ESP Biography

PETER HEDMAN, Geobiology Lab Technician, MIT

Major: Earth and Planetary Science

College/Employer: Harvard University

Year of Graduation: 2010

Picture of Peter Hedman

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Peter Hedman was an undergraduate at Harvard studying Earth and Planetary Science, until he graduated last May. As an undegrad, his his academic interests ranged from astronomy to organismic biology, laboratory electronics, geology, and conceptual art. He loves doing, making, traveling, and being.

Now, Peter is living in Cambridge and working as a lab technician in an MIT geobiology laboratory where he runs experiments to uncover the history of the world. Are the cyanobacteria we grow in the lab similar to those that once lived 3 billion years ago? How do isotopic ratios reveal the eating habits of anaerobic bacteria from the deep past? How do we know what we know?

Peter is a native of Cleveland, Ohio a city filled with abandoned steel mills and vast quantities of fresh water. As a result, he drinks water with abandon.

Past Classes

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

S4851: Constructing the History of the Universe in ESPrinkler Summer 2011 (Jul. 10 - Aug. 21, 2011)
Part lecture, part crafting, mostly awe-inspiring - we will consider the broad sweep of time over the history of the universe and interactively construct a physical representation of the past 13.7 billion years, with an unavoidable bias toward the geologic history of our planet and the recent phenomenon of civilization.

S4508: The History of the Earth: From the Big Bang to Now in HSSP Spring 2011 (Feb. 19, 2011)
From the origin of the elements, the moon-forming impact, and The Great Oxidation to trilobites, pterosaurs, and agriculture: through eight classes, we will explore the entire history of the universe, our planet, and life on Earth. Along the way, we will use the tools of astronomy, physics, geology, and biology and focus not just on what we know about the history of the world but how we know it. This class will emphasize science as a process for understanding the world, rather than a set of facts. -- Disclaimer: After considering 13.7 billion years of deep history, it is possible that one might feel like a speck in the void. But more likely is a sense of appreciation that, in spite of our short lives and small world, we humans understand so much that is larger and older than ourselves.

S4068: Planet Earth from Before to Now in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
We will consider the entire history of our planet, from the Big Bang to yesterday. This task will require us to think in terms of vast space and deep time, to apply many disciplines of science to unravel the often-incomplete records written in the rocks or inscrutably smeared in the skies. From space dust, to stromatolites, to ammonites, to humans – it’s all part of the same story. Consider this class a conceptual introduction to geology and astronomy in which we will investigate how we know what we know.

X4074: The Natural History of Tea in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, after water. From the hearty breakfast tea of England, to delicate flavors of green and white teas, to the pungent aroma of Pu-erh tea - all originate from the leaves of the same plant: Camelia sinensis. How can one plant do so much? Find out as we explore the history of tea, sample various teas, and test our palettes in the process.

X2917: Practical Knots in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
We will explore practical knots for tying shoes, hitching goats, lowering pails, and sailing on the high seas. We will scrutinize the legendary Ashley Book of Knots for inspiration and adventure.