Cluster 1 - Computers in Everyday Life
This cluster is First Choice only.
Algebra II or Integrated Math II (students without prior programming experience are especially encouraged to apply)
(The focus of this cluster is students with little or no prior programming experience)
These days computers are everywhere, from our coffee makers and thermostats to our cell phones and televisions. They make our cars safer and more efficient through the use of over 100 processors that control everything from the brakes and engine to the stereo; they are used in robots to perform surgeries, which reduce pain and quickens the healing process; they allow us to explore our universe by controlling satellites, rovers and telescopes. There are billions of these "embedded computers" all around us that control devices, analyze signals and collect data as we go about our daily lives.
This course will focus on the basics of embedded computing, making it accessible even to students who have no prior programming experience. It provides an introduction to computation through lectures, guest speakers, and hands-on projects. It starts by teaching the fundamentals of programming where students use a puzzle-like programming language called AppInventor to create mobile phone applications, and then moves into more advanced programming languages in a progression of projects. The cluster concludes with a final project where students form small teams and create a project of their choosing.
Cluster 2 - Engineering Design and Control of Kinetic Sculptures
Algebra I and 8th-grade general science or equivalent
Algebra II or Integrated Math II, Trigonometry, Physics
Mechanical Engineering and Computer Control are brought together in many modern products that have moving parts, ranging from a heave automobile to a light weight robotic vacuum cleaner. In this cluster, students will analyze, design and build Kinetic (Moving) Sculptures operated under Automatic Control. Mechanical Engineering methods will be used to design kinetic sculptures using state of the art facilities at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department. The facilities include the MAE Design Studio, LASERcamm and 3D Printers for rapid prototyping along with advanced computer laboratories for creating computer drawings, running dynamic simulations and programming a microcontroller to control Kinetic Sculptures. Examples of kinetic sculptures built by the students include a clock mechanism designed with Inventor and AutoCAD and manufactured by the LASERcamm and a 3D printer. Other Kinetic Sculptures designed by students are based on a reconfigurable lightweight mechanical structure in which balls move along ramps, bounce on trampolines and fall in baskets. The students will learn how to use a modern micro-processor controller to measure and analyze timing and mechanical behavior of their sculptures, integrating engineering design and control principles throughout the curriculum of this cluster. Examples of prior year projects can be seen at: https://sites.google.com/a/eng.ucsd.edu/kinetic-sculpt/
Cluster 3 - Living Oceans and Global Climate Change
Robert Pomeroy, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD
Ngai Chin Lai, Associate Research Scientist, UCSD School of Medicine
George C. Anderson, Staff Research Associate
High school Chemistry
High school Biology
Successfully completing the COSMOS Swimming Ability Certification form (for possible ocean activities; certification form not required until student is accepted into the cluster). The following swimming abilities are required:
- 200 yards continuous swim, any stroke
- 5 minutes of continuous treading of water
This cluster has 3 components linking the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere. Half of the course will be exploring the science of climate change focusing on the atmosphere, a quarter of the course will be on ocean chemistry because of the link between the atmosphere and the ocean and their combined impact on climate. We will focus on the atmosphere-ocean system and how human activities are perturbing it. Topics will include the greenhouse effect, global warming due to increasing carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels, impacts of pollution particles on the atmosphere, and how climate variability and climate change impact the atmosphere and the ocean. The remaining quarter of the cluster explores the relationship between the ocean’s biology and how climate change impacts the ecosystem. Our future to exist on this planet will depend on a comprehensive understanding of human impacts on the atmosphere and on the ocean and the marine ecosystem.
Cluster 4 - When Disaster Strikes: Earthquake Engineering
Two years of Algebra or Integrated Math I & II (with Trigonometry component)
We’re familiar with buildings. We’re in them all the time - our homes, our schools, offices, etc. But do you know what yours is made of? Is it wood, concrete, steel? Do you know how it will behave in an earthquake? What is its weakest link? What might crack, or which column might shift? In cluster 4, we build small scale structures and put them on a shake table to simulate earthquakes. We want to know if they’ll survive. If not, why not? We'll observe how it fails, and discuss various methods of how to improve the design of our new and existing houses so they will be able to survive the next earthquake. We will also do a number of hands on laboratories to further your understanding of building materials, earthquake science, and project planning. There will also be site visits to large-scale experimental research facilities at UCSD and real buildings constructed with new and technologies. You'll will be introduced to earthquake science and immersed in the design and problem solving process of structural engineering.
2016 Cluster Video:
Cluster 5 - Photonics: Light-based Technologies in Everyday Life
Charles Tu, Distinguished Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSD
Saharnaz Baghdadchi, Assistant Teaching Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSD
Peter Ilinykh, Development Engineer, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSD
1 year of Physics preferred
We seldom realize how much our everyday life uses photonics, or light-based technologies, such as in cell phone display, traffic light, DVD player, solar cells, optical fiber transmission, etc. The state of photonics, however, is several decades behind electronics, which gives us integrated circuits, memory sticks, microprocessors in laptops and cell phones. Nevertheless, the progress of photonics is rapid, similar to Moore’s Law for electronics. While the economic driver for the 20th century is electronics, the economic driver for the 21st century will be photonics. In this Cluster, we shall study the generation, manipulation, transmission, detection, and applications of light. Students will first conduct experiments with LED, laser, prism, lens, and spectrometer to study wave properties of light, such as polarization, diffraction, and interference, and also particle properties of light, such as photoelectric effect/solar cell. They then work on “workshop” projects including plastic lens, solar cell, etc. Then they work on final projects of their choosing, as a team, and present the results to the Cluster and their families before the closing ceremony.
Cluster 6 - Biodiesel from Renewable Sources
Robert S. Pomeroy, Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD
Dr. Joe Watson, Former Vice Chancellor, UCSD
Introductory high school chemistry – Basic knowledge of ionic and covalent bonding, electronegativity and intermolecular forces of attraction.
This course will introduce students to renewable biofuels. This is a laboratory intensive experience where the students will extract and purify oil (lipids) from biomass, convert the oil into Fatty Acid Methyl Esters, FAMEs, also known as biodiesel, wash and purify the biodiesel, and then analyze the quality of the finished product.
Sustainable energy engages scientists, entrepreneurs and consumers searching for a renewable form of energy that will also not place the Earth's ecosystem at greater risk. Biofuels can be generated from biomass. This biomass can range from terrestrial, agricultural, forestry and municipal wastes, energy crops like soybeans, rapeseed, switchgrass and algae. Biodiesel has gained attention in recent years as a renewable fuel source due to its reduced greenhouse gas and particulate emissions, and it can be produced within 10 states in the US.
Cluster 7 - Synthetic Biology
This cluster is First Choice only.
One year of high school biology.
Synthetic biology is an emerging engineering field that aims to produce novel organisms in scalable and reliable ways to do something useful for humankind; for example, treat diseases, sense toxic compounds, produce new fuels or valuable materials.
After thousands of years of genetic manipulation by selective breeding, genetic engineering has finally developed techniques to read and modify the genetic code. Synthetic biology enriches genetic engineering by applying the basic engineering principles (design, build, test) to modular systems built from simple Lego-like standardized biological parts obtained from an open source catalog (BioBricks). Taking advantage of the increased capabilities to “write” and “read” genetic code, it is now possible to assembly large DNA sequences in minimal amount of time. These coding sequences can be incorporated into plasmid vectors and introduced into the cells to re-program the DNA original instructions. This new genetic code will produce new proteins that may modify the structure and/or function of the cell. In that sense, synthetic biology develops software that builds its own hardware!
One of the newest techniques of synthetic biology, named CRISPR-Cas9, is revolutionizing biomedical sciences by allowing the editing of genetic information in living complex organisms. This tool introduced new ethical dilemmas that will be analyzed in the course.
In this hands-on lab oriented course, we will introduce the basic concepts and techniques of synthetic biology, apply engineering principles to design, build and test modified organisms, and develop mathematical models that quantitatively describe their behavior. The students will learn basic recombinant engineering techniques to clone specific DNA sequences in plasmid vectors, how to transform E.coli bacteria and S. cerevisiae yeast with plasmid vectors to produce fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins, purify recombinant proteins, produce proteins in cell-free systems, test a basic CRISPR-Cas9 system, and predict the behavior of modified organisms using predictive mathematical models.
Techniques learned in this course will allow the students to propose new projects that require minimal lab equipment and that may be developed in their own home schools.
Cluster 8 - Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
This cluster is First Choice only.
Robert Sah, Professor, Bioengineering & Orthopedic Surgery, UCSD
Roberto Gaetani, Research Scientist, Bioengineering, UCSD
Students must have completed Algebra II or Integrated Math II and one year of high school biology.
Tissue Engineering (TE) is the "application of engineering and life sciences to develop biological substitutes that restore, maintain, or improve tissue function." Regenerative Medicine (RM) is a "process for replacing or regenerating cells, tissues or organs, to restore or establish normal function." TE-RM are exciting and interdisciplinary fields involving engineers, biologists, chemists, material scientists, and doctors. TE-RM are increasingly providing alternative treatments for medical conditions where there are limitations associated with traditional approaches such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or transplants. TE-RM products are rapidly evolving from culture-expanded cells to repair damaged knees and engineered skin to treat wounds and burns, to potent molecules and materials to induce regeneration, laboratory tissue for drug screening, cells to reconstitute damaged tissue, modified cells to combat cancer, and pre-formed replacement tissue.
Cluster 8 activities will include lectures, discussions, laboratories, and field trips to local TE-RM companies. During the first two weeks, students will be introduced to the foundations of TE-RM, using modern tools and techniques. During the last two weeks, students will undertake a research project in teams, brainstorming about important questions and possible research approaches; student research teams will each explore a novel scientific hypothesis, design and conduct experiments, analyze results, and create and deliver presentations in paper, oral, and poster forms.
Cluster 9 - Music and Technology
Basic computer programming experience recommended, but not required.
You do not have to be a musician to have fun and learn how science and engineering can be used to transform sounds and to perform and even compose music. With Cluster 9 you will learn about sound, music and technology as we explore the many ways in which technology is used to synthesize and analyze sounds and create music. Please keep in mind that Cluster 9 is first and foremost a science camp, not a music camp. As in any other COSMOS cluster, our primary goal is to have you explore and learn about science, engineering and technology. But unlike any other COSMOS cluster, you will do it while learning about sound and music. In Cluster 9 you will learn and experiment with basic physical principles that are used to make musical instruments, how they affect the perception of sound and what makes music beautiful. You will build simple electronic circuits that can transform audio signals, such as amplifiers, filters and effect generators and will learn how to program computers to analyze, modify, create music and even improvise. During the program student's team up in small groups to develop a technical and/or creative project to be presented at the end of the program.
Cluster 10 - Robot Inventors
This cluster is First Choice only.
Algebra II or Integrated Math II
Programming experience is expected
Cluster 11: Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles
Open to students finishing their sophomore or junior year prior to the summer, with preference given to juniors. Desirable skills (nice to have but not required): basic computer programming experience (Python and/or C/C++), hands-on engineering class where fast prototyping was taught (e.g., 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, woodwork, electronics), physics and/or advanced math class. Please mention these skills in your application.
In this Cluster we incorporate engineering theory and good practice in the development of scale autonomous cars that must perform on a simulated city track. The Cluster consists of lectures and incrementally more challenging projects: electrical and mechanical design and documentation, install and testing of the artificial neural network framework to enable deep leaning, building the scale autonomous car, 5 autonomous laps at the indoor track, 5 autonomous laps at the outdoor track, and propose and implement a new robotics autonomous behave. Here are a few links that will give students an idea of what to expect from this exciting new Cluster!
* These clusters are First Choice only.