HSSP Spring 2022
Course Catalog


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Computer Science Humanities
Mathematics Science
Social Science Miscellaneous


Computer Science

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C14907: AI and Science: An Introduction to AI and its Role in Modern Research
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Lee, Kerri Lu

Have you ever wondered what all the buzz about AI is about? In this course, we will learn about what artificial intelligence is and how it is being used in the world today. We will also give you an opportunity to explore current research surrounding AI and how AI is used in various fields of science through a series of engaging lectures given by various teachers. No prior background in AI is needed - we hope to see you there!


Class Style
Lecture

C14906: Using Computer Science to Model our World Full!
Difficulty: **

Ever wondered how powerful computer science can be in predicting the world around us? The average computer alone can execute around 150 MILLION commands per second, and we're going to tap into that power to see some pretty awesome results!

Using just a bit of math and a whole lot of programming, we'll be able to describe the motion of objects here on earth and in space, delve into finance-related topics, explore video-games, and a whole lot more!

This course is the intersection of math, science, and computation, and if that's as exciting to you as it is to us, go ahead and sign up!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Algebra 1 Physics 1 (preferred but not required) Familiarity with Python or JS preferred but not required

C14927: Introduction to the Theory of Computation
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Heidi Durresi

Computers are now integrated into every part of our lives. But what are the fundamental capabilities and limitations of computers? What are different models of computation we can come up with, and how do they relate to each other? How can we show that some problems are undecidable by computers? Take this class to find out! Highly recommended for students interested in math and theoretical computer science.

Topics covered include:
-Language and Automata Theory (Finite automata, push-down automata, context free languages, pumping lemmas)
-Computability Theory (Turing machines, Church–Turing thesis, decidability,
halting problem, reducibility, recursion theorem)


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Some familiarity with discrete math and proof-writing is very useful, but not required.


Humanities

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H14943: Algorithmic Justice through Media Literacy Education.
Difficulty: **
Teachers: MELDA YILDIZ

This workshop investigates the role of Algorithmic Bias/ Injustice integrating new technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS) while developing global competencies, geospatial intelligence, and computational thinking skills. It offers creative strategies and possibilities for eradicating myths and misconceptions in education. We will engage in a wide range of media literacy activities exploring geospatial and computational thinking skills. We will investigate alternative points of view on news, global issues, algorithmic bias, and social justice through media literacy education.


Class Style
Activity

H14921: Your Novel Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stirling Newberry

How do you write a novel? More importantly, how do you rewrite a novel? Because, let us face it, most novels go through several revisions. A novel is like a marathon, it is not where you start it is where you finish.

This means that what is to be done in this class 2-fold:
1. Lecture part: I will talk about one area of a novel, such as the beginning. This is, at most, half an hour.
2. Have a student read part of a novel and the rest critique what others have read. This means bring your work to class. This is an hour.
This means bring some work to class from day 1.

What does this get you? The pattern of writing a novel is a process of revision and reading what you write. To build a pattern of that structure is the act of constructing a world, characters, and locations. This means that discipline and creativity must work together in order to form a vision made real.


Class Style
Seminar

H14914: Global Health Alliance's Intro to Global Health
Difficulty: **

Are you interested in global health or medicine? Then this class is for you! Throughout the course, we will be discussing global health issues ranging from mental health, incarcerated people's rights, gender bias/menstrual health, and more! We are excited to have meaningful discussions and collectively become more educated about the important issues our world faces in the context of public health.


Class Style
Discussion

H14918: The Real History of Ancient Greece
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Hoffman

Ancient Greece is awesome. Everyone knows it. Yet most people only know about Ancient Greece through movies like 300 and Disney's Hercules, or the (surprisingly accurate) Percy Jackson books. Fewer people know about the reasons it's actually awesome. That's what this course is try going to cover.

This class is going to be a lecture style story on the actual history of Ancient Greece, from the civilization's birth from the ashes of fallen kingdoms, to the founding of Democracy and Fascism. From Athens, Sparta, and others uniting to fight the largest empire the world had ever seen to collapsing into war among themselves.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None. This is meant to be fun and understandable even if you know nothing about Ancient Greece.

H14897: Reading "Beloved," a banned book
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Kartik Chandra, AnQi Yu

Last fall, Virginia's gubernatorial election turned on some parents' intense opposition to Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Beloved" being taught in public schools. In this class, we will defiantly read "Beloved" cover to cover (we will mail you a free paperback copy). Together, we will discuss and understand the novel's place in today's America.


Class Style
Discussion

Prerequisites
Commitment to completing *all* of the readings (about 2hr/week), willingness to be challenged by uncomfortable literature.

H14926: Humanities for Humanity: How can they help? Full!
Difficulty: **

The humanities can often be really fun to learn about, but sometimes can be tricky to define and tricky to apply to the world. In this course, we'll approach the humanities on a broad scale. We'll look at the humanities overall, and take a broad look at all the different fields within the humanities, as well as getting an introduction to them as much as possible.

Then, we'll take a look at real world issues and together we'll use the humanities to tackle them. We'll also learn some digital humanities skills that we can use to more effectively construct our attacks of these modern day problems. Together, we'll bring humanities out from just academia and into the real world and have fun doing it!


Class Style
Seminar


Mathematics

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M14904: Quantum Field Theory: A Mathematical Perspective
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Sanjay Raman

This course is based on a class I taught at Splash 2021.

Picture this: You're an aspiring physicist, and you find yourself interested in attending some seminars. You start scrolling through a list of talks offered at the nearest conference, and you see something about quantum field theory. This sounds exciting to you, so you sign up. On the day of the seminar, you show up, and the speaker immediately begins by saying this:

"Of course, it is clear that a quantum field theory is a monoidal functor from a category of cobordisms to a category of Hilbert spaces."

Now, if you're anything like me, it is not at all clear that this is true; in fact, it's not at all clear what any of these words mean!

However, quantum field theory is a fascinating subject, and the mathematical foundations of it are even more intricate and exciting. In this course, we will explore quantum field theory from both physical and mathematical perspectives, studying the physics that explains our universe and the relevant underlying mathematics. If time allows, we will discuss exciting new developments in the field.

Prior knowledge of quantum mechanics may be helpful but is not required.

Possible physics topics include: Algebraic Quantum Field Theory, Conformal Field Theory, String Theory

Possible math topics include: Cobordisms, Category Theory, Operator Algebras

Expect to have your mind blown.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Significant interest in theoretical physics and mathematics. Knowledge of quantum mechanics helpful but not required. Significant mathematical maturity.

M14932: Playing Games with Infinity
Difficulty: ***

Ever wondered how many numbers there are *really*?
Ever wanted to beat your friends at any* game?

*some conditions apply

We’ll start by exploring some interesting questions about the nature of infinity, including countability and cardinality, and we’ll learn to work with ordinal and cardinal numbers. We’ll conclude by examining some surprising connections between these number systems and combinatorial games – and learning how to win them! :)


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Experience with proofs or set theory is helpful but not required.

M14929: Math in Logic Puzzles Full!
Difficulty: **

You've probably solved a few pencil-and-paper logic puzzles like Sudoku, Slitherlink, Yajilin, etc. But did you know there's a lot of math hiding in these?

We'll go over the rules of several puzzle types, and talk about some theorems related to them. These theorems provide tools to solve the puzzles, and let you solve puzzles which otherwise seem impossible.

We'll have a long list of puzzles for you to try, of a range of difficulty, including some to test your understanding of the theorems we discuss. Each week, we'll concentrate on one or two types of puzzles and corresponding mathematical techniques.


Class Style
Discussion

M14965: Algebra. All of it. From the beginning.
Difficulty: **

All of middle school algebra from the very beginning, when letters like "x" and "y" are first introduced. All the most relevant things. you need to succeed in high school math and beyond. Great for learning it for the first time, or for finally addressing things you find confusing, like fractions!


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
can multiply numbers and add and subtract positive and negative numbers


Science

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S14895: Optimization of Human Performance for Lunar Work Environments
Difficulty: **

Considering taking a job on the Moon?

This six week class presents an exploration of the skills and performance needed for workers on the Lunar surface.

The focus is on human optimization and training that you can start now, to make yourself a strong candidate for expanding human civilization outside of planet Earth.


Class Style
Discussion

S14903: Introduction to Epidemiology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kenneth Cox

In this class, we'll explore epidemiology, the science of diseases. After covering some foundational topics in biology, we'll look at the methods scientists use to understand diseases. There will be an emphasis on disease treatment and prevention technologies.


Class Style
Lecture

S14916: Physics of Light: Theory and Experiments
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrii Zahorodnii

Sign up to explore the nature of light! During the course, we will assemble a DIY optical experiments kit.

Classical optics. Lenses. Wave theory of light. Diffraction and interference. The double slit experiment. Diffraction gratings. Gas emission spectra. And more?

See you!


Class Style
Lecture

S14913: A Practical Guide to Quantum Computing
Difficulty: ***

Quantum computing is an emerging technology that promises to provide computing power that can revolutionize society. In the past decade, more and more tech companies have invested in quantum computing and dozens of startups have been founded. In addition, the US government has started the National Quantum Initiative to spearhead research in quantum science and technology. What's all this buzz about? What allows quantum computers to outperform their classical counterparts? How does one actually build a quantum computer? We will explore the answers to these questions and more in this broad introduction to the field, covering both theory and physical implementations of a quantum computer.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Interest is first and foremost! Some background in physics, linear algebra, or programming can be helpful, but are not required. We will cover these topics as needed.

S14892: Soils: Science, Practice, and Sustainability
Difficulty: **
Teachers: H. Alexander Chen

As the “foundation” of our environment and human society, soil is crucial to food production, climate systems, and water, nutrient, and waste cycling. This class will commence with a thorough examination of soil formation and classification through an exploration of geological history in North America. Then, we will focus on soil ecosystem and its impact in agricultural practices. We will connect soil physical and chemical properties to its role in the fate and transport of emerging environmental contaminants. In the end of this course, we holistically analyze the impact of anthropogenic activities and conservation strategies.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
None.

S14908: Lab Techniques in Chemistry
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Vivian Hir

Do you want to know what goes behind the scenes in an undergraduate chemistry lab? In this class, students will not only learn about the various techniques to obtain compounds (distillation, extraction, etc.), but also be informed about the analytical methods to determine the purity of a substance (NMR, IR, etc.). Students will pick up some knowledge of organic chemistry throughout the class.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Concurrent enrollment or completion in AP/IB Chemistry.

S14923: Cultivate a Microbial Garden
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elise Ledieu

Are you ready to create and watch an entire ecosystem unfold in front of your eyes? In this class, you will not only set-up such an experimental ecosystem, you will learn how to analyze what is happening.

The ecosystem of choice here: Microbes. They are everywhere - on your skin, in your gut, in the oceans and also in mud. They are diverse - some degrade carbon, some are able to do photosynthesis. They impact the environment that they live in. They actively participate in the cycling of nutrients in the environment. They are pretty magical, if you ask me!

In this class, you will observe the emergence of a diverse microbial biosphere from just a puddle of mud. This experiment is centuries old and helped scientists learn a great deal about the importance of microbes in the environments. Let me introduce you to the Winogradsky column!

This class covers the intersection between the principles of microbiology and ecology. It is designed to be a hands-on experience where classes provide information to make sense of the observations that you make on your own pet ecosystem.


Class Style
Activity

S14924: Sensory Neuroscience Full!
Difficulty: **

We rely on our sensory systems to feel, see, hear, smell, and taste the world around us. In this class, we will dive into how sensory systems evolved, how sensory organs and the brain work together to produce perception, and learn about foundational experiments in the field. Students will be guided through simple activities relating to class material, including observing visual illusions and testing reflex pathways.


Class Style
Seminar

S14911: Introduction to Human Body Systems Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Farin Tavacoli

Learn about the essential structure and functions of our organ systems.


Class Style
Lecture


Social Science

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S14899: Intersectionality: How Identity & Oppression Shape Our Lives
Difficulty: *

Come learn about intersectionality!

Our identities hold the power to shape our realities and the experiences of those around us. This course will dive into various structures of oppression as they intersect with race, class, and gender to cultivate the way we all experience and navigate life.

Topics may include education, poverty, mass-incarceration, sexuality and wherever else the discussion may take us!

This course will be both lecture and discussion-based


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Willingness to Learn & an Open Mind

S14912: Intro to Archaeology: Past, Present, and Future
Difficulty: *

How do archaeologists unravel the stories of the people of the past? Which evidence do they employ? What does the scientific method look like in archaeology? What impact does archaeology have in the present and in the future? What role do museums play in preserving and presenting cultural heritage to the general public? How are archaeologists viewed in pop culture and how does that impact the public understanding of archaeology?
In this class, you will learn about the process of archaeology, from survey to excavation to museum display. Through a combination of lectures, discussions, and activities covering a variety of worldwide case studies, by the end of the course, you will be familiar with key archaeological theories and methods, and be able to connect the modern world to the past. Students will be encouraged to think critically about historical “facts,” and analyze different understandings of material culture.


Class Style
Seminar

S14917: Linguistics Laboratory Full!
Difficulty: ***

"Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied." -Noam Chomsky

Learn to view language from a linguist's perspective! Topics include phonology (speech sounds), morphology (prefixes, suffixes, infixes, oh my!), semantics, language evolution, and more.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Experience speaking/studying languages other than English recommended, but not required.


Miscellaneous

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X14940: STEM Lecture Series
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Various Teachers

Explore a new STEM topic every week with lectures given by various teachers!


Class Style
Lecture

X14941: SHASS Lecture Series
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Various Teachers

Explore a new topic in the humanities, arts, or social sciences every week with lectures given by various teachers!


Class Style
Lecture

X14942: Misc. Lecture Series
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Various Teachers

Explore a new topic each week in this lecture series! There'll be a new teacher discussing a new topic every week so stay tuned for a surprise!


Class Style
Lecture