ESP Biography

TOM ALCORN, Rising junior at MIT studying Math and Physics.

Major: Mathematics

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2014

Picture of Tom Alcorn

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm from Australia, so congratulate me on making it through childhood without getting killed by a snake, shark of spider.

I am a cereal addict. I am also a coffee addict.

Past Classes

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

S6921: The Coolest Stuff We've Ever Learned in HSSP Spring 2013 (Mar. 02, 2013)
Why do planes REALLY fly? What the heck is a FRACTAL? What was the coldest thing EVER? Does ANYONE understand quantum mechanics? In our combined 8 years at MIT, we've learned a bunch of stuff. We've forgotten most of it, but the bits we haven't are dangerously awesome. Join us as we take a tour of the highlights of a college education in physics and math, covering topics like fluid dynamics, chaos and fractals, thermodynamics and ultra-cold atoms, quantum mechanics and quantum computation. You don't have to be Einstein to sign up: any math beyond the pre-requisites will be introduced as needed. The instructors, (Tom Alcorn '14, Gus Downs '13) are two MIT students majoring in physics and math, and both love teaching excited students. Tom has focused on theoretical work in both condensed matter and astrophysics, while Gus has focused on experimental work in both ultra-cold atomic physics and quantum foundations.

S5982: Better Living Through Quantum Mechanics in HSSP Summer 2012 (Jul. 08, 2012)
So you've heard a lot about quantum mechanics. The Uncertainty Principle, Quantum Tunneling, Superposition. Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Dirac. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Take this class. Here's a cool inequality for you to think about: $$\Delta x \Delta p \geq \frac{h}{4 \pi}$$ You'll be learning about why you should be worried about quantum mechanics. Did I say worried? I meant TERRIFIED. It's going to be like Silence of the Lambs but instead of Lambs there will be Wavefunctions... Just kidding, it won't be scary. But it will turn your world upside down. Here are some reasons why we need to get to the bottom of quantum mechanics: -Einstein helped invent it -You are a wave (well, more of a ripple really) -You are also a particle -Classical physics predicts that you don't exist That last point should indicate to you that it is wrong. If it doesn't, you're probably a philosopher. Sign up for this class and solve the mysteries of the universe*! There will be light homework but I will not ask for it to be turned in. *Admittedly, we won't actually be able to solve them. But thinking about them is still a lot of fun!

X4378: Life in the Great Down Under in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Always secretly wanted to be Australian? Learn how from two true blue Aussies! We'll teach you how to throw a prawn on the barbie, enjoy Australian football, eat Vegemite, spell things the RIGHT way, and pronounce all the different cities on the map so you'll be ready for your next trip to Aus.