Featured Course Archive: July-September 2009



September 28, 2009: A Push for "New Biology"

This week the MIT News Office talks with MIT Professor Phillip Sharp about the need for a new biology initiative to accelerate breakthroughs that could solve some of society's most pressing problems. Sharp's Cell Biology: Structure and Functions of the Nucleus is available on MIT OpenCourseWare.



September 24, 2009: MIT Economist Receives "Genius" Grant

MIT economist Esther Duflo, whose research has helped change the way governments and aid organizations address global poverty, has been named as a recipient of a 2009 MacArthur Fellowship - the prominent "genius" grant for innovative work. Her course Development Economics: Microeconomic Issues and Policy Models is available on OCW.


Photo by fd on Flickr.

September 22, 2009: Course Home Page Improvements

In the next few weeks, you'll notice some changes to our course home pages. Some of these changes will make the courses easier to navigate, and some of them will allow us to share messages about OCW and MIT. Learn more about these changes in a letter from OCW Executive Director Cecilia d'Oliveira.


Photo courtesy of NASA.

September 15, 2009: Photos from the edge of space

MIT senior Oliver Yeh has sent a camera into near-space - and received beautiful photos - for the cost of a standard engineering textbook.

Want to tackle your own backyard experiment? Start with a foundation in programming such as Building Programming Experience, a two-week bootcamp for students who lack a background in programming.



September 10, 2009: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

We've just added complete video lectures to Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, which introduces students to the role computation plays in solving problems using Python™. The course is aimed at students with little or no programming experience.


Photo by ifranz on Flickr. Calculus can be used to
calculate total distance covered at varied speeds.

September 8, 2009: Calculus

Taking Calculus this term? The complete text - including instructor's manual and student study guide - of Gilbert Strang's Calculus is available on OCW.



August 31, 2009: Welcome Class of 2013!

The class of 2013 is getting settled on campus and many of them will soon be taking the introductory course, Principles of Chemical Science. You can learn along online with our complete video lectures from Fall 2008.


Photo of stenciled rats by celesteh on Flickr.

August 27, 2009: Illuminating Thoughts and Memories

Researchers at MIT have found that rats use a mental instant replay of their actions to help them decide what to do next, shedding new light on how animals and humans learn and remember. The author of the study, Professor Matthew Wilson, led graduate students through an intensive 4-week course on neurophysiological experiments during IAP 2001.


Photo by Mike Johnston on Flickr.

August 25, 2009: Robots swim with the fishes

A team of MIT researchers has built a school of swimming robo-fish that slip through the water as gracefully as the real thing. In Introduction to Ocean Science and Engineering, students learn the fundamental aspects of science and engineering necessary for exploring, observing, and utilizing the oceans. The course features a video and photos of students field testing their projects.


Photo of Jose Gomez-Marquez by AIDG on Flickr.

August 20, 2009: Humanitarian of the Year

Technology Review has named their top young innovators, including Jose Gomez-Marquez, whom TR named "humanitarian of the year." You can view some of Gomez-Marquez's work in the Projects section of D-Lab: Disseminating Innovations for the Common Good.



August 17, 2009: The Nature of Engineering

The New York Times reports that a collaboration between researchers at MIT and the University of Cambridge has resulted in a small, simple solution to repairing knee injuries. Team member Lorna Gibson's The Nature of Engineering investigates why similar shapes occur in so many natural things and how physics changes the shape of nature.


Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr.

August 13, 2009: Jupiter takes a punch.

MIT Professor Richard Binzel says Jupiter's powerful gravitational field plays a role in protecting Earth from impacts such as the one that recently caused a new dark mark on the planet. Prof. Binzel provides many fascinating details about our nearest neighbors in The Solar System.


Photo by kevinzim on Flickr.

August 11, 2009: Introduction to Modeling and Simulation

In what may be the first detailed molecular-based multi-scale analysis of the role of a materials' failure in human disease, Professor Markus Buehler and other MIT researchers have used "materiomics" to study the tiny rifts that make up brittle bone disease.

Buehler's Introduction to Modeling and Simulation explores the basic concepts of computer modeling and simulation in science and engineering.



August 6, 2009: Exploring the Arctic Seafloor

Now through January 4, 2010, visit the Compton Gallery at MIT to see Chris Linder's photos of the Arctic. The photos portray an expedition to learn more about the Arctic undersea mountains. Inspired by these photos, you can learn more about the sea in Introduction to Observational Physical Oceanography.


August 3, 2009: Chandra Astrophysics Institute

Chandra Astrophysics Institute provides students in grades 9-11 the training required to undertake astronomy projects. Students in this course develop communication and collaboration skills, as well as a background in science and technology. Typical projects undertaken by students cover supernova explosions, black holes, and colliding galaxies.



July 30, 2009: Music Composition

In Music Composition, students produce at least one substantive original composition, which is performed in public by the end of the term. The Projects section includes links to these performances on iTunes U.



July 27, 2009: Communication for Managers

This hands-on course offered by the Sloan School of Management provides managers with the communication skills they need when presenting to large audiences. Topics include intercultural communication, interactive presentations, and the interviewing process.



July 23, 2009: Astrodynamics

A former member of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (now Draper Laboratory) where the guidance and navigation system for Apollo was developed, Richard Battin has taught Astrodynamics at MIT since the 1960s.

The course covers celestial mechanics, orbit determination, mission planning and other fundamental concepts necessary for space navigation.



July 20, 2009: Space Policy Seminar

Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon. Even as we celebrate this milestone, the question of our next space milestone hangs in the air. But whether we chose again to go to the Moon or turn instead to Mars, new technologies like GPS, the ISS, commercial launch, and satellite-based communications create enormous legal and political complications for any activity in near-Earth orbit and beyond. Space Policy Seminar covers the history of this issue and considers ways to handle it in the future - wherever that future may lead.


Photo of people enjoying the sun in Le Marais on
Bastille Day by Bolshakov on Flickr.

July 14, 2009: Le quatorze juillet

Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14, commemorating the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The day symbolizes the rise of modern France. In Enlightenment, Revolution, Napoleon, Prof. Ravel covers the unique French experience starting with the reign of the Sun King through the rule of Napoléon Bonaparte: Absolutism, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Empire.



July 9, 2009: Can a cellphone change the world?

NextLab is a hands-on year-long design course in which students research, develop and deploy mobile technologies for the next billion mobile users in developing countries. This course features over 100 videos documenting the development of seven team-based projects, along with most class lectures and student-led discussions of assigned class readings.



July 2, 2009: The Torch or the Firehose

MIT Mathematics Professor Arthur Mattuck wrote this guide to recitation teaching at MIT. During a typical recitation section, a teaching assistant meets with a small group of students to review the most recent lecture, expand on the concepts, work through practice problems, and conduct a discussion with the students. The title comes from the notion that getting an education at MIT is like trying to drink from a fire hose.