Splash Splash Fall 2015
Course Catalog


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Arts Engineering
Humanities Math & Computer Science
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History


Arts

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A276: Graphic Design: A Crash Course
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Karen Bu

Is the Comic Sans hate justified? Find out once and for all in this brief and comprehensive introductory lecture to graphic design. We will go over what design is, look at the different branches of design, a brief introduction to typography and the principles of design, look at the different programs used to create graphics.

A277: Introduction to Typography
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Karen Bu

Type rules the world! This is a lecture about the basic principles of typography, from how to classify fonts, how to effectively apply them in a variety of settings, and where to find them.

A306: Understanding Classical Music: An Introduction
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Thomas Nielsen

Classical music can be daunting at first, but fear no more! Take this course and go through 150 years of music, from the 1700s to the 1900s, and learn basic tools for appreciating and enjoying this diverse and broad genre of music.

A307: David Foster Wallace: An Introduction
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Thomas Nielsen

David Foster Wallace – one of the most creative and inventive writers of our lifetimes, wrote some of the most intensely humanistic and powerful novels and short stories of the 21st century. In this class, read through one of his short stories and discuss it, gaining an introduction to the genius of his author.


Prerequisites
Strong interest in English literature.

A319: An Introduction to Modern Art
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joseph Lap

Don't get Modern Art? Or just want to learn more? Join this survey course with specific emphasis on De Stijl, Dada, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism.


Engineering

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E287: Intro to Civil Engineering
Difficulty: **

An overview of the field of civil engineering. Students will be exposed to examples of civil engineering projects, and will learn about the fundamental concepts behind structural design like mathematical analysis and constructing free-body diagrams.


Humanities

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H280: Greek Mythology and Personification Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Luke Cregan

We will discuss what personification is, what it indicates about the nature of early Greek society and thought. We will do this by discussing the familiar characters of Zeus, Demeter, Mars and other members of the Greek pantheon. We will then move onto discussing specific myths with this new view and open up to a more general discussion of the topic.
(Class will not be as formal as this makes it sounds, it will be discussion-based)


Prerequisites
Any knowledge at all of Greek mythology

H295: Curses and Contests: Before the War at Troy
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Luke Cregan

We'll go over information that students will likely never encounter but will help prepare them for reading the Iliad, the Odyssey and which give insight into Ancient Greek thought. We will focus on the fascinating backstories of protagonists of both those works, stories which are not presented in the epics themselves. No knowledge of Greek mythology is required. Towards the end will we use these stories in an open-ended discussion to examine what motivated and frightened the Greeks.

H303: Poetry for Physicists/Mathematicians
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Crystal Ren

Do you like numbers? Do you like poetry? In this discussion-based course we will be exploring the nexus of the two. For example, we'll look at poems that tie in $$\pi$$ and other fun things like physics.

H308: Sociology: Schooling and Society
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rocio Meza

We will discuss the many aspects of current education system in America, from affirmative action to policing in schools.

How does your family background shape your success in school? Do you know what the school to prison pipeline is? What are your thoughts on affirmative action in college admissions? This class will present the many viewpoints on topics relating to education.

H309: On the Potential Physical Foundations of Morality Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zachary Richards

Throughout most of history, it has been the case that discussions of morality have been restricted to the domains of philosophy and religion, but with advents in neuroscience, game theory, and evolutionary biology primaily, we are beginning to develop scientific answers to questions of right and wrong. This presents the necessity of a moral framework for understanding these developments. This class will look at the data impinging on moral thinking and examine potential ideas to incorporate this data into moral theory.


Math & Computer Science

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M278: Cracking the Codes: Cryptography
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chloe Blanchard

Ever wanted to know how the Enigma machine worked? Love making secret codes with your friends? Wonder how the government works to keep information secure?


Prerequisites
Middle Schoo Mathematics Some high school mathematics recommended

M290: Quantum Field Theory
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Olga-Sofia Tabac

I will do my best to explain Quantum Field Theory in the simplest language possible. Leading to it, we will touch advanced topics in mathematics (anything from group theory to enumerative geometry) and physics (ever wanted a crash course in String Theory?). We will go at a slow pace and take breaks every 30-50 minutes. It is my hope that the class will be conversational.


Prerequisites
I do not expect you to know the math involved in the topic. It would, however, help to not fear learning new words (we'll do that a lot!) and be friends with your imagination!

M292: Functional Programming in Haskell
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ian Treyball

Functional Programming (FP) is computer programming with mathematical functions, and it is taking over the industry! Although Haskell is considered by many to be the best language for FP, it is notoriously tough to get started with the language. I would like to help ease that transition. We will cover the minimum necessary to get started with Haskell (this includes a lot of branches of math, some lambda calculus, category theory, etc.) Come find out why Haskell is so great!


Prerequisites
Ideally, any course on computer programming or a year of experience with Java or Python (or similar). But really, a love of math and an interest in programming is okay too! I suggest a minimum grade level as 11, but if you feel you are up for it, please give it a try!

M301: Cryptography in Use Today
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Cole Dunbar

This course will explore the modern RSA cryptosystem (used by most banks) and explain how to implement it and why it is secure.

We will provide a brief introduction to Modular arithmetic, Fermat's little theorem, difficult integer factorization, and the RSA cryptosystem.

M310: Intro to Web Devleopment
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kevin Zeng

Ever wanted to build or design your own website? Web development is one of the hottest areas of software development and is the reason why Facebook, Google, and other tech giants exist today. It blends engineering and design to allow you to create virtually anything you want. Come and learn how to build your own website!


Prerequisites
Little or no programming experience required Bring your own laptop

M312: How to Break Math
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: David Grabovsky

You read the title correctly. In this fast-paced mathematical adventure, we will start by destroying the notions of truth and self-consistency in mathematical systems through Russell's Paradox and Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems. Next, we will do away with counting and size by measuring infinities against each other. Finally, we will gather what's left of mathematics just to demolish it, ending class with an astounding proof that a single ball can turn into two.

Needless to say, this class is not for the faint of heart. There is a good bit of mathematical abstraction, but if you are willing to join me in deconstructing the foundations of everything we know, I think you will enjoy the ride and perhaps get a glimpse of the true beauty of mathematics.


Prerequisites
No experience with math beyond basic algebra is required. However, this class is fast-paced and fairly abstract, and so the more experience with foundational mathematics (e.g. set theory; groups; etc.) you have, the more fun you will have.

M313: Thinking About Infinity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Christopher Natoli

Can you have something bigger than infinity? Do all things of infinite size have the same size? Are there more real numbers than integers? In this class, we'll develop a rigorous way to think about and answer these seemingly nonsensical questions.

(We will cover the cardinality of the natural numbers, integers, rational numbers, and real numbers; talk about Hilbert's hotel; and hopefully discuss the continuum hypothesis. If you are already familiar with this, this class will not be interesting to you.)


Prerequisites
Know what the integers are and what the real numbers are.

M318: Number Theory in Action
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Theo Coyne

Classical number theory is one of the oldest and most intricate branches of math out there. Diophantine equations (named after the Greek mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria) involve finding when equations have integer solutions. In spite of their apparent simplicity, they can be devilishly hard- Fermat's Last Theorem was a Diophantine equation that remained unsolved for over 350 years!

Although solving Diophantine equations will be one motivation for the number theory we develop, the entire class will have a view to applications to other branches of math and, yes, even the real world.

To whet your appetite, here are a few possible topics that we might discuss:

Is there a way to systematically generate all Pythagorean triplets? Which numbers can be written as the sum of two squares? How is number theory used in cryptography?


Prerequisites
In terms of concrete knowledge, familiarity with elementary algebra and basic divisibility properties of the integers are sufficient. However, some "mathematical maturity" is useful (be able to follow proofs).

M320: Crash Course in Calculus
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Noah Miller

If there's one branch of math to know, it's calculus. Its beauty and applicability is so insane that it's not even worth discussing. Most people, however, fear it as if the subject is hard: it is not. Calculus, very simply, answer two questions: what is the slope of a tangent line to a graph, and what is the area under a graph? These two questions are intimately linked, and will be explored accessibly in great detail during this class. I plan to cover the essentials of a full year senior calculus course in a way accessible to anyone (with the prerequisites). I will also prove Euler's Identity (e^ix = cos x + i sin x)


Prerequisites
> You MUST know the Binomial Theorem for expanding (x+y)^n. (Look it up if you don't know it, it involves basic combinatorics.) > You MUST have experience graphing functions (such as lines, parabolas) and working with polynomials in general. > You should have cursory experience working with imaginary and complex numbers, "i" > I would prefer that you know what "sine" and "cosine" are. (If you make a right triangle with a hypotenuse of length "1" with an angle "a", the side length opposite the corner of angle "a" has length "sin(a)", and the side length adjacent to the corner of angle "a" (not the hypotenuse) is "cos(a)". This is all just notation) > You might want to bring two pencils

M321: A Computer Science Surprise
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jennifer Lam

Introductory programming course :)


Prerequisites
Be bold and curious :)

M322: How The Internet Works
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jeffrey Tao

Have you ever wondered what's happening beneath the surface when you type in google.com into your address bar and hit ? In this class we'll explore the various "layers" of protocols, infrastructure, and engineering feats that support the great collective endeavor we call "the internet". Along the way we'll pick up interesting facts about the internet's history, its construction, and where it's going in the future.


Science

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S274: Crazy Physics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zak Marcone

In this class we will be exploring the depths of the universe. Learn about everything from black holes to the Big Bang to the origin of the universe. Want to learn why someday a violinist could "play" the universe? Did you know that it is possible for you to be 70 years old before your parents? If you want these questions answered this class is for you.


Prerequisites
Absolutely nothing

S275: Introduction to Feynman Diagrams
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Silas Grossberndt

A brief mathematical introduction to Feynman diagrams for particle physics. Learn how to use Feynman diagrams and their purpose in Particle physics.


Prerequisites
Calculus Knowledge of Multi-variable calculus would help

S284: The Chemistry of Natural Processes
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Siegmund

Chemistry and chemicals often get a bad rep as dangerous or “unnatural” (artificial). But many people underestimate the role of chemistry in natural processes, many of which play an important role in modern life. We will discuss the chemical basis of the following natural processes:
- Soap-making
- Agriculture (Fertilizers & Pesticides)
- Fermentation (Beer, Wine)
- Medications


Prerequisites
Chemistry

S289: Chocolate Addiction Full!
Difficulty: **

Join us as we explore why humans crave chocolate more than other foods and what that outcome means in the greater context of addiction.

S291: Pigeons, Pets, and Pizza Rat: The non-human animals of Manhattan
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Victoria Allen

Humans dominate the city, but there are plenty of other animals if you know where to look. This zoology course will examine the animals that co-exist with us in the heart of the City.

S294: Quantum Bra-Kets
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Alex Sandomirsky

An introduction to quantum mechanical concepts and development of bra ket notation to express the associated linear algebra. Simple systems will be studied in this context and hopefully pave the way to more complex and famous cases.


Prerequisites
Precalculus. Calculus is recommended.

S296: Intro to Stem Cells Full!
Difficulty: **

Stem cells--they're talked about in the news and you probably can more or less describe what they are but do you really know what they can do? This course will give an brief overview of: what stem cells are; how they differ from progenitor cells; the difference between embryonic, adult and iPS cells; and potential therapeutic applications.

S302: Introduction to Finance
Difficulty: ***

This lecture will cover the basics within finance, being focused on equities and options. How do you construct an efficient portfolio? How should the stocks be weighted? What is an option, and what factors determines it's value?


Prerequisites
No prerequisites are required, as the models only will be covered intuitively.

S314: Modern AI and the Brain
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Lindsay

Artificial intelligence has expanded rapidly in recent years, particularly through the field of machine learning. Computers can now perform certain behaviors at human level accuracy. But do they do it the same was as humans? Using vision as an example, we'll compare how computers process images to how the human visual system works.


Prerequisites
none

S316: Cognitive Illusions
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Katherine Broekman

Your brain uses shortcuts to make decisions quickly, but sometimes those shortcuts can trick you. If you liked the show Brain Games, this class is for you. Come ready to participate and change your perspective on the world!

S325: Higgs Boson: Demystified
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Isabel Baransky

It's all you've heard about the past few years. Everyone is exhilarated about its existence. People keep telling you that its changed how we understand the physical world.

But... what is it?

Together, we will delve into exactly what the Higgs Boson is and why it matters. We'll take a trip through particle physics, astrophysics, Einstein, and a bunch of other cool stuff. You know why? Because the Higgs Boson IS COOL.

Come learn about why this phenomenon is actually a phenomenon in a way that is both approachable and impactful.


Prerequisites
A basic understanding of physics is a must, as well as the structure of subatomic particles (you must know, for instance, an atom has protons and electrons).


Miscellaneous

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X281: Entrepreneurship: What does it take to start your own company?
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Courtland Thomas

What does it mean to "start your own company?" Is it the same as the lemonade stand you and your friends had when you were little? Actually... yes!

Starting your own company is a route many passionate, driven people take to meet personal and professional goals. Learn what exactly "starting your own company" means, and what it takes to succeed in doing so.


Prerequisites
None!

X282: Energy in America I: What is Energy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Siegmund

Part I of a 2-course exploration of Energy in America, we will discuss what energy is and how it is generated & distributed, in this country and around the world. What is Energy? How do we get it (what is "the Grid")? How does America's system compared to other parts of the world?


Prerequisites
Chemistry, Physics

X283: Energy in America II: Economics of the Grid
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Siegmund

Part II of a 2-course exploration of Energy in America. This class will tackle some of the policies and politics surrounding energy in America. What forces influence how we make and deliver energy? How do we "go green" and meet the President's forecast for cutting carbon emissions? Where do we stand compared with other countries in the world? What steps we have taken (if any) to respond to the growing threat of Climate Change?


Prerequisites
Chemistry, Physics, Energy in America I (highly recommended)

X285: Science and Politics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Siegmund

In science class, we learn the scientific method as a process designed to uncover truth, and to investigate the world around us in an unbiased and empirical way. Still, science is conducted by people, and scientists have historically had a complicated relationship with religion and politics. In this class, we will discuss a recent case study in order to explore some of the ways in which science and politics have clashed or worked together in the United States!

X286: How to Build a Successful Startup
Difficulty: **

If you have ever wondered how entrepreneurs create successful companies, this is the right place for you.

Learn how to innovate, create and maintain a successful startup of your own with this interactive class.


Prerequisites
None

X288: The Secret Language in Plain Sight
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Andelyn Russell

Does your lab partner have a defensive attitude, or is he/she just feeling cold? Did a salesman just lie to you? Come learn body language essentials: how to read others, change social dynamics, and the evolutionary and cultural roots of our unconscious behaviors.

X297: R U an E or an I? Full!
Difficulty: **

Our society applauds students that speak up in class and praise those that socialize well ("He's the life of the party" or "She's the social butterfly") but what about those of us that hate talking in class, prefer our own thoughts, and become exhausted when overstimulated? In this session, we'll explore how our personality type affects how we communicate and function in with the world we live in.


Prerequisites
Recommending reading: Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

X299: How to Effectively Read a Scientific Research Article?
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Rachel Mintz

Students will learn how to effectively read research articles published in scientific journals. We will review the scientific method and decide how each step is presented in articles. Students will learn how to scour text for useful information, and how to conduct a literature review for their own research projects.

X323: The Interesting Philosophers
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Adam Elkhadem

Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Sartre: these are familiar household names. But did you ever wonder about who the first philosopher was? Did you know that there was a man whose philosophy centered around acting like a dog? Learn about Thales, Diogenes, Bentham, Nietzsche, and others in this class about the philosophers who had genius and personality.


Prerequisites
None.


History

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Y293: History of Abnormal Psychology Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kristina Flemming

Interested in how abnormal psychology has changed over time? Going from the 1700s to present time, we'll do a brief overview of key events ranging from the witch hunting trials in Salem to landmark policy changes in the 20th century that affect mental health care today.

Y298: The Ten Dollar Founding Father Without a Father: Alexander Hamilton's Journey
Difficulty: **

A course incorporating Lin-Manuel Miranda's critically acclaimed musical "Hamilton," mainstream conceptions of Alexander Hamilton, and his current relevance to nationwide civil rights movements.

Y300: The 20th Century
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Armando León

This course will examine the history of the 20th century in the West, placing it in context with key global events such as imperialism, the two World Wars, decolonization, the Cold War and the modern War on Terror. Emphasis will be placed on the important social, political and economic changes that take place throughout the world during the 20th century. In addition we will review some key assumptions to how we talk about history today: Were there really two World Wars? What is the East and what is the West? What is globalism, and does it really exist? Is the Cold War really over?

Y315: The World and The American Civil War
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mark Markov

This course will discuss the far reaching effects of the American Civil War on the world at large. This includes the position of European powers on the war (why did the British not side with the Confederates?), the global economic effects of the war (where were the new sources of cotton?), and the effect of the war on foreign nationals in the States themselves (were foreigners supposed to be drafted?).

Y317: As Much Of Greek Mythology that we can Reasonably Learn
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Nina Plotnikov

We'll start with the formation of the universe and go from there. The creation of humans, important heroes, villains, monsters, and epics will be covered. Along with summarizing major myths, we will also attempt to put the stories in historical context and examine how and why the Greeks would have come up with such ideas about their world.
Note: if you already know a lot about Greek mythology you may be a little bored in this class, since we start with the basics. I will attempt to provide interesting perspectives on widely known topics, but please take this into consideration before signing up for a class you may not fully enjoy.