ESP Biography
NORMAN CAO, MIT Plasma Physicist, among other things
Major: 22 College/Employer: MIT Year of Graduation: G 

Brief Biographical Sketch:
Not Available. Past Classes(Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)M13845: Vectors! in Spark 2020 (Mar. 14  15, 2020)
Physics, artificial intelligence, calculus, statistics, engineering, what do they all have in common? Vectors! Come learn about a big collection of topics from throughout science, engineering, and mathematics, and how vectors can be used to understand and find connections between different fields.
S13199: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."  Isaac Newton
Often times science seems kind of... opaque. How did all of these formulas, principles, and laws get discovered? It's cool to learn about them in textbooks, but were they just plucked out of thin air by scientific geniuses like Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein? Or perhaps there were some hints that guided them along the way?
Join us in learning how some of the most significant discoveries in physics were made, and in the process, gain a better intuitive understanding of how physics works. Maybe you'll be able to make discoveries like these some day!
X13200: Gedankenexperiment: The Power of Critical Thought in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23  24, 2019)
The thought experiment has been used throughout history to critically evaluate the claims and assumptions we make, while providing us a way to frame and advance our understanding of the world. This class aims to cover some of the most famous thought experiments in science, math, and philosophy (such as Einstein's "Gedankenexperiments", Zeno's Paradoxes, or the Ship of Theseus), with a focus on understanding the thought processes behind them and the practical consequences of the experiments. Hopefully by the end of the class you'll be able to use critical thinking and your own thought experiments to critically evaluate the world around you.
M12924: Vectors! in Spark 2019 (Mar. 16  17, 2019)
Physics, artificial intelligence, calculus, statistics, engineering, what do they all have in common? Vectors! Come learn about a big collection of topics from throughout science, engineering, and mathematics, and how vectors can be used to understand and find connections between different fields.
P12152: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants in Spark 2018 (Mar. 17  18, 2018)
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."  Isaac Newton
Often times science seems kind of... opaque. How did all of these formulas, principles, and laws get discovered? It's cool to learn about them in textbooks, but were they just plucked out of thin air by scientific geniuses like Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein? Or perhaps there were some hints that guided them along the way?
Join us in learning how some of the most significant discoveries in physics were made, and in the process, gain a better intuitive understanding of how physics works. Maybe you'll be able to make discoveries like these some day!
S11650: Magnets, how do they work? in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18  19, 2017)
What even are magnets? Come learn about one of the fundamental forces of the universe! In doing so we'll cover both the theory behind magnets, including some special relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics; as well as some applications in astronomy and fusion!
P11371: The Bit and the Atom in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11  12, 2017)
What connects the works of Shakespeare with the structure of the Milky Way? How does a computer program relate to the engine powering your car? And what do bits have to do with atoms? Come learn this and more, about surprising connections between physics, statistics, and computing!
X10996: Gedankenexperiment: The Power of Critical Thought in Splash 2016 (Nov. 19  20, 2016)
The thought experiment has been used throughout history to critically evaluate the claims and assumptions we make, while providing us a way to frame and advance our understanding of the world. This class aims to cover some of the most famous thought experiments in science, math, and philosophy (such as Einstein's "Gedankenexperiments", Zeno's Paradoxes, or the Chinese Room), with a focus on understanding the thought processes behind them and the practical consequences of the experiments. Hopefully by the end of the class you'll be able to use critical thinking and your own thought experiments to critically evaluate the world around you.
E9299: Applied Kerbal Space Program in Spark 2015 (Mar. 14  15, 2015)
What is apoapsis, periapsis, inclination, and eccentricity anyways? And how will they help you get to space? In this class we'll play Kerbal Space Program to learn about some of the science and engineering that goes into making things go into space!
(We'll be playing on a projector, so you don't need to bring a laptop or own a copy, but feel free to bring one if you do)
S8625: Plasma Physics in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22  23, 2014)
Ever wanted to learn how ion thrusters work, or how the sun generates energy, or how close we really are to achieving nuclear fusion here on earth? Then come on in and take a 3 hour tour of plasma physics!
S7637: Orbital Mechanics in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23  24, 2013)
Since the dawn of man, people have been looking up at the stars. The drive to understand the movement of the heavens spurred the development of calendars, maps, math, and science.
Come learn about Orbital Mechanics! This class will cover basic orbits, before moving on to putting rockets into orbit, the threebody problem and Lagrange points, and even basic Classical Mechanics and perturbation theory.
S7103: Theorem and Theory in Spark! 2013 (Mar. 16, 2013)
Math and physics, sitting in a tree, THEORIZING. Why are so many aspects of the physical world so welldescribed by math? How do the laws of physics tie to the axioms of mathematics, and why do we choose to express them like we do? Come learn about the assumptions that underpin our understanding of the natural world, and some of the fascinating results that come from them.
M6364: The World, plus/minus two sigma in Splash! 2012 (Nov. 17  18, 2012)
The Gaussian. $$\frac{1}{\sigma \sqrt{2 \pi}}e^{ \frac{1}{2}(\frac{x\mu}{\sigma})^2}$$. The normal distribution. Shows up in statistics, probability, physics, chemistry, biology, everywhere. Ever wonder why?
M5620: The Art of Guesstimation in Spark! 2012 (Mar. 10, 2012)
Sometimes math is difficult. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just guess an answer and hope it turns out to be right? Well actually, you can.
Learn how to make ballpark estimates, how to create mathematical models out of thin air, how to use statistics to draw interesting conclusions, and how to generally provoke and madden mathematicians with your guesses!
M5112: 101 Mindblowing Ways to Think About Math and Physics (Part 1) in Splash! 2011 (Nov. 19  20, 2011)
Want to learn a little relativity, when $$(1+x)^n=1+nx$$, how to count from 512 to 511 on your fingers, and if cats in boxes really can die? Want to see an MIT student bust his voice and brains to teach you every trick in the book he knows for 3 hours straight?
101 Mindblowing Ways to Think About Math and Physics will go over 101 different revelations in nearly every branch of math and physics imaginable, and then some, each guaranteed to impress your friends who didn't attend and make you rethink everything you thought you knew.
Part 1 of 3 will cover geometry, sets, functions, series, complex numbers, and give insights into real analysis. And as my dad always told me, you don't really know math until you know real analysis. Part 2 (optional) can also be found in the Mathematics category.
M5113: 101 Mindblowing Ways to Think About Math and Physics (Part 2) in Splash! 2011 (Nov. 19  20, 2011)
Want to learn a little relativity, when $$(1+x)^n=1+nx$$, how to count from 512 to 511 on your fingers, and if cats in boxes really can die? Want to see an MIT student bust his voice and brains to teach you every trick in the book he knows for 3 hours?
101 Mindblowing Ways to Think About Math and Physics will go over 101 different revelations in nearly every branch of math and physics imaginable, and then some, each guaranteed to impress your friends who didnâ€™t attend and make you rethink everything you thought you knew.
Part 2 of 3 will cover both discrete and fuzzy mathematics: graph theory, information theory, statistics, combinatorics, and theoretical computer science. This is the fun stuff they don't teach in school. Part 3 (optional) can be found in the Science category.
S5114: 101 Mindblowing Ways to Think About Math and Physics (Part 3) in Splash! 2011 (Nov. 19  20, 2011)
Want to learn a little relativity, when $$(1+x)^n=1+nx$$, how to count from 512 to 511 on your fingers, and if cats in boxes really can die? Want to see an MIT student bust his voice and brains to teach you every trick in the book he knows for 3 hours?
101 Mindblowing Ways to Think About Math and Physics will go over 101 different revelations in nearly every branch of math and physics imaginable, and then some, each guaranteed to impress your friends who didn't attend and make you rethink everything you thought you knew.
Part 3 of 3 will cover physics. All of it. Parts 1 and 2 (optional) can be found in the Mathematics section.
