ESP Biography



MELISSA KAUFMAN, Mechanical Engineering major at MIT




Major: Mechanical Engineering

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: Not available.

Picture of Melissa Kaufman

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I am from Framingham, Massachusetts. I am a senior at MIT majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
I directed ProveIt in the fall and spring of 2006; I co-directed HSSP Summer 2007.
My senior project in high school was developing a math magic show for middle schoolers (and I have an awesome cape!). I have continued to teach this, as well as teaching classes on infinity, pascal's triangle, thermodynamics, hypercubes, bioethics, dystopias, Flatland and others.
Next year I will be studying oceanography at URI.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Numerics in Spark! 2010 (Mar. 13, 2010)
Let's say we have a list of numbers in ascending order spanning many orders of magnitude. We use our computer to add them up and get an answer. Now we put them in descending order, add them, and get a different result! This class will explain why this happens. Numerics are useful for knowing error bands for calculations made on computers. It is used in all fields of engineering.


Melissa the Mathemagician in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Amaze your friends with these fun math tricks! I lnow a bunch of mind-reading tricks to share with you, but feel free to bring your own.


How Stuff is Made in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
We'll learn about some standard manufacturing processes and examine everyday items to figure out how they're made.


Thermodynamics Part 1 (or Fun with Energy Conservation) in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
We will explore the First Law of Thermodynamics and discuss how work and heat transfer and energy are all the same thing. Then we will solve some interesting problems such as how high would we need to drop a bucket of water to raise its temperature 10 degrees.


Thermodynamics Part 2 (or Chaos!) in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
This course will explore the Second Law of Thermodynamics. We will explore some of the implications of the Second Law as well as discuss its uses in the field of engineering through some problems.


Hypercubes in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
In this class we will explore the world of multiple dimensions. What is a dimension? What is the fourth (and higher) dimension? Build your own hypercube and take it home to impress your friends and family!


Thermodynamics in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
Want to learn the first and second law of thermodynamics? How are energy, heat transfer, and work related? What is entropy? In this class we will answer these questions and apply them to some everyday applications.


Hypercubes! in Spark! Spring 2008 (Mar. 08, 2008)
What is a dimension? What is the fourth dimension? We will discuss these questions and more, as well as make a 3D model of a hyper cube in this class.


Flatland in HSSP (2007)
We will explore the worlds of one, two, three, four, and more dimensions! Through Edwin A. Abbott's classic book Flatland, ...


Designer Babies in SPLASH (2007)
Genetic research has allowed us already to isolate many genes that control for certain traits. What happens if we could ...


Egyptian Hieroglyphs in SPLASH (2007)
How did we get from a bunch of "random" symbols to being able to read and understand Egyptian hieroglyphics? Thanks ...


Hypercubes! in SPLASH (2007)
What is the fourth dimension and what does it look like? We will build a model to explore a part ...


Melissa the Mathemagician! in SPLASH (2007)
Amaze your friends and family with these magic tricks! You will learn to read minds... using the power of math! ...


To Infinity and Beyond! in SPLASH (2007)
What exactly is infinity? If yes, how big is it? Can there be more than one "infinity?" We will tackle ...


Dystopias in HSSP (2006)
A dystopia is the opposite of a utopia in some sense. It is a society where there is usually a ...


Be a Mathemagician! in SPLASHONWHEELS (2006)
Want to "read someone's mind?" Want to always know the magic number?Want to learn cool math magic tricks? Take this ...


Fractals in SPLASHONWHEELS (2006)
Fractals are geometric shapes that defy the laws of traditional geometry. They are commonly found in nature: in clouds, in ...


Bioethics: Designing Humans of the Future in SPLASH (2006)
How much can we manipulate genetics to design the "perfect" human being? Is this something we want to do? Be ...


Melissa the Mathemagician in SPLASH (2006)
Want to learn some math magic tricks and amaze friends and family? No previous advanced math background (ie algebra) is ...


Pascal's Triangle in SPLASH (2006)
Pascal's triangle is an amazing summary of many concepts and patterns. Learn what patterns it contains, how to use it ...


Be a Mathemagician in SPLASH (2005)
Want to combine math and magic? Amaze your friends as you "read their mind." Play around with numbers in cool ...