Splash at Northwestern: Winter Splash February 26th, 2023


NU Splash Biography

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MARTIN MCBRIARTY, NU engineering grad student & musician.




College: Northwestern University

Major: Materials Science & Engineering

Year of Graduation: 2013

Picture of Martin McBriarty

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Martin grew up in sunny Florida and graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) in 2008. He is now using x-rays and quantum mechanics to study materials at Northwestern. As a bass guitarist, he has participated in various musical projects, ranging from jazz to metal. Hearkening to his Canadian roots, he curls with the Northwestern Curling Club.



Past Classes

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


A89: A Brief History of Odd Time: Prog, Avant-garde, and Art Rock, 1966-Present in Splash 2011 (Apr. 02, 2011)
Progressive rock, or “prog”, has influenced modern music in styles from metal to hip-hop to video game music. We will cover the evolution of popular artists such as Pink Floyd, Rush, and Frank Zappa as well as more esoteric groups from Britain, Europe, and North America. We will also discuss the use of emerging technology in popular music 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.


S90: Surfaces and Interfaces: Where Chemistry Happens in Splash 2011 (Apr. 02, 2011)
When metals corrode, where does rust form? Where do catalysts catalyze? How do fuel cells and gas sensors work? All sorts of useful technologies rely on chemical reactions at the interface between materials and their environment. We will cover how the atoms at materials surfaces affect the chemical events that happen there.


X91: Dao of Curling: Lessons in Mindfulness from Ice Sports in Splash 2011 (Apr. 02, 2011)
Anyone who's seen the Winter Olympics has likely been enchanted by curling, where granite stones slide across the ice in a game of skill and strategy. We will introduce the quirky ice sport, shift to some key ideas of Zen Buddhism (mindfulness, in particular), and then discuss the intersection between mindfulness practices and curling. As strange as it seems, there are parallels between the two, and our discussion will focus on how we can practice mindfulness as part of our passions and hobbies - and in everyday life - to live more peacefully with ourselves and the world around us.


A1: A Brief History of Odd Time: Prog, Avant-garde, and Art Rock, 1966-Present in Splash 2010 (Apr. 03, 2010)
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.


S11: Where Chemistry Happens in Splash 2010 (Apr. 03, 2010)
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.


E13: Sensational Failures in Engineering in Splash 2010 (Apr. 03, 2010)
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.