Bringing Thermodynamics to Life

Principal Investigator
Prof. Rafael Jaramillo, Materials Science and Engineering; Dr. Akshay Singh, Materials Science and Engineering
Fund: Alumni Class Funds
Funding Period: AY2020
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering

Thermodynamics is a pillar of science and engineering, but is notoriously challenging to teach. 3.012 is a rigorous introduction to thermodynamics and operates as a traditional lecture course. We are sorely lacking exciting demonstrations to bring theory concepts to life, and draw connections to real-world applications. We propose to develop demonstrations using state-of-the-art MIT equipment, including electron microscopy and high-speed videography, that could be viewed by MIT sophomores in-person. These would draw connections between theory and contemporary materials research and applications, and provide a fresh view on classic problems. The experience would be available for all future MIT students taking 3.012, including those not from Course 3. The content would also be made viewable online, to supplement the edX version of the course that is under development, and would likely reach a massive worldwide audience.