Active Learning Labs Course Support

The Active Learning Labs' laser-etched acrylic sign celebrating ES50, at the SEAS Design Fair in Maxwell-Dworkin.

ES Engineering Sciences

ES 1 Introduction to Engineering Sciences

An integrative introduction to engineering sciences. Combines classroom discussion with activity-based learning, and emphasizes concepts that span multiple disciplines. Covers topics having direct societal impact, and presents them in historical context. Involves qualitative and quantitative analysis, mathematical modeling, and design. Introduces common engineering software and hardware tools.

Topics that span the disciplines of electrical, mechanical, and tissue engineering. It provides theoretical background for technologies that are changing the ways in which we share information, manipulate the human body, and power the world. The electrical lab exercises designed for this course include analysis and modeling using Matlab, basic flashlight circuit assembling, soldering techniques and practices. The biological activities include introduction to the science of electrophoresis and DNA separation, the study of protein and DNA degradation, and a brief introduction to cancer cell screening.

ES 6 Environmental Science and Technology

    An introduction to the role of technology in the environmental sciences, with foci on energy and water topics. The basic scientific principles underlying human use and control of the environment are emphasized. The course includes several field trips.

ES 20  How to Create Things and Have Them Matter

This aspirational design course teaches students to generate, develop and realize breakthrough ideas in the arts, sciences, and engineering. Students learn basic skills of engineering design, brainstorming, prototyping, and public presentations. Funding is available for continued project development following the course. This year’s theme is "Synthetic Biology."

Related article: Imagining products to change the world

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ES 21 The Innovator’s Practice: Finding, building and leading good ideas with others

Students gain experience overcoming many under-represented challenges of becoming an innovator, including: identifying your intrinsic motivations, finding related good ideas, working effectively with others to develop them, and leading innovative professional projects to implementation. Students apply human-centered design processes (observing, interpreting, ideating, testing, refining, planning) to stimulate innovation, negotiate, strategize, and build and lead cooperative teams. Features guest speakers from industry, academia, and involves collaborating with cutting-edge companies.

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ES 22 Design Survivor: Experiential Lessons in Designing for Desirability

Multi-disciplinary course for students interested in designing products and services that are simple, irresistible, delightful, cool, covetable, viral, and, increasingly in today’s day and age, much more likely to be successful. Students study real world cases of how organizations (e.g., Apple, Gucci, Swarovski) strategically design for desirability. In weekly design challenges, students use analogical transfer to apply these insights to diverse industries and target markets (e.g., health literacy campaigns, declining technologies, the future of luxury). Weekly critique panels with experts enable students to develop their own design point of view and to finish with a diverse design portfolio.

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ES 50 Introduction to Electrical Engineering

A discussion of topics of central importance to the fields of electronics, communications and intelligent systems. The material concerns both qualitative and quantitative analysis, as well as laboratory experiments and computer simulations. Examples of topics to be discussed range from relatively simple modules such as analog amplifiers and digital adders, to complex devices such as cell-phones and their supporting infrastructure.

Related article: Loncar and Vase win 2012 Levenson Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

ES 51 Computer-Aided Machine Design

A first course in the design and construction of mechanical and electromechanical devices. Engineering graphics and sketching; dimensions and tolerances. Introduction to materials selection and structural design. Machine elements and two-dimensional mechanisms; DC motors. Design methodology. Emphasis on laboratory work and design projects using professional solid modeling CAD software and numerically controlled machine tools.

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ES 52 The Joy of Electronics

Introduction to designing circuits to solve real problems. Three-hour sessions that meet twice a week blend instruction with hands-on lab work to emphasize building and testing circuits. The course incorporates useful design experiences from day one. Covered topics include amplication, feedback, impedance, stability, filtering, switching, digital logic, microcontrollers, and more. The class ends with an open ended project that challenges students to build on core concepts.

ES 53 Quantitative Physiology as a Basis for Bioengineering

A foundation in human organ systems physiology, including cardiac, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, and neural systems. Quantitative description of organ systems function and control in terms of physical principles and physiologic mechanisms. Simple mathematical models representing key aspects of organ systems function. Emphasis will be given to understanding the ways in which dysfunction in these systems gives rise to common human disease processes.

ES 91r Supervised Reading and Research

Independent and guided reading and research.

ES 96 Engineering Problem Solving and Design Project

Semester-long team project that provides engineering experience working with clients on real-world problems. Projects provide exposure to problem definition, performance measurement, quantitative analysis, modeling, generation of creative solutions, engineering design trade-offs, and documentation/communication skills. Ordinarily taken in the junior year.

Related story: Crime-fighting platform wins President’s Challenge ; initial story: Crime probe

Related story: ES 96 students tackle reducing campus green house emissions

    ES 100 Engineering Design Projects

Individual design projects, with multiple realistic constraints, selected to provide experience in the processes and practice of engineering design. Requires proficiency in electronic circuit construction, mechanical fabrication techniques, or software engineering. Students will develop a solution to an open-ended engineering problem which will be demonstrated at the end of the course.

Related story: Designing a cleaner future

ES 103 Spatial Analysis of Environmental and Social Systems

Introduces the fundamental statistical and mapping tools needed for analysis of environmental systems. Topics will be linked by environmental and social themes and will include GIS concepts; data models; spatial statistics; density mapping; buffer zone analysis; surface estimation; map algebra; suitability modeling. Students will acquire technical skills in both mapping and spatial analysis. Software packages used will include ArcGis. There will be guest lectures by researchers and practitioners who use GIS for spatial analysis.

ES 110 Science, Engineering, and the Community

Activity-based course for beginning/intermediate science and engineering undergraduates. Combines readings and discussions on techniques for learning science and engineering design with implementation in an 8th grade science class in Cambridge. Students work directly with the 8th graders to guide how they learn. Students apply what they discover to improve their own understanding of college-level science and engineering.

ES 120 Introduction to the Mechanics of Solids

A first course in the mechanical sciences which introduces elements of continuum mechanics and explains how materials and structures stretch, bend, twist, shake, buckle, and break. Stress-strain behavior of materials. Statically determinate and indeterminate structures. Stress and strain, equations of motion or equilibrium, strain-displacement relations. Torsion. Beam theory with applications to beam deflections, vibrations, and buckling. Three laboratory sessions required.

The following experiments are examples of ES120 labs:

  • Tensile test and Poissons ratio: Standard tensile tests are performed with the new Instron 3369 machine. In a typical test, Young’s modulus, yield stress, and several other material properties are recorded. In addition, Poisson’s ratio is measured by attaching strain gage rosettes to the tested samples.
  • Beam bending: Beam bending analysis is performed on an aluminum I-beam (15 feet long), equipped with strain gages and loaded with random weights.  Another experiment is done by using strain gages attached to metasamples loaded in a new 4-point bending fixture.
  • Trusses and column buckling: This lab consists of five different experiments: the first group of four experiments uses Pasco Structures System Truss Bridge set components. These truss experiments allow students to investigate member loading in a variety of configurations. The Pasco sets are used by ES120 students to build trusses with attached 100 N load cells and amplifier units. The assembled structures are connected to Pasco Xplorer GLX Graphing Data logger devices for direct load-cell readout. The last experiment of this Lab investigates Euler column buckling.  Students determine the load to failure as the length of a long thin ‘flagpole’ is reduced.
  • CAD Truss Design Competition: Using SolidWorks software, ES120 students work in groups of 4-5 to design structures that need to satisfy a number of requirements in terms of dimensions, load-bearing capabilities, and weight. The structures designed by the students are fabricated using the 3-dimensional (Dimension) rapid prototyping machine and tested with the Instron.

ES 123  Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Transport Processes

Dimensional analysis. Basic elements of steady and unsteady thermal conduction and mass diffusion. Statics and dynamics of fluids. Buoyancy-stability and hydrostatics. Laminar viscous flows, potential flows, origin of lift, and basic aspects of boundary layers. Navier-Stokes and continuity equations. Applications in aerodynamics, chemical, environmental, and mechanical engineering, and physics.

Example ES123 lab:

  • Investigating of the performance of a computer CPU cooling system. The goal of this experiment is to investigate the performance of the CPU of a computer as function of heat loss. A main computer “the observer” uses LabVIEW data acquisition software to monitor a second computer “the target”. The target unit is equipped with a water jacket cooling mechanism for removing heat from the CPU. The steady-state heat loss is investigated using parameters acquired through the data acquisition system and the Intel active monitor software. This program is used to evaluate the unit temperature and voltage changes during loading of the CPU. Students also use the Hotshot thermal-imaging camera to photographically investigation radiation heat loss and to illustrate the location of hotspots.

ES 125  Mechanical Systems

Modeling and analysis of mechanical and electromechanical systems. Topics include 3D rigid body dynamics, resonance, damping, frequency response, Laplace transform methods, Lagrange’s equations, multiple degree-of-freedom systems and an introduction to nonlinear vibration, continuous systems, and control. Analytical modeling will be supplemented with numerical simulations and lab experiments. Laboratory exercises will explore vibration, stabilization, and nonlinear systems using data acquisition systems.

Example ES125 labs:

  • Response of First-Order Systems: LabVIEW software is used as a data acquisition tool to obtain an FFT of a signal from a function generator and from a choice of oscillating spring mass first-order systems.
  • Response of a Second-Order System: LabVIEW software is used to investigate the natural resonate frequency of a second-order system (the shaky table system) and corresponding damping frequency harmonics using the FFT methods learned in lab 1.
  • Air Damping Pendulum: LabVIEW software is used to investigate a pendulum with large angular motion and extreme air resistance using methods from previous labs.  Other demos for coupled pendulums, precession, and chaos analysis are available throughout the semester.
  • The Quanser Active Mass Damper Experiment: This experiment simulates active mass dampers used to suppress vibrations in tall structures to protect against earthquakes and wind. The aim of this exercise is to design a feedback controller that measures the cart position and the acceleration of the "roof" to dampen the vibrations of the structure effectively. The building-like structure is instrumented with an accelerometer to measure the acceleration of the "roof" relative to earth. Exercises in the analytical modeling and analysis using Matlab have been added and enhanced during the past years.

ES 128 Computational Solid and Structural Mechanics

Introduction to finite element methods for analysis of steady-state and transient problems in solid, structural, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. Implementation of simple MATLAB codes and use of existing general-purpose programs (ABAQUS and COMSOL).

ES 135 Physics and Chemistry: In the Context of Energy and Climate at the Global and Molecular Level

A solution to the problems set by the intersection of global energy demand and climate feedbacks requires the teaching of physics and chemistry in that context. Core topics include thermodynamics, free energy, entropy, acid-base and oxidation-reduction reactions, electrochemistry, electromagnetic induction, circuit theory, AC and DC circuits, the nature of photons and of electromagnetic radiation, photochemistry, materials, catalysis, kinetics, molecular bonding, and biological processes for energy conversion and storage.

ES 151 Applied Electromagnetism

Electromagnetism and its applications in science and technology. Topics: Maxwell’s equations; electromagnetic waves (e.g., light, microwaves, etc.); wave propagation through media discontinuity; transmission lines, waveguides, and microwave circuits; radiation and antennae; interactions between electromagnetic fields and matters; optics of solids; optical devices; origin of colors; interference and diffraction; lasers and masers; nuclear magnetic resonance and MRI; radio astronomy; wireless networking; plasmonic wave (charge density wave).

ES 154 Electrical Devices and Circuits

Design of electronic circuits (including integrated circuits) using semiconductor transistors. Topics: the physics of electrical conduction; the physics of semiconductors; bipolar transistors; field effect transistors; single- and multi-stage amplifiers; operational amplifiers; frequency responses and stability; feedback circuits; the physics of noise; self-sustained oscillators; phase-locked loops.

ES 159 Introduction to Robotics

Introduction to computer-controlled robotic manipulators. Topics include coordinate frames and transformations, kinematic structure and solutions, statics and dynamics of serial and parallel chain manipulators, control and programming, introduction to path planning, introduction to teleoperation, robot design, and actuation and sensing devices. Laboratory exercises provide experience with industrial robot programming and robot simulation and control.

ES 164 Environmental Chemistry

Basic concepts, principles, and applications of environmental chemistry for students in Earth and environmental sciences. We will investigate a variety of chemistry topics relevant for environmental systems, including water chemistry, acids and bases, redox reactions, precipitation/dissolution, sorption, gas solubility, and aqueous and atmospheric reaction rates and mechanisms. The principal goal is to explore and apply the fundamental principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics to understand Earth processes and solve complex environmental problems.

ES 165 Water Engineering

Introduces the fundamentals of water biology, chemistry, physics and transport processes needed to understand water quality and water purification technologies. Practical instruction in basic water analyses concluding with a final water treatment project in place of exam.

ES 173 Introduction to Electronic and Photonic Devices

This course will focus on physical principles underlying semiconductor devices: electrons and holes in semiconductors , energies and bandgaps, transport properties of electrons and holes, p-n junctions, transistors, light emitting diodes, lasers, solar cells and thermoelectric devices.

ES 176 Introduction to MicroElectroMechanical Systems

This course introduces student to the rapidly emerging, multi-disciplinary and exciting field of MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS). It teaches fundamentals of micro machining and Micro fabrication techniques, including planar thin-film process technologies, photolithography and soft-lithography techniques, deposition and etching techniques, and surface, bulk, and electroplating micro machining technologies.

ES 181 Engineering Thermodynamics

Introduction to classical engineering thermodynamics.Topics: Zeroth Law and temperature. Properties of single-component gases, liquids, and solids. Equations of state for ideal and simple nonideal substances. First Law, heat and heat transfer, work, internal energy, enthalpy. Second Law, Third Law, entropy, free energy, exergy. Heat engines and important engineering applications such as refrigerators, power cycles. Properties and simple models of solutions. Phase and chemical equilibrium in multicomponent systems; chemical potential. Electrochemistry, batteries, fuel cells. Laboratory included.

ES 183 Introduction to Heat Transfer

The macroscopic description of the fundamentals of heat transfer and applications to practical problems in energy conversion, electronics and biological systems with an emphasis on developing a physical and analytical understanding of conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer. Emphasis will also be given to problem solving skills based on applying governing principles, mathematical models and physical intuition. Monthly laboratory sessions.

ES 190 Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering

Introduction to the structure, properties, and applications of materials. Crystal structure and defects. Phase transformations: phase diagrams, diffusion, nucleation and growth. Mechanisms of deformation and fracture. Effect of microstructure on properties. Examples from a variety of engineering applications including alternate energy and electronics will be discussed.

Sample ES190 labs:

  • Bragg bubble raft and dislocation theory: Dislocation theory of crystals and grain boundaries are investigated.
  • Tensile test of metals: State-of-the-art Instron machine is used to perform standard tensile tests on a variety of metal and metal alloy specimens.  Load and deflection data as well as material properties, elastic modulus and yield, are collected and analyzed.
  • Tensile test of plastics: The Instron machine is used to perform standard tensile tests on a selection of biodegradable plastic specimens.  Examined plastic samples are incubated in a controlled compost environment, and their material properties are recorded and compared to untreated control samples.

ES 211 Microphysiological Systems

A sophisticated perspective on the design, construction, and testing of model physiological systems recapitulated with tissue engineering and lab on a chip technologies. Topics include organ and multiorgan physiology and pathophysiology; in vitro disease models; and design tools and fabrication techniques for lab on a chip technologies.

ES 220 Fluid Dynamics

Continuum mechanics; conservation of mass and momentum, energy; stress, kinematics, and constitutive equations; vector and tensor calculus. Dimensional analysis and scaling. Navier-Stokes equations, Reynolds number. Solutions for simple flow states. Low Reynolds number flows; porous media flows; lubrication theory; gravity currents. Inviscid flows, Kelvin circulation theorem, Bernoulli integrals, Vortical flows. Waves in fluids; acoustics, shocks, water waves. Airfoil theory. Boundary layers. Flow instabilities. Mixing, and turbulence in unbounded and bounded flows.

ES 227 Medical Device Design

Project-based course on the design of medical devices to address needs identified by hospital-based clinicians. Students work in teams with physicians to develop a novel device. The design process includes: needs finding; problem identification; prior art searches; strategy and concept generation; estimation; sketching; sketch modeling; machine elements, ergonomics and prototyping.

Related story: New medical devices course leads to student innovations, publications

ES 240 Solid Mechanics

Foundations of continuum mechanics, development of elasticity theory, and introduction to plasticity and creep. Elastic waves. Basic elasticity solutions. Variational principles

ES 246 Plasticity

Phenomenological theories for strain hardening materials; flow and deformation theories. Variational principles and other general theorems. Mechanisms of plastic deformation, physical theories for strain hardening materials, and polycrystals. Ideal plasticity. Boundary value problems, plastic collapse, buckling of structures.

ES 247 Fracture Mechanics

Fundamentals of fracture with applications in materials and structural mechanics. Micromechanics of fracture in ceramics, metals, and polymers. Fracture of composite materials. Interfacial fracture mechanics. Fatigue crack propagation.

ES 252r Advanced Topics in Robotics Research

A graduate seminar course on advanced topics in robotics research. Students read and present research papers and undertake a research project. Spring 2013 will focus on robot design and manipulation.

ES 275 Nanophotonics

Recent developments in micro- and nano-photonic materials, devices and microscopy. Computational electromagnetics. Photonic crystals. Optical properties of metal nanostructures. Optical forces. Scanning near-field optical microscopy. Term-long research project.

BE Biomedical Engineering

BE 91r Supervised Reading and Research

Guided reading and research.

BE 110 (formerly ES 145) Physiological Systems Analysis

A survey of systems theory with applications from bioengineering and physiology. Analysis: differential equations, linear and nonlinear systems, stability, the complementary nature of time and frequency domain methods, feedback, and biological oscillations. Applications: nerve function, muscle dynamics, cardiovascular regulation. Laboratory: neural models, feedback control systems, properties of muscle, cardiovascular function.

BE 121 (formerly ES 122) Cellular Engineering

This is a combined introductory graduate/upper-level undergraduate course that focuses on examining modern techniques for manipulating cellular behavior and the application of these techniques to problems in the biomedical and biotechnological arenas. Topics will include expanding the genetic code, genetic circuits, rewiring signaling pathways, controlling behavior through cell-matrix interactions, and directed differentiation of stem cells. Lectures will review fundamental concepts in cell biology before delving into topical examples from current literature. Students will work individually and in teams to determine the boundaries of existing cellular engineering techniques using scientific literature and conduct original research in the laboratory.

BE 125 (formerly ES 130) Tissue Engineering

Fundamental engineering and biological principles underlying field of tissue engineering, along with examples and strategies to engineer specific tissues for clinical use. Students will prepare a paper in the field of tissue engineering, and participate in a weekly laboratory in which they will learn and use methods to fabricate materials and perform 3-D cell culture.

AP Applied Physics


A student group's Rube Goldberg-inspired project in the Teaching Labs.

AP 50a Physics as a Foundation for Science and Engineering, Part I

AP 50a is the first half of a one-year, team-based and project-based introduction to physics. This course teaches students to develop scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills. AP50a topics include: kinematics; linear and rotational motion; relativity; conservation of momentum and energy; forces; gravitation; and oscillations and waves. Multivariable and vector calculus is introduced and used extensively in the course. Students work in teams on three-month long projects, each culminating in a project fair.

AP 50b Physics as a Foundation for Science and Engineering, Part II

AP 50b is the second half of a one-year, team-based and project-based introduction to physics. This course teaches students to develop scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills. AP50b topics include: electrostatics; electric currents; magnetostatics; electromagnetic induction; Maxwell’s Equations; electromagnetic radiation; geometric optics; and, wave optics. Multivariable and vector calculus is introduced and used extensively in the course. Students work in teams on three-month long projects, each culminating in a project fair.
 

CS Computer Science

CS 141 Computing Hardware

Introduction to the design, structure, and operation of digital computers; logic circuits and digital electronics; computer arithmetic; computer architecture; and machine language programming. Consideration of the design interactions between hardware and software systems.

CS 143 Computer Networks

Principles, design, implementation, and performance of computer networks. Topics include: Internet protocols and routing, local area networks, TCP, performance analysis, congestion control, network address translation, voice and video over IP, switching and routing, mobile IP, peer-to-peer overlay networks, network security, and other current research topics. Programming assignments on protocol implementation and analysis.

CS 148 Design of VLSI Circuits and Systems; CS 248 Advanced Design of VLSI Circuits and Systems

CS 148 - Presentation of concepts and techniques for the design and fabrication of VLSI systems and digital MOS integrated circuits. Topics include: basic semiconductor theory; MOS transistors and digital MOS circuits design; synchronous machines, clocking, and timing issues; high-level description and modeling of VLSI systems; synthesis and place and route design flows; and testing of VLSI circuits and systems. Various CAD tools for design, simulation, and verification are extensively used.

CS 248 - The contents and course requirements are similar to those of Computer Science 148, with the exception that students enrolled in Computer Science 248 are expected to do a substantial design project and paper discussions on advanced topics.

CS 189 Autonomous Multi-Robot Systems

Building autonomous robotic systems requires understanding how to make robots that observe, reason, and act. Each component uses many engineering principles: how to fuse, multiple, noisy sensors; how to balance short-term versus long-term goals; how to control one’s actions and how to coordinate with others. This year, we will study these questions in the context of a project to develop autonomous robot soccer teams. The class format will mix seminar and lab formats.

CS 146 Computer Architecture; CS 246 Advanced Computer Architecture

CS 146 - Review of the fundamental structures in modern processor design. Topics include computer organization, memory system design, pipelining, and other techniques to exploit parallelism. Emphasis on a quantitative evaluation of design alternatives and an understanding of timing issues.

CS 246 - The contents and course requirements are similar to those of Computer Science 146, with the exception that students enrolled in Computer Science 246 are expected to undertake a substantial course project.