ESP Biography



JOSHUA VELSON, MIT Alum with many hobbies




Major: Course 10 - Chemical Engineering

College/Employer: Nexant Energy & Chemicals Consulting

Year of Graduation: 2010

Picture of Joshua Velson

Brief Biographical Sketch:

My name is Josh. Your brain has just gone through an incredibly complex chemical reaction that has led inexorably to the word "duh." I do many things. I am a juggler, a musician, a debater, a pyro, a cryo, an amateur brewer, a wannabe policy wonk and a video gamer. I have friends on far corners of the earth. I can take a hint but not an answer. There is too much blood in my caffeine system.

In earlier incarnations, I was a long-haried MIT student who loved punk rock and leather jackets.

In my current form, I'm a supposedly respectable worker at a chemical engineering consulting firm in NYC. I focus on the energy business, whether that's in biofuels, traditional oil and natural gas, renewable technology, and green routes to everyday plastics and chemicals. Every class I teach in my field includes real, up-to-date materials from my industrial field experience, much of it so new it probably hasn't even hit the news yet.

If I'm not teaching that kind of stuff, well, expect me to be slightly less professional and slightly more hyper.

Education -
MIT B.S. Chemical Engineering 2010
Cornell M. Eng. Energy Engineering 2011



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Peak Oil: What it is, and why it matters in Splash! 2011 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2011)
Energy from liquid hydrocarbons powers the modern economy. In recent years, the price of the oil these essential fuels comes from has gone up dramatically, sparking fears that the world really will run out of oil soon. However, others are pointing out that new technology is allowing humanity to continue producing. In this class we will try to answer three fundamental questions. First, what does "peak oil" mean, really? Second, if new technology lets us find new sources of oil, why does peak oil matter? And finally, what are some ways out of the crunch?


Next Generation Biofuels in Splash! 2011 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2011)
Ethanol from corn and sugarcane is now in the tanks of cars from Brazil to Denmark and everywhere in between. But what are the innovative companies of today cooking up to make tomorrow's biofuels? The teacher for this course will draw on his experience as a consultant in the fast-moving world of advanced biofuels companies to give an engineering overview of the kinds of technologies you can expect to see in the next few years.


Introduction to Tengwar in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Tengwar is the elvish script created by J. R. R. Tolkien as part of his Lord of the Rings Legendarium. Separate from the languages of Middle-Earth, Tengwar is a writing system can be used to write any language, including English. This class will focus on a quick introduction to the English common mode of writing in Tengwar, with basic instruction in developing your own handwriting.


Applied Cryomania in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Liquid nitrogen is cold. Really, really cold. Colder than the heart of a freshman physics teacher. And it is concentrated, pourable awesome. In this class our dedicated team of cryomaniacs will take you through 77 Kelvins worth of the science and practice of playing with some very, very cold things. Remember kids, when the ice cream stops steaming, it’s warm enough to eat.


Theoretical Cryomania in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Liquid nitrogen is awesome. Engineering is awesome. And since Splash! is awesome, we can bring both of them together. In this class, our dedicated team of cryomaniacs will be putting on our engineer's hats and using liquid nitrogen as a tool to teach and demonstrate core scientific concepts in chemical and mechanical engineering. This class is much more academically focused than Applied Cryomania. Topics covered will include: elasticity, non-ideal gas laws, phase equilibrium, heat transfer, and distillation.


Applied Cryomania in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
Liquid nitrogen is cold. Really, really cold. Colder than the heart of a freshman physics teacher. And it is concentrated, pourable awesome. In this class our dedicated team of cryomaniacs will take you through 77 Kelvins worth of the science and practice of playing with some very, very cold things. Remember kids, when the ice cream stops steaming, it's warm enough to eat.


Diabolo in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
Diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo, is a circus art that is practiced around the world for performance and enjoyment. This class is intended for levels of skill ranging from absolute beginners to those with an intermediate working knowledge of tricks. All props will be provided.


Diabolo in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
Diabolo, or Chinese Yo-Yo, is a circus art that is practiced the world over for performance and enjoyment. This class is meant for absolute beginners to those with an intermediate working knowledge of single diabolo tricks. All props will be provided.


Diabolo in Spark! Spring 2008 (Mar. 08, 2008)
Diabolo, or Chinese yoyo, is a circus art practiced around the world for performance and enjoyment. This class is intended for absolute beginners or those with knowledge of basic one-diabolo tricks. All props will be provided.


Diabolo in SPLASHONWHEELS (2008)
Diabolo, or Chinese Yo-yo, is a circus art that is practiced the world over for performance and enjoyment. This class ...


Diabolo in SPLASHONWHEELS (2008)
Diabolo, or Chinese Yo-yo, is a circus art practiced the world over for performance and enjoyment. This class is intended ...


Diabolo in SPLASH (2007)
Diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo, is a circus art that is practiced the world over for performance and enjoyment. This class ...


Diabolo in SPLASH (2007)
Diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo, is a circus art that is practiced all over the world for performance and enjoyment. This ...