ESP Biography


Major: Physics

College/Employer: Harvard University

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Rebecca Engelke

Brief Biographical Sketch:

When Rebecca was your age, she was a student at Splash! Now she is a graduate student at Harvard University. She studies graphene (single-atom layer of carbon). She likes nanoscience because small things are cute.

Past Classes

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

S10809: What the frequency? in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2016)
We live in one kind of space. In fact, we are so ingrained in it that we sometimes call it "real space." But there is another kind of space--"frequency space", where musical notes and electrons and other ephemeral beings can live. If you've ever wondered why physicists seem to *love* waves just a little too much, this class will clear that up for you! Come learn about why and how we sometimes plot things based on their frequency rather than their position (also known as a Fourier Transform). Topics will include sound waves & music, particle-wave duality, image filtering (holograms?), and more!

S9763: The Color Conspiracy in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
Color: it’s the ultimate kindergarten science lesson. The color wheel, the primary colors, the rainbow -- it’s fun AND educational! But when we learn about color in science class, and think back to what we learned in art class, we’re liable to get confused. How do colors make a wheel if the electromagnetic spectrum is a line? If red, blue, and green are the primary colors of light, why are red, blue, and yellow the primary colors of paint? And why are there three primary colors anyway? Society doesn’t answer these questions for us. I think they’re trying to keep it a secret. Like a conspiracy or something. While exploring these questions, we will touch on many other ways light comes into our world. These include: polarization of light (and how some animals can see it!), the spectra of stars and atoms, and lasers.

S6012: Space and Time in HSSP Summer 2012 (Jul. 08, 2012)
Is the passage of time an illusion? Space and time might seem like some of the most fundamental, absolute features of the universe. But the science of the twentieth century reveals a lot about what space and time are truly like--a question that once could only be blindly speculated about by philosophers--and what we have found is that space and time are not as simple as they first seem. We will learn the basic math behind special relativity, and understand seeming paradoxes by replacing the concepts of "space" and "time" with one unified concept of spacetime. Next, we will discuss mysterious implications from quantum mechanics that seem to refute locality in space and causality in time. In between we may talk about general relativity, black holes, wormholes, non-Euclidean geometry, Zeno's paradox, and philosophy. The math we will include is not so advanced, but if you aren't comfortable with algebra, the Pythagorean Theorem, and sines and cosines, you will have to work very hard to understand the material in this class. We invite students with an urge to explore strange and mind-bending ideas to join us for a journey into space and time!