Mathematical Boot Camp for Budding String Theorists (CLOSED)

Level: Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in fall 2016.
Session: II, July 19-August 5, 2016
Days & Time: Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Status: Closed
Timothy Halpin-Healy,

A year of physics required, as well as some familiarity with basic derivatives and  integrals; most importantly, a desire to see more advanced mathematics in action.

Related Courses:

Students interested in this course might also be interested in Survey of Modern Mathematics or Astronomy and Astrophysics.

“I was introduced to a huge number of fascinating concepts.” — Maryn Brown, 2015

Course Description

This course is intended for students who already have a proficiency with math and are eager to further expand their mathematical toolboxes in preparation for serious future work in the natural sciences.

Rich examples drawn from classical and quantum wave phenomena, statistical physics, astrophysics, cosmology, engineering physics, chaos and nonlinear dynamics are used to introduce and develop crucial mathematical concepts during the morning lectures. Afternoons are devoted to hands-on experiments and computer simulations to test the physics concepts presented. There will be a science-based New York City field trip as well as a visit to one of the Columbia research labs.

This course is mainly math, but with plenty of physics mixed in, whereas Investigations in Theoretical and Experimental Physics focuses more on introductory physics material. Because there is significant overlap between the two courses, it is not recommended that students take both.


Timothy Halpin-Healy

Tim Halpin-Healy received his doctorate in physics from Harvard University in 1987, following an A.B. from Princeton University in 1981. He’s been a research fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences; Cambridge University, England; as well as the Departement de Physique, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. He is currently Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Physics at Barnard College, Columbia University. His scientific research concerns the dynamics of complexity, where the competing effects of order and disorder delicately balance, producing some of nature’s most beautiful pattern formation phenomena. The technical tools of his trade involve quantum field theory, the renormalization group, fractals and chaos.

Specific course information, such as hours and instructors, are subject to change at the discretion of the University.