Splash Biography

THOMAS BISCHOFF, Yale Junior studying Statistics and Data Science

Major: Statistics & Data Science

College/Employer: Yale

Year of Graduation: 2020

Picture of Thomas Bischoff

Brief Biographical Sketch:

My main academic passions are computer science, math, and economics, but above all I find joy in just learning and teaching, and I hope to make a career out of it. Aside from that, I'm on the rowing team at Yale, and I'm also a giant video game nerd.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

M3891: Grievances Against Movie Physics in Splash Fall 2019 (Nov. 16, 2019)
Movies are great at engrossing us in stories, building our excitement, and making us laugh or cry - but they’re not necessarily always true to reality. Sometimes this is by design (a Sharknado is obviously not an actual thing). Other times movies simply ignore things or get them wrong. Scenarios which we might take for granted in some movies – like the space battles of Star Wars – are actually physically impossible! This seminar will examine the physical realism of a few classic movie scenarios, from cars jumping draw bridges to time travel. We’ll dive into scenes from sci-fi, action, and other films. Then, drawing on concepts from kinematics, acoustics, relativity, and more (as well as just simple logic), we will discuss some scenarios which are surprisingly accurate, some which are physically impossible, and some which involve complications still being researched.

C3854: Lies, More Lies, and Statistics in Sprout Fall 2019 (Sep. 28 - Oct. 12, 2019)
In today’s data-driven society, we put a lot of faith in statistics as a means of verification of the truth. It is used to support arguments in political debates, push products in advertisements, convey the news through catchy headlines, and provide assessment of scientific research. By its nature as a mathematical discipline, it is seen as an unbiased representation of the facts. As it turns out, this blind faith in statistics can cause a lot of problems. Statistics provides a way of distilling millions of data points down to a few numbers, so it doesn’t always capture the full picture of what’s going on in the world. At its best, this results in naïve researchers making inaccurate claims - but at its worst, bad statistics can be used by malicious parties to push misleading information. In this class, we will discuss problematic statistical fallacies through a lens which will allow us to be appropriately skeptical of statistical studies. We will see how the same sets of data can be used two convey two opposing points, how “p-hacking” can be used to push trends that do not exist, and why it is posited that the majority of published research is false. We will draw upon references to statistical pop culture, analysis of simulated data sets, and student input to address real-world concerns and become careful consumers of information.

E3502: Speaking the Language of Computers in Sprout Spring 19 (Feb. 16 - Mar. 02, 2019)
We use computers every day, but most of us do not have any idea of how they actually work. Most people probably think they are too complicated to even try to understand. In reality, two fairly simple concepts account for 99 percent of what computers do! We will cover these two concepts - binary numbers and logic operations - and explain the ways in which they are implemented in computers to store and manipulate information.

C3509: The Coding Crash Course in Sprout Spring 19 (Feb. 16 - Mar. 02, 2019)
As computers play an ever-increasing role in our day-to-day lives, coding is becoming a more and more valuable skill to have. Coding has a very wide variety of applications in many different fields, and it's actually not as difficult to pick up as most people would think. This class will introduce you to the easy and popular programming language of Python. We'll get you up to speed and writing programs as soon as possible, without worrying too much about the nitty gritty.