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Splash at Northwestern: March 2nd, 2024!

Splash 2010
Course Catalog

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Arts Engineering
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A1: A Brief History of Odd Time: Prog, Avant-garde, and Art Rock, 1966-Present
Teachers: Martin McBriarty

Progressive rock, or "prog", has influenced modern music in styles from metal to hip-hop to video game music. We will cover both popular and esoteric progressive rock, focusing on contributions from Britain and North America. Topics covered will include British prog and the Canterbury scene, Frank Zappa, mainstream acts such as Pink Floyd and Rush, and the effect of digital synthesis in the '80s on the genre.

Presentation of audio examples will make up a significant part of class time, and active discussion is encouraged.

Bring only your love of music - no background in music theory or history is required.

A23: Eastern Melody: Traditional Chinese Music

In this class, we will introduce the history of traditional Chinese music, and also the different instruments used in the modern Chinese musical orchestra. The class will include a live performance; students are more than welcome to try out some of the instruments in class!

A37: Origami: Fold Your Way to a Checkmate

Are you tired of your plastic chess set? During this recession would you like to save some money by not purchasing this beast (see here: http://www.jewelroyale.com/welcome.html)? Or maybe, you're just looking to hang out at Northwestern making origami with two awesome Northwestern Engineers (who will also answer your questions about college, applications, etc...).

This course will guide you in making an origami chess set based on traditional designs (flowers, cranes, pagodas, etc...). If chess isn't your bailiwick, you are more than welcome to learn origami techniques without assembling a chess board as well.

We hope to see you there!

A38: Boom Boom Pow: An Introduction to Street Drumming
Teachers: Kirsten Madsen

You’re wandering around downtown one day, just hanging out, you know, when…hark! You hear some glorious rhythm and sound from around the corner. Street drummers! This class will provide you with a knowledge of basic street drumming technique, rhythms, posture, history and philosophy. By the end of the class, you and your classmates will be able to complete a basic, but impressive, street drumming performance. And you’ll feel really cool, I promise.

Basic knowledge of rhythms (quarter, eighth, sixteenth notes) preferred, but certainly not required.

A5: Moving Pictures
Teachers: Jared Davis

The word "cinema" is derived from the root word "kine," which means movement. Thus a "cinema" is a place where movement, specifically moving pictures, take place. We often don't think of it this way, but movies are nothing more than moving pictures organized a certain way, so as to tell a story.

In this class, we will see how the cinema developed starting in the 1890s and moving into today's blockbusters. We will see examples of how cinema works as well as try out different ways of organizing moving pictures into a story.


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E7: Taking a look at Geotechnical Engineering

Want to know what is under your very feet? Want to know why that leaning tower in Pisa tilts? What is our world built on, anyway?

Soil is one of the most critical media in Civil Engineering, and yet one of the most difficult to predict. And engineering is all about analyzing, discussing and applying to the real world. Get ready to take a peek at the complex, fascinating world of "Geo" engineering! (a Civil Engineering specilaization)

Hands-on Activity/Demo planned.

Class Website

Good Algebra skills strongly recommended. Physics and Algebra II knowledge preferred.

E13: Sensational Failures in Engineering

Exploding space shuttles, exploding Ford Pintos, exploding naval guns... Designs fail, and they sometimes fail catastrophically. Explosions (and collapses, crashes, and others form of destruction) result occasionally when complex engineering is implemented. This course covers the technical missteps behind some famous engineering disasters as well as the complex interactions between engineers and management that allow preventable disasters to happen.

Any interest in engineering and/or explosions.

E22: Modern Energy Technologies

How do we harness wind and sun energy? How do we store and transmit energy? In this class you will get a broad review of all types of energy technologies that span Supply (where does our energy come from), Demand (where and how is the energy used), and Storage & Transmission (how can we hold on to energy for later use and for far away locations). This is a review class, no major math or science needed - just a desire to learn more about our energy future. Includes hands-on demonstrations.

E36: What can a robot do? What can't a robot do (yet)?
Teachers: Eric Schearer

This course is a brief introduction to robotics. The class will discuss the definition of a robot and different examples of robots. From there the class will offer more examples from different areas of robotics (lots of videos). The examples will motivate discussion on what robots might do in the future and what sorts of things students can do to make robots do the impossible.

E39: Engineering World Health
Teachers: Jay Patel

Want to learn more about the Global Health Movement? Want to get hands on experience and make a microsurgery tester kit that will be sent to third world nations? Take the Engineering World Health class and you will have the opportunity to get hands on experience on making a electrosurgery tester kit as well as learn how engineers influence world health.

E42: Biomaterials: the Future of Healing
Teachers: Karen Chien

Ever wonder if it's possible to create a person purely out of synthetic materials? This class explores the human body and the materials and processes that organs and tissues have been made to help heal the body from diseases or trauma.


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H9: Understanding Cults, or New Religious Movements
Teachers: Amy Estersohn

Did you know that before 9/11, the largest non-natural disaster event to cause U.S. citizen death was due to an organization called the Peoples Temple? Have you seen that South Park episode that absolutely drags on Scientology?

This class will introduce some of the psychological, sociological, and religious debates surrounding what the media calls cults but scholars tend to call new religious movements. We will also debate the relative merits of these different viewpoints.

H10: Talking White, Talking Black.
Teachers: Nick Merrill

What does it mean to 'talk white'? What does it mean to 'talk black'?

This course aims to describe differences between various English dialects, to approach the issue of social attitudes toward dialectical differences, and to dispel the myth that certain dialects are more or less standard than others.

Any knowledge of the English language.

H15: Where Does English Come From Anyway?
Teachers: Margie Huff

Ever wonder why you call the soap you wash your hair with "shampoo," why a risky situation is deemed a "hazard," and why characters in Shakespeare don't exactly speak like we do today? This class will examine the origins and evolution of the English language, as well as examine some interesting stories behind common words we use everyday.

H40: The Media of Genocide: An Exploration of Darfur

Ever heard of Save Darfur?

This interactive and informative class addresses how American media portrays the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

We will present an overview of the conflict and explore different ways US news sources either distort or exploit what is happening in order to hook their readers. We will examine the impact media has on the public's opinion of Darfur and analyze how sensationalism and media bias distort the public's view on genocide.

Math & Computer Science

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M12: How We Talk to the Machines: the future of the next 20 years
Teachers: Nick Merrill

How will the near future be different from today? Every year, computers are getting smaller, cheaper and faster, yet we still interact with computers much the same way as we did fifteen years ago. What will the next breakthrough be?

This class will examine the likelihood of certain technologies arising in the next twenty years of human history and discussing what effect these technologies may have on our society.

A basic understanding of computers and an interest in the future.

M16: BitTorrent and Big Brother
Teachers: Mykell Miller

How does BitTorrent work? How do you protect your privacy when using it?

This class consists of 5 sub-topics:
* What is BitTorrent?
* Avoiding Big Brother offline
* How does BitTorrent work?
* What does peer-to-peer mean?
* Online privacy

None. You don't even have to know how to use BitTorrent!

M18: Why are there two "John"s in my class?
Teachers: Changhyeok Lee

Have you heard of the 'same birthday problem?'

It tells you the number of people which is needed in a group to have at least two people in that group who have the same birthday.

In this class, we'll briefly overview the same birthday problem and will extend it to the same FIRST NAME problem.

Come and enjoy the sneak peek of probability theory and see how the Math can be applied to the real life matter!

If you know the number of ways to choose two apples out of five apples in a bag (which is 10), that would be enough to enjoy our discussion!

M24: Sorting Algorithms
Teachers: Ruth Byers

Imagine that you have five numbers, and you want to put them in order from least to greatest. Now, imagine that your computer has those same five numbers. How does it happen? Now, imagine that your computer has 5000 numbers to order. How does it happen? Doesn't it take a really long time? Find out how computers sort items, how long it takes, and why you would choose to do it one way instead of another.

M25: How Operating Systems Work: The Gory Details
Teachers: Adam Seering

Have you ever wondered how your computer can process so many things at once, if it only has one processor? When they say that the next version of Windows is "faster and more secure!", exactly what does that mean?

In this class, we'll be looking at the technical stuff that makes an operating system tick. For the first part, we'll look at some low-level stuff; memory management, process and disk scheduling, and the like. For the second half, we'll look at how current operating systems (Windows, MacOS X, Linux, and possibly others) use these ideas to (in theory) make your computer work better.

M27: What is a Number?
Teachers: Ruth Byers

We use numbers every day, but it took us millenia to start to think about what they are. These concepts which we use so casually are surprisingly difficult to pin down. What does it mean to add and multiply? What does it mean to be ordered? Find out this and much more about what lies at the base of theoretical mathematics.

M30: What is Infinity?
Teachers: Daniel Zaharopol

In 1874, the mathematician Georg Cantor first came up with the profound ideas that led to “transfinite numbers.” His insights allowed mathematicians to look at precisely what infinity means, to work with it, to understand exactly what they can do with this improbable concept. Now we can answer questions such as “when are two infinite collections of objects the same size?” We can understand how to compare the infinite set consisting of all integers with the infinite set consisting of all rational numbers (all fractions). And we can determine just how many sizes of infinity there are. Be prepared to have all your preconceptions thrown out the window in a challenging math class.

M34: Hacking: Computer Security 101

In this hands-on course, we will introduce students to the methods of offensive computer security (hacking). We will provide a brief overview of programming and computer hardware and then show students how to exploit common security holes.

This course will be fast-paced. However, the course will be fun for all and students should expect to walk away with a better understanding of computer security.

Teacher contact email (M34-teachers@esp.mit.edu) doesn't appear to be working at the time of this post. Email bogdan at u.northwestern.edu with questions.

A proficiency in the use of computers. Previous programming, web design or experience using Linux is a plus, but are neither expected nor necessary. While we expect to have sufficient computers for the students in the class, we suggest that students who have laptops bring them to class in case unexpected issues arise. Women and members of groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science are especially encouraged to enroll.


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S11: Where Chemistry Happens
Teachers: Martin McBriarty

When metals corrode, where does the rust form? Where do catalysts catalyze? How do fuel cells and gas sensors work? All sorts of useful devices rely on chemical reactions at the surfaces of materials. We will cover how the atoms on materials surfaces affect the chemical events that happen there.

Enrollment in, or completion of, a chemistry course is recommended.

S26: Diagnostic Forensics: Cracking a Medical Mystery

Ever wonder how House MD and other doctors on TV actually go about solving medical (or medically-related) mysteries? Join us as we explore some of the tests or tools scientists and physicians use to solve mysterious ails and illnesses and to pinpoint their causes. We'll be looking at techniques from forensic science, molecular biology, medicine, and even organic chemistry in order to learn how to "crack a medical mystery"!

Background in biology, chemistry, or other sciences recommended but not required.

S32: A Quick Tour of the Universe
Teachers: Eddie Schwalbach

The universe is a vast and complex place, but astronomers have made great strides toward understanding its structure and history. In this course, we will take an abridged tour of the known universe. Along the way, we will talk about some of the techniques that astronomers use to understand and measure our universe, as well as some the outstanding issues in modern astronomy.

S33: The Physics of Superheroes
Teachers: John Thompson

Most of us have at least heard of the exploits of Superman and Iron Man either on the pages of a comic book or in the movies. And while they managed to capture our imaginations, how plausible are they in the real world? In his book, The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios explores this exact question. Could Superman really leap tall buildings in a single bound? Is it even possible that the X-men's Kitty Pryde could walk through a solid wall? What about the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman? You've probably never realized that comic books sometimes actually get their physics right. In this class, we will explore some of these claims and along the way learn some of the basics of topics in physics ranging from electromagnetism to quantum mechanics.

Basic knowledge of high school algebra High school level physics is suggested but by no means required No prior knowledge of superheroes required!

S43: Size Matters: The Big World of Nano

What is nanotechnology? We tend to think of it as something very small. But a micrometer and a picometer are also very small. What’s so special about a nanometer? Why are we so excited about something so tiny anyway?

In this class, we will see nanotechnology from the perspectives of many fields - from biology, to chemistry, to physics, to engineering. We will look at some of the reasons that have made the word ‘nano’ so confusing, examine how nanotechnology is already integrating into our daily lives (yes, iPod Nano counts - but not in the way most would expect), and explore the big wide world that is the future of nanotechnology. We will talk briefly about some of the concerns that have been raised about nanotechnology and what scientists are doing to actively address these concerns.

Finally, we will do a 20-minute demonstration on a Scanning Electron Microscope and an Atomic Force Microscope to show how scientists are able to see into the nano world!

S44: Molecules to Medicines
Teachers: Kristin Jansen

Ever wonder how molecules can become useful medicines? This is an opportunity to use what you've learned about chemistry in a real-world application! This class will be taught as an interactive simulation of the drug design process: will your molecule have what it takes?

We'll take a peak into the world of pharmaceuticals and explore the process of designing molecules to be helpful drugs. We'll simulate several steps of the process including measuring potency and checking for toxicity and side effects. Then we'll explore designing a clinical trial and attempting to obtain FDA approval.

Preferably some chemistry experience.


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X8: Making the College Admissions Process Work for You
Teachers: Amy Estersohn

While there are many things to worry about-- global warming, Haiti, gang violence, and animal cruelty-- nothing seems to worry high school students more than getting into college.

This session, led by an admissions counselor at the University of Chicago, will focus on ways to harness the stress positively and productively throughout the long process, and there will be an opportunity for students to ask questions about the file reading and selection process.

X14: Cryptozoology: The World's Most Enigmatic Creatures
Teachers: Kevin Hsu

Take a fascinating tour of the world exploring and learning about the many different undiscovered creatures that roam it.

We'll look at humanoid (Bigfoot), draconic (Loch Ness Monster), and other many weird creatures that we've tried to study but only come so close. There will be extensive review of scientific evidence supporting the existence of these creatures.

An intellectual curiosity and interest in mysteries

X17: The Coolest Sports- Ice Sports 101
Teachers: Ann Marie Shipstad

Did watching the 2010 Winter Olympic Games inspire you to learn more about the world of ice sports? Were you intrigued by speed skating, curling, figure skating and hockey? Then come learn about these sports in this fun, interactive class. On ice or off, we will be using equipment that ice athletes train with to increase their knowledge of their sport as well as gain more strength, speed and stamina. Learn about the different career options that these sports offer as well as the Paralympics side to the world of ice sports. Comfortable clothing is required because we will be doing some “floor curling” and slide board skating. This will be a cool class!

X19: American Sign Language
Teachers: Taylor Hartstein

This is an introduction to American sign language. Students will be taught to introduce themselves (where they are from, how old they are etc) and learn basic signs including colors and numbers. The final activity will be a game of "Go Fish" played in ASL.

X21: Exercise and Nutrition
Teachers: Benjamin Levinson

In this class I plan to cover a few things:

How exercise and nutritional habits can prevent certain types of conditions

How exercise and nutritional habits can benefit a person beyond simply preventing bad health conditions to arise

Principles of good nutritional habits
(this will be done in depth)

Ways to eat healthily even if friends don't

Ways to eat healthily even if it seems as though healthy foods are too expensive

Principles of good exercise habits
(this will be done in depth)

Ways to exercise effectively even if time is short.

Ways to exercise effectively even if one cannot afford to go to a gym.

Strategies to immediately employ the knowledge gained from taking this class.

My goal by the end of the class is for students to have written plans of action regarding changes they can make to improve their own exercise and nutritional habits. I will provide summaries of key points via handouts to all students.

X29: The Most Challenging Puzzles
Teachers: Daniel Zaharopol

Join us as we solve some of the deepest and most challenging puzzles around. These puzzles, seen in competitions such as the MIT Mystery Hunt, require careful analysis and deep logic, and they’re often given without any instructions! We’ll go through a sample of these puzzles and try to work through them together. Stretch your brain and grow your skills for finding deep patterns, examining open-ended questions, and pulling out solutions without nearly enough information.

X35: Video Games: Art or Entertainment (or both)?
Teachers: John Thompson

Today, the video game industry is one of the fastest growing industries, bringing in over $21 billion in revenue in 2008. It is also one of the more influential, with games like Grand Theft Auto routinely creating controversy not only among parents, but even within Congress.

As new technologies came about, developers have pushed the limits of the medium in terms of graphics, interactivity and storytelling to compelling heights, becoming more than just pure entertainment. Big title games like Bioshock have managed to present lofty philosophical ideals while still delivering amazing gameplay. Indie games such as the mind-bending puzzle game Braid or the beautiful Flower strive to be more than just simple games. But can video games ever be considered art?

In this class, we will explore this often debated question. After a brief discussion of what is considered art, we will look at some examples of games that truly blur the line between entertainment and art and talk about whether video games will ever be considered anything more than a lucrative from of entertainment.

No prior experience with video games required. Class discussion is strongly encouraged.

X45: Critical Gaming: Play to Live and Live to Play
Teachers: Alex Elnabli

In school we learn to read books in a critical way because the experience makes us connect with issues, ideas, and desires that really matter to us. We get to see life in an incredible new way because of the personal growth we experience in reading a book seriously.

That same truth holds just as much for VIDEO GAMES. Even though no one has ever shown us how to play games critically, it is our task to make play the most incredibly brilliant, enlightening, and exciting experience it can be.

In this class we will learn some approaches to critical video game play that can help us discover WHY we love games so much and HOW we should play in every aspect of our lives TO HAVE FUN!


X47: The Chicago Game
Teachers: Luke Joyner

Think you know about Chicago? In this class, you get to test your knowledge of the city in a fun, fast-paced game. And yes, there will be prizes.

The game will focus on the geography of the city: streets, neighborhoods, getting around, figuring out where you are from images, etc. But there will also be some history and other random stuff thrown in.

(Note: this game will be played in two person teams. If you want to play with someone you already know, that's cool... just be sure you both sign up. If you'd rather play with a stranger, that's cool too... we'll figure that out at the beginning of the game.)

An interest in the city of Chicago.

X50: Anime, Manga, and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future
Teachers: John Zhang

Animated series and movies (anime) and graphic novels (manga) from Japan have taken the world by storm and beyond, and in this class, we will explore their roots and inspirations. The class will take a look at the breakdown between genres, analyzing differences and similarities between series with different target audiences, such as shonen (boy) and shojo (girl), and the roles gender, race, and caste play in different series. We will then watch a few select sample animes to whet your appetite! The class will end with a quick look at conventions and independent series, and feature demonstration of Touhou Project as an example.

Come to both learn about anime and have fun at the same time!

None! Anyone from the curious onlookers to hardened otaku are welcome! Male, female, and multidimensional space aliens are all invited to attend. Just bring an open mind and come for a great time!