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ESP Biography



ZANDRA VINEGAR, Lover of math and insanity, Teacher at MoMath, NYC




Major: Mathematics

College/Employer: MIT/MathCircle

Year of Graduation: 2012

Picture of Zandra Vinegar

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I studied both Math and Math Education at MIT, taking classes to complete a teaching certification and also following MIT’s research in educational reform through new technology. I currently hold a B.S. in Mathematics from MIT, and my areas of mathematical focus while in college included Abstract Algebra, Mathematical Economics, Computational Origami, and Theoretical Computer Science.

My most recent long-term position was as a full-time, Education Coordinator at the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan, NY. In that role, I helped to develop new outreach programs; I also managed the Museum’s Twitter and Facebook page, and taught 3-5 sessions every day for K-12 students. And over the 2014 summer, I was employed as a Core Class teacher for the Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving (SPMPS). SPMPS is a full-scholarship, residential program for underprivileged students with talent in mathematics.

Now in the Bay Area, I strive to teach for and and create new programs that exhibit amazing math in an appealing and practical way to the general public and especially to young students. I teach for many of the Bay Area Math Circle programs and I also do private tutoring in advanced and recreational mathematics.



Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

P4198: Maxwell's Equations in Splash Spring 2015 (Apr. 11 - 12, 2015)
\begin{equation} \varepsilon \varoiint \mathbf E \cdot ds = \iiint \mathbf q_\mathbf v dv \end{equation} \begin{equation} \oint \mathbf B \cdot dl = \mathbf I + \varepsilon \frac{d}{dt} \iint \mathbf E \cdot ds \end{equation} \begin{equation} \oint \mathbf E \cdot dl = - \mu \frac{d}{dt} \iint \mathbf B \cdot ds \end{equation} \begin{equation} \mu \varoiint \mathbf B \cdot ds = 0 \end{equation} These four equations describe one of the most universal and elegant relations in physics. They are Maxwell’s equations, unifying all observations of relativity, electricity, and magnetism. Don’t let the notation scare you off – this class has no prerequisites (as in, just be able to graph a function), but we will rigorously derive Maxwell’s explanation of electromagnetic phenomena (including light, electricity, magnets, …). “Derive” with the catch that, as I don’t believe in writing long equations on the board, everything in this class will be presented as a series of intuitive /and/ rigorous deductions, preserving concepts rather than constants. We will begin with only two observations. First, the relativistic nature of light: you can’t catch up to a light beam – it will always move away from you at speed c. Second, our observations of the force between two charges. From these two observations, we will DERIVE the explanation of everything else. Aka, the world will unfold before you and it will be beautiful.


M4199: How to win ALL the time (and not by cheating) in Splash Spring 2015 (Apr. 11 - 12, 2015)
Do you like playing games? Winning games? ALL the games? Come learn how to play some common paper-and-pencil games (Dots and Boxes, Say 16, and Nim included) so well that no one will ever beat you again. And the game strategies I'll cover can be applied to everything from chess to the stock exchange.


M4200: Mad Hatter Mathematics in Splash Spring 2015 (Apr. 11 - 12, 2015)
There is math. Like no math in school. And proofs full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive them, you need to be as mad as a hatter!


P3955: Maxwell's Equations in Splash Fall 2014 (Nov. 08 - 09, 2014)
\begin{equation} \varepsilon \varoiint \mathbf E \cdot ds = \iiint \mathbf q_\mathbf v dv \end{equation} \begin{equation} \oint \mathbf B \cdot dl = \mathbf I + \varepsilon \frac{d}{dt} \iint \mathbf E \cdot ds \end{equation} \begin{equation} \oint \mathbf E \cdot dl = - \mu \frac{d}{dt} \iint \mathbf B \cdot ds \end{equation} \begin{equation} \mu \varoiint \mathbf B \cdot ds = 0 \end{equation} These four equations describe one of the most universal and elegant relations in physics. They are Maxwell’s equations, unifying all observations of relativity, electricity, and magnetism. Don’t let the notation scare you off – this class has no prerequisites (as in, just be able to graph a function), but we will rigorously derive Maxwell’s explanation of electromagnetic phenomena (including light, electricity, magnets, …). “Derive” with the catch that, as I don’t believe in writing long equations on the board, everything in this class will be presented as a series of intuitive /and/ rigorous deductions, preserving concepts rather than constants. We will begin with only two observations. First, the relativistic nature of light: you can’t catch up to a light beam – it will always move away from you at speed c. Second, our observations of the force between two charges. From these two observations, we will DERIVE the explanation of everything else. Aka, the world will unfold before you and it will be beautiful.


M3956: Mad Hatter Mathematics in Splash Fall 2014 (Nov. 08 - 09, 2014)
There is math. Like no math in school. And proofs full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive them, you need to be as mad as a hatter!


M3957: Code Hacking! in Splash Fall 2014 (Nov. 08 - 09, 2014)
In this course, you'll explore (and hack!) combinations of codes used by ancient and modern military forces during wars.


P3070: Maxwell's Equations in Splash! Fall 2013 (Nov. 02 - 03, 2013)
\begin{equation} \varepsilon \varoiint \mathbf E \cdot ds = \iiint \mathbf q_\mathbf v dv \end{equation} \begin{equation} \oint \mathbf B \cdot dl = \mathbf I + \varepsilon \frac{d}{dt} \iint \mathbf E \cdot ds \end{equation} \begin{equation} \oint \mathbf E \cdot dl = - \mu \frac{d}{dt} \iint \mathbf B \cdot ds \end{equation} \begin{equation} \mu \varoiint \mathbf B \cdot ds = 0 \end{equation} These four equations describe one of the most universal and elegant relations in physics. They are Maxwell’s equations, unifying all observations of relativity, electricity, and magnetism. Don’t let the notation scare you off – this class has no prerequisites (as in, just be able to graph a function), but we will rigorously derive Maxwell’s explanation of electromagnetic phenomena (including light, electricity, magnets, …). “Derive” with the catch that, as I don’t believe in writing long equations on the board, everything in this class will be presented as a series of intuitive /and/ rigorous deductions, preserving concepts rather than constants. We will begin with only two observations. First, the relativistic nature of light: you can’t catch up to a light beam – it will always move away from you at speed c. Second, our observations of the force between two charges. From these two observations, we will DERIVE the explanation of everything else. Aka, the world will unfold before you and it will be beautiful.


M3079: Mad Hatter Mathematics in Splash! Fall 2013 (Nov. 02 - 03, 2013)
There is math. Like no math in school. And proofs full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive them, you need to be as mad as a hatter!


M3080: Introduction to Programing a la Fractal Forgeries in Splash! Fall 2013 (Nov. 02 - 03, 2013)
Want to learn how to program a cloud? or a rough, and unpredictable mountain? or an infinitely precisely shaded fern? Then sign up for this class and I will BOTH introduce you to JavaScript, a powerful visual programming tool, and show you around the psychedelic world of Fractals! Check out some of these images and see if you can tell which are real and which are mathematically-generated forgeries: http://tinyurl.com/8erkfxy Those which are forgeries are made using Fractals: mathematical objects which are produced by repeating very simple instructions over and over again. You'd never want to draw these images by hand, but with the aid of computers, we can plot hundreds of thousands of points in seconds. This ability enables us to decode natural objects which the "smooth" curves and platonic solids you learn about in high school can never emulate.


M3081: How to Cut a CAKE in Splash! Fall 2013 (Nov. 02 - 03, 2013)
If two people have to split a cake, is it "fair" if one cuts and the other gets to choose which piece they want? Does this still work for 3 people? What if 100 pirates need to split up their $1000 of loot? Or if you need to split a $20 weekly allowance between you and your younger sibling? How should ESP decide who gets into what classes? And, if we publish the lottery algorithm, what makes a system easy or difficult to 'game'? This class will explore the concepts of "fairness" and of "game theory" - using the intersection to discuss practical cases where people care about the result... LIKE WHEN THERE'S CAKE INVOLVED!!! (yes, there will be cake, and it will not be a lie)