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Courses

Interdisciplinary Sciences

Astrochemistry: Origins of Life in Space
New experimental techniques, remarkable advancements in quantum chemistry, the development of observational telescopes, and powerful computer algorithms are making the observation of interstellar molecules possible for the first time in human history. Through this cutting-edge science, we are able to better understand the origins of the organic and molecular elements of life first produced by nucleosynthesis at the core of stars, subsequently ejected out into the interstellar medium, physically and chemically processed by the conditions in space over millions of years, and deposited on to the surfaces of primordial planets, ultimately to become the building blocks of life as we know it. In this course, we will explore how molecular evolution occurs within various extreme astrochemical environments, such as the interstellar medium, molecular clouds, star-forming regions, and planetary bodies; learn about the formation processes of the prebiotic organic molecules in space that serve as the precursors to biomolecules that all of life on Earth contains; examine the possibilities of exotic chemistry occurring in the atmospheres and on the surfaces of planets, satellites, and other solar system cometary and meteoritic bodies that may harbor prebiotic molecules; and learn how scientists today can detect and study fields of organic molecules relevant to biology in space.

Session 1

June 25 - July 14

Prerequisite(s)

Completion of high school courses in physics and chemistry.

Age and grade requirements:

1. 10th - 11th grade at the time of application.
2. age 15 - 17 on the first day of the session.
Biomechanics and Biofluid Dynamics
This course is designed for students with experience in mathematics and physics who are interested in how to apply analytical techniques to the understanding of complex systems in organismal biology. In particular, students will be asked to analyze and model the kinematics and dynamics of invertebrate animals in motion. This course is driven by experiments that allow students to analyze animal motion with millisecond precision, and describe in detail the movement of the fluids around the moving animal. Students will consider flying and swimming animals generating lift forces and thrust in air and water. Student will also consider terrestrial animals generating ground reaction forces during legged locomotion. This class offers opportunities for students to test original hypotheses in biomechanics and biofluid dynamics, and to clearly present their findings to their peers.

Session 1 & 2

June 25 - July 14
July 17 - August 05

Prerequisite(s)

Mathematics including geometry and algebra required. Courses in pre-calculus and physics are not required but will be helpful.

Age and grade requirements:

1. 9th - 10th grade at the time of application.
2. age 14 - 16 on the first day of the session.
Chemical Physics
This course will focus on the ground breaking field of ultrafast chemistry and investigate the dynamics of chemical reactions. Thanks to advances in laser technology in the 1990s, physicists and chemists now routinely study chemical reactions on the timescale of their vibrational motion. (That's the amount of time it takes light to travel a hair's width.) The class will focus on this extremely fast vibrational motion of molecules to learn about chemical bonds and chemical reactions. We will begin with the building blocks of chemistry: electrons, atoms, and molecules. Then, we will move onto studying the structure of molecules and chemical bonds. With these tools in hand, we can begin to understand some of the fastest processes in nature and explore the novel ultrafast chemistry experiments being done at Stanford's labs and at SLAC's x-ray laser facilities today. We will visit these labs at Stanford and SLAC to see first-hand how scientists study chemistry in modern labs.

Session 2

July 17 - August 05

Prerequisite(s)

Completion of an algebra course, basic trigonometry, and completion of an introductory physics or chemistry course.

Age and grade requirements:

1. 10th - 11th grade at the time of application.
2. age 15 - 17 on the first day of the session.