This subject includes two projects. The first is a laboratory project on microfluidics. It provides an opportunity to study molecular transport and diffusion. In the second project, a software representation of the Hodgkin-Huxley model for a neural membrane will be used to introduce students to the use of computer simulation to understand the behavior of complex systems.

The projects provide an opportunity to learn about:

  1. Planning experiments,
  2. Acquiring, processing, and interpreting data, and
  3. Communicating the results to others.

Both projects require a written proposal, which includes a well-defined hypothesis and procedures to test the hypothesis. For the laboratory project, you will use equipment in an MIT laboratory. You will have to schedule a 2-hour session to complete an introductory pre-lab exercise. You can then schedule additional time at your convenience to complete your project (typically 3-4 hours total). The theoretical project is done on a computer.

Students are encouraged to work in pairs for both projects. Partners are encouraged to submit a joint proposal, to cooperate in processing data, in discussing interpretations, and in preparing their reports. Partners are also encouraged to submit a joint report. We strongly believe that students learn more by working with other students than by working in isolation.

The report for the first project is written. It should be approximately 10 pages long and structured as a scientific paper. The report for the second project is oral. It should be 12 minutes in length and should be delivered during the next to last week of the semester.

The reports for both projects have firm due dates, which are listed in the calendar section. There is a severe lateness penalty: the grade for a late report will be multiplied by a lateness factor

L = 0:3e -t/4 + 0.7e -t/72

where t is the number of hours late.


Microfluids Project Laboratory (PDF) (Note: This version of the microfluids project laboratory is from the Fall 2003 term.)

Hodgkin-Huxley Project (PDF)