Spark! 2011
Course Catalog


Filter Catalog by Grade:

Jump to Categories
Arts Computer Science
Engineering Humanities
Mathematics Science
Walk-in Seminar Miscellaneous

Note that this is last year's catalog, and that the catalog for Spark 2012 will be released in mid February before registration opens.



Arts

[ Return to Category List ]

A4593: Composition & Contrast
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Holmes

Let's examine what makes the Mona Lisa so amazing, aside from her mysterious smile. During this class, popular images (and some not so popular) will be examined and critiqued. In particular, the ideology behind composition & contrast will be explored, touching upon depth, & perception. At the end of the class we will create our own master pieces & mat them!

This course will be primarily lecture-based but will also include an end-of-class discussion & time to create a very simple piece using the concepts explored in the discussion/lecture.

This class is structured to be at an AP level. It will be hard & you will learn a lot!


Prerequisites
None needed - this course is a great way to learn how to mat work in preparation for creating a portfolio for college/APs.

A4642: Introduction to Contact Juggling
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nathan Lachenmyer

Ever want to be just like David Bowie in Labyrinth? Well, me neither, but I really like contact juggling! And if you want to learn how to contact juggle, this is the class for you! We'll talk about what kind of props you need, and I'll teach you a few basic moves.

(For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_IcWf8EVjU. For the real deal check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX7xruR12YA)


Prerequisites
Excitement to juggle. And the patience to keep at it even when you drop it a million times.

A4620: Learn to Tap Dance!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sachi Hashimoto

Tap dance is a super-snazzy looking and sounding dance characterized by quick movements of the feet and rhythmic tapping sounds. In this intro class we'll go through some basic technique and learn a few awesome combinations. We may play around with taping/stringing metal washers to our shoes to get a real tap sound, or simply go barefoot.


Prerequisites
Wear sneakers or flat soled shoes you can dance in or just go barefoot. No dancing experience necessary!

A4704: Intro to Toss Juggling
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nathan Lachenmyer

Toss Juggling is the most well-known variety of juggling, and the first that most people learn. The goal of toss juggling is to catch and throw multiple objects at once.

In this class, you'll learn how to do some basic three-ball juggling patterns. No juggling experience required!


Prerequisites
None except patience!

A4637: Book Making!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Holmes

Love scrap booking? Or just love the idea of making your own, old fashioned book?! Come learn how to create hard-cover, binded books in this class!

If you have cool paper or materials to use for your book please bring them!

A4638: History of Erotica Full!
Difficulty: *

We are going to do a brief survey of erotica throughout human history. We will begin with erotica in the ancient world, and by the end of the class, we will have reached modern times. We will discuss the legal and social issues surrounding erotica including the evolution of obscenity laws and the role of erotica in society.


Prerequisites
Signed permission slips will be required for this class.

A4517: History of Electronic Music
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Nathan Lachenmyer

Does all electronic music sound the same to you? Can't tell the difference between trance, techno, house, and drum and bass? In this class we'll cover the history of electronic musical both chronologically and geographically. We'll listen to samples of each genre along the way, and by the end of the course you'll understand the unique characteristics of each of these genres.


Prerequisites
A love for electronic music.

A4529: To Infinity and Beyond! The History of Pixar
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ari Donnelly

Do you find yourself looking at all your old toys that you haven’t played with for years, and feeling very guilty? Have you ever tried tying a thousand balloons to your chimney in the hope that your house will take off and fly away? Have you been neglecting to call the pest exterminator for months on end, out of fear that the rats in your house will stop cooking exquisite French cuisine for you if you do so?

Do want to know who’s responsible for these strange feelings you keep having? Come to Infinity and Beyond! You’ll find out how these pesky Pixar people got their start, and how they have become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed film studios of all time*.

*You’ll also learn why this last part of the sentence is a big understatement.


Prerequisites
Seeing at least the first two Toy Story movies is recommended, as you'll understand the videos I'll show for them much better.

A4530: To Infinity and Beyond! The History of Pixar Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ari Donnelly

Do you find yourself looking at all your old toys that you haven’t played with for years, and feeling very guilty? Have you ever tried tying a thousand balloons to your chimney in the hope that your house will take off and fly away? Have you been neglecting to call the pest exterminator for months on end, out of fear that the rats in your house will stop cooking exquisite French cuisine for you if you do so?

Do want to know who’s responsible for these strange feelings you keep having? Come to Infinity and Beyond! You’ll find out how these pesky Pixar people got their start, and how they have become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed film studios of all time*.

*You’ll also learn why this last part of the sentence is a big understatement.


Prerequisites
Seeing at least the first two Toy Story movies is recommended, as you'll understand the videos I'll show for them much better.

A4665: Processing: Making Programs That Make Art [n00b version] Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Joshua Horowitz

"Processing" is a programming environment designed to help artists express themselves with computer programs. If that sounds exciting to you, stop by and give it a try! Even if you've never programmed before, I'll show you the basics and you'll leave with a better idea of how all this stuff works.

(And if you think "computer programs as art" sounds crazy, visit http://complexification.net/gallery/, whose artist uses mostly Processing!)


Prerequisites
This is the "n00b" version of the class, which means it's for people who are new to programming, or maybe just started.. If you know your way around a function and a for loop, maybe you'll want to take the "l33t" version! :-)

A4680: How To Write 50,000 Words In A Month And Survive Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sahar Hakim

Want to take that big step and write a novel? Ever think of doing the whole thing in just thirty days? Well, not to worry! This seminar will focus on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual challenge in November in which people must write a novel of at least 50,000 words. We’ll focus on writing tips such as how to form a plot, how to create characters and the world about which you are writing, and, above all, how to stay on track without falling too behind. And of course, November’s not the ONLY month you can do this. Find out about other writing challenges, too!

A4573: Hula: Introduction to Hawaiian Dance Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Naomi Schurr

This class will teach you basics of Hawaiian story-telling through dance.
Don’t be misled by cartoon-ish representations! There’s more to hula than shaking your bottom and flapping your arms… in fact, if you’re doing that, it’s probably not hula!
We’ll begin with seven basic hula steps and a hand wave so you can get a feel for the graceful motion. Then we’ll use one step, the kaholo, and add hand motions to have you dancing to the “Hukilau,” a simple song commonly used as an introduction to hula.



Prerequisites
No pre-requisites. Please wear clothing that easily allows you to bend your knees and raise your arms above your head.

A4541: Beauty in Strange Planes: The Intersection of Math, Science, and Art
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Michael Gibson

We will go through examples of how art, math, and science intersect. We will put an equal emphasis on both the math/science and art portions of the class. Examples will include the golden ratio and product design, architecure and geometry, renaissance scientist-artists, fractals and the paintings of Jackson Pollack, and others. Extensive visual examples will be used.


Prerequisites
None

A4591: A Brief History of Punk
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

Why are those kids wearing studded jackets and sporting hair of neon hues? What's that noise to which they're enthusiastically listening and why are they flailing? While I can't promise the entire history of the punk subculture, I will explain how the style came to be, how the music developed and how other it influenced other subcultures.

A4730: Introduction to Yarn Manipulation (Basic Crocheting) Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Tanya Kortz

Interesting description:

You are trapped at home, surrounded by 20-foot snow drifts. All you have to keep you company is a ball of yarn, a curved metal rod, and a lot of free time. As the snow threatens to breach your fortifications, you realize that your only hope lies in your ability to keep yourself warm, and you have no hat...

I'll provide a pattern for a simple hat, as well as a more advanced stuffed animal pattern, complete with fiberfill stuffing and safety eyes.

~~~~~~~~

Less-interesting description:

You'll learn the basics of crocheting, including chaining, slip stitches, and single crochet, as well as more complicated stitches, like double and treble crochet. Yarn and hooks provided.

A4599: Beyond The Rhyming Dictionary: Hip Hop Songmaking Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Evan Moore

Ever wanted to tap into your inner Jay-z, Eminem, or [insert favorite rapper here]? Well, you may not have all the resources that a Grammy-winning performer has, but with a laptop, a mic, and some software, you can still create the rap song of your design.

The class will start with a brief overivew of hip hop songwriting, covering topics including the types of songs made, lyrical content and its influence on the listener, and different rhyming schemes. The production side will be delved into as well, showing the different types of beats that rappers love to lay their vocals over.

We will then switch to the creation of such a song, from writing the lyrics to using a "beat-maker" software to recording a song to even adding some effects. Students will be able to experience the art form first-hand by recording their own pre written rap verses! Participation is encouraged!

Sample Music, if used, will be edited.

Any questions? email me at evan.moore24@gmail.com


Prerequisites
Prior to class, each student must write a rap lyric concerning this topic: "What makes you awesome?" The length of the lyric must not exceed 8 bars (think the length of a typical rap single verse, divided in half). Practice rapping the song out loud, to different tempos. When the time comes, I would like to streamline the recording process as much as possible, to allow everyone a chance to record.

A4664: Processing: Making Programs That Make Art [l33t version]
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Horowitz

"Processing" is a Java-based programming environment designed to help artists express themselves with computer programs. If that sounds exciting to you, stop by and give it a try! I'll show you what Processing can do and give you some ideas to get you started exploring your own projects. Procedural generation, interactivity, physics simulations, video processing, sound, and many more possibilities are all on the table.

(And if you think "computer programs as art" sounds crazy, visit http://complexification.net/gallery/, whose artist uses mostly Processing!)


Prerequisites
This is the "l33t" version of the class, which means it's for people who already have some familiarity with computer programming. Can you write a program which finds the nth Fibonacci number? You're totally set. Otherwise, consider taking the "n00b" version -- please don't take the name personally. :-)

A4718: 3D Bead Sculpture Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Lin, Faye Wu

Come and join us in making cute little bunny figurines out of stringed beads. Once you master the basic technique of this popular sculpture medium, you will be able to create your own fun keychains, cell phone ornaments, and other neat little trinkets.


Prerequisites
fondness for hands on art projects

A4539: Scrapbooking - Pretty, Pretty Paper
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Danica Bybell

Ever wanted to make a scrapbook? Or, have you scrapbooked before and want to take a class to try some new things?

Join me in making at least two layouts (pages), trying out some cool tools (ever heard of a Cuttlebug?), and using a whole bunch of embellishments (stickers, rhinestones, flowers, whatever you can fit on a 12x12 piece of paper!)

Oh, and you may learn some scrapbooking lingo along the way…

This class is for anyone who has any interest in scrapbooking, no experience necessary. Photos, if you want to bring them, are welcome, but not necessary. All supplies will be provided, and students will be sent home with at least two completed pages, as well as a few surprise gifts for making more pages at home!


Prerequisites
Students must have experience with scissors and glue.


Computer Science

[ Return to Category List ]

C4627: Vim: the world's best text editor
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Pavel Panchekha

Vim is a text editor that's more than 40 years old. Text editing sounds simple, right? But it's really like hunting --- sure, you can hunt using nothing but sharp rocks, but to do it well, one needs the right tools. And Vim is the right tool.

Vim is an editor which unashamedly gives you the most powerful text editing experience possible. As such, it's a difficult beast for a beginner --- but this course will teach you everything you need to know to begin using vim effectively.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of what a text file is, moderate experience with computers, and ideally some idea of what the command line is.

C4610: Unix is your friend (Or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love the command line) Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

Linux and Mac OS are both based on Unix. I'll show you a bit about how they are structured, how to start using the command line, how to configure things, and how to write short scripts to automate things you do all the time.



Prerequisites
you must have used a computer of some kind before.

C4666: Computational Photography: A Survey
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Horowitz

Ever heard of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography? It's just one example of the exciting work being done in the field of computational photography. "Computational photography" is all about extending the power of normal cameras using sophisticated algorithms and a lot of clever ideas. While we don't have the time to go into details about the algorithms, I'd like to show you what sort of things are possible using a camera plus a computer. I expect you will be surprised!


Prerequisites
None.

C4629: Emacs: the world's best text editor
Difficulty: **

Very few know Emacs, even though it is almost 30.
I and many others have used Emacs, and left with a great feeling.
Maybe this class will show you why.
It's such a pleasure working around an Emacs user.
Stop using editors that are confusing and arcane.
Bring changes directly to your productivity!
Easily kill text as you could with no other editor!
There is no way to give Emacs the praise it deserves.
Those n00bs who use other editors, especially, should take this class.
Edit great text as it was meant to be edited!
Relax - this class will tell you which editor to use.

g g l C-v G k k $ d
C-x h F3 M-d C-d C-f C-k F4 M-d C-a C-x C-k r


Prerequisites
Moderate knowledge of computers

C4639: How the ESP Website Works and Doesn't Work
Difficulty: **

Ever wonder what was actually going on when Splash registration crashed right when it opened? Find out how the ESP website (or any website) works behind the scenes and what actually happens when it breaks.

No computer experience is required. In fact, if you have a lot of computer experience, you'll probably be bored.

C4588: Become a LaTeXer!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

Want to learn how to use LaTeX to format your mathematical formulae like this: $$\sum_{i=1}^\infty\frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6}$$? Want to make your English teachers think you’re crazy for having your papers formatted nicely in scientific form? Come learn the basics of LaTeX, the standard mathematical typesetting language. Works on any platform. We provide the computers. But we’ll tell you how to install it on your own computers.

Although we’ll provide example mathematics to typeset, you’ll probably get more out of the class if you bring your own mathematics to typeset (e.g. notes or homework from your math class).

If you want to use your laptop instead, you should install MiKTeX and TeXnicCenter (either together from http://www.tug.org/protext/, or separately from http://miktex.org/2.8/setup and http://www.texniccenter.org/resources/downloads/29), or another LaTeX editor (if you don’t use windows) before you arrive; the installation of MiKTeX can take about half an hour to an hour.

C4649: Search for Dummies
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Karen Sittig

Imagine, for a minute, that you're standing on a graph. You want to escape back to reality, but all you see are edges and nodes. I'll teach you to escape, and then I'll teach you to escape as fast as possible.


Prerequisites
You should be comfortable with the idea of nodes and edges. Being able to read Python is a plus.

C4659: Bessie's Cow-path Walk
Difficulty: ***

Bessie is a near-sighted cow who wants to get to a pasture placed somewhere randomly along a path. We will go over the best algorithm to solve this problem, how it is relevant to other problems in computer science, competitive analysis, and runtime analysis.

We will briefly cover randomized algorithms and do some cool drawing of cows.


Prerequisites
Know what big-Oh notation is. Be comfortable with rules of logarithms and exponents and algebra I in general.

C4652: Problems in Artificial Intelligence Full!
Difficulty: *

Why don't I have a robot dog to clean my house? Come discuss some current issues in AI and see if you can help solve them.


Prerequisites
none

C4711: Programming Minus the Language
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jacob Hurwitz

This class will teach you how to think about programming, without actually teaching you how to program in a specific language. You will probably leave this class with a better understanding of the concepts behind programming, so it should be a lot easier to pick up a language if you try after taking this class.


Prerequisites
You must be able to think clearly and logically.

C4623: To Precede a Course on Quines by its Description
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Pavel Panchekha

To quine a word is to follow it by its quotation (quining "cow" produces "cow 'cow'"); in this class we will study a mind-blowing concept: we will quine "quine".

The class will discuss how to produce quines, the theoretical principles that make them possible, and venture in their real-world use. Finally, a disection of Ken Thompson's "Trusting Trust" attack will be embarked upon.


Prerequisites
Knowledge of how to program in some programming language is necessary (C, Java, Python, Lisp, I don't care).

C4596: Thinking Like a Computer Scientist
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Francis Plaza

Computer science is not just about programming. This class will delve on the thinking aspect of Computer Science that is very essential in being a computer scientist/engineer. We will be doing activities such as identifying erroneous statements, unlocking codes, and solving puzzles of information. Unlike most Computer Science classes, this class will not involve any programming at all - in fact, you are not expected to have some programming background.


Prerequisites
Strong background in basic mathematics, algebra, and interest in numbers is recommended.

C4683: Exploring Cellular Automata
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jayson Lynch

Have you heard of Conway’s Game of Life? What about Brian’s Brain, Rule 30, or van Neumann Universal Constructor? Come explore these fascinating models which exhibit complex behavior from relatively simple rules. We’ll spend time examining different types of Cellular Automata, altering the underlying rules to see what happens, and discussing some of the theory or application behind these models.

C4698: Intro to C Programming Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

printf("Ever wanted to learn how to program?\n");
if (your_answer == "yes")
printf("Awesome! Take this class, and learn how to program in C\n");

/*
This is a class for students with no prior programming experience. We will cover the fundamentals of programming, using the popular language of C. 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.

C4709: Al Gore-isms
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jacob Hurwitz

Ever wondered how Google Maps finds a route so quickly, or how the Watson computer is smart enough to play Jeopardy? Well, we won't answer those questions but we will learn about algorithms, and we'll probably end up "creating" an algorithm along the way.


Prerequisites
You should have a solid grasp of mathematics.

C4518: Overview of Web Programming
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: HaoQi Li

The big picture of web programming. You'll learn the very basics and interactions of:
HTML, CSS, MySQL, PHP, MySQL, and a bit of web security.


Prerequisites
NONE AT ALL. If you have web programming experience, DO NOT take this course.

C4662: Introduction to Face Recognition
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stanislav Nikolov

How can we get computers to recognize faces? In this talk we'll walk through a popular method of doing it. And on the way we'll cover some nifty statistics and linear algebra!


Prerequisites
Knowing about vectors (and possibly matrices) as well as 2D and 3D geometry involving vectors and planes would help.

C4626: Call-with-current-continuation sign-up-for-this-class
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Pavel Panchekha

Continuations are a feature of several programming languages, most notably Scheme, that allow a program to effectively time-travel. They're often considered arcane dark magic. This course discusses their use, demonstrates real-world application, and disects several brain teasers based around them (such as the famous yin-yang puzzle).


Prerequisites
Programming experience, preferably in a functional language. Scheme (or lisp) experience not at all required, though a plus.

C4617: Introductory Game Programming Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Matthew Fay

Want to get started on the path towards making computer games? Don't know where to start? You've come to the right place.

This course will teach the basics of programming, computer graphics, and game programming. The course will be structured around the core principals required to start coding and creating computer games.

Note that the class will be done in a lecture-discussion style rather than a hands on programming lab.


Prerequisites
Background in Algebra recommended. Background in Fundamental Computer concepts is beneficial. No programming experience necessary.

C4521: Introduction to Computer Programming
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alan Huang

The code that a modern programmer writes is a long way from the zeros and ones that actually do work inside a microchip. We'll take a look at some of the concepts, structures, and abstractions that make writing complex programs possible. I'll attempt to introduce some ideas common to many programming languages, rather than teaching the syntax and semantics of any particular one. If you're proficient in any, this class is probably not for you.


Prerequisites
Know what a computer is. Preferably, have used one. Basic knowledge of algebra and other middle/high-school-level math might be helpful.


Engineering

[ Return to Category List ]

E4655: Ultra-light Spaghetti Bridges!
Difficulty: **

Want to put your engineering skills to the test? Then come build bridges out of spaghetti! Three different thicknesses of pasta will be provided with as much hot glue as you want. There will be a competition to see who can make the lightest bridge to hold 1 kg of weight. Depending on the wants of the class, we can change up the competition to something more exciting.


Prerequisites
Maturity level to use a hot glue gun.

E4669: How to Build A Satellite: Exploring Space Systems Design
Difficulty: **

Learn the fundamentals of space engineering by teaming up with your classmates to build and test your own satellite creations! We will discuss the many uses of satellites, the difficulties of engineering for space, and the steps that satellites take on their journey from concept to orbit.

E4531: Physical Security Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Eric Van Albert

Learn just how insecure the world around us is. Covers everything from social engineering to lock picking to RFID cards.

E4712: Trains
Difficulty: *

Learn about the remarkable engineering behind the North American railroad network. Topics to be covered include train locomotives, train cars, and train tracks.

E4570: Rockets and Composites
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Anna Ho, Ryan McLinko

Ever want to learn how rockets are designed and built? How about how to use composite materials, which if used properly, can have significant benefits over traditional materials, such as metals. This class will discuss how rockets work and what goes into the design of a rocket. Then it will discuss how composites are generally fabricated and students will get a chance to make their own rocket fins out of composite materials.


Prerequisites
None


Humanities

[ Return to Category List ]

H4576: Prisoner's Dilemma and the Tragedy of Commons: An Introduction to Game Theory
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Finale Doshi-Velez

Bonnie and Clyde just got busted, and they both have the option of ratting on their partner. It's in their best interest not to rat on their partner, but the stakes are high. If only one of them rats, the silent ``sucker'' spends 10 years in prison while the ``cheat'' gets released immediately. What would you do? Explore these and other scenarios in this introductory game theory class--and see how you can leverage them to get more out of group situations.

H4586: Impromptu Speaking
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Quick! You have two minutes to think about the topic I choose--and then you have to give a six-minute speech!

We'll talk about why this is a useful skill to have, and then learn how to work within this framework to write and present an interesting, organized speech under incredible time pressure. Finally, you'll try it out yourself!

NOTE: This class will end at 10:20, NOT 10:50 as it says on the schedule, because of a teacher conflict. During the extra 40 minutes, feel free to attend a walk-in seminar!

H4587: Vocabulary with Calvin and Hobbes Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Xavier Jackson

We will be learning the meanings of vocabulary words by using context clues, the words coming from Bill Waterson's Calvin and Hobbes.


Prerequisites
None

H4650: History of the T
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ian Martin

A course for anyone who has wondered about how the MBTA came to be what it is today. We will focus particularly on the current and former rail routes, from the times when trolleys ruled the streets of Boston right up to the proposed Green Line extension into Somerville.

H4619: Reading Poetry
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Melissa Ko

How do you read a poem? What does a poem mean? Where can we find this meaning?

Come and enjoy the lyrical music in poetry as we read several poems, some widely acclaimed and some relatively unknown! We will discuss poems and what they could mean by examining tone, rhyme, voice, figurative language and more.


Prerequisites
willing to read out loud and discuss, interest in poetry

H4558: Myanmar : Home of Burmese Pythons
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Suan Tuang

Want to learn about the country that has one of the biggest pythons on the planet and yet is a country with GDP capita of just $462? When was the last time a Nobel Peace Prize winner wasn't allowed to receive his/her Nobel Prize due to government intervention? Learn about the Noble Laureate who spent 14 of the past 20 year in house arrest. Expand your cultural horizons and learn about the country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). We will discuss current state of Myanmar while covering various topics such as the military government, ongoing elections, living conditions, etc.


Prerequisites
None

H4603: Prototyping Plots
Difficulty: **

Got ideas for stories but not sure how to pull them together? Why do some plots just feel right? And how many coincidences can you really get away with in a story, anyway? (It's two, by the way; come and hear why.) "Prototyping Plots" is a crash course in creating stories - looking at where ideas come from, making memorable characters, and crafting coherent plots. Come in with some ideas and leave with more!

H4582: History of the Star Wars Galaxy (Part 1)
Difficulty: **

Part one of this course will cover history from 100,000 BBY to 3,986 BBY. This will cover events prior to the creation of the Star Forge up to Ulic Qel Droma's death on Rhen Var. This class series will cover an overview of the history of the Star Wars Galaxy covering material from 100,000 BBY to 25 ABY. This is a three-part course focusing on character profiles, important events (including the Great Hyperspace War, the Sith War, the Mandalorean War, the Second Sith War, the Battle of Ruusan, the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, the Birth of the New Republic, and the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion), weapons and technology (everything from blasters and lightsabers to energy shields and cloaking devices), and vehicles and vessels with a focus on the use and development of the force by the Jedi Order, the Sith, and other lesser known factions throughout. Class will consist primarily of lecture with short breaks for discussion of the material.


Prerequisites
It is required that students have seen all 6 Star Wars movies (Clone Wars animated movie and series is not required) and have some knowledge of expanded universe material (timeline outside of the movies). While it is not required it is strongly recommended that students have read at least 5 Star Wars novels or sourcebooks. No prior classes are required for this course.

H4595: Breaking Apart Picture Books
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Holmes

Utilizing the work of Mo Willems, an incredible children's writer, and many others, we'll (briefly) cover the issues surrounding picture books & children's literature. From the idea that children's literature is written for multiple audiences & how that plays out in a book, to what is meant by verso & recto, we'll cover many of the aspects of picture books & children's literature as well as the ideological issues surrounding the genre!

If you so wish, bring some favorite stories of your own & we'll examine the books!!


Prerequisites
Read lots of Children's Literature & are comfortable commenting on how various titles make you feel.

H4602: The Massachusetts Institute of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Difficulty: *

In this class we will talk about fate, choice, love, house-elves, angsty emo teenagers, and anything else in the Harry Potter series that sparks your interest.


Prerequisites
1. Have read the seven books. 2. Were disappointed on your 11th birthday when your Hogwarts letter didn't arrive.

H4543: Introduction to Mandarin Chinese for Non-Native Speakers, by a Non-Native Speaker
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tanya Kortz

We will learn the basics of Mandarin Chinese, including tones, pronunciation, and character strokes. By the end of the class, you'll know some basic words/phrases you can easily incorporate into your everyday life!


Prerequisites
No knowledge of Chinese.

H4583: History of the Star Wars Galaxy (Part 2)
Difficulty: **

Part two of this course will cover material from 3,965 BBY to 1,000 BBY. This will cover material from the beginning of the Mandalorian War to the Battle of Ruusan. This class series will cover an overview of the history of the Star Wars Galaxy covering material from 100,000 BBY to 25 ABY. This is a three-part course focusing on character profiles, important events (including the Great Hyperspace War, the Sith War, the Mandalorean War, the Second Sith War, the Battle of Ruusan, the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, the Birth of the New Republic, and the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion), weapons and technology (everything from blasters and lightsabers to energy shields and cloaking devices), and vehicles and vessels with a focus on the use and development of the force by the Jedi Order, the Sith, and other lesser known factions throughout. Class will consist primarily of lecture with short breaks for discussion of the material.


Prerequisites
It is required that students have seen all 6 Star Wars movies (Clone Wars animated movie and series is not required) and have some knowledge of expanded universe material (timeline outside of the movies). While it is not required it is strongly recommended that students have read at least 5 Star Wars novels or sourcebooks. No prior classes are required for this course.

H4525: History of Europe in Two Hours
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bruce Arthur

This class will cover the history of Europe from Ancient Greece to the modern day.

It is intended for students who have not yet taken a class on European History, or for those who want a quick review.



Prerequisites
This is an introductory course. If you already know a lot about European History, you will probably find it uninteresting. Explore something new instead!

H4520: Introduction to Thai
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tana Wattanawaroon

There are more Asian languages that involve exotic characters and outlandish tones than Chinese, Japanese and Korean! Learn about this awesome language where tone markers don’t describe the same tone on different characters. We will focus on the Thai alphabet, tone recognition, and useful expressions for tourists in Thailand. After this course, you will know how not to be a “farang” clown saying words used by opposite gender.

H4556: European and US Terrorism in the late 19th century
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Sonja Glaab

This class focuses on politically motivated radicalism in late 19th century Europe and the United States.

Looking at historical cases, such as the Haymarket Bombing in Chicago, we discuss questions such as: What makes a terrorist a terrorist? Who defines who is a terrorist and who is a fighter for a righteous cause? How can states and societies deal with political extremists?


H4566: Pronounce Foreign Names
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Murray Denofsky

Ever puzzled at how to pronounce foreign names you come across in the news? Learn to recognize and pronounce common languages such as german, spanish, italian and romanized russian, arabic and chinese.


H4589: Experimental Philosophy Full!
Difficulty: **

Do you think philosophy is all in your head? Experimental philosophy is a growing field that uses experimental data—usually, surveys of ordinary non-philosophers—to answer philosophical questions. We'll look at some of the questions experimental philosophers are trying to answer. How do people's intuitions about ethical problems vary across cultures? What is consciousness? When are people responsible for their actions? And finally—Can we learn anything about philosophy by doing experiments?


Prerequisites
We don't assume any experience in philosophy. Just be willing to participate!

H4574: Behind Barbed Wire
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Naomi Schurr

A look at America’s World War II internment camps—from the inside. During World War II, thousands of Japanese people in America and American citizens of Japanese ancestry were ordered to leave their homes and move to War Relocation Centers, presumably for the safety of the United States. Rather than debating the constitutionality of such an order, after covering some brief facts to establish the historical context, we will focus on the people, their experiences, and other tidbits not normally emphasized in textbooks. We will read selections from internee testimonies and cartoons exposing inconveniences, ironies, tragedies, and good times. We will explore how and why internment affected Japanese-American young, old, and families in different ways. Please come ready to expand your view of the internee experience, and participate in our discussion.

H4584: History of the Star Wars Galaxy (Part 3)
Difficulty: **

Part 3 of this course will cover material from 60 BBY to 30 ABY. This will cover the beginning of the Mandalorian civil war to the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. This class series will cover an overview of the history of the Star Wars Galaxy covering material from 100,000 BBY to 25 ABY. This is a three-part course focusing on character profiles, important events (including the Great Hyperspace War, the Sith War, the Mandalorean War, the Second Sith War, the Battle of Ruusan, the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, the Birth of the New Republic, and the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion), weapons and technology (everything from blasters and lightsabers to energy shields and cloaking devices), and vehicles and vessels with a focus on the use and development of the force by the Jedi Order, the Sith, and other lesser known factions throughout. Class will consist primarily of lecture with short breaks for discussion of the material.


Prerequisites
It is required that students have seen all 6 Star Wars movies (Clone Wars animated movie and series is not required) and have some knowledge of expanded universe material (timeline outside of the movies). While it is not required it is strongly recommended that students have read at least 5 Star Wars novels or sourcebooks. No prior classes are required for this course.

H4625: Practical Taoism: Eastern Philosophy in the 21st Century
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Julia Winn

"Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear"

~Taoteching

This class will first provide a brief overview of the fundamental principles in traditional Taoist philosophy before opening up the floor to discuss the potential application of these principles- or lack thereof, in the postmodern era. Possible questions may include:

Is innovation possible in a society without ambition?

If desire is an integral part of human nature, how can one effectively live without it?

If "right" and "wrong" are artificially constructed distinctions, what will stand in the way of theft and violence?

Students will also be encouraged to think of everyday situations relevant to their own lives.


Prerequisites
none

H4690: Language and Thought
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Avril Kenney

Does speaking a different language make people think about the world in a different way? Are there things that we couldn't think about without words? These questions have been heavily debated for decades by linguists, cognitive scientists, and anthropologists, with still no clear answer. We'll discuss some of the research that has been done on this topic, and you are welcome to contribute your own opinions!


Prerequisites
Interest in language, willingness to participate in discussion.

H4707: How to Save the World Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Christian Ternus

Want to fight AIDS, eradicate polio, stop terrorism, end poverty, and bring hope to people around the world?

Find out how international development workers are doing all this and more. Hear about what helps (and what doesn't) and how technology changes everything. Learn how you can make a difference - it's easier than you think.

H4612: Parliamentary Procedure and Debate
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Simone Agha

Decorum! Learn how to write your own bills and debate them using the much-loved Robert’s Rules of Order.

H4585: Advanced Star Wars Discussion (Part of the History of the Star Wars Galaxy classes)
Difficulty: ***

This course will consist of a one hour lecture covering such topics as weapons and technologies, starships, planets, alien species and cultures, and the Force (of course!), and will be followed by an hour of discussion where students will break in to groups to critically discuss provided topics in Star Wars, followed by a summary where groups will present their findings. While it is required that students have taken at least one of my History of the Star Wars Galaxy courses, it is still strongly recommended that you take all three of the history classes prior to this course, as they each cover very different and important topics which will provide vital background knowledge for this class.


Prerequisites
It is required that students have taken at least one of my History of the Star Wars Galaxy classes, either from this year or last. It is still strongly recommended that students take all three of the history classes prior to this course, as they each cover very different and important topics which will provide vital background knowledge for this class.

H4613: Nationalistic Music of the Romantic Period
Difficulty: **

In this class we will:
-listen to awesome music from the Romantic Period
-drink tea
-discuss the context of select pieces in terms of their composer's lives and their homelands!



Prerequisites
Interest in the Romantic Period and a desire to hear some great music!


Mathematics

[ Return to Category List ]

M4692: What Is Infinity? Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Miriam Gershenson

You've heard people talking about "infinity." But do you really know what it is? What do we know about infinity? Is there more than one kind of infinity? I'll talk about the answers to these questions, and along the way you'll learn about what it means to prove something in math.

M4542: Dynamic Programming
Difficulty: **

Dynamic programming is an optimization method that transforms complex problems into simpler subproblems. Developed in the mid-twentieth century, it is applied to fields as diverse as bioinformatics, macroeconomics, operations research, and computer science.

To explore the area of dynamic programming, we will first study a few well-known optimization problems. Afterwards, we will extend the tools that we develop to cases with stochastic features.

M4561: Counting with Bijections
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Josh Alman

Counting can be really hard. For instance, say we wanted to find the number of non-decreasing sequences of positive integers of length n, whose ith term is at most i. Counting these with "normal" methods would require solving annoying recurrence relations or breaking the problem into a huge number of cases for big enough n (try it!). However, if we could somehow find a set with equally as many elements as the set of such sequences, but that is easier to count, it would make our task much simpler. This method almost always involves cool insights and very elegant ideas, and although combinatorial in nature, it can extend to other areas of math in surprising ways. In this class, we'll count the sizes of some sets and prove some identities, including relations involving Fibonacci numbers. We will also use exclusively bijective means to prove Fermat's Little Theorem.


Prerequisites
If you understand sigma summation notation and understand the problem in the description, then you should be fine. If you are already very familiar with Catalan numbers and proving Fibonacci identities bijectively, you might not learn very much new material.

M4550: Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Benjamin Horowitz

Partial Differential Equations are really fun and really cool. It is basically ordinary (single variable) differential equations, but BETTER! In this little class we will talk briefly about the main methods of solving partial differential equations. We will also talk about boundary value problems and finally solve “the heat equation” using Fourier Series and separation of variables.


Prerequisites
A solid handle on single variable calculus is an absolute must. Some knowledge of multivariable calculus (partial differentiation) and ordinary differential equations (single variable separation of variables, linear differential equations) would be extremely useful.

M4597: Factoring
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Holden Lee

Why can integers be factored uniquely into primes? In proving this fundamental fact, we will discover how to generalize the idea of factoring to other number systems, such as complex numbers, as well as to polynomials.


Prerequisites
Enough algebra to be familiar with complex numbers and polynomials.

M4700: Prove It With Induction!
Difficulty: **

Mathematical induction is one of three key methods of proof, and is a powerful tool for every mathematician. Its most basic use is in the proofs of identities such as $$0+1+2+3+\cdots+n=\frac{n(n+1)}{2}$$, but its full power extends far beyond that, into all realms of mathematics. Induction can even be used to prove that all pigs are yellow*.

*Note: It is not actually true that all pigs are yellow. The proof has a hidden flaw in it. Can you figure it out? Take our class and give it a try!


Prerequisites
An interest in learning the art of mathematical proofs. This class, or prior knowledge of induction, is a prerequisite for the class "Infinitely Many Proofs of Infinitely Many Primes."

M4663: Linkages: The Steampunkest Math Class at Spark
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Joshua Horowitz

Take a bunch of pieces of metal, and attach them together with hinges. What do you get?

* Some of the greatest engineering challenges of the 19th century.

* Beautiful geometry that helps you build mechanical computers.

* A nifty introduction to the concepts behind topology.

And, of course, The Steampunkest Math Class at Spark.


Prerequisites
None.

M4577: Understanding Uncertainty: Statistics Storytime
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Finale Doshi-Velez

Is jaywalking safer than using crosswalks? Should I get a flu shot? Is climate change for real? For small questions as well as big ones, many of our decisions require making sense of uncertainty. In this short course, we'll go through a series of practical, realworld examples of how statistical concepts are used--and misused--in common situations. In the process, we'll learn about some basic probability, statistics, and logic that everyone should know to interpret all the numbers around us.


M4681: Combinatorial Game Theory
Difficulty: **

Ever wanted to prove who can win a game? Love playing games like Hex, Chess, Nim, or Dots and Boxes? Curious what it means for a game to be impartial, zero-sum, or perfect information? Then join us as we play games, discuss strategies, and investigate the mathematics behind them.

M4559: The Line at Infinity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Murray Denofsky

Learn how mathematicians have found a neat but curious way to extend the plane so as to represent the behavior of algebraic and analytic functions at infinity in a natural way. The resulting closed surface is one-sided, like a Möbius strip or Klein Bottle, and has the properties that any two lines intersect in exactly one point, but a line does not divide the plane into two parts—both sides of the line are the same region! This unique surface obeys elliptic geometry, a variant of spherical geometry. It is also used in projective geometry, where it is called the real projective plane.



Prerequisites
It would be desirable to know how to graph functions in the plane, but not essential; we can review it briefly.

M4701: Famous Problems and Paradoxes in Probability Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Max Dunitz, Eli Ross

This course is designed to expose students to creative problem solving and logical mathematical thinking. Rigor and formalism will take a back seat to exposure to interesting problems.



Prerequisites
This course is self-contained; a background in high school algebra is sufficient for success. We will start out slowly but by the end of the course will have thought about some accessible famous problems.

M4673: Introduction to Number Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alex Cole, Stephen Face

Do you like numbers? What about theories? If so then this class is for you!


Prerequisites
Some maths. Addition and multiplication are necessary. Division is useful but not required.

M4654: Odd Math Tricks to Annoy People with
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Letitia Li

I will prove lots of unbelievable statements, and you try to figure out if I'm lying. Learn why I insist 420 > 422, how the Monty Hall problem works, how I set up a rigged card game, and the principles behind these problems.

M4628: Proofs from THE BOOK
Difficulty: **

"Oh one more thing. Euler, when he died, he simply collapsed and said ‘I am finished’, and when I told this story somebody callously remarked ‘ well another conjecture of Euler was proven true!’ —Paul Erdos.

An exploration of the some of the most elegant proofs in mathematics (and some humorous historical background.)


Prerequisites
Precalc

M4606: How to Use a Slide Rule
Difficulty: **

Back in the day, when men were real men, women were real women, and things were more hardcore, you couldn't find a scientist or engineer without his or her trusty slide rule. Unlike the TI-whatever-they're-up-to-now, slide rules are a purely analog method of calculation. Operating, not on batteries, but on the magic of logarithms, they can be used for multiplication, division, roots, powers, trigonometry, and more. We'll talk about the history of the slide rule, and teach you basic and advanced calculations. Bring your own if you'd like!


Prerequisites
Understanding logarithms and trigonometry are a must.

M4547: Ordinary Differential Equations
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Benjamin Horowitz

Differential Equations are the most powerful mathematical tools ever created to understand the world. They are essential to understanding economics, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, meteorology, sociology, and tons more. Also differential equations are interesting in a purely mathematical context, and have an extensive theory of existence and uniqueness of solutions. Come to embrace differential equations from both a computational and theoretical perspective; covering topics like separation of variables, homogeneous and non-homogeneous linear equations, Laplace transforms and systems of linear equations. Also, I will cover some cool qualitative methods (linearization of non-linear systems, phase diagrams) if time permits.



Prerequisites
Knowledge of integration and differentiation will be assumed, linear algebra (determinants, eigenvalues/vectors) will be useful for the second half, but basics will be covered in the class briefly.

M4729: Metric Spaces and Topology
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Daniel Zaharopol

Deep mathematics comes from taking simple concepts and generalizing them. Maybe you think you understand the idea of distance. Generalize it, and you get a "metric space," a new object that satisfies all of the basic properties of distance but does far more interesting things than happen in our world.

With metric spaces, we can understand the idea of continuous functions more deeply; we can start to understand the mathematical field of topology; we can prove the existence and uniqueness of solutions to differential equations; and much more. This class will offer a fast-paced introduction to the theory of metric spaces and a look at what you can do with them.


Prerequisites
This class will move very, very quickly. Some experience dealing with abstract math --- or some willingness to be very lost in a math class --- is required. No other mathematics beyond basic high school algebra is necessary; we're going to start from basic principles and build up.

M4644: Mathemagical puzzles, games, and diversions Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Josh Alman, Leon Zhou

You might think that you need to know a lot of math to be able to enjoy a Spark math class. But, you're wrong!! Come to this class, where we'll see lots of cool stuff and have no prereqs. There will be lots of happiness involved.


Prerequisites
Absolutely none!

M4702: Street Fighting Mathematics
Difficulty: **

Do you like street fighting? Do you like mathematics? If so, then this class is for you!


Prerequisites
Calculus would be very helpful.

M4546: A Quick and Dirty Introduction to Linear Algebra
Difficulty: **

Ever wonder why your Algebra II teacher taught you how to add and subtract those little vectors? Vectors are just the first step into, what we consider, the most beautiful field of mathematics. From the basic properties of a vector space are built up linear transformations, determinants, Kramer's Rule, linear independence, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and so much more.




Prerequisites
Knowledge of addition, subtraction and multiplication of matrices will be assumed, as well as vector operations (vector addition/subtraction). A certain amount of abstract thinking is always useful.

M4598: Complex Analysis
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Holden Lee

Calculus on the complex numbers has an entirely different attitude from calculus on the reals. The additional structure of the complex numbers greatly enriches the theory of differentiable functions.
We will cover Cauchy's Theorem and power (Laurent) series, and prove the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra and the formula 1+1/2^2+1/3^2+...=pi^2/6.

If time allows, I will discuss applications to elliptic curves.


Prerequisites
Calculus.

M4697: Generating Functions
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Arvind Thiagarajan

Sometimes in Math (or Science) there are these hammers which you can use to trivialize problems. Often, using a hammer takes some of the fun and excitement out of solving a problem, but usually that doesn’t keep you from learning how to use the hammer.

Generating function is the hammer with which we demolish combinatorics problems. In this class, we will show how encoding combinatorial problems algebraically gives us a whole new level of insight into the subject, and conclude with a method that will allow you to compute almost any combinatorial sum you might encounter.


Prerequisites
Combinatorics and Calculus. You want to have had a reasonable exposure to both subjects. Functionally, calculus is more useful for the course; however, combinatorial reasoning will be highly useful.

M4549: Semi-Riemannian Geometry: the Mathematics of General Relativity
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Benjamin Horowitz

Come learn about the very exciting field of Semi-Riemannian (also known as psuedo-Riemannian) Geometry. In this class we will discuss: Manifolds, Diffeomorphisms, Vector Fields, One Forms, Dual Spaces, Tensors, Metrics, Connections, Curvature, and Topology on Manifolds. This is the mathematical foundation of General Relativity, and it will be a roller coaster of fun! There will be allocated time in the middle for a break and answering math (or other) questions.

$$ \operatorname{Ric} = R_{ij}\,dx^i \otimes dx^j $$



Prerequisites
This class will move quickly and be rather challenging. The topics are very abstract and it will be unlikely that you would get much out of the class without a firm foundation in linear algebra (linear transformations, vector spaces ) and multivariable calculus (partial derivatives, directional derivatives, calculus on vector valued functions (parametric curves)). Knowledge of special relativity would be useful for the physical applications.

M4674: Advanced Random Awesome Maths
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Alex Cole, Stephen Face

Are you advanced? What about awesome? If so than come to this class!

We might do some stuff with Euler's formula, Stirling's formula, and the Gamma Function or we might do something totally different. Come and find out!


Prerequisites
Addition, Multiplication, Subtraction, Division, and Calculus.

M4696: Combinatorics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: MINH TUE VO THANH

Basic combinatorial techniques in mathematics (including counting and probability)

M4571: Infinitely Many Proofs of Infinitely Many Primes!
Difficulty: **

How many primes are there? INFINITELY MANY! How many different ways can you prove that? INFINITELY MANY! Unfortunately, Spark isn’t infinitely long, so we’ll only have time to cover $$\infty - 1$$ ways.


Prerequisites
Previous exposure to basic proof methods will prove helpful. As such, if you are unfamiliar with the Principle of Mathematical Induction, you should take our other class, "Prove It with Induction!" You definitely need to know what a prime number is, and it would really help if you understand terms like “greatest common denominator” and “modular arithmetic.”


Science

[ Return to Category List ]

S4675: Critical Phenomena & Phase Transitions
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Joshua Horowitz

If you take a water molecule and cool it down, not much will happen. You can make a nice smooth graph of energy vs. temperature, but that's just about it.

Put a bunch of water molecules together, though, and you get a completely different story. At some specific temperature, the way in which the water organizes itself suddenly changes, and we have solid ice instead of liquid water.

How can interesting behavior come out of uninteresting pieces? How can a discontinuous jump come out of continuous physical laws?

The freezing of ice is a critical phenomenon. Other systems which exhibit critical phenomena include magnets, superconductors, liquid crystal displays, and the universe itself (especially in its early days). Weirdly enough, it seems that problems we give computers to solve may also exhibit "phase transitions".

Phase transitions are usually reserved for upper-level physics courses. I hope to give you a small taste of them, because I think they're the coolest things ever.


Prerequisites
This class won't be mathematically rigorous, but it will play with some sophisticated ideas from math & physics. Most importantly: You should be comfortable with probability, and with the role of energy in physics. Even with those under your belt though, I make no promises.

S4536: Deep Sea Biology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Georgina Dorminy

The bottom of the ocean. Deep, dark, cold and barren of life, right? Well, there might be more things living there than you could imagine! Come, find out about these freaky organisms and the place they call home.


Prerequisites
You should be able to answer these questions: 1) In the chemical reaction: H2 + F2 = 2HF which element is oxidized and which is reduced? 2) If a reaction has a negative enthaply change, is it endothermic or exothermic? Answers: 1) Hydrogen is oxidized, Fluorine is reduced 2)Exothermic

S4689: The Physics of the Violin, Viola, and Cello
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Charles Hsu

The violin is perhaps one of the most beautiful instruments created. To the passive bystander, it may appear to be a physical black box out of which flows music enchanting to the ear.

In this course, you will learn how the structure of a violin lends itself to its function as we connect the basic ideas of physical acoustics to the violin.

When you walk away from this course, you will be able to see instruments from a scientific perspective, not so much as to override an instrument's romantic appeal, but perhaps to spawn greater curiosities into the intricacies of their construction.

This course


Prerequisites
No course prerequisites, but students should either 1) have an interest in physics and a basic understanding of instruments of the violin family or 2) have an interest in music and a basic understanding of physics... Or ideally be interested in both!

S4560: Introduction to Molecular Biology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jamie Kang

Come learn about the central dogma, cloning, PCR, and gel electrophoresis, and use these techniques to solve a crime scene! There will also be a Q & A, and we'll answer all your questions about molecular biology!


Prerequisites
Introductory Biology course or AP Biology or general interest in biology

S4557: Spectacular Spectroscopy! How light lets us see inside stars, travel back in time, and unravel the mysteries of the universe. Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Allison Hamilos

Ever wonder how astronomers came up with the Big Bang Theory? Or how we can predict how the universe will end? Everything we know about space comes from electromagnetic radiation - aka light! We'll start from the basics of what light is, how it works, and how spectroscopy lets astronomers experiment on supermassive objects billions of miles away. Then we'll talk about what we've learned so far: how the universe began, how stars die, and how planets are born. Come learn how a rainbow lets us see inside the sun, look back in time, and fast forward into the future!


Prerequisites
For students to have the best possible experience, they should be familiar with very basic algebra, know some basics about electromagnetic waves (radio, infrared, light, microwaves, gamma rays, etc, etc.), and have an interest in astronomy. Middle school students and up should be able to follow along, although high school students may be better prepared to understand concepts fully.

S4708: Science And Society Roundtable
Difficulty: **

A discussion of the role of science in society.

Should scientists more publicly spread and back up their beliefs about the world? Or should they get back to their labs and focus on what they do best? Is greater scientific literacy important?

We will discuss these questions and more. Please come prepared with your questions, your burning desires for answers.

S4660: Lagrangian Mechanics (a.k.a Deriving Physics from Scratch)
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Adam Strandberg

Does F=ma seem unsatisfactory to you? Have you ever wondered if there were deeper principles governing the motion of objects? In this class, we start from the principle of least action to derive the Euler-Lagrange equations, F=ma, and conservation of energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum. We will end up with a powerful system to express classical mechanics that can be extended to describe the quantum and relativistic world.


Prerequisites
A good grasp of single variable calculus and vector geometry is very necessary. Knowledge of Newtonian mechanics and multivariable calculus is also useful.

S4535: The Structure of Matter Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Eric Gentry

A view of major competing theories in the world of physics of what makes up life, the universe and everything.

Primary Focuses (Foci, one might say):
-Standard Model (ie. particle physics)
-Quantum dynamics
-String theory

Extended topics
-Dark matter

Requested topics are welcomed. Bring any questions!


Prerequisites
High school level of either physics or chemistry. Preferably both. AP level is beneficial, but by no means required.

S4694: How to win science fairs and do research in high school
Difficulty: *

Want to know how to have the best science fair project? Work at a university lab under a professor? Enter Intel, Siemens and other prestigious competitions? Meet MIT students who've navigated the maze of high school research, and can help you know how its done.


Prerequisites
Enthusiasm! Interest in independent research!

S4527: Special Relativity!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Linda Chen

So you think you understand space. And you think you understand time. After all, these are things that we all live with since birth. Well, THINK AGAIN.

This course is an introduction to special relativity. We will talk about time dilation, Lorentz contraction, the interval, and what this all means for you. We will measure the speed of light with food. And then we will eat the food.


Prerequisites
Algebra

S4671: Engineering Projects for your Kardashev 1+ civilization
Difficulty: **

Can your civilization make effective use of all the solar energy incident on a single planet? Need some ideas for ways to use all that mass and energy? Then this class is for you.

We cover many of the projects that might be attempted by a large and technological civilization within the bounds of known physics (so no hyperspace or energy shields). We mostly cover the “guns and butter”, namely methods of warfare and expansion. Topics include: Methods of relativistic space flight, Dyson spheres, Giant Lasers, Uses of Black Holes, Stellar Mining, Ramscoops and more…

Subject matter will mostly consist of things covered in our Interstellar Warfare and Interstellar Empires classes, but we will hopefully have time to get into more details of the physics involved and answer more questions.

This will be much the same class as last year.


Prerequisites
Familiarity with basic algebra and basic concepts in physics will be useful.

S4562: Quantum Tunneling, Black Holes, and The Weird Universe
Difficulty: *

It turns out that behind the scenes nature works in bizarre and wonderful ways. We’ll explain some of these ideas, ranging from the very small – where particles routinely walk through walls and almost anything can happen – to the very large – where the fabric of space and time itself is curved, a glance at the sky can show you the birth of the universe, and mysteriously named Black Holes are inescapable for anything, even light itself. We’ll discuss these cryptic sentences and explain how weird our universe really is.


Prerequisites
No prior knowledge needed. Only a desire to learn something new about our universe.

S4699: The Gentlemen's Game: Neuroanatomy and Neural Networks
Difficulty: ***

Some subjects transcend amusement. Some subjects surpass idle intellectualism to become showcases of human perseverance and strategic achievement. Join us for a whirlwind introduction to the brain, referred to by many as the chess of human organs.

In all seriousness, though, we'll take you through the basic structure of neurons, how they interact, and how these seemingly simple interactions can be used to perform amazing computations.



Prerequisites
- Elementary Calculus and Introductory Biology. - Electricity and Magnetism is preferred but not required.

S4538: Introduction to Organic Chemistry
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Georgina Dorminy

There is an entire field of Chemistry devoted to the study of the compounds of a single element: carbon. You have thousands of organic compounds in and around you right now. Life could not exist without these and the reactions they undergo. Organic Chemistry is used by chemists, biologists, engineers, doctors, cooks, janitors... to be honest, everyone.

This class is going to be a fast-paced introduction to this vast field.


Prerequisites
This class will go through things very quickly and will sometimes get confusing. It will be challenging, but if you can answer these questions, you'll be able to follow it. 1) NaOH and HCl react to form what products? 2) Which of these molecules are polar: Cl2, H2O, HF, H2 3)Identify the type of bond (ionic or covalent) in the following molecules: NaCl, H2O, Mg(OH)2, NH3 Answers: 1) H2O and NaCl 2) H2O and HF 3) ionic, covalent, ionic, covalent

S4651: Atomic Structure
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ian Martin

A look at how people have modeled matter, from the start of time right up the the quantum model of the atom. Geared toward those who haven't taken a chemistry course before.


Prerequisites
Basic knowledge of algebra

S4580: Magnetism
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Helena Liu

There are more magnets in your life than the things sticking to your fridge!

Learn about how they let your computers store information, hear stories of credit cards being erased, and learn some physics and interesting magnetic properties, like why you feel bumps when you rub two refrigerator magnets together.


Prerequisites
Enough E&M to know what electricity and magnetic fields are

S4703: Understanding Proteins: A Path to Understanding Cancer (and other diseases)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Stephanie Bachar

Almost all of us are touched by cancer in some way. So, what does it take to cure it? One tactic is to kill ONLY the cancerous cells.
But cancer is an incredibly complex disease where a few of your own cells accumulate genetic mutations that allow them to grow out of control, creating tumors. So, how do we target the cells we want?

Find out how understanding protein-protein interactions allows us to answer that question and has lead to the advent of personalized treatments for cancer patients.

S4661: Dark Matter Detection: Discovering what the universe is made of
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Adam Strandberg

According to astronomers, we can't see 85% of the mass in the universe. Even more interestingly, nobody knows what it's made of!

In this class, we'll talk about why there is almost certainly dark matter (and why there might not be). I'll also talk about the efforts of the DMTPC (Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber) group in determining the nature of these elusive particles.


Prerequisites
A good conceptual grasp of physics is recommended, but this class will not contain any technical derivations or complicated mathematics.

S4579: Dinosaurs
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bruce Arthur

You're never too old to learn about Dinosaurs! This class is about dinosaur biology. We'll look at the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, the environments that dinosaurs lived in, and how dinosaurs lived...and killed.


Prerequisites
This is an introductory class. If you're already an expert on dinosaurs, you might find it boring. Explore a new topic instead!

S4572: Kitchen Chemistry
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Anne Runkle

Have you ever wondered what makes sourdough bread sour? What makes cakes rise? Why liquid nitrogen ice cream is so tasty? Why you can't hard-boil an egg on Mt. Everest? How the Maillard reaction makes bacon irresistibly delicious?

Come learn the answers to these questions, and try out a few delicious experiments of your own. This is probably the only chemistry lab you'll ever take where you can snack on the end product of your reactions!


Prerequisites
An appetite, sense of humor, and curiosity about food and science! One year of high school chemistry is recommended, but not necessary. Experience with cooking or baking is also a plus. **If you have any serious food allergies, please email s4572-teachers@esp.mit.edu before you sign up for this class!**

S4695: Systems Biology: Understanding and Designing Biological Systems
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Arvind Thiagarajan

Are you a math/physics person easily irked by the way biologists tend to make everything qualitative? Turns out there’s a lot of people in biology like you: they’re called systems biologists!

It turns out that the behavior of a cell (or any biological system) doesn’t depend very much on this gene or that gene as much as it depends on how much of one transcription factor or another are present, and how strongly these factors affect different reactions. When you get to the bottom of this stuff, you find that statistical mechanics and stochastic physical processes are the driving force for all of the interesting things in biology.

Join this class if you think it would be cool to do biology with physics and math, and actually pull cool results out.



Prerequisites
Interest in Biology, Physics, and Math is essential. Calculus and basic knowledge of Differential Equations, basic knowledge of what different cellular process (i.e. transcription, translation) are, and some physical intuition would be helpful. If you're unsure about what you need to know, just shoot me an email at athiagar@mit.edu.

S4533: The 4 Forces
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Eric Gentry

What keeps us from simply sinking through the floor? Well the "easy" answer is there are forces pushing up, to balance the downward force of gravity. Makes sense, from what we know--one thing touches another and there's an interaction.

But wait, bits of an atom never actually touch. So what tells them to stop moving past each other. Better yet, what tells two opposite charges, seperated by any astronomical distance, to be attracted to each other, if only just slightly?

We'll go through an easy-to-understand exploration of what the 4 forces of nature are, and how particle physicists explain the world around us.


Prerequisites
Basic understand of forces. Students with more advanced levels of physics are welcome, but I will be teaching a similar class gear towards you (check class listings).

S4609: Energy: The Nuclear Perspective
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Derek Sutherland

Energy. One of the most important quantities of science, which our civilization is using more of every day. The impending shortages of energy, as well as environmental considerations of fossil fuels are driving us to develop alternative energies to push our world into a brighter future.

One particularly promising form is nuclear energy. What is the physics behind nuclear energy? What are the theoretical limits of nuclear energy production? What are the environmental considerations? What are the scientific applications of nuclear energy? In this course, we will explore nuclear energy on a fundamental level, the reason for why nuclear processes are more energetic than others, and how to think of energy production conceptually. Topics covered include nuclear fission and thermonuclear fusion, the physics that drive these processes, and the current status of these fields today. If you would like an exciting overview of nuclear energy without being overwhelmed by too much mathematics, this is the class for you!


Prerequisites
None

S4537: Ecology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Georgina Dorminy

Do you ever find yourself wondering how a lake turns into a field, or a field into a forest? Why are there more gazelles than lions? Why are there a lot of mosquitoes around one year and almost none the next?
In this class you'll learn the basics of ecology using animal and plant examples and find out how to answer your own questions like those above.


Prerequisites
This class is going to start completely from scratch, so interest and enthusiasm is all you need!

S4632: Cancer Biology: Causes and Cures
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Melissa Ko

Did you know that one in every two males is expected to develop cancer in his lifetime? Did you know that one in every three women will do the same?

What puts people at risk to develop cancer? Why are smokers 10-20 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers? Why does having more children reduce a woman's chance of getting breast cancer?

Cancer is a disease where a single cell transforms over time into a malignant growth, a tumor that can spread and take over the rest of the human body. While research scientists have struggled to find a cure for this leading cause of death, many questions about cancer are still unanswered.

In this class we will talk about risk factors for cancer and how a cell becomes a cancer cell at the molecular level. Through this understanding of what differentiates a transformed cell from a normal cell, we will understand current treatments today like Gleevec, the "magic bullet" for cancer, and how they work.



Prerequisites
introductory biology, should be familiar with basic cell processes like mitosis, signaling, DNA replication, and transcription

S4544: Immunology and HIV
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ying Chan

Take a crash course into immunology!! Learn how different cells in our body protect us from infection! We will also learn why HIV is able to evade our immune system and why it is challenging to eradicate. Next, we'll explore what research is being done to look for a cure for HIV. Finally, we'll have a fun activity!


Prerequisites
Biology

S4618: Introduction to Special Relativity (Advanced)
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ryan Normandin

Right now, you probably believe silly ideas such as F=ma and conservation of mass. You probably think that right now is the only moment that exists. Allow me to empty your head of these foolish notions and learn how the universe REALLY works.


Prerequisites
Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus not required but it will be used in certain derivations, An Open Mind

S4590: Feynmanomena
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Amber Bennoui

Feynman wasn't your typical physicist - renowned for his quirky sense of humor and remarkable discoveries in quantum electrodynamics, he's right up there with the likes of Maxwell and Newton.

We'll discuss his Caltech years, ogle the sweet shuttlecraft named after him and look at a few of his published papers. An extensive knowledge in physics isn't required but you must have a good sense of humor!

S4551: Applications of NMR to Biochemistry
Difficulty: **

Biochemists study proteins and other macromolecules on very small scales. How do they do this? With a very powerful technique called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), we can watch the movements of the proteins, and learn a lot about their dynamics and structure! Although class will focus mainly on the applications of NMR, we'll talk about the physics a little as well.


Prerequisites
Some basic physics, chemistry needed.

S4563: From Ultracold Atoms To Superstring Theory
Difficulty: *

What would happen if you could cool objects to really, really cold temperatures? What would the world look like if you could look at objects at smaller and smaller distances? We’ll talk about the amazing discoveries that people have made trying to answer these questions, including Bose-Einstein condensation, where millions of atoms act as one huge atom, and the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes the objects that make up our universe. Be ready to have your mind blown away!


Prerequisites
It may be good to take our other class "Quantum Tunneling, Black Holes, and The Weird Universe," but that's not entirely necessary.

S4581: Econ 101: How people and firms make decisions
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ben Horkley

Pretty much any time you have to make a decision -- whether or not to buy tickets to a concert, whether to clean your room, whether to smack your little brother in the face -- you're subconsciously using economic principles to guide you. This class will look at the motivating factors for making decisions for both producers and consumers of goods, and how these principles apply in everyday life.

S4534: The 4 Forces -- Advanced
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Eric Gentry

Gauge bosons, QCD, QED, quantum gravity?!

Come find out how particle physicists explain how every single thing interacts!
Class will also close with discussion of alternative theories (so come prepared with questions, and feel free to email requested topics in advance!)


Prerequisites
High school physics. AP recommended, but necessary. For the same topic but with lighter theory, check my other course, of similar name.

S4705: Education and Careers in Biology
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Stephanie Bachar

Do you think Biology is awesome? Do you want to learn more about the subject but are unsure where it might lead you in the long term?

In this class we can cover the basics about:

Undergraduate programs
PhD programs
Medical school
Research
Industry Jobs
Consulting

among other things...

Ask your questions to a panel of MIT students in the biosciences. We will answer to the best of our abilities!

Come with questions!

S4688: Nuclear Science
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Anubhav Sinha

Ever wanted to learn how nuclear weapons and reactors work? Then this is the class for you!


Walk-in Seminar

[ Return to Category List ]

W4630: Introduction to Stage Combat Closed!
Difficulty: **

Violence can often tell a story on stage just as well as words, if not better. When actors fight on stage, they use special techniques to appear to hurt each other without actually doing so. In this class, members of the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble will interactively introduce students to the basics of unarmed stage combat, including slaps, punches, kicks, grabs, and falls. Students will not participate in armed combat, but may see a demonstration. All students will need comfortable clothes and appropriate footwear. Absolutely no jewelry can be worn.

W4668: SET Closed!
Difficulty: **

Come play the greatest game ever invented!!!! Set is a game of visual perception and pattern finding. Everyone from absolute beginners to experts are welcome.

W4684: Telephone Pictionary Closed!
Difficulty: **

Calling all hilariously terrible artists ;).

Telephone pictionary is exactly that - telephone with pictionary. Players stand in a line and the first player is given a word or phrase. They must, through the rules of pictionary, communicate this word or phrase to the next player. Hilarity ensues.

W4643: Rock-Scissors, and other interesting games Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Josh Alman

Rock-Scissors is a 2-person game. The players face each other, and begin by exclaiming “Rock! Scissors!” while raising one hand in a fist, and swinging it at each word. Then, they cry out “Shoot!” and each player either leaves her hand in a fist, signifying rock, or extends her index and middle fingers, signifying scissors. If both players make the same move, then the result is a tie, but if not, then the player who uses rock wins. This may seem like a silly game at first, but under the right circumstances, it might not always be best to use rock. Come play rock-scissors and other such games, and learn strategies to beat all your friends!


Prerequisites
An appreciation for good games.

W4677: Fractal Construction Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Anubhav Sinha

Discover the mathematical beauty of self-symmetric objects by building part of a giant fractal!

W4635: Learn to knit! Closed!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Vicki Crosson

Don't know how to knit? Always wanted to try? Or do you know how to knit and just want to hang out? Join us either way!

W4716: Candy Wrapper Art Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Laura McKnight

Candy wrappers have been ignored for far too long. Now they're back with a vengence, determined to be recognized in their own right for the valuable things that they are. Never again with you throw a gum or starburst wrapper in the trash after you learn to turn them in to art.

W4621: ESP Quilting Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ruth Byers

Help make a wonderful warm blanket out of old ESP program t-shirts!

W4658: Recycled Art! Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Elizabeth Holmes

Come make art using recycled supplies! Make whatever your heart desires!

Various supplies will include (but not be limited to) sticky foam, contact paper, yogurt containers/apple sauce containers, boxes, cardboard, confetti, paint, paint brushes....

Learn how to make bird feeders, bird houses, come finger paint, learn the art of printmaking!

Bring your creativity & any recyclables you wish to use!

W4706: Way Too Many Card Games You've Never Heard Of Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: JB Parkes

304 3-5-8 400 500 All-Fours Ambition Auction bridge Bacon Barbu Bashi Fen Belote Bezique Bid Whist Boston Bisca Bourré Botifarra Bridge Black Lady Bluke Briscola Calabresella Cắt Tê Cego Clabber Clag Contract bridge Doppelkopf Écarté Euchre Escoba Euchre Forty-fives French tarot Gong Zhu Hearts Hokm Jabberwocky Jass Julepe Kaiser Klaverjas Königrufen Krutzjass Make-A-Million Manille Marjapussi Marias Marjolet Mighty Napoleon Nines Ninety-Nine Oh Hell Ombre Pedro Pinochle Piquet Pitch Preferans Put Rams Renfield Rook Rowboat Ruff and Honours Schafkopf Scopa Set-Back Sheepshead Shelem Sixty-six Sixty-three Skat Spades Spoil Five Sueca Tarabish Tarneeb Tarocchini Tarot card games Thunee Tichu Tressette Truc Truco Troccas Trump Tute Twenty-eight Ulti Wendellhead Whist Wizard Authors Commerce Concentration Gilet Happy Families Kemps Literature Noddy Old maid Pens Phase 10 Pope Joan Rooky Schlafmütze Skitgubbe Soureh Svoyi Koziri Taki Thirty-one Three-card Monte Tri Vampire President Bartok Big Two BS Cards in the hat Castle Daifugō Dancing with the Stars Danish Donkey Dou Di Zhu Dupa Biskupa Durak Eleusis Flaps Flinch Ghost player position Give Me the Brain The Great Dalmuti Jungle Speed Killer Kings in the Corner Ligretto Linger longer Luck Plus Mao Musta Maija Once Upon a Time Palase Paskahousu Phase 10 Pits Pivot Pusoy Dos Red Nines Ristiseiska Rummoli Sevens Snip Snap Snorem Spank Pankis Speed Spit Stress Take the Train Tichu Tien len Tong-its Treasure Uno Winner Yaniv and more...

W4717: Student lounge Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rachel Keeler

Come hang out with other students and ESP volunteers. Eat snacks, relax, and chat about life, the universe, and everything!

W4679: TV Experiments You CAN Do At Home Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sahar Hakim

Did you know that people playing "Ring Around The Rosy" around you can help you win an arm-wrestling match? Or that chewing gum will make you less dizzy? Come try out some of these cool experiments from a popular Korean variety show, "Exploration of the Human Body." Test your reflexes, your balance, and more!

W4719: Beginner and Intermediate Yo-Yo Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jacob Cole

This class will teach new yo-yoers the simple yet powerful principles behind creating impressive tricks and inspire them to continue honing their skills on their own, and teach more advanced players some of my favorite maneuvers as a means to develop fluidity, artistry, and individual style. The class will progress as a series of video presentations, live demonstrations of maneuvers, and one-to-one coaching sessions.

W4622: 3-D Geometry Workshop Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Sure, you know what a cube is. Maybe you know what a tetrahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, or icosahedron is-- but regardless, the best way to learn about these shapes is to play with them and build your own 3-D models! Come use paper, cardboard, and whatever else we can find to make all these polyhedra and beyond. What happens when we put them inside each other? Connect or extend the faces or edges?

Most importantly, how big of a mathematical sculpture can we create?


Miscellaneous

[ Return to Category List ]

X4646: Why it's a travesty that America runs on Dunkin' Full!
Difficulty: *

Come taste different coffees and listen to me rant about what good coffee actually is. At the very least, you'll be awake for the rest of the day.

X4578: Movies and our society Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Samuel Perli

Will be covering various worldviews expressed in popular movies in the form of a presentation followed by discussion regarding their applicability and impact on our current society.


Prerequisites
A mind willing to participate :)

X4685: The History and Science of Ice Cream Full!
Difficulty: **

We've all seen ice cream scooped into a wafer cone (even when the cones aren't cones). But have you ever thought about how this delicious treat became such a commonplace part of our culture? Come get some theoretical and practical experience in this specialized branch of the field of dessertology!

X4693: The Gentlemen's Game: Bridge and Bridge Conventions Full!
Difficulty: *

Some games transcend amusement. Some games surpass idle enjoyment to become showcases of human intellect and strategic achievement. Join us for a whirlwind introduction to bridge, referred to by many as the chess of card games. In one hour, you’ll learn the basic rules of bridge, as well as the strategies and bidding conventions that make it the high-class game of MIT-worthy intellects everywhere.



Prerequisites
--Basic knowledge of the four suits of cards --knowledge of the four tarot suits, while non-ideal, is acceptable. --Possession of fine motor skills and manual dexterity required to handle playing cards. --Understanding of the relative values of natural numbers, as well as the ability to generalize this understanding to bidding situations

X4564: Highways of New York
Difficulty: **
Teachers: David Lawrence

We'll discuss the oddities of New York's vast and often incomprehensible network of roads. We will look at the highway system from both historical and practical perspectives, with an emphasis on interesting random facts.

X4540: Disney - A History Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Danica Bybell

Come learn about the work of an American icon – Walter Elias Disney. From his start as a cartoonist to the legacy he left behind in his movies, theme parks, and Fortune 100 company, Disney makes the dreams of millions come true every day.

Learn about the man, the mouse, and the vision, starting in 1901 with Walt’s birth, all the way up to the present day, with the company’s newest ventures.

We will view rare movie clips from company history and photos from the parks, and questions are encouraged - I will do my best to answer whatever you ask.

At the end, we’ll talk about why Disney is one of the toughest, but best companies to work for, even for teenagers…

You’d be Goofy to miss this!


Prerequisites
None

X4524: Nuclear War
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bruce Arthur

This is a class about nuclear weapons and how to use them. We will begin by looking at how nuclear weapons work and what types of nuclear weapons can be built. Then we will talk about ways of delivering nuclear weapons to your target (e.g., missiles, planes, submarines) and strategies for using nuclear weapons. We'll talk about how a nuclear war between the US and the USSR would have likely played out. We'll discuss Cold War nuclear crises like the Cuban Missile crisis and why they played out the way they did. Finally, we will look at the possibility of nuclear terrorism today.


Prerequisites
This is an introductory course; if you already know a lot about nuclear weapons and nuclear war, you will probably have more fun taking a class about something else that you know less about.

X4605: Boffer swords 101 (expanded class) Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Joe Martin, Alyssa Zisk

Have you ever wondered what a real swordfight might be like? Whether your a fan of LOTR or Star Wars, this course is for you! This course will teach you how to make a homemade boffer sword that can be used in all forms of entertainment, from swordfights with friends to LARPing. Time permitting, we will also give a short demonstration on using your sword, and discuss both basic swordfighting concepts and basic footwork.

X4728: Intro to Contra Dance
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Lian Guertin

Come learn to contra dance! Contra is a type of traditional social dancing that's high energy and a lot of fun. It's done as couples in a long line, so you end up dancing with everyone else in your set. We'll be starting from the very beginning, so no experience is needed, but come ready to dance; wear comfortable shoes and clothing and bring a water bottle if you can. We'll teach how contra works and go over some basic moves, then spend the rest of the time dancing.

X4721: Life Skills / Financial Management 101
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Liz DiLorenzo

This class will go over the basics of financial management and help people start thinking about savings and financial planning. Topics will include: what is a credit card, how to build credit, investments, foreclosures, mortgages, how do you not lose your house, and what happened with this financial crisis and how can we prevent it in the future

X4548: Stock Investing 101 Full!
Difficulty: **

Interested in what stocks are? Ever wondered how to invest in the stock market? What should you look for when picking stocks? Come to our session and we'll teach you the first steps to becoming the next Warren Buffet.


Prerequisites
An interest in the financial markets and companies.

X4522: Making Your Documents Look Professional
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tana Wattanawaroon

You've used all the colorful borders, rainbow texts, awesome fonts downloaded from the internet, custom shadows and all the features in your word processor. You've also put all the sounds, buttons, transitions and animations of somersaulting cars in your presentation. And you still wonder why it doesn't look very nice.

That's not the way professionals do it. Come here to learn how. We'll talk about content organizing and basic typographical elements that would help you make your documents and presentations look more ''professional''.

Computers not necessary. You can bring one (or more) if you'd like to try some of the features on your office software suite. (Microsoft Office, iWork, OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice, or whatever you have)


Prerequisites
You should know how to use a computer. (You do not need to bring one.)

X4670: Jesus? Yeshua? Isa? Who is he?
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Hannah Rice

Most of us have heard something about Jesus. He was born on Christmas, he taught a lot of people, he died....But what else is there to know? This class will give a summary of the things that the Bible tells us about the life of Jesus, and why he matters so much to so many people. We'll also touch on what other sources (ie Jewish tradition, the Koran, and other documents) say about him. Come prepared with questions! Any questions will be answered and discussed respectfully.

X4653: How to Not Fail at Cosplay
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Letitia Li

Cosplay means dressing up as anime or video game characters, for an anime convention or maybe just Halloween. But maybe you don't feel like ordering a $100 costume online. This class is for beginners who want to learn to cosplay cheaply while still being recognizable and not ending up on "10 Worst Cosplays of all time".

X4722: Complex financing mechanisms for large mixed-use real estate developments
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Liz DiLorenzo

Calling all future Real Estate developers! This course will go over the basics of real estate finance and discuss how developers finance large scale mixed-use developments through a variety of private and public sources. Topics will include things that you are unlikely to learn outside of an advanced finance course --- debt financing, equity, and public sources such as grants, TIFs, PIFs, LIHTCs, etc.(and what all those acronyms mean)


Prerequisites
Basic algebra. We will break down all difficult concepts

X4553: Ultimate Frisbee Full!
Difficulty: *

Have you ever wondered how to play Ultimate Frisbee? Do you just like running around and catching things? Do you like learning about the physics of flying discs? Well, if you're down for the first two, then this is the class for you! We will be teaching the mechanics of throwing frisbees, some relevant drills and play a game of ultimate.


Prerequisites
A willingness to run around and have fun. Please bring sneakers and athletic clothing.

X4569: Fashion Engineering!
Difficulty: *

Enjoy dressing up? Like building/designing? Want to combine aesthetics and engineering? Come learn about wearable tech from MIT's resident beaut[EE]!


Prerequisites
An interest in the intersection of art and function.

X4714: Advocating for the Devil Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Paul Kominers

In this class, we'll try to break down some of the basic assumptions of our society and see if they hold up. Students should come prepared to develop rigorous arguments to destroy everything they hold dear.

X4624: The Day the Music Died Full!
Difficulty: **

No, we're not talking about the SuperBowl halftime show. This class will discuss the historical context and meaning of Don McLean's 'American Pie'. As it turns out, the death of Rock 'n Roll was long before Fergie tried to sing Guns 'n Roses.

X4636: Human Space Mission Planning
Difficulty: **

This is a highly interactive activity in which MIT Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) takes you on the journey of planning a space mission. In coming decades, humanity will return to the Moon and visit Near Earth Objects (NEOs). Engineers and scientists will work together to develop these missions, and this will not alway be easy (as you will see!).

Your goal during this class is to come up with a destination for a human space mission given scientific goals and constraints such as how long a human can survive on a spacecraft or the amount of money allotted for your space mission. You will have team discussions, present your findings, offer criticisms and lead the charge into the heavens.


Prerequisites
None.

X4568: Moral Relativism in Comic Books
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jacob Bailey

Explore the changing ideas of good, evil, and the gray area in-between through the examination of such classics as Batman, The Watchmen, and Marvel Zombies.


Prerequisites
None

X4672: Learn to Play Go Full!
Difficulty: *

Go, also known as Weiqi in Chinese and Baduk in Korean, is a game that originated in China about five thousand years ago. Two players, black and white, take turns placing a stone on a 19 by 19 board. The objective is to control a larger territory than the opponent. The rules are very simple; yet from simplicity comes endless complexity and strategic depth. Whereas the strongest chess programs can routinely defeat grandmasters, the strongest Go program can be defeated by a strong club player.


Prerequisites
None

X4640: Machiavellian Trolling

TROLLING IS A ART FORM. HAS ANYONE REALLY BEEN FAR EVEN AS DECIDED TO USE EVEN GO WANT TO DO LOOK MORE LIKE? EVER WONDER HOW BOXXY ACQUIRED SUCH CRITICAL MASS? GRAMMAR NAZIS, HOW DO THEY WORK? ALL OF THIS (AND MORE!) WILL BE COVERED IN OUR TROLLING EXPOSE! MAY CAUSE RAGE. ESPECIALLY AFTER YOU READ THE FIRST LETTER OF EACH SENTENCE.

X4611: ZDI.001 Introduction to Zombie Defense Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

News reports swirl about an outbreak of a strange variant of the rabies virus accidentally released from a Harvard Biology lab. Cameras capture the infected lurching through Cambridge, spreading southward. What do you do? The key to survival is preparation. Learn how to: identify zombie weaknesses, choose the right weapons, save supplies needed for a siege or escape and most importantly: kill zombies and survive


Prerequisites
None

X4645: "Got a Light?" : Lite - The Non-Smoking Version
Difficulty: **

For those interested in the history, etiquette, fashion, and laws surrounding tobacco smoking, without the hands-on aspect. We will talk about sensitive issues related to tobacco and smoking, but will not try any smoking ourselves.


Prerequisites
Permission slips signed by a parent or guardian are required of all students.

X4631: Internet Reeducation! Part 1
Difficulty: *

How tall is George Washington? What does Santa have in his sleigh? Where do you find lions? How are you gentlemen.

This is the first of three parts of SO MUCH INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!! Feel free to sign up for all three parts, or pick and choose as fits your schedule. It's the internet. There are no rules.


Prerequisites
A desire to take in more internet than your body has room for!

X4686: Orchid Growing Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jennifer Melot

Come learn to grow orchids!

This is a beginner class but we will go into some non-beginner topics as much as time permits (one likely topic is semi-hydroponics and stick mounting).

You'll get ranted at about pretty flowers for a while, then practice potting a baby phalaenopsis, which you will take home at the end of the class.


Prerequisites
Desire to not kill plants!

X4552: Butterfly knife flipping Full!
Difficulty: **

Learn to flip butterfly knives like the pros you've seen in movies and games: the spy from Team Fortress, hit girl from Kickass, etc

Have no prior experience with knife flipping, pen spinning, or other forms of contact juggling? No problem!

Note: we use dull knife trainers, so this will be completely legal and safe


Prerequisites
Gross and fine motor control required 5 fingers on dominant hand recommended

X4648: Storytelling 101
Difficulty: *

Come listen to some fun stories and learn how to tell your own.

X4608: Rugby
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Carly Narlesky

We'll go over the basics of one of the fastest-growing sports in America.


Prerequisites
Curiosity about this awesome sport!

X4682: Insects!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Davie Rolnick

Would you like to learn about beetles with suction cups, ants that explode, and wasps that use metal-tipped drills? About why fruit is red, how to avoid mosquitoes, and what the fireflies are talking about when they glow? About insects that look like poop, insects that hide in poop, and still others that eat it? About how there is a world of fascinating life visible in a single square foot of weeds? In this class, we will explore insect ecology from the rainforests of Bolivia to the sidewalks of MIT, see why insects are so interesting and, in many cases, beautiful, and find out how to see and study miracles in one’s own backyard.


Prerequisites
Pre-requisites: A mind open to wonder.

X4633: Internet Reeducation! Part 2
Difficulty: *

Do people accuse you of TROLLING? Do you know what makes the lolcat lol? Do you have a strong desire to kick Mother Nature in the face with your ENERGY LEGS?!?

STOP BEING LAME AND COME LEARN ABOUT TEH INTERNETZ!

This is the second of three parts of MOAR INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!! Feel free to sign up for all three parts, or pick and choose as fits your schedule...they'll all be different. It's the internet. There are no rules.

X4567: Estimation: CLOSE ENOUGH!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lawrence Whisenant

Need to know something exactly?
THEN SKIP THIS CLASS!
But if you want to be CLOSE ENOUGH, this is the class for you! How did we calculate the volume of Earth? Get a reasonable estimate in your head!


Prerequisites
None!

X4715: Spark Patrol! Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kendra Beckler

Shoot your friends!! Its Patrol!!

Patrol is a game sponsored by the MIT Assassins’ 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 resurrection floor. The main goal, however, is to have fun.

Please bring a signed permission slip available here:
http://www.mit.edu/~assassin/PatrolPermissionSheet.txt


Prerequisites
None.

X4634: Internet Reeducation! Part 3
Difficulty: *

I internet reeducated your MOM last night, if you know what I mean.
What? You don't know? Then come find out.

This is the last of three parts of ALL THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!! Feel free to sign up for all three parts, or pick and choose as fits your schedule. Every part will be different...this one will be most 'off the cuff', as it were. It's the internet. There are no rules.


Prerequisites
An undying desire to watch more of the internet memes you know and love...and all those that you somehow missed. (Stop failing so hard, and come get reeducated)

X4519: Game Show 101
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Tana Wattanawaroon

Watching people answer questions, playing games and performing ridiculous stunts have been Americans' pleasure for more than 80 years. Over the time, game shows have evolved quite a lot. We will explore several aspects of various game shows from ''The $64 Question'' on the radio, the famous ''Come on down!'' from ''The Price is Right'', the scandal of ''Twenty-One'', the reality boom of ''Survivor'', to the game show's down time where only a couple of staples stay on air.

Game shows. Making random Americans rich since the 1920s.

X4604: Boffer Swords 101
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Joe Martin

Have you ever wondered what a real swordfight might be like? Whether your a fan of LOTR or Star Wars, this course is for you! This course will teach you how to make a homemade boffer sword that can be used in all forms of entertainment, from swordfights with friends to LARPing. Time permitting, I will also give a short demonstration on using your sword, and discuss both basic swordfighting concepts and basic footwork.

X4523: Tunnel exploration and edifying conversation Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: David Lawrence

We'll explore MIT's vast network of subterranean passageways while dicsussing anything and everything you care to mention. Be prepared to walk a mile or two indoors.


Prerequisites
Feet.

X4528: Make Chainmaille
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Alyssa Zisk

We're going to learn to make chainmaille! That's one of the kinds of armor knights would wear. It kept people from getting their arms chopped off, so it's cool.


Prerequisites
One right hand, one left hand. They do not have to be attached to the same person, though you will find this much easier if they are attached to the same person.