Splash Spring 2016
Course Catalog


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Arts Humanities
Math & Computer Science Science
Miscellaneous


Arts

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A145: Black Pop Culture: Music of the African Diaspora
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Zoe Bishop

This course will look to evaluate music in the context of history. More specifically it will follow the progression of African Americans from the days of slavery to date and the music they made along the way. This will be a discussion based course.

A147: Improvisational Acting
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Grace Schulz

Play and Learn Improv. Games!

A151: Do cool stuff with glowsticks.
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Daniel Russotto

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_DoEtn2XDw

You want to learn this. You know you do.

Well, here's your chance! In this class we'll learn some basic moves such as the 3-beat weave, butterfly, and basic wrap patterns. Don't know what any of those things mean? Even better! I'd love to get more people who have never heard of / seen glowsticking introduced to it.

We'll also include resources for where to get glowsticks, how to assemble them for use, and anything you might want, because there will be little to no structure for this class. It can be anything you want it to be!

A142: Why Your Photos don't Look as Good as Their Photos
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Salvatore LaRussa

Ever go on Instagram and wonder why some other peoples' pictures look so much better than yours? They might have a better camera than you, but then there's those people who seem like they could get into a the MFA with an old iPhone. What gives?

Turns out there's more to taking pictures than just finding something pretty and tapping the shutter button. In this class, I'll discuss some basic elements of composition and then show you some free editing software available on the internet and how to use it (and yes, it's perfectly legal).


Prerequisites
Have and know how to use some kind of digital camera (a phone counts!), and know how to use a computer. That's it! In fact, if you know how a histogram works, or know how to color correct, you might find this class to be a bit boring. Bringing a phone/camera or some pictures would be nice but is in no way necessary.


Humanities

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H144: Vladimir Putin: Sexy body - sexy leader.
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Sam Kaplan

Russia. Oligarchs, oil, oliphants. Maybe not the last one.

What made Russia the country it is today? Who is Vladimir Putin? How did he come to power? How has he remained in power?

Come to learn, be entertained, and have a good time while decomposing authoritarian structures into principal components with a focus on Russia and Vladimir Putin.

What will your strategy be to achieve the status of a feared and respected leader in your lifetime?

H159: Poem in my pocket
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shannon Jones

Read poetry, learn some techniques, and even write your own!


Math & Computer Science

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M160: How to Get Lost in Space
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Zachary Winkeler

1) Spin yourself around until you're facing a random direction.
2) Take a step forward.
3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 forever.

You'd think these instructions would be sufficient for getting lost, but as it turns out, it's not quite that easy; given enough time, you will "almost always" return back to where you started!

This class is about random walks, like the one described above, and their properties of transience or recurrence (basically, how good they are at getting lost).

"A drunk man will find his way home, but a drunk bird may get lost forever." -Shizuo Kakutani


Prerequisites
There aren't any formal prerequisites, but previous exposure to things like factorials, combinations, and permutations is a plus. If you can count the number of distinct ways to rearrange the letters in SPLASH, you're in good shape. (Answer: 360)

M161: How to Beat Your Friends at Tic-Tac-Toe
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zachary Winkeler

...okay not really, I lied; Tic-Tac-Toe is a surprisingly complicated game and is way too deep for us.

Instead, we'll be learning about other 2-player games using combinatorial game theory! Expect to learn (and play) new games like Hackenbush and Nim. Don't expect to recognize any of the math I'll introduce; game theory has at least two types of zero, four other kinds of numbers that are really small, and weird notation like $$G=\{0\big\vert*\}=\uparrow$$.


Prerequisites
There are no formal prerequisites for this course. We will mostly rely on our addition skills and a lot of logical thinking, with maybe a little bit of set theory (not a lot though). However, almost all of the material we'll cover will be new and different and weird math (which is what makes it fun!)

M139: Build Your Own Computer (with Dominos!)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jameson O'Reilly

When talking to Siri, it's nearly impossible to wrap your head around the fact that she's just made out of silicon and electricity. Somehow, people have figured out how to turn dumb, lifeless matter into an intelligent personal assistant.

This class will start to unravel the mysteries of how computers work at the most fundamental level using dominoes. We will start with binary gates and addition and keep pushing into how this becomes the computer you can interact with.

M150: Be a particularly good finder
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Russotto

It's the 21st century, and there's a lot of information out there. Every hip(ster) coffee shop around sells more types of tea than I even knew existed, and I don't even know how many Pokemon there are nowadays.

If I'm looking for information about something in a massive pile of data that I don't care about at the moment, how do I do it quickly?

That's what we'll be learning in this class - how to find the needle in the haystack. Even better than that, we'll talk about how to organize the haystack (data) so that the needle is easier to find. First, we'll cover the basics of what we mean when we say buzzwords like "algorithm" and "data structure" and then learn about some of the basic ones that will helps us find things in the fastest way possible.

Some examples of the things we might cover are search algorithms on collections such as binary search and chunk search, data structures such as arrays and binary trees, and possibly some basic sorting algorithms like insertion sort and selection sort.

Does some of that sound a little complicated? it's not! For example, you can basically think of arrays as a list of things, and you already do something similar to binary search every time you look something up in the dictionary. A lot of this class will just be helping you take some intuitions that you already have about how to search for something in a lot of data and formalizing them so that they're consistent and always correct.

If you're interested thinking as fast as a computer when it comes to finding things and organizing things, this is the class for you - no prior experience with any of this stuff necessary.


Science

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S158: Algae: Helpful, harmful... healthy?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shannon Jones

In which we will learn about ways algae is making an impact in the third world and helping sequester carbon, harmful algae blooms, and discuss the benefits of sea vegetables. We may also talk about using algae to geoengineer the planet, and biofuels, and algae as a small-scale farming industry in areas where you can’t farm, based on class interest and discussion.

S162: Mechanical Hand
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jaclyn Long

This class will teach students how to make a model of a mechanical hand out of straws and string. We will show students one aspect of bioengineering research, and give them a chance to perform a hands-on activity.

S153: There’s economics in a children's book?!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jarryd Killian

The popular children’s book, The Lorax written by Dr. Seuss is chock-full of economic concepts. An analysis of the tale is a great way to learn about some cornerstone economic principles. Additionally, the circumstances of the book don't differ much from real life. Pollution, public goods, and market failures are problems that are prevalent in today’s society. This class will provide a basic outline of economic principles, giving participants a flavor of what it is like to be an economist. Additionally, some time will be devoted to learning different branches of economics and potential careers in the field. If you’ve ever been curious about what economics is or how the economy functions this class is for you!


Prerequisites
No knowledge of economics is required. Familiarity with The Lorax is a plus but not necessary as we will cover the story in class.

S143: The Science of Mental Illness
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Brent Kisby

Like any other organ in your body, the brain also gets sick. In this course we will answer simple questions about a few of the many diseases of the brain. The questions we will ask are:
1. What is the basic biology and chemistry of the disease?
2. Where in the brain is disease targeted at?
3. How do doctors treat this disease?
Bring your thinking caps for this very interactive course!!


Prerequisites
Biology Chemistry

S138: What Makes You Moral?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kristian Teichert

There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is biological morality. However, for those select few... who possess the predisposition... I can teach you how people manage to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses.

With that out of the way, this class will focus on the biological basis of morality -- focusing on the neurohormones and their impacts in social environments.

S157: The Land Before Time
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shannon Jones

In this class, we will go on a paleontology "candy dig", find out how scientists try to reconstruct the evolution of species, and critique the accuracy of movies such as "The Land Before Time" and the "Jurassic Park" series!

S146: CSI Boston
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Schulz

We will touch on a bunch of topics including fingerprinting and blood splatter analysis.

S140: Pharmacogenomics - Drugs & Genes interact too!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Allison Ngan

Your DNA can have a lot to do with how well certain drugs work or won't work in your body. This opens up an entirely new field of medicine called pharmacogenomics, where certain therapies can be tailored to the individual patient depending on their genetic makeup. For some patients, their genes are the key to whether or not the therapies will be effective!
We'll be taking a look at changes at the DNA level and then putting it into a big picture context for conditions such as cancer, anticoagulation, and even chronic pain.

S154: Creating a Killer: Criminal Psychology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alexa Lambros

Want to know what makes a serial killer a serial killer? Want to delve into the minds of known psychopaths to see what makes them tick? Think YOU might be one? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the class for you.

In Creating a Killer: Criminal Psychology, you will learn the basics of criminal psychology and practice “profiling” a number of known high-profile criminals as well projecting the potential futures – criminal or not – of several hypothetical personalities. While this class won’t be all you need to begin work in the FBI, it will be a fun look into some of society’s most complex and dangerous members.

NOTE: Graphic material (involving abuse, rape and murder) covered may be disturbing to some individuals.

S152: Human Telekinesis
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Cori Posner

Interested in learning how to control someone else's movements with your brain?

In this class we won't be talking about superpowers, but we will be talking about neurobiology. Our brains are a lot like circuits. They generate different types of signals that tell our bodies what to do.

So what would happen if we connected your brain to someone else's body? Telekinesis!

And what happens to the brain when people who suffer from Parkinson's or Huntington's Disease can't control their own movements? Take this class to find out!


Prerequisites
Central Nervous System required.

S141: Harmful or Fatal if Swallowed: Why Poison Kills
Difficulty: **

Ever wonder why you shouldn't eat cyanide, or should avoid breathing in large amounts of carbon monoxide? This class explores the reasons that all sorts of "nasty chemicals" really are nasty, and what this says about biology. Chemicals that will be discussed are cyanide, carbon monoxide, several kinds of neurotoxin and whatever else you're interested in (so long as I know something about it).


Prerequisites
Some basic knowledge of biology and chemistry. If you know what a protein is, and what an electron is, you should be fine. Knowledge of the proteins involved in cellular respiration is a plus, but not necessary.

S148: Criminal Minds Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Schulz

The science behind behavioral profiling and analysis in order to determine the identity of a serial criminal, while debunking common TV cop procedural myths!

S156: Awesome Science Experiments!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ana Paz

Join the NU Science Squad for a closer look at everything from chemical reactions to physical phenomena to quick engineering! We'll show you the science behind a few quick, but intriguing experiments, no lab reports required! There will be some experiments inaccessible at home, as well as a few you can try with your friends! Come ready to experiment!

S155: Deception Detection: Learn about Lying
Difficulty: **

Lying: a natural element of human existence. We all do it -- but how much do we KNOW about it?

In this class you will learn all about lying -- its purpose, its affect on the body, and ways to detect it. Come join us for a unique opportunity to learn about the powerful phenomenon that has helped shape society as we know it!


Miscellaneous

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X137: How to Build an Interstellar Empire
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jack Edelman

From Star Wars to the Foundation, Warhammer 40,000 to Dune, the idea of the Galactic Empire--massive warships hanging low in orbit, space marines storming a planet, merchant ships the size of skyscrapers--looms large in our collective imagination. But how do they work? How do you make one work? How do you exert your will upon the stars and bend the thousand scattered worlds to your will? Take this class to find out.


Prerequisites
Desire to impress your evil will upon the galaxy. Graphing or scientific calculator recommended, not required.