Vector Analysis



Follow-up on Lorentz transformations

As promised, a short write-up of the mini lecture on Einstein’s theory of special relativity, focusing on the notation, metric, and Lorentz transformations, as well as two short exercises on time dilation and length contraction (with solutions!).

Special relativity and Lorentz transformations


Flashback to July 27th

Hey guys, sorry this is late. Before I start I want to say we have officially graduated SSP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But as Mr. Bowdon said, this is the only the beginning. I feel like with everything that has happened and us always being in the moment everything has sort of blended together. So I just want to make a list of everything that memorable that has happened at SSP so that we will always remember these 5 ½ weeks. Here I go:

1. Riley giving us a potato on the first day
2. The first formal dinner (remember when we all actually dressed up)
3. Sprinklers and sidewalks
4. Rengstorf’s love of trees as seen through the way he wanted us to hand in HW
5. Dr. Anderson’s retina problem
6. Cocoa puffs and Lucky Charms
7. “Mystical.” – Anderson
8. “Weight does not exist.” -3rd math lecture
9. “It’s actually 2 hours 23 minutes.” -Daniel M.
10. “Collisions are going to collide.” -Anderson
11. “Back to back world war champs.” -Nick making fun of Germany during a soccer game
12. “Have you ever been in love?” -either Lili or Afura
“Yes.” – Mathis
“Oooh…” – a bunch of us
“With physics.” – Mathis
13. “Did you get 58 minutes? Almost a full minute.” – Malick when comparing answers for a HW problem
14. When Aaron said, “There are many ways to ask someone to pass the salt shaker. One way is to ask, another way is to point at it or you could do this.” *demonstrates by spazzing out and then a couple days later, Dave during lunch/dinner did the same move to ask Aaron for the salt
15. “What do I know? Oh wait, I have a PhD.” -Rengstorf
16. “Is anyone else left handed?” -Rengstorf
*ZD raises hand*
“Do you have trouble keeping your shoes tied?” -Rengstorf
17. “Arpit, are you done with SSP?” -Jason
“I’m done with life” -Arpit
18. Mathis during his lecture “It’s obvious that I love physics. But what I really love is food.”
19. Boatman
20. “Stars do star stuff.” -Rengstorf
21. Rahul learned how to properly say Penelope
22. Daniel learned how to properly use a mechanical pencil
23. “The constant is constant.” – Arian
24. “The constant is not constant.” – Dr. Rengstorf
25. Karaoke night: Luke and Alex dancing to My Humps; Nick, Alex D., and Mathis singing to Disco Pogo
26. Jwerking parties
27. Murder Mystery
28. Dancing party and the salsa dancing (thank god for Afura or we would all be lost that day)
29. Saturday movie night
30. “Not” eating in the lab
31. The day our rivalry with CUB started, (which we are of course won)
32. The never working computers, remember how they froze every five seconds, how the mouse pointer always disappeared and everything else they failed to do
33. Jake from IT
34. Daniel’s nothing but elliptical orbit
35. Neha’s COOOOOOOkies
36. Rosita’s olives
37. Jason’s accents
38. Daniels T.’s necessary buys from Walmart (water speakers, donuts, 10 dollar beef jerky…)
39. Rahul shushing Rengstorf
40. Luke winning Assassins
41. Jason killing Andersen
42. Rosita’s gravity bruises
43. Everything being, of course, platonic
44. Arian’s girlfriend
45. Aaron’s test cases
46. Janitors closet and TAs
47. Duck pond
48. Arian’s version of taking a picture with the telescope
49. NIRO and Rengstorf’s platonic love for it
50. SOTS
51. Pokemon Go + Rebecca’s obsession
52. Haxball
53. Tagpro
54. Kwibo ubuntu and his slaying of everyone in Tagpro
55. Gucci
56. Drinking games
57. Cross and dot product, which is something you of course do with your entire body
58. Kathryn’s singing and guitar playing
59. Annie P. and Nick’s juggling
60. Nick’s “SLEWING!!!!” + Diana’s rendition
61. Epic Sax Guy
63. When Mathis giggles like a little girl as he tells his own jokes
64. Rengstorf’s slaying of “What Teachers Make”
65. And every other moment we spent together

I just want to say that these are not in order, they are just in the order that I remembered them by. SSP was one of the hardest and most fulfilling things I have ever had to do and I know it would not have been as great as it was without all of you guys. I miss you all sooooooo much and will miss our time together but I know that we will see each other in the future. Until next time… Once an SSPer, always an SSPer.


Flashback to July 25th

Where’s Bruce Willis when you need him?! Today we discovered that at least a few of our asteroids might slam into the Earth and end life as we know it. Or at least that’s what our friends at Southwest Research Institute showed us. The last couple days we’ve been running simulations to determine the possible fates of our asteroids within the uncertainty of the orbits. It’s alarming how many end up smacking into us. (At least we’ll be long dead by then)

We also got to go up and take pretty pictures of the M20 nebula. I suggest you google it to see what it looks like. It’s amazing!

Best of all, we rediscovered the healing power of sleep. This holistic all natural treatment was bestowed upon us by Shaman Rengstorf as a reward for completing the OD. It was glorious until I decided to stay up until 3 and squandered it. Oh well.
Running the simulations calls for a lot of waiting around. To pass the time we’ve had an impromptu movie night (The Man from UNCLE), deep meaningful conversations with Mathis about Germany and his childhood, and then there was this:
 I don’t know what I’ll do without Mathis 😦

-Alex D.


By request, here is a book list. In no particular order, these are the books I used, referenced, or mentioned this summer, in or out of lecture


Parallax Distance Determination project

It’s maybe a little rough around the edges still, but we’re effectively out of time, so it’s done. I wanted to thank everyone who put some time into this extra project. I’ve tried to do a parallax project every summer since 2012, and this is the first time it’s worked out.

  • Team Pie-thons (Annie Chen, Kathryn Chan, and Daniel Michael) for their observing
  • Nathaniel Steenhuis for organizing the data reduction
  • Victor Qin, Nick Becker, Chris Wang, Arpit Kalla, and Jason Kim for the data reduction
  • Abby Stein, Daniel Michael (again), Arpit Kalla (again), Chris Wang (again), Alex Davenport, Victor Qin (again), Luke QI, Afura Taylor, and Nick Becker (again) for analyzing the data and/or writing the report.

We calculated 2002 KL6 to be about 0.071 +\- 0.001 AU away from Earth, which is only 0.5% off from the JPL Horizons predicted distance. Nice job, everyone!



July 24: Humans of SSP

There is only one day left of SSP (when considering factors of order unity and my desire to sensationalize this post). My favorite part of SSP has been the people, so this post will focus on the people here.

32 out of 35 SSPers were kind enough to take my Myers Briggs personality survey. Using this data, I compared SSP personality type frequencies to global personality frequencies. Here is a brief explanation of the Myers Briggs classification scheme:

For more info on this, or to take the test:

Survey Results

Personality Type Global Frequency SSP Frequency
ISFJ 13.8% 6.3%
ESFJ 12.3% 3.1%
ISTJ 11.6% 6.3%
ISFP 8.8% 0%
ESTJ 8.7% 6.3%
ESFP 8.5% 3.1%
ENFP 8.1% 6.3%
ISTP 5.4% 6.3%
INFP 4.4% 15.6%
ESTP 4.3% 0%
INTP 3.3% 6.3%
ENTP 3.2% 9.4%
ENFJ 2.5% 9.4%
INTJ 2.1% 15.6%
ENTJ 1.8% 3.1%
INFJ 1.5% 3.1%


In the American tradition of ending things with “Most Likely To” lists, I decided to do one for everyone else at SSP. To make it more entertaining, it’s anonymous. I will, however, confirm or deny if you ask me whether a specific description applies to you. Many are obvious. Here it goes:

Most likely to star in a movie where the character has a southern accent.

Most likely to dance in the sprinklers with you after knowing you for five minutes.

Most likely to have read the obscure science fiction book written by the guest speaker’s husband (who totally doesn’t like James Cameron as much as his wife).

Most likely to sing Adele better than Adele.

Most likely to write a textbook about the method of Gauss & send Dr. Rengstorf a free copy.

Most likely to invent olive-flavored ice cream.

Most likely to find a flute-based cure for depression.

Most likely to never cross paths with a donut.

Most likely to become rich and famous from ceramics.

Most likely to come up with a mathematical proof that he is the most efficient debugging method.

Most likely to tell you to mispronounce his name because only his family pronounces it correctly.

Most likely to sing opera while “semi-hard coding” (without an input file, obviously).

Most likely to be talking on the phone at any given time.

Most likely to become an expert in contemporary Korean culture.

Most likely to never break up with his girlfriend (who totally exists).

Most likely to start his own sensational internet  meme.

Most likely to attend YSPA next year.

Most likely to go to become an MIT professor after going there for college and grad school.

Most likely to become an actual legend.

Most likely to become a famous artist.

Most likely to be found hugging someone at any given time.

Most likely to wake up early on Sunday to do math olympiad prep.

Most likely to go to Princeton.

Most likely to practice Dr. Andersen’s kinesthetic learning with parallel angles relative to the desk during lecture.

Most likely to be found with coco puffs at any given time.

Most likely to compound every adjective with “-[3 letters. Censored by the TAs]”

Most likely to show up under Merriam Webster Visual Dictionary’s entry for ‘sarcasm.’

Most likely to get rich by acting in a shampoo advertisement.

Most likely to start the veggie burger equivalent of McDonalds.

Most likely to eat pineapple while helping everyone else debug.

Most likely to give you a nickname.

Most likely to take time out of her day to teach you samba.

Most likely to know every political news story before you.

Most likely to be found sitting outside on a bench at 1 A.M.


Favorite pictures from SSP:

(Can also be used as hints for the above puzzle)


Pictures from our various excursions.

So this happened (with sax music).

A trash can which is obviously not in the lab, because no food is allowed in the lab (even if it has no nutritional value and is arguably not food.)

Three seconds into a given lecture break.

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My favorite part of campus.

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Old-fashioned coding techniques that you would never find at YSPA (or anywhere else, actually).

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New Mexico Tech as seen during walks taken not so much to things, but away from them.

-Anna Ka.