ESP Biography



JAMES ROWAN, ESP Teacher




Major: Math

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2017

Picture of James Rowan

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Look Around You in HSSP Spring 2015 (Feb. 21, 2015)
Think about how you go to school everyday. You're probably pretty familiar with it. But could you explain how to get to your school to an alien? Are there any details that people have pointed out to you that you've never seen before? Come explore the MIT / Cambridge area with us as we learn how to be more observant of your surroundings. Find wonder in the mundane by looking around with us, writing your own exploration reports, and reading famous poets and authors' take on truly experiencing one's environment.


Sabermetrics 101 in Spark 2015 (Mar. 14 - 15, 2015)
What makes a baseball player valuable? How do you compare pitchers and position players? How can the low-budget Oakland A's be so good? These are the kinds of questions that sabermetrics, the scientific approach to baseball statistics, can answer. In this class, we'll see why traditional metrics like batting average and ERA can lie and try to build something better.


Sociobiology, Leadership, and Ethics in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
What are the primary goods of a human life? Is there any hope at all for an empirical grounding of an ethical system? How should we talk about and teach ethics? I don’t claim to have a perfect solution, an answer that will settle this millennia-old debate. But it’s important that we try to make well-grounded positive ethical claims, because the alternatives are dogma and relativism. We'll discuss our existing thoughts on this issue (it's okay if yours aren't well-formed) and I'll lay out my own thoughts for everyone to critique: a vision of ethics that tries to ground itself in sociobiology and psychology, hopefully providing some food for thought as to how one should relate to the world.


An Introduction to Sabermetrics in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
Baseball is full of statistics. Some are better than others. For instance, batting average doesn't reward taking walks, and RBIs depend on other batters. This class will explore the question of how we measure the value of baseball players and explain the methodology behind advanced metrics like wOBA and WAR


Introduction to Modular Arithmetic and Applications in HSSP Summer 2014 (Jul. 06, 2014)
Math is beautiful, and it's even occasionally useful. In this class, we'll explore a different way of doing arithmetic on the integers and see how it helps us solve real-world problems. For example, the rules of arithmetic on a clock (eg. 14 hours past 11:00, the clock will read 1:00) turn out to be at the foundation for one popular method of encrypting data.


Sabermetrics 101 in Spark 2014 (Mar. 15 - 16, 2014)
What makes a baseball player valuable? How do you compare pitchers and position players? How can the low-budget Oakland A's be so good? These are the kinds of questions that sabermetrics, the scientific approach to baseball statistics, can answer. In this class, we'll see why traditional metrics like batting average and ERA can lie and try to build something better.


A Preview of the 2014 Baseball Season in Spark 2014 (Mar. 15 - 16, 2014)
The MLB season will have barely started, but that doesn't stop us from speculating about how it's going to turn out. Come talk about how you think your favorite teams and players are going to do.


Modernist Literature in HSSP Spring 2014 (Mar. 01, 2014)
“I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.” - Jorge Luis Borges We'll read some short stories, plays, and poetry from various modernist authors like T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ralph Ellison, and Tom Stoppard. We'll also explore some literary theory and some of the historical, scientific, and philosophical influences on the modernist movement.


An Introduction to Sabermetrics in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
Baseball is full of statistics. Some are better than others. For instance, batting average doesn't reward taking walks, and RBIs depend on other batters. This class will explore the question of how we measure the value of baseball players and explain the methodology behind advanced metrics like wOBA and WAR


Sabermetrics 201: Modelling Baseball in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
This class will explore some more advanced topics in the statistical analysis of baseball, taking a more mathematical approach.