ESP Biography

JOEY GU, Engineering scientist by trade, musician at heart

Major: 10

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Joey Gu

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Joey did his PhD at MIT from 2014 - 2019. He is now working in the Department of Chemical Engineering to help develop digital learning content, including Massive Open Online Classes on Joey had the pleasure of co-directing the MIT Video Game Orchestra, in which he currently plays clarinet and bass clarinet. He is passionate about 20th-century classical music, musical composition and arranging, cooking, linguistics, and of course, teaching :)

Past Classes

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

M13306: Introduction to diffusion and random walk: thanksgiving special in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
You cooked the perfect turkey last Thanksgiving. This year, you want it to be just as good, but the turkey you got is twice as heavy! How much longer should you cook it for, given the time it took to cook the smaller turkey last year? Protip: take this class to find out! Diffusion is an intuitive phenomenon: in the absence of additional forces, stuff tends to move from where there is an abundance of it, to where there is a scarcity of it. Whether it concerns chemical species, thermal energy, or stock prices, diffusion underlies the understanding of innumerable science and engineering systems. It is a particularly deep insight that diffusion arises purely from the stochastic motions of microscopic particles, which we can model mathematically using the random walk. We will use Microsoft Excel to investigate how a random walk can result in macroscopic diffusive spreading. Scientists and engineers describe diffusion with Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), but we can already understand its important characteristics just using elementary algebra. In particular, we will discuss the “scaling” of diffusion processes: how does the time for diffusion depend on the dimensions of the physical domain of interest (e.g., this year’s turkey)?

A13104: The Composer’s Toolkit in HSSP Summer 2019 (Jul. 07, 2019)
Do you currently compose or arrange music? So did we when we were in high school! Looking back to those days, we find that there were many “items” missing from our “toolbox” – things that we wish we could have found out sooner! In this class, we want to help you become acquainted with these tools. We will survey a variety of genres – classical, jazz, rock, video game music, or anything else you might be interested in – and discover what underlying compositional techniques might be common or unique to these genres. Through listening and by analyzing scores (from classical masterpieces to our own arrangements of video game music) in some detail, you might find new perspectives on form, melody, harmony, orchestration, among other facets of music. We hope our class will inspire you to write some music, too! Over the six weeks, we will encourage you to expand / polish pieces that you are working on, or maybe start a whole new piece! Our goal is that you will walk out this class with a fresh look on composition and arranging and a wealth of new ideas to try out!

S11480: Applied Chemical Thermodynamics in HSSP Summer 2017 (Jul. 09, 2017)
Matter. It’s everywhere. It occupies physical space, exchanges energy with its surroundings, transforms from one state to another… Different substances are brought together, mixing, reacting, segregating… In chemical thermodynamics, we study the macroscopic behaviors of matter. How do we unambiguously describe the state of oxygen in a jar? How much water is contained in the ambient air in your room on a given day? What volume do you get when you mix 100 mL of alcohol with 100 mL of water? How is distillation able to separate a mixture of chemical compounds? Building on already familiar concepts from high-school physics and chemistry, we will learn to speak the unifying language of thermodynamics. We will search for thermodynamic data on the web, and use them to solve applied problems. Through live demonstrations and discussions of theoretical concepts, the class will guide you in forming an intuition about matter at its purest. You will never look at the material world (your physics and chemistry teachers too) quite the same way again…

E11408: 5 steps, 5 people, 5 minutes: engineering principles of manufacturing in Spark 2017 (Mar. 11 - 12, 2017)
Ever wondered how engineers think? Consider this: the industrialized society we live in is packed with mass-produced commodities – you might even know a few industrial processes for making them! But what makes mass production so attractive in the first place? Are there scenarios where it is at a disadvantage? In this class, we will critically examine two common production methods – continuous and batch – through a mini social experiment. You will learn how to mathematically analyze production schemes using cool engineering concepts, and we will have an open discussion about their social implications, from the Industrial Revolution to contemporary trade policies.