This course is one of MIT's Freshman Advising Seminars, which combine learning and advising for first-year students. Seminars taught in this format are all graded Pass/Fail, receive 1/2 of the academic credit assigned to regular academic classes, and meet during the Fall semester only. The seminar leader also acts as an advisor during the first year, before students pick a major.
Physical metallurgy encompasses the relationships between the composition, structure, processing history and properties of metallic materials. In this seminar you'll be introduced to metallurgy in a particularly "physical" way. We will do blacksmithing, metal casting, machining, and welding, using both traditional and modern methods. The seminar meets once per week for an evening laboratory session, and once per week for discussion of issues in materials science and engineering that tie in to the laboratory work. Students will begin by completing some specified projects and progress to designing and fabricating one forged and one cast piece.
Mike Tarkanian is a technical instructor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE). His career as a materials scientist began in 1996 when he enrolled (at the last possible minute) in a freshman advising seminar dealing with ancient technology and culture, led by two DMSE professors. For the 11 years following this freshman seminar, Mike has been a member of the DMSE — as a student (BS '00 and MS '03), research affiliate, and staff member. Mike's career and educational path is evidence that, at MIT, the simple choice of an advising seminar can result in profound experiences and unexpected opportunities.