Splash Fall 11
Course Catalog

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Arts Humanities
Math & Computer Science Science
Miscellaneous

Signing up for classes has begun! Below is the finalized class catalog. We don't expect that any new classes will be added.



Arts

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A8: Oil Painting Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: C C

This class will teach students how to oil paint. Students should come to class with a picture or photograph of appropriate difficulty (in terms of shapes, objects, colors, and textures) that they wish to paint, clothes that they do not mind getting dirty, two pencils (H preferred), and an eraser. Also, please try to bring your own oil painting supplies.


Prerequisites
Students at any artistic level are welcome.

A25: The living art: dramatic music of the early 20th century
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Deniz Uz

A look at works of Puccini, Strauss, Korngold, and Stravinsky, and the culture surrounding their creation. The course will examine the advent of film and recording technologies and how these contributed to the rift between "serious" and "popular" music in the post-WWII era.


Prerequisites
None, other than a cursory familiarity with music and an interest in the material.

A11: Music Theory Crash Course Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tom James

A brief introduction to intervals, chords, and Roman numeral analysis.

A20: Introduction to Improv Comedy Full!
Difficulty: *

An introduction to the basics of improv comedy, including character, story, and spatial reality using a series of dynamic improv games.

A28: The Crane, the Samurai and the Lotus: Origami 101 Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kristi Oki

Ever wished you knew how to make one of those cool origami cranes? This class will teach you how to make origami cranes, flowers, and more! Come try your hand at the Japanese art of paper folding!


Humanities

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H23: Everything you ever wanted to know about Aboriginal Australian languages, but were afraid to ask!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Catherine Sheard

When Europeans first arrived in Australia, there were approximately 250 languages in 28 language families being spoken on the continent. Today, only around 100 of these Aboriginal languages have living speakers, and fewer than 20 are being learned by children. Interestingly, of those 28 language families, one, Pama-Nyugan, dominated most of the continent, with the other 27 families found only along the northernmost coast. Come learn some theories on this distributional asymmetry and discover other reasons why Aboriginal Australian languages are really, really, really cool! If all goes well, you will even learn how to say "I am a turtle-chasing champion" in Kayardild!

H43: Introduction to Constitutional Law Full!
Difficulty: **

A brief overview of some of the major decisions and cases in American constitutional law.

H30: Introduction to Modern Hebrew Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alex Lew

Learn the basics of the language that is spoken in Israel! After thousands of years as a primarily religious language used only to study the Bible, Hebrew was revived just decades ago by Israelis who wanted to return their roots. Modern Hebrew is a fascinating language that offers all who study it a glimpse into both the culture of Israel today.

H5: American Music: a Series of Scenes Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Nathan Campbell

A class about the chronology of the rock/R&B era and how it ties in to the history of American cities in the twentieth century. The class will touch upon: the Great Migration and Chicago blues; the birth of rock in Memphis and Cleveland, the Motown industry in Detroit, the dominance of Nashville in country music and resistance from Bakersfield; the rise of proto-punk in Detroit and New York, CBGB's scene in New York, hardcore in Washington D.C, techno in Detroit and house in Chicago, birth of hip-hop in the South Bronx, grunge in Seattle, West Coast vs. East Coast and Dirty South, and indie in Brooklyn.


Prerequisites
A love for music and/or America.

H7: Introduction to Modern Chinese Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kuang He

An introduction to spoken and written Chinese, with a brief overview of Chinese culture and customs.

H27: An Introduction to Postmodern Lectoral Methodologies
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Shon Arieh-Lerer

A brief and in-comprehensive introduction to methodological issues concerning post and anti-structural analysis of universal hermeneutic theory.


Prerequisites
A moderate proficiency with high school level algebra.

H38: The Ten Commandments
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elias Kleinbock

What is the significance of the Ten Commandments? They form the bedrock of the Abrahamic religions, but what else can we find hidden away in this short text?

We will be doing a close reading of the Ten Commandments, paying special attention to the divine and human relationships that are involved, as well as some contextual information that might illuminate some hidden features of these famous laws.

H29: Language Detectives: The Puzzling Logic of Language Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Alex Lew

How do languages work? We'll begin to answer this question by analyzing languages both foreign and familiar to see what makes them tick. Students will take on the role of "language detective," as they try to unearth clues about languages from limited and fragmented information. Reason and logic will be our tools as we attempt to crack the code of Linear B, decipher passages of Ancient Greek, and figure out the scripts of the languages of far-off countries. If you like languages or logic puzzles, this class is for you!

H44: International Relations: The Crash Course
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Nate Balk

What modern theories explain the ways countries interact? How well do they explain the past, and what new developments make us change them? What is power, and does it mean anything? Popular theories will be analyzed and applied to the rise of China.


Prerequisites
An interest in the way countries interact. Some knowledge of the First and Second World Wars will be helpful, but is not necessary.

H41: The Life of Winston Churchill Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Josef Goodman

Examine the life of the Greatest Briton of All Time and the changes during his lifetime that swept away the British Empire

H26: Kafka and Monty Python
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shon Arieh-Lerer

A discussion of the philosophical similarities between Kafka and Monty Python.


Prerequisites
A familiarity with basic philosophical terminology

H47: American Party Systems
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nathanael Deraney

An overview of the transformations in American politics--Federalists and Republicans, Democrats and Whigs...all the way to today's Democrats and Republicans.


Prerequisites
General knowledge--and interest--in American political history.

H9: Pirates on the High Seas
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Aaron Segal

Arr! If ye be wantin' to learn what it was really like to sail the high seas under the black flag, and to hear the true and grisly tales of the Caribbean's most fearsome pirates, come aboard! We'll also be playin' a game to see how ye'd do as a pirate captain, and win real (candy) treasure!

H12: The Spanish Inquisition
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Spencer Weinreich

What was it like to be a victim of the fearsome Spanish Inquisition? How did the Inquisition find its prey, and what were your chances? How did a group of fanatical Dominican friars preside over a reign of terror stretching across centuries? How did such a firestorm become unleashed, and what finally brought it to an end after four hundred years?


Math & Computer Science

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M40: Artificial Intelligence Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Joshua Tan

AI embodies one of the highest aspirations of computer science: how can we create a machine that can think?

This class will start from the very basics—"what is intelligence?" and "what is a program?"—and build up, with lots of examples, to some of the most exciting recent research in AI.

Come with questions. Depending on class interest, we can discuss some of the deeper connections between AI and fields like physics, math, biology, linguistics, and philosophy.


Prerequisites
No knowledge of programming is needed.

M34: Visualizing the Fourth Dimension: Geometry and Topology of Manifolds
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Thompson

This courses is designed to give students an understanding of how mathematicians think about and study surfaces and higher dimensional objects in space called "manifolds." We will emphasize geometric intuition and examine plenty of examples and pictures. We discuss geometry on surfaces, and time-permitting, theories of the geometry of the universe.


Prerequisites
High school geometry is recommended, but not required.

M24: Variations on a Theme of Measure-Preserving Transformations
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Darren Gooden

A measure is an abstract notion of volume or size. We will study some of the properties of transformations that preserve measure by examining their applications to continued fractions, the Kakutani skyscraper and linear transformations of the circle / the torus. If time permits, we might cover the application to the geodesic flow on the the hyperbolic plane.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of calculus, basic algebra, elementary facts of mathematics. Familiarity with complex numbers / the complex plane.

M14: Functions and other SAT Stumpers Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Aaron Segal

Frustrated by functions? They always show up on the SATs and ACTs, and yet so many math teachers just can't explain them properly. I'll tell all, what they're for, how to use them, and reveal a couple other tricks those nasty standardized tests like to pull.


Prerequisites
Basic algebra. Recommended for 10th or 11th graders.

M6: Introduction to Groups
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Ger

A group isn't just what you join on facebook. It is an important algebraic structure found in many other fields of math such as combinatorics, linear algebra, and geometry. This class will teach you the basics about groups and how it can be applied to other fields


Prerequisites
Familiarity with linear algebra will be helpful, but not necessary.

M17: Elementary Number Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Xiaosheng Mu

Want to know the clue to some magic tricks? The core of modern cryptography? The irrationality of π? Or the impossibility of squaring a circle using ruler and compass alone? Number theory helps you answer all these questions. Selected topics include divisibility and unique factorization, modulus and chinese remainder theorem, primes and their primitive roots, irrational numbers and their approximation by rationals, sum of two squares and Pell's equation. Proofs illustrate the power of counting principle and infinite descent, among others. More advanced material in algebraic/analytic number theory will also be introduced in an easy fashion.


Prerequisites
Basic algebra.

M21: Graph Theory and Its Applications
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Darren Gooden

Graph theory is attractive because it is more or less intuitive, not very technical and yet extremely powerful. A graph is a collection of nodes and edges. Nodes are mere points, edges are lines connecting pairs of these points. From these simple definitions flow the issues of life. Knowledge of linear algebra helps but is not required.


Science

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S36: Cells: The Building Blocks of Life
Difficulty: **

What is a cell, and how does it work? There are 75 trillion cells in your body right now, and each one is doing its own special job to keep your body working. In this class, we will learn what all the parts of a cell are and what they're good at doing.

S1: Introduction to Cosmology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: benjamin horowitz

Why is the universe expanding? What is cosmological inflation? Where is Dark Matter located? Come to learn all about the history of the universe and some of the still open questions!


Prerequisites
For the mathy portions of the class, basic algebra would be very useful. Knowledge of calculus might be useful, but is not at all required.

S33: What's Going On in a Baby's Mind? Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Claire Paulson

Think babies are just mindless blobs? Think again. As an infant, you had to figure out how to navigate the strange new world around you, decode and develop social relationships, and learn how to use language. In this course we will explore just how babies are able to do all these remarkable things, and we will trace their development from birth to childhood.

S22: Why Birds Are Cool: An Introduction to Ornithology Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Catherine Sheard

What are birds? Where did they come from? What are the really crazy things that birds do? What are the challenges facing birds today? Come learn about the world's most awesome birds, look at pretty pictures, and find out why the extinction of dinosaurs is a lie.


Prerequisites
A basic understanding of evolution (in particular, sexual selection) would enhance your understanding of this class, but it isn't strictly necessary.

S35: RNAi: How to Make a Mutant Full!
Difficulty: **

Together, we'll decode DNA, discuss the central dogma of biology, and reinvent RNAi. DNA and RNA carry the genetic information of all living things, and as future biologists, it is our job to learn everything we can about these very important molecules. Once we understand how DNA and RNA work, we can talk about cool things scientists are doing with them right now, like using the technique of RNA interference to change the way model organisms (like mice and worms) look, act, and develop. Also, there will be candy.


Prerequisites
A regular biology or life sciences course is recommended, but you really just need to be excited and curious about biology!

S31: Stem Cells
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Berenson

Stem cells are constantly in the news because of the tremendous promise they carry for new ways to treat diseases like Parkinson's or injuries; new methods for researching cancer; and the ethical questions they have posed. We will discuss what stem cells are, how they work, what their role is in the body, and how they might be used to treat patients. We'll also talk about issues like embryonic stem cell research and induced pluripotent stem cells.


Prerequisites
High school biology

S39: Physics of Black Holes Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: benjamin horowitz

How does a black hole form? What is an event horizon? What is the difference between a Kerr and Schwarzschild metric? In this course we will cover the concepts between all of this, and maybe get into some of the still open questions, like the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis.


Prerequisites
Algebra would be very useful. Basic physics knowledge would also be helpful.

S49: Intro to Genetic Circuits
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Esther Jang

Bacteria have neither eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor mouths to speak with. So how do they communicate with each other or find food? Somehow, their functions are hard-wired into their DNA, including switches and delayed responses. Come learn about the genetic circuits nature has produced, and how we humans have taken control of them for our own nefarious purposes. We will introduce and use a little Boolean algebra.


Prerequisites
Introductory Biology recommended

S45: Introduction to Chaos Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Pearson Miller

What is chaos? What does it say about the limitations of modern science? We'll discuss the basics of chaos theory, with emphasis on classic examples such as the Lorenz attractor and the double pendulum. From there, we'll do a brief overview of current research in chaos theory, including topics such as turbulence and quantum chaos. If time permits, we'll discuss the relationship between chaos theory and fractals.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of calculus very useful, but not required

S16: Science of Clouds and Precipitation
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rick Russotto

Learn about the different types of clouds (including some you've never seen) and how they form. Also, rain, snow, sleet, hail, and other things that fall from the sky will be explained. We'll conclude with some discussion of how this relates to global warming, and what we might be able to do about it.


Prerequisites
Just basic middle-school-level math and science. As long as you know the difference between a solid, liquid, and gas, and you know what a line graph is, you should be fine. I might put up a few equations for the benefit of more math-oriented students, but it won't be essential for understanding the course.

S10: Are you crazy? Schizophrenia and other Mental and Personality Disorders
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Linda Zhou

History and development of our current understanding about mental disorders, including leading theories and treatments, with some neurobiology.


Prerequisites
Some biology would be nice, but not neccessary.

S13: Extraterrestrial Life Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joseph O'Rourke

Science fiction is quickly becoming reality. In the last two decades, hundreds of shockingly diverse planets have been discovered orbiting distant stars. This course examines whether or not we are alone in the galaxy and how we can find out in the next few years. Methods of detecting and characterizing extrasolar planets will be discussed. Detailed missions to possible nearby life-rich bodies like Mars will be planned. Extraterrestrial intelligence, including the UFO phenomenon, will also be covered. This course is perfect for anyone interested in aliens, exploration, or fun.

S15: Solar Electrical System Design Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ian Applegate

Ever wonder, how much electricity could this (or that) rooftop generate if there were solar electrical panels installed on it? Answers are available from this quick course in power estimation. Learn professional techniques from a licensed solar electrician with 3 years of field experience.

Visit http://solareducational.blogspot.com
For details.


Prerequisites
Students are expected to know how to multiply fractions and decimals. An understanding of basic electricity is preferred but not required.

S18: Introduction to Elementary Particles
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Jonathan Greco

Explore the most fundamental particles in the universe and the building blocks of everything scientists know and understand. Topics include an overview and discussion of the Standard Model as well as experiments and theories that define the base of our knowledge and the cutting edge of physics today.


Miscellaneous

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X32: Belief in God
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Philip Hu

Why do human beings believe in God? Why does religion exist across so many different cultures? This question will be examined from the point of view of both Cognitive Science and Philosophy.

The existence of God is not covered.

X37: The Evolution of Videogames as an Art Form Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Andrew Crouch

Love videogames? Come on down!
Hate videogames? Walk on in!

Although I will have a lesson plan, I think this class would be lots more fun as an open discussion/debate. What will we be discussing? Why, the evolution of videogames as an art form, of course (see, it's right there in the title).

Part history, part art stuff, maybe some computer science, who knows? A lot of the success of this little idea of mine depends on the people who come (so don't let me down).

And I'm serious about non-gamers being welcome. In fact, non-gamers are encouraged. I don't want a one-sided debate: let's get some people who don't consider videogames art in here. If my mind is changed by the end of the lesson, I will consider this a success.

I guess that sums it up. Excited yet?


Prerequisites
An open mind. Preferably a willingness to speak before you think (just so that I'm not the only one). Excitement. Not even about videogames specifically, just excitement in general.