have some fun with ferrofluids, or shatter gummy bears and flowers? Come join us as we experiment! We'll be demonstrating these cool effects on a variety of objects.

S6829: The Evolution of Our Scientific Answers to Seven Fundamental Questions in HSSP Spring 2013 (Mar. 02, 2013)
The evolution of our answers to seven of the most fundamental questions that humanity has tackled over the centuries. We will discuss the history of each question, its world-changing experiments and ideas, and the modern scientific answer(s). 1) What is the smallest, indivisible building block of matter? From the elements (earth, air, fire, water) to the discovery of the atom to string theory. 2) How old is the earth, and where did it come from? From the back of a tortoise to modern geology, geophysics, and planet formation theory. 3) Where does all the soft, squishy stuff that we call life come from? From the spontaneous generation of maggots to Darwin and evolution. Also, supernovae and comets, because space is cool. 4) What causes disease and how do we stop it? From demons to blood-sucking leeches to visualization techniques like MRI and the discovery of penicillin. A special segment on mental disorders. 5) What is humanity’s place in the universe? From geocentrism to realizing there are other galaxies, to the search for exoplanets. 6) How is information transmitted? Human communication (storytelling, the invention of the telephone) and nature's communication (genetic encoding, wave propagation and the universal speed limit). 7) How and when did the universe begin, and how will it end? From a large rectangular box with lamps, to the Big Bang, to inflationary theory and calculating the age of the universe. Also, the possibility of a multiverse.

S6926: From Preheating an Oven to Preheating the Universe in Spark! 2013 (Mar. 16, 2013)
Let's build a universe in the time it takes to bake a cake! We'll look at the quantum mechanics of heat, see how the universe is one big blackbody radiator (it's one big 3 Kelvin oven). To close, we'll talk about the science of where the heat that caused the Big Bang came from. Oh, and of course, there will be food being baked :D

X6972: Swing Dancing with the Stars in Spark! 2013 (Mar. 16, 2013)
out-class all your friends with some fancy swing moves at the next dance! learn the basic steps plus awesome turns & spins, and maybe even a dip if you're adventurous. plus we have tasty brownies!

S6128: Illuminating Dark Matter in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17 - 18, 2012)
You might think we know about a lot of stuff in the universe. Proton, neutrons, electron ... even the newly observed Higgs boson. But really, that's just the tip of the iceberg -- a meager 4% Come learn about 21% of the rest: Dark Matter. I'll take you on a whirlwind tour of how we discovered it, ideas of what it might be, what "dark" means, and how we are trying to study it.

S6129: Dark Energy -- The Universe's Biggest Unanswered Question in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17 - 18, 2012)
We have no idea what makes up 71% of the mass of the universe. No idea. Sounds to me, like our understanding of the universe has a pretty big gap. Come explore what we do know, how we discovered it, why it's such a big question, and what are some of our "best guesses" at the moment. It's quite possibly the biggest open question in the universe. Simply DISCOVERING it, won the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics. Exciting stuff!

A6502: Intro to Swing Dancing in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17 - 18, 2012)
Impress all your friends with some super classy swing dancing! Learn the basics of swing, and a few fun moves to get you started. Beginners welcome; it’s a ton of fun.

S5701: Introduction to Cosmology in HSSP Spring 2012 (Feb. 18, 2012)
Cosmology is the study of the universe on the biggest scales: scales on which galaxy clusters look like smears and the universe can be thought of as one object expanding through space and time. In this class, we will talk about relativity, spacetime, black holes (black holes are awesome!), the fundamental forces of nature, dark matter, dark energy, and inflation - in order to understand how the universe began, how it is changing, and how it will end (if ever.)

X5632: Cooking Probabilistically in Spark! 2012 (Mar. 10, 2012)
Sometimes the best ideas are total accidents. Come explore how to cook randomly! We'll look at some interesting applications of learning done by chance, and apply that to a few different types of food -- quesadillas in particular. Come, be adventurous, cook stuff that you'd never expect to work! **Students with diary/wheat allergies would not be a good fit for this class, as a large portion of it will be taste-testing. We will always tell you what you are eating, before you eat it, and you can choose not to add anything in your dish.

W5818: Swing Dancing! in Spark! 2012 (Mar. 10, 2012)
Impress all your friends with some super classy swing dancing! Learn the basics of swing, and a few fun moves to get you started. Beginners welcome; it's a ton of fun.

S4533: The 4 Forces in Spark! 2011 (Mar. 12, 2011)
What keeps us from simply sinking through the floor? Well the "easy" answer is there are forces pushing up, to balance the downward force of gravity. Makes sense, from what we know--one thing touches another and there's an interaction. But wait, bits of an atom never actually touch. So what tells them to stop moving past each other. Better yet, what tells two opposite charges, seperated by any astronomical distance, to be attracted to each other, if only just slightly? We'll go through an easy-to-understand exploration of what the 4 forces of nature are, and how particle physicists explain the world around us.

S4534: The 4 Forces -- Advanced in Spark! 2011 (Mar. 12, 2011)
Gauge bosons, QCD, QED, quantum gravity?! Come find out how particle physicists explain how every single thing interacts! Class will also close with discussion of alternative theories (so come prepared with questions, and feel free to email requested topics in advance!)

S4535: The Structure of Matter in Spark! 2011 (Mar. 12, 2011)
A view of major competing theories in the world of physics of what makes up life, the universe and everything. Primary Focuses (Foci, one might say): -Standard Model (ie. particle physics) -Quantum dynamics -String theory Extended topics -Dark matter Requested topics are welcomed. Bring any questions!

S4032: Illuminating Dark Matter in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Scientists used to think the universe was pretty large. And then they found out there was something mysterious, something unknown and practically undetectable. That something was 9 times more massive than the entire known universe. Come learn about that last 90% of the universe: dark matter! We will discuss where it came from, what it is, how we know it exists, and how it is different from antimatter, negative matter, etc. No previous experience with subject matter necessary; whether you just barely know about electrons and protons, or you are an AP Physics ace, this class is for you!