From the Director...

In our second newsletter, I was going to talk about all of the great stuff your kids have done in the last week, but then our Academic Dean (aka: the brains behind the operation) had an even better list. So instead, I thought I would list some of the things I've learned after two weeks of SIG@Harvard.

1. We are an eclectic group, with kids from London, Mexico City, Massachusetts, Oregon, Manila, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Moscow, New Hampshire, North Carolina, China, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.

2. Regardless of where you're from, if you're under 17, you love pizza. (At least based on Thursday's pizza party).

3. I can carry twelve pizza boxes at one time (see right).

4. Our students have an incredibly broad subject knowledge; everyone seems to know at least a little bit about everything.

5. Our TAs genuinely care about each and every student.

6. Two weeks flies when you're having fun.

I look forward to seeing everyone again at our closing ceremony! See below for details.

From the Academic Dean...

It feels like just yesterday we were putting together our first week’s newsletter. The second week has been a flurry of activity! Students are deepening their conceptual knowledge in academic courses. If you had been a fly on their classroom walls, here are some things you might have observed:


  • comparing and contrasting theories of creativity and developing their own theories.
  • discussing how they could experiment with behaviorist theories of positive and negative reinforcement to mold the behaviors of those around them.
  • posing questions to a Harvard admissions officer.
  • using gauges to find the golden ratio in exhibits from the Natural History museum.
  • discussing whether or not technology is the new “Fountain of Youth”.
  • analyzing materials to determine what is best for roller coasters.
  • wondering how to calculate lines of best fit for nonlinear data.
  • practicing strategies for the SAT math test.
  • analyzing companies’ use of place, product, price, and promotion.
  • developing scripts from famous short stories.
  • grappling with the difference between a criminal act and criminal intent.
  • discussing paradoxes in time travel literature and theory.
  • wondering “Is there an anti-Higgs Boson?”
  • creating stop-motion films for mitosis and meiosis.
  • And so much more!

We look forward to our last and final week of SIG, where we will see our students putting together final projects and creating artifacts of their three weeks of coursework!

Important Upcoming Events

Picture Day

Monday, July 29th, 1pm

1350 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA

Closing Ceremony

Friday, Aug. 2nd, 5pm

1350 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA

Natural History Museum!

On July 19th, the SIG students went outside to wave at Saturn as it traversed the sky. The reason? NASA's Cassini spacecraft (orbiting Saturn since 2004) was set to take a wide-field image of Saturn as it eclipsed the Sun-- and Earth was lined up just right to photobomb the picture. NASA encouraged everyone to wave at Saturn and have a lucky photon bounce off of them and make it all the way to Saturn to be observed by the Cassini spacecraft. The odds were long, but everyone had fun waving. As for the image that Cassini took? That looks pretty, even if the Earth is photobombing…

And here is the NASA press release about the event:

Here is the image itself:

And here is a write up in Sky and Telescope about the event and the odds:

Week Two, In Photos

Projects From Class:

Course: The Pursuit of Happiness

The Doughnut Experiment

The simple act of seeing a box of doughnuts brought smiles to our faces; one could imagine the disappointment that we experienced when we learned these doughnuts were not for us. Rather than eating all of them ourselves, we were to conduct an experiment in which we completed a random act of kindness, passing out doughnuts to exhausted Harvard Law students, and then recorded the reaction to this act. As we conducted this experiment, we observed the shocking hesitance that many of our subjects conveyed. Nearly every person to whom we offered doughnuts asked where we had gotten them. The only exception to this pattern was a group of four who may not have had the same opportunities as the Harvard students. This group open-heartedly took the last four doughnut,s and they did not ask where we had gotten them at all. They were simply appreciative. Throughout our lives, we are taught that the outside world only offers danger, but if we keep our minds open we might find that danger is not all the world has to offer. We might find free doughnuts and so much more.

Conducted by: Uma, Serene, and Katherine

A Warm Hello From Our Teachers