Copyright © John Gregg, all rights reserved

This is a series of presentations I have developed for school kids. I do them for free upon request. I have politely declined to have them recorded in the past, because I find watching a video of this kind of thing absolutely stultifying. It needs to be live, especially since there is so much interaction and hands-on stuff. And since I'll do it on demand, there should be no need to video it anyway.

I put the copyright notice on them, but feel free to use the material, just not for profit. I'd be interested and flattered to hear any comments, especially feedback from your own audiences. All the material used in the talks can be obtained for free or very cheaply from ebay (or garage sales, your local dump, your attic, etc.).


Non-rhetorical question to ask the audience, requesting a show of hands
Something to write on the board
An action to take, not just talking
to show on the overhead projector from your computer
key word - new vocabulary, possibly worth writing on the board or at least defining and explaining
To do: note to myself to expand/develop further

The Presentations

The Science of 3D - Why Does It Pop Out Like That? : In this hands-on course, we will explore the phenomenon of 3D, the "pop-out" effect of 3D movies, ViewMasters, and the like. We will see examples of many different ways this effect has been achieved since its discovery, and talk about (and see, and touch) related technologies.

Sounds, Waves, and Electricity: What is sound made of? How do things work that make sound? We will explore this, as well as a lot of related questions in this fun, hands-on course. Fifth graders could understand everything here, but I guarantee high school seniors will learn something they didn't already know!

Complex Numbers: Math That Will Freak You Out (at least a little bit) : I promise this math will freak you out at least a bit. We will explore the existence or non-existence of nonsensical things called complex numbers, or less scarily, imaginary numbers (aren't they all?). We will end up deep, deep inside a certain blob called the Mandelbrot set, which is made of these "imaginary" numbers.

Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness : What is a mind, and why is it so special? Is it special? How could it possibly work? Won't brain science, psychology and/or cognitive science answer any questions anyway? What do we need philosophy for? Do I have to wear a toga? No to that last one, but for the rest, sign up for this class. A brief history, and a primer on the current debates in this contentious field.

Programming For A Living: What They Don't Teach You In School: I've been doing this for a long time, and there is a lot more to doing it happily and well than clever coding. This class will cover a lot of issues that pertain to any white collar/corporate job, then delve into some of the challenges particular to doing software engineering for a company. "Dilbert" gets some things right and some things wrong.

What Is A Computer?: You may know how to program, but what is a computer such that it needs programming? Everyone knows that computers "think" in 1's and 0's, but why, and what does this even mean? Poets welcome!

A Tour Of Math For People Who Don't Like Math Hoppping, skipping, and jumping through a bunch of areas of math, many of which you might sort of remember, this presentation aims to reintroduce math itself as intuitive and creative. I will use one seemingly simple but freaky formula as an anchor and a jumping-off point.