In January 2015, Mrs. Tiffany Phillips, our IB Coordinator and TOK teacher, asked Mr. Chris Morrow if he’d be interested in making a presentation for the Junior TOK class in the mathematics area of knowledge. Little did she or he know, this would become an ever-growing presentation that has now been presented to five classes of St. Andrew’s Juniors and has expanded past our walls on campus to three presentations at SCAD.
The presentation is meant to present students with concepts in mathematics and physics that are at a high level and theoretical, while stripping the mathematics away and using analogies and scenes from shows and movies to better solidify the concepts. Concepts range from the levels of the multiverse, string theory, the fourth dimension and the possible implications to time.
Mr. Morrow became interested in these concepts when he researched and wrote his senior capstone paper in undergrad on, How to Determine and the Properties of Regular Polytopes Through Infinite Dimensions. Since then he has developed a love and interest in these concepts and regularly reads published papers, books, watches documentaries and webinars on the topics to ever expand his knowledge with the material. Mr. Morrow enjoys giving this presentation because, “it’s a great way to expose students to concepts that they may never see or hear of again that can promote intellectual conversations and debates to happen. The goal is not to have the students believe everything or anything I’m presenting to them. It’s meant to open their eyes to a world of knowledge they were unaware of before. What they then do with it, is entirely up to them”.
After the flagship year of the presentation at St. Andrew’s, Professor Rob Miller (Father to Nina Miller ’16, Lucy Miller ’22, and husband to French teacher Hélène Miller) wanted to come observe the lecture as he finds great joy in learning about these concepts in his free time too. Thereafter, Professor Miller asked Mr. Morrow to partner with him to share the Multiverse presentation with his sound design students at SCAD. Professor Miller is a sound professor who started the sound design departments at UCLA, Yale University and SCAD. He believes that exposing students to these far-reaching, profound and sometimes radical ideas presents a great style of student learning. This year actually added a remarkable tie-in with the SCAD sound class as Mr. Morrow went deeper into the analogy that all the different kinds of particles arise from the different “notes” or “vibrations” the string can play when discussing string theory. One very unique aspect about this presentation is actually the ever-evolving presentation itself. No two classes have ever seen the same presentation. After each presentation, Mr. Morrow finds new material or a new avenue of presenting the concepts. Giving a rough number, Mr. Morrow has spent around 150 hours creating, editing and practicing this single presentation over the past 4 years and does not plan to stop anytime soon.
Below are some reactions to the presentation this year:
Sydney Bacon (’20) Overall, I enjoyed learning about math as a way of knowing through Mr. Morrow’s presentation. It was interesting to me because it made me think about things that I wouldn’t normally on a regular basis. Although I didn’t necessarily agree or believe in everything mentioned during the presentation, I found it intriguing to see how other people view the universe and how it works.
SCAD Sound Designer Class on Fundamentals of Audio Student That visit was eye opening to say the least, every topic he discussed has been on my mind since that day. Learning about the multiverse theories and string theory from a theoretical standpoint rather than a mathematical standpoint made it so much easier for me to follow along. Especially the simulation theory, that has been on my mind about every day because of this presentation, it really changed my everyday mindset.
Nancy Ashton (Mother to John Ashton ’17, Will Ashton ’20, and Edward Ashton ’23) In a special Theory of Knowledge class for Juniors, Mr. Morrow presented several mind-bending topics on the nature of the universe that challenge physicists and cosmologists. Topics ranged from the infinitely large, theories of the multiverse, to the infinitesimally small loops of energy in String Theory. Students were introduced to the search for the Theory of Everything that strives to unify Einstein’s General Relativity with Quantum Field Theory, relating the four forces of the Universe. Students also considered ways to think about extra dimensions and challenged their notions of linear time. Throughout, Mr. Morrow guided students with relatable language and analogies to make these complicated ideas accessible.