ESPrinkler Summer 2012
Course Catalog


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Arts Engineering
Humanities Mathematics
Science Social Science
Miscellaneous


Arts

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A6053: Textile Arts: Knotted bracelets
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Learn to make brightly-colored bracelets in stripes and criss-cross patterns.

A6062: The Culture and Art of Chinese Dance
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Angela Zhang

Are you interested in Chinese dance or its cultural background? Or perhaps you want to try your hand at dancing with a sword, fan, or chopsticks? Either way, come check out 'The Culture and Art of Chinese Dance'!

In this class, students will explore different aspects of Chinese culture and how it permeates through ethnic backgrounds in the form of dance. The course will consist of a discussion of specific stylistic aspects that characterize certain ethnic groups, as well as a brief dance lesson that will immerse students in a distinct style of traditional Chinese dance. At the end of the session, students will get the chance to learn about specific dance styles, in addition to their music, costumes, and props.

A6054: Textile Arts: Weaving bags
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Make a small, handwoven bag. Learn about tweeds and other weaving textures.


Engineering

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E6049: Fun Engineering Challenge: Building Skyscrapers
Difficulty: **

Come learn about skyscrapers and then challenge yourself to build one out of spaghetti and masking tape!

Skyscrapers rise continuously in the towns today, higher and higher. Have you ever wondered how they are built? Let’s discover together the main design principles of such structures, a little bit of their history and then you will put yourself in the shoes of a structural engineer. You will design and build with your team a spaghetti tower that can withstand an earthquake and then see how much vertical load it can resist! We will test the prototype!


Humanities

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H6066: 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 Santorum, Santorum beats Gingrich, and Gingrich 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.

H6074: Life, Death, and Calvinball
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michael Pappas

Calvin and Hobbes is popularly viewed as one of the greatest comic strips of all time, but not just for the humor. In this class, we'll explore many major branches of philosophy with the use of Calvin+Hobbes strips, discussing questions such as "How can you know something?", "What does it mean to be good?", and, of course, "What can we learn from Calvinball?"


Mathematics

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M6059: Turing Machines
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Gurtej Kanwar

Turing Machine – A device consisting of a finite state machine (a machine operates on input based on current state) and an infinite tape.

Turing Machines may sound outlandish and impossible, but are actually the foundation of the notion of computability (determining what can, and cannot be computed). In this class we will briefly look at the origins of Turing Machines, then look at how a Turing Machine is defined. From there, we will get our hands dirty and try to define some Turing Machines of our own.

M6052: 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!

M6068: Fractals! Patterns in the real world
Difficulty: **

This is a simpler version of the course I teach over 7 Sundays. This will cover the history of fractals, and how to construct simple fractals by hand. Fractals are patterns which occur in nature, such as how the branching of a tree is able to be modeled by math, and famous examples that look really pretty!


Science

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S6065: How Color Actually Works
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alex Arkhipov

Why isn't pink in the rainbow? Why is the color wheel a circle while the visible spectrum is a line? Why do computer pixels use red, green, and blue, even though red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors?

Come learn how our eyes and brain process light to make us see color, how colors combine, and why there are colors you've never seen. We'll clear up many common misconceptions about color. Learn how color actually works!


Prerequisites
None

S6055: Seeing and Perceiving: How Vision Works
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abby Noyce

Just how *do* your eyes and brain work? Light bounces off of stuff and into your eyes... and then what? This class will explore the biology and psychology of visual perception.

S6063: Introduction to Genetics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sweet Tea Dorminy

Long, long ago, Gregor Mendel bred some pea plants together. Some had round seeds, and some had wrinkly seeds. Some had yellow seed insides and some had green seed insides. Some had white seeds and some had spotty brown seeds. Some had beautiful white flowers... and some had deep purple flowers. And so forth. You might have heard about this, and what he discovered, but whether you have or not, you'll learn some new things about he did.
In this class, we'll read and discuss an English translation of Mendel's results, and what they meant for genetics.

S6069: Relative and Relativity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Megan Williams

Relativity is fundamental to our understanding of the universe but what does it really mean? In this class we will go over the basics of the theory of relativity, the differences between special and general relativity, and discuss how it effects the universe we live in.

S6067: Gyroscopes are made of magic
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephen Face

Despite the title of this class, gyroscopes are not actually made of magic. Come to this class, and learn the science that makes these devices work!

S6046: History of the Discovery of the Atom
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

Until very, very recently, scientists could not see atoms. But the atomic theory has been around since the 17th century, and was rigorously proven in the early 20th century. How did scientists discover and prove the existence of atoms if they couldn't see them? We'll trace the history of the development of the atomic theory, and follow it up with the experiments that were conducted to conclusively prove it.

S6051: Discovering Genetics: From Peas to Drosophila to You
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Shulin Ye

We've come a long, long way since Mendel first discovered inheritance. This class will take you through various bits of modern-day genetics, from non-Mendelian inheritance to PCR to DNA sequencing to genetic engineering. (The first hour will concentrate on genetics, the second inheritance.)


Prerequisites
Some knowledge of Mendelian genetics, mitosis, meiosis, and DNA replication will help, but is not required.

S6045: Intro to Python
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

print “Ever wanted to learn how to program?"
if your_answer == “yes”:
print “Awesome! Take this class, and learn how to program in Python"


# This is a class for students with no prior programming experience. We will cover the fundamentals of programming, using the popular language of Python. The class will be a mix of lecture, where you will learn the introductory aspect of the language, and hands-on programming. We’ll have lots of fun writing and running cool programs, and you’ll learn a lifelong skill in the process.


Prerequisites
No prior programming experience required. Students who have never programmed before and are interested in learning are encouraged to register.

S6073: Quantum minus the math
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michael Flynn

Come learn why quantum mechanics is awesome (and not crazy)! We'll look at some of the really cool and intuition-defying experiments that helped build up quantum theory while debunking some of the craziest ideas sometimes (falsely!) justified via quantum mechanics. No background in physics or mathematics is necessary - just bring your common sense!

S6056: Hearing and Perceiving: How Audition Works
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abby Noyce

How do your ears and brain work together to allow you to hear things? Stuff around you makes sounds (whatever those are) that travel to your ears... then what? This class will explore the biology and psychology of auditory perception, to understand how we make sense of the sounds we hear.

S6057: Taste and Smell: How Chemical Senses Work
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abby Noyce

What goes on in your nose and tongue and brain that make some foods taste delicious, and some substances smell terrible? This class will explore the biology and psychology of taste and smell, including some hands-on experiments.


Social Science

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S6072: Riddles In Another Language
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Voss

Toki Pona is a remarkably simple language, but it can be tricky to decipher at times. Come learn the vocabulary of this constructed language, and try your hand at deciphering a set of riddles in Toki Pona from last year's MIT Mystery Hunt!


Miscellaneous

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X6060: Durak 101
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Valya Barboy

Ever wanted to prove to your friends that you're smarter than them? The Russians developed a fool-proof method - cards! Learn this fun game (or just come play if you already know the rules) and prove to your friends (once and for all) who's boss =)

X6044: How to run an HSSP!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

HSSP doesn't just run itself! Directors put in a lot of hard work to make the program run. Want to learn what goes on behind the scenes? Come find out!

Presented by one of the directors Summer HSSP 2011.

X6043: How the ESP Website Works (and Doesn't Work)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

Ever wonder what was actually going on when HSSP registration opened? Find out how the ESP website (or any website) works behind the scenes.

We’ll cover, very briefly, the basics of all the major concepts of web design, including HTML, CSS, databases, client-side and server-side scripting, servers, version controlling, and caching. All examples will be taken from the ESP website. We'll also talk about some of the spectacular ways in which the ESP website has broken, and what caused these errors. And if time allows, we’ll take a look at some of the administrative portions of the website - the pages that help the HSSP directors administer the program.

This class will be an overview of many different concepts of web design, and how they interact. It will not be an in-depth look at any one concept, though links to resources for additional learning will be provided.

X6050: Blood and oil mix well together!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Attila Forruchi

Modern history and the geopolitics of automotive fossil fuels. So much of our contemporary politics and international relations, not to mention war and peace are direct consequence of the invention and use of fossil fuels since the turn of the 19th century.


Prerequisites
None

X6071: Cricket
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ben Horkley

Come learn about one of the most popular sports you've probably never played! We'll be talking about the basics of how the game is played, as well as some of the history around this British Empire sport.

X6058: Patrol! by the MIT Assassin's Guild
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Thomas Boning

Patrol, brought to you by the MIT Assassin's Guild.

Ever wanted to shoot your friends? Your enemies? Now you can, at Patrol! Patrol is a live action role playing game using dart guns sponsored by the MIT Assassin's Guild. Participants are divided into a number of teams. Each player is armed with a dart gun and a small number of rubber darts. Each player also wears a colored headband denoting what team he/she is on and whether or not he/she is currently alive. The object of the game is to shoot members of the other teams without getting shot. If shot, the player can resurrect by visiting the respawn points. The main goal, however, is to have fun.


Prerequisites
Signed Permission Slip Patrol will involve physical activity.