Alula Hunsen ’21, still remembers the moment his academic trajectory at MIT changed. He was taking the final exam for a differential equations class at the end of his first year, furiously working through problem after problem, when he had a realization. “It was a really hard exam, but I was really enjoying myself,” he recalls. “I was just so confused as to what was happening because I had never engaged with anything in that way.”

Hunsen arrived at MIT with a plan to major in bioengineering, a choice that felt obvious having grown up with parents who were organic chemists, and after having enjoyed advanced biology in high school. “I felt like that was the area where I could best succeed,” he explains.

However, Hunsen, who is supported by a scholarship from the Thomas A. Pappas Charitable Foundation, found himself struggling to connect with the content in his introductory biology and chemistry classes at MIT. “I understood what was happening, but I didn’t understand how we build up to the level at which they were teaching the subject, so I felt really detached from the material,” he says.

In Hunsen’s introductory math class, however, he was immediately attracted to the stepwise manner in which the material built from established principles to interesting abstractions. “I found myself being challenged in a way that I really appreciated,” he recalls.

Still, Hunsen felt intimidated by the prospect of switching his major to math—that is, until the next semester when he took a differential equations class with Bjorn Poonen, the Claude Shannon Professor of Mathematics, whom Hunsen describes as a math legend. By the time finals rolled around that spring, Hunsen was sold. “I got over my fear of math by realizing that I could take it a step at a time, and that I didn’t need to do that major in any way but the way that I wanted to do it,” he explains. “I kind of removed the artificial pressure I put on myself and just went for it.”

Now Hunsen is considering another adjustment to his trajectory: a double major in math and economics, which would allow him to continue engaging with the aspects of math he likes, while also applying math to real-world situations. “I enjoy the abstractness of math, but economics has given me a framework for understanding what’s going on in the world around me. I can immediately see what I would do with an economics degree,” Hunsen says. After MIT, Hunsen envisions pursuing economics in an academic or a government policy setting.

Hunsen’s desire to understand topics from the ground up also extends to articles he writes for MIT’s student-run magazine Infinite. A recent story explored the relationship between music and fashion: “I wanted to build the history and the background of how black music has influenced streetwear, and how that has existed for the length of streetwear and black music’s existence,” Hunsen says. He has also published opinion pieces about social justice issues such as prison reform in the Tech.

In his free time, Hunsen can often be found falling into deep reading rabbit holes online. “It’s fairly random—I follow a bunch of news media sites on social media, and whatever they post, I’ll follow that to the article and fall into a hole from there,” he says. For example, Hunsen recently parsed Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Case for Reparations” in the Atlantic, using the article’s citations to find books and papers on sociology and African-American studies.

What motivates Hunsen to keep exploring new paths? “On some level it’s just as simple as doing what I like to do and knowing that I’m going to be able to continue doing it even more.”


  1. 江川 誠


  2. Please tell me that how you implement maths in your routine

  3. David Harold Chester

    Making Macroeconomics a Much More Exact Science
    Today macroeconomics is treated as an inexact subject within the humanities, because at a first look it appears to be a very complex and easily confused matter. But this attitude does not give it fair justice–we should be trying to find a better way to approach and examine the topic, in a better way that avoids these problems of complexity and confusion. Suppose we ask ourselves the question: “how many different KINDS of financial transactions occur within our society?” Then the simple and direct answer shows that that only a limited number of them are possible.

    Although our sociological system comprises of many millions of participants, to answer this question properly we should be ready to consider the aggregates of all the various kinds of functions (no matter who performs them), and then to idealize these activities so that they fall into some more general terms, expressing the different types of sociological transactions into what becomes a relatively small number. Here, each activity is found to apply between a particular pair of agents or entities—with each entity having its individual properties. Then to cover the whole sociological system of a country, the author finds that it takes only 19 kinds of flows of money for the mutual activity in the transfer of goods, services, access rights, taxes, credit, investment, use of valuable legal documents, etc. Also these flows pass between only 6 different representative agents or entities.

    The analysis that led to this initially unexpected result was prepared by the author and it may be found in his working paper (on the internet) as SSRN 2865571 “Einstein’s Criterion Applied to Logical Macroeconomics Modeling”. In this model these double flows of money verses goods, etc., are shown to pass between only 6 kinds of role-playing entities. Of course, there are a number of different configurations that are possible for this type of simplification, but if one tries to eliminate all the unnecessary complications and sticks to the more basic activities, then these particular quantities and flows provide the most concise result, and yet it is presentable in a fully comprehensive seamless manner that is suitable for further analysis.

    Surprisingly, past representation of our sociological system by this kind of an interpretation model has not been properly examined nor even presented before. Previously, other partial versions have been modeled (using 4 entities, as by Professor Hudson), but they are inexact due to either their being over-simplified. Alternatively, in the case of econometrics, the representations are far too complicated and almost impossible to follow. These two reasons of over-simplification and over-complexity are why there is this non-scientific confusion by many economists and their failure to obtain a good understanding about how the whole system works.

    The model being described here in this paper is unique, in being the first to include, along with some additional aspects, all the 3 factors of production, of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” book of 1776. These factors of production are Land, Labor and Capital and along with their returns of Ground-Rent, Wages and Interest/Dividends, respectively. All of them are all included in this presentation diagram.

    (Economics’ historians will recall, as originally explained by Adam Smith and David Ricardo, the prescribed independent functions of landlords and capitalists. The former persons rent and speculate in land values whilst the latter are owners of the durable capital goods in industry, which may be hired out. Regrettably these different functions were deliberately combined for political reasons, by John Bates Clark and company about 1900, resulting in the neglect of their different influences on our sociological system.)

    The diagram of this model is in my paper (noted above). A mention of the related teaching process is also provided in my short working SSRN 2600103 “A Mechanical Model for Teaching Macroeconomics”. With this model in its different forms, the various parts and activities of the Big Picture of our sociological system can be properly identified and defined. Subsequently by analysis, the way our sociological system works can then be properly calculated and illustrated.

    This analysis is introduced by the mathematics and logic that was devised by Nobel Laureate Wassiley W. Leontief, when he invented the important “Input-Output” matrix methodology (that he applied it to the production sector only). This short-hand method of modeling the whole system replaces the above-mentioned block-and-flow diagram. It enables one to really get to grips with what is going-on within our sociological system. Subsequently it will be found that it is the topology of the matrix which actually provides the key to this. The logic and math is not hard and is suitable for high-school students, who have been shown the basic properties of square matrices.

    By this technique it is comparatively easy to introduce a change to a preset sociological system that is theoretically in equilibrium (even though we know that this ideal is never actually attained–it being a convenient way to begin the study). This change will then create an imbalance and we need to regain equilibrium again. Thus, sudden changes or policy decisions may be simulated and the effects of them determined, which will point the way to what policy is best. In my book about it, (see below) 3 changes associated with taxation are investigated in hand-worked numerical examples. In fact when I first worked it out, the irrefutable logical results were a surprise, even to me!

    Developments of these ideas about making our subject more truly scientific (thereby avoiding the past pseudo-science being taught at universities), may be found in my recent book: “Consequential Macroeconomics—Rationalizing About How Our Social System Works”. Please write to me at for a free e-copy of this 310 page book and for additional information.

  4. David Harold Chester

    I have not entered into the mathematics in this above comment, but there is of necessity some more of it in my book, particularly some logical analysis about square matrices. It is important that mathematics is a useful tool but not the ultimate guiding hand into understanding how things work, which surely necessitates logic and common sense along with some analysis. These matters will be seen in the above-mentioned book which explains how our society works.

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