SPICY Delve 2011
Course Catalog


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Arts Computer Science
Humanities Mathematics
Science Miscellaneous


Arts

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A5359: Chinese Brush Painting (sumi-e) - Bamboo Forrests and Pandas
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

This class will cover the basic techniques of painting layered bamboo forests and pandas in the traditional style of brush painting. There will be several brief periods of instruction and a lot of time to just relax and paint.

A5463: Draw Manga!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ruwen Liu

Throw your favourite random managa/anime characters at me, and I'll teach you how to draw them. Cool digitizer tablet demostration included!


Computer Science

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C5117: Computers: The Story Behind the Code
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zach Minster

Have you ever wondered how just two miniscule yet powerful numbers, 0 and 1, manage to carry out the enormously complex and beautiful tasks that modern computers accomplish? What physically goes on inside of a computer that allows it to be so useful? For just one hour we'll dip our toes into the vast ocean of computer systems, learning how computers, like onions and ogres, are composed of layers of abstraction from the user software we interact with on a day-to-day basis to the electrical signals that physically perform computation. We will explore what computation physically is and how to build a computer using nothing more than wires and simple logic. No matter how much or little experience you have with programming (no experience is definitely okay!), you will leave this course with an appreciation of the beautiful simplicity of computers.


Humanities

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H5474: Introduction to Chinese Writing
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephen M. Hou

Chinese writing is unique among the world's major languages in that it uses thousands of characters as opposed to an alphabet with a few dozen letters. We will learn some basic characters, their organization and structure, the distinction between traditional and simplified scripts, calligraphic styles and typographical fonts, how new characters are created, how Chinese characters are used in the modern Japanese and Korean languages, and how Chinese is typed electronically. I will also discuss Chinese dialects and why the Chinese language did not (and will likely never) switch to an alphabetical writing system.

H5471: Paradoxes of Democracy: Fair Elections and Voting
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephen M. Hou

What if, in hypothetical two-way races during the 2012 primaries, Romney beats Perry, Perry beats Cain, and Cain beats Romney? Is this even possible? (Yes.) What would then be a fair way to decide the "best" preferences of Republicans? Whether it's a T-shirt design contest or a presidential election, voting converts preferences of individuals into a single preference for the community. We'll discuss Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which states that there is no "perfect" way of doing so. We'll demonstrate a few of the mind-boggling flaws that every voting method must have.


Mathematics

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M5278: Computational Language Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Josh Alman

Languages are defined by the grammars that generate them. One day, Noam Chomsky made a hierarchy of different languages based on what kinds of rules can be used in their grammars. This ended up having important consequences in many fields, especially Linguistics and Computer Science.

Come learn about the languages we speak, and the languages computers speak, and play around with some fun puzzles.

M5161: Zero to Infinity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

Suppose I have a hotel with infinitely many rooms all in a row, all of which are full. If another person shows up, can I find away to rearrange people so that the newcomer has a room? What if I have infinitely many new people who need rooms?

Are there more integers or natural numbers? More real numbers or natural numbers?

Are there multiple sizes of infinity, or just one?


Interested in infinity? Ever wondered about questions like these? Want to spend an hour learning cool stuff to stretch your mind? Then come take this class! (We’ll cover definitions and some proofs, but the focus will be on gaining a more intuitive understanding of mind-blowing math versus mathematical rigor.)

M5273: The mathematics of games
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

Games, though they may seem frivolous they have applications to multi-trillion dollar, and multimillion live decisions in everything from Finance to War to Love. In this class we will learn The theory of Games, its applications to politics, and life in general, as well as well as various mathematical topics related to games.


Science

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S4969: The Skinny on Fats
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Walter Augustine

Do you want to learn about one of the most widespread sources of energy on the planet? Do you want to learn how to make your butter last 6 months or more? Want to learn about two PFACs that can improve memory and supercharge your brain?

Come learn about fats, oils, greases, butters, and other obnoxiously hard-to-name hydrocarbon chains. This class will introduce basic fatty acid structure, as well as relevant human biological functions. We will talk about good, bad, and just plain ugly fats in your food, and there will be a demonstration of making clarified butter (Yummy!). (You will also learn what PFAC means.)

S5284: Probability and Genetics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Voss

Think biology is all memorizing and no math? Come learn a few of the more mathematical details behind genetics!

Topics to be covered include pedigrees, recombination, genetic markers, modes of inheritance, and calculating probabilities of all sorts. With sample problems!

S5324: A Closer Look to Our Friends
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mee Sun Lee

How much do we know about the diversity of organisms on this planet? This class will introduce some of the amazing neighbors we have.

S5028: Explosive Chemistry!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sweet Tea Dorminy

Everyone knows that one of the best parts of chemistry is blowing things up. Come learn about the chemical structure and synthesis of explosive materials! Sadly, we can’t blow anything up ourselves, but we can watch videos of it. Along the way, we’ll learn about organic synthesis, how explosives are made; thermodynamics and characteristics of explosives, why things explode; and plenty of other awesome and explosive chemistry.

S5276: Your classical intuition is wrong!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

Do you think you have a good grasp of physics? A good intuition for the physical world? Come learn about the predictions of quantum mechanics (and the experiments that validate these predictions) which violate your fundamental beliefs about the universe!

S5296: DNA isolation in your (parents) kitchen
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Juliane Hirnet

In this class students learn how to isolate DNA from tomatoes using chemicals you find in every kitchen.

S5401: Game Theory, Altruism, and Evolutionary Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shulin Ye

If it's the "survival of the fittest," why does altruism exist? Why do <i>Homo sapiens</i> spend so much time and energy keeping track of other members of their species? And what does game theory have to do with any of this?


Miscellaneous

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X5088: NBC Weapons of the Past and Present
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Matthew Cole

Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons some of the most dangerous weapons ever devised by man. In this class, we will discuss the eventful histories of these weapons as well as their uses and potential uses in modern warfare and their countermeasures.