ESP Biography
KATIE DUNN, jack of some trades, master of none
Major: Physics College/Employer: MIT Year of Graduation: 2018 

Brief Biographical Sketch:
Despite being a physics major, Katie really considers herself more of a generalist, with a healthy interest in linguistics, astronomy, and literature. She cares about helping learners reach their goals in the broadest sense  not giving students proverbial fish, nor stopping at teaching them how to fish, but rather helping students learn how to learn to fish  & then transfer that knowledge to learning other skills! She enjoys (/procrastinates via) puzzle hunts, welldesigned games, trying new foods, and thinking about metacognition. Past Classes(Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)M15049: Exploring Abstract Algebra in HSSP Summer 2022 (Jul. 09, 2022)
Collegelevel mathematics can broadly be divided into three categories: analysis, algebra (not like high school algebra), and geometry (not like high school geometry).
In this class I hope to give you a taste of abstract algebra, a preview of what you might expect in a first college algebra course (sets, rings, fields, groups, categories). Due to time constraints I'll aim to give the shallowest possible treatment while still conveying the flavor of and my appreciation for each topic. That being said, I'll also be providing lots of (optional) problems and resources for you to explore at your leisure.
Each class will be 90 minutes long, split into three 30minute "modules". The third of these will either be an extension module, or "unstructured time" where I'll take any questions or e.g. provide some fun problems to think about. In either case, this is completely optional, but it will probably be a little less difficult and also more relaxed and fun!
Unfortunately, due to the structure of the class, it will be quite difficult to keep up if you miss a day, but I'll still try my best to keep the classes independent of each other. I will also make available the notes for each week of class which you can reference just in case. Please email me if you have any questions about the course!
X14000: Rationality: How to model our world, seek truth, and strive for good decisions in HSSP Summer 2020 (Jul. 11, 2020)
Does human behavior sometimes confuse you? How do people think about thinking, and how can we get better at it? We’ll start this class by learning clearer, more precise vocabulary to describe our world and our perceptions of it. But we’ll also see that our brains themselves are imperfect instruments, so we’ll develop strategies to correct for it. Finally, equipped with a better understanding of how our brains can work for (or against) us, we’ll discuss how to become better calibrated in decisionmaking and navigating the world.
M14047: Intro to Intro to Abstract Algebra in HSSP Summer 2020 (Jul. 11, 2020)
Abstract algebra is one of the first "advanced" courses that pure math majors are required to take. It's a huge subject with many beautiful facets, so the goal of this class is merely to give you as many glimpses as I can of the prettiest things I know of. It will be quite hard (see prerequisites), but I hope that I can convince you to continue studying math in your future.
[schedule/class structure forthcoming]
Pure math ("college math") is very different from high school math, and even competition math (if you're familiar with this), in a number of ways. The main thing I want to convey is that math is not very different from hard sciences, in that you're building up mental models of how things "should" behave, and then checking if that matches up with reality. (Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that you can only really understand after having taken a few courses... I hope this counts as one of them.) Think of math as a huge [civilization, computer, dragon, any fascinating object of your choice], and your study of math as just understanding "how this thing works".
A few notes: 1. The exact nature of "how this thing works" is very personal  though we have a common language for describing common parts, everyone has very different pictures in their own head (this is partly why I love math so much!) 2. The kind of thinking in high school math (calculations, solving problems) can be helpful, but ultimately they're just a tool to help you understand how this thing works.
X13494: Introduction to (Puzzlehunt) Puzzles in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
Come solve puzzles with us! These aren't jigsaw puzzles though  think secret messages in the style of The DaVinci Code, National Treasure, or 39 Clues. If you like finding patterns, decoding ciphers, logic puzzles, or leaps of intuition, there's probably a puzzle for you!
X13497: SelfCalibration in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
How do we think about our own thoughts, and how confident should we be in our beliefs? We'll see how our brains are imperfect instruments and how we can improve our selfcalibration.
M13501: What is Topology? in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
You've probably heard that topology is the branch of math where "you can't tell a coffee cup and donut apart". We'll start with a short discussion of different infinities, define homeomorphism (a tool for "telling things apart") and define homotopy equivalence (a more complicated tool for "telling things apart"). We'll be using quite a few symbols, but I'll define them as we go and you won't need to understand them to understand the geometric idea.
S13529: Race Through Organic Chemistry in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
How much of organic chemistry do you think can be covered in 2 hours? How about all of it..?  at least that's what we'll try! From the basics of classes of compounds and simple reactivity to total synthesis, all will be covered in this Clais(s)en condensed form.
X13609: Intro to Linguistics Puzzles in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
Learn how to use logical reasoning to decipher the words and properties of different languages! First we'll go over the general process of solving a NACLO puzzle and how to organize your thoughts while doing so. Then you'll have the opportunity to solve different puzzles of your choice! No prior linguistics knowledge is required!
S13113: Rationality: How to model our world, seek truth, and strive for good decisions in HSSP Summer 2019 (Jul. 07, 2019)
Does human behavior sometimes confuse you? How do people think about thinking, and how can we get better at it? We’ll start this class by learning clearer, more precise vocabulary to describe our world and our perceptions of it. But we’ll also see that our brains themselves are imperfect instruments, so we’ll develop strategies to correct for it. Finally, equipped with a better understanding of how our brains can work for (or against) us, we’ll discuss how to become better calibrated in decisionmaking and navigating the world.
X12930: Introduction to (Puzzlehunt) Puzzles in Spark 2019 (Mar. 16  17, 2019)
Come solve puzzles with us! These aren't jigsaw puzzles though  think secret messages in the style of The DaVinci Code, National Treasure, or 39 Clues. If you like finding patterns, decoding ciphers, logic puzzles, or leaps of intuition, there's probably a puzzle for you!
X12933: Introduction to Linguistics in Spark 2019 (Mar. 16  17, 2019)
How do scientists analyze language? How do babies learn languages? Do you want to become more aware of your tongue? Come learn about all the things about language you already technically know but don't even know you know!
P12934: Paradoxes in Spark 2019 (Mar. 16  17, 2019)
Want to think about problems that seem impossible? In this class, we'll examine some famous paradoxes that stumped history's greatest scientists, and try to understand them ourselves. A healthy interest in learning physics required  but you don't need to know anything yet!
