Splash at Northwestern

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Splash at Northwestern: Spring Splash May 27th, 2023!

Splash 2014
Course Catalog

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Arts Engineering
Humanities Math & Computer Science
Science Miscellaneous


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A262: Swing Dance
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Faifan Tantakitti

Step-step-triple-step.. in partner! Learn partnered swing dancing that has a root in jazz, blues, rockabilly, rock and other vintage music. Just like any partner dancing, there is a leading and following aspects that will equip you with an ability to dance with anyone on a social dance floor!. No partner required.

A266: The OBEY Giant: Mass Culture and Phenomenology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joseph Burke

Street art has become more and more relevant over the years with the rise of enigmatic, but captivating pieces that find themselves distributed all over the world. We will look specifically at the story of how a humble sticker pasted in some skate parks became the counter-cultural icon: the OBEY Giant. How did it gain such a following with almost no context? How and why does iconography spread so quickly? Is the OBEY campaign purely immature, rebellious graffiti, or truly art? Does its popularity make it more or less relevant? Most importantly, we will discuss why "Andre the Giant Has a Posse." Don’t know what that means? Perfect, you’ll find out.

A269: Write Your Own Silly Lyrics!
Difficulty: *

Have you ever wanted to write a song parody like Weird Al does? Of course you have! So bring in something to sing about, and let's make it happen! Along the way we'll pick up some tidbits about rhyme, meter, and singable words—which are of course applicable to more than just song parodies.

Ability to sing is not required.

A270: Flying and Finesse: Martial Arts and Acrobatics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Mao

Learn how to fly. If you are willing to try new things and give 110%, step out of your comfort zone and into the air. Learn to control your body in astounding ways. No experience necessary. You'll never want your feet on the ground again.

A brave heart, Comfortable clothing

A283: Art Detectives: Using Science to Visualize Hidden Paintings
Difficulty: **

We often think of paintings as just the images that we see in books and online, but the actual objects contain much more information. In this class we will learn about how light can show us much more than what our eyes can see, and we will look at images taken of real paintings to see what we can discover underneath.


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E273: The Rise of Robotics - An Overview of Robotic Systems
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Woodruff

The course will give a brief history on the background of the robotics field and provide example of how robotic systems are used today in the manufacturing, biomedical, and military fields.

This course will also explain some of the basic components of robotic systems that allow them to function.

E286: Man + Machine: The Science of Prosthetics
Difficulty: *

Luke Skywalker and RoboCop are well known for their use of prostheses that perfectly replace their own missing biological limbs. How close is this to becoming reality? Come join us to learn about the history of prosthetics, what we use now, and where prosthetics research is headed. Take a closer look at the prostheses used today, and try out some prostheses yourself!


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H268: Corruption 101
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Kendall

The World Bank recently declared that "in the developing world, corruption is public enemy number one". Come investigate how these trillions of dollars in diverted public funds devastate economies and undermine democracy across the developing world. We'll particularly focus on informal power and knowledge networks in Russia and Eurasia, as well as ways to fight corruption and promote democracy.

H271: Chantez: Learn French Through Pop Music!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Kendall

French is a beautiful and useful language spoken not only in France, but also in countries across the world, from Canada to Haiti to Mali. Come learn some basic French, while listening (and singing along!) to some fabulously catchy popular French music.

Some French wouldn't hurt, but isn't required. I'll adapt the class based on everyone's language levels.

H281: Your Mind on Music: Psychology and Music in Popular Culture
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Janet Bourne

How does your mind make sense of the music around you? Why do some pop songs all sound the same? Why is that musical score moving at that point in the movie? How does music make you feel emotion? How do marketers use music for their advantage? This class looks at the psychology behind your every day musical experiences.

H282: Comic Books and America: How do Superheros reflect and affect our world?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kara Greenberg

Why is Superman called Superman? Why was the Hulk created from gamma radiation? Why is Captain America blond?
All these questions and more will be answered as we examine how comics have served as social and political allegory, as well as how they've inspired social change.

A basic knowledge of popular superheros (names, origin stories). An interest in comics and superheros.

Math & Computer Science

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M264: Idempotents: Forever Squared
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Geng

$$6^2 = 3\boxed{6}$$
$$76^2 = 57\boxed{76}$$
$$376^2 = 141\boxed{376}$$
Can you find more numbers like this?
Is there a limit to how long they can get?
Can you find any which end in 5 instead?
Can you do this in base 2? Base 12?

In our quest to answer these questions, we'll take a little excursion through an area of math known as ring theory.

We're going to make up new numbers and the methods for adding and multiplying them out of thin air. If you're not okay with that, maybe this class isn't for you.

M265: String!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Andrew Geng

Can you untie a knot by tying another knot next to it and canceling them out the way you cancel opposites in math class?

Can you hang a picture on two nails in a wall so that the picture falls down if a single nail--no matter which one--is removed?

How could math possibly help with questions like these? And how could these possibly help with anything people actually do with string?

String will be provided. Bring your own questions too!

M277: 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 use mathematical rigor to give solid answers to these seemingly nonsensical questions.

Know what integers, rational numbers, and real numbers are.

M278: Hyperspheres and Twisted Ribbons
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Geng

Everybody learns to double a rubber band around a poster when it's too loose. But then you have this twist in the rubber band, and nobody ever tells you how to get that out.

What if I told you that the rubber band's untwistability is determined by an arc on a sphere in 4D space? Does this shape even exist in the real world, and how does it control the twisting of ribbons and rubber bands?

Ribbon, rubber bands, and pretty pictures will be provided. Bring your own questions! No geometry experience necessary!

M280: Fibonacci's Rabbits
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Timothy Black

Take a look at this pattern:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, ...

Each number in the list is the sum of the previous two numbers. It may seem like an arbitrary pattern, but it's secretly hidden in every pinecone, sunflower, pineapple, and artichoke. Leonardo Fibonacci used the sequence to describe how fast rabbits multiply. If you look take any two adjacent numbers in the list and divide the bigger one by the smaller one, you get something very close to 1.618... a legendary number known as the golden ratio or the divine proportion, and which is equal to exactly one more than its own inverse. If you add up the first 100 numbers in the list, you get exactly the 102nd number, minus one. In this class, we'll see these and other weird facts about this Fibonacci sequence. There shall be math.


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S260: The Science of Gender
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kevin Hsu

What makes men different from women?

I will try to address this question and more by explaining what we know from psychology and biology. I will draw from psychological evidence, evolutionary theory, genetics, endocrinology, etc. There will be some (hopefully fun and interesting) opportunities for participation from students.

Some very basic knowledge in biology helpful but not required

S272: The Power of Perception
Difficulty: **

Why do you think that kitten is cute? How could someone think a rubber hand is their own? How can a color make you taste apple or feel excited?

The way in which we understand the world is controlled by our brain, which processes the information gathered by our 5 senses and then combines it into complex thoughts and actions.

In this class we will explore the limitations of our perception through fun sensory illusions and experiments. We will also go into the neuroscience behind each illusion!

Additionally we will have a guided discussion about social perception, mind-body connections, and the implications of individual differences in perception.

Some knowledge of biology and philosophy might help but is not necessary. An interest in Neuroscience is highly recommended!

S279: Chemistry at Hogwarts
Difficulty: **

"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 potion-making. However, for those select few... Who possess, the predisposition... I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death." -- Severus Snape

S284: Fun with Science!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sarah Howell

You'll see a bunch of cool showy science demonstrations and hear what its like to be a scientist!
You'll see some fire tricks, materials that behave in unexpected ways when cooled to 321°F below zero, weird light properties, metals that 'remember' their shape, magnetic fluids, and more!

S285: Quantum Disentangled!
Difficulty: **

In this class we will go over the history of quantum mechanics, what it is, why it is important, its consequences and the impact it has had in both modern physics and technology.

The class is NOT designed to be math intensive. Instead, the class is designed so that the student will walk out with a conceptual understanding of quantum mechanics and its broader impact.

Not a must, but an understanding of basic physics (mechanics) will help. More importantly, come with an open mind.

S288: Wicked Webs: Exploring Spider Silk
Difficulty: **

Anyone who’s seen Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter knows that spiders can be REALLY creepy. But did you know that the webs these critters make have FASCINATING science behind them? Join us as we explore spider silk, a material with amazing properties all the way down to the molecular level. (And who knows? Maybe Peter Parker will make a guest appearance!)


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X261: Intro to American Sign Language
Difficulty: **

Learn how to sign! American Sign Language (ASL) is the official language of the Deaf community in the U.S., and it's one of the coolest languages you could ever learn. This class will get you started on essential signs and skills for a speech-free conversation. You will also learn a full interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner"!

X263: Ravioli Making 101
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Peter Bocchini

Students will learn to make their own ravioli.


X267: A New Method, A New Concept, Maum Meditation
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Laurel Lau, Jamee Lee

Do you want to stop the distractions caused by your own thoughts? Do you feel that no one has given you any satisfying answers to your questions about life?
Learn how to throw away your negative thoughts that prevent you from really seeing and knowing yourself and the world. Through the unique Maum Meditation method of subtraction, you can find your true self and live with the true mind of happiness, wisdom, freedom, and joy. Join us for a 50 minute meditation session that will open the doors to a whole new world.

X275: The biochemical challenge to Ecstatic Religion -or- the nature of miracles.
Difficulty: **
Teachers: William Geraci

All religions have an "ecstatic" element to them. Think of Muslim Sufis, Jewish Kabalists or some of the Christian Monks or Hindu saints. But what if someone could achieve that ecstatic sate because of a stroke? What does that do to this aspect of religion?
Jill Taylor had a catastrophic stroke from which, over years, she recovered. See a wondrous talk by this brain scientist and learn how our minds work within the world.
But that’s not enough! Come see how her experiences challenge this basic element of all religions. And then escape that apparent dilemma!

Understanding of English

X276: The three great American lies
Difficulty: *
Teachers: William Geraci

Come learn why all hierarchical societies (and what *that* means) must be based on lies. Briefly consider historical examples. Then explore the three greatest lies of our own societies lies and how they percolate through our lives. Understand what to watch for to understand how you’re being manipulated and therefore how to avoid it. along the way learn an additional way to see what’s going on around you.

Ability to understand English.

X287: Lucid Dreaming
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jeremy Lipsitz

Do you want to explore exotic destinations, meet anybody living or dead, or fly? Do you wish that you could have more time during the day, improve your creativity, or control the physical realities of the universe? If you've ever wanted to do something so absurd that it could only be possible in your wildest dreams, then lucid dreaming is for you!

A lucid dream is where you are fully aware that you are dreaming and it is possible to control it. This class will teach you how to train yourself to have lucid dreams and the amazing things that can be done once you're in one.