What’s in a name?
What does Ensemble Interactives make?
Why is it important to teach entropy?
Why Ensemble Interactives?
I’m Ryan, and I created Ensemble Interactives® in 2021 after completing my Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry the previous year. My graduate research involved highly accurate computations of properties of molecular ensembles, including free energy and entropy, among others. Even though I already had a bachelor’s degree in physics, it wasn’t until later in grad school that I began to really understand the concepts surrounding entropy. I still remember the conference I was attending when things started to click for me. I was thrilled to gain a better understanding of several concepts that had been difficult for me, which really weren’t so difficult at all when built on an accurate foundation! At the same time, I was surprised at how few other people seemed to understand entropy accurately— even those with advanced degrees. I recognized one contributor was the fact that there weren’t any macroscopic and intuitive teaching aids for this topic. That’s when I started putting together my own personal “hard particle” kits with dice and buttons to demonstrate some traditionally difficult aspects of entropy. (I also noticed that the grapes and crackers in my lunchbox displayed similar behavior to our professional kits. So, there’s another option for you if you’re on a budget or ever eat lunch.) I want to offer teachers a simple tool that would allow them to teach entropy more accurately without much expanding their curricula. As a lifelong student, I’m proud that Ensemble Interactives is making products I wish I had during my (long) formal education.