Spark! 2012
Course Catalog


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Arts Computer Science
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Arts

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A5869: The Symphony: History and Analysis
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Zhang

What is a Symphony? This courses aims to answer that question through discussing its historical tale and its musical form.


Prerequisites
Some Musical Background

A5784: Escher and Tessellations Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

In his artwork, M. C. Escher created amazing and beautiful tessellations. Learn the theory behind which shapes will tessellate, and make some tessellation artwork of your own!

A5760: Bach
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Carl Lian

Johann Sebastian Bach. Jo-ho-ho-ho-ho-hann. Se-he-bastian Bach. Jo-ho-hann Seba-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hastian Bach.

Let us Ba(s)ch in his glory.


Prerequisites
Nein, nein, nein, nein!

A5868: Opera: What it is and why it matters
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Zhang

Ever venture into the realm of loud warbling voices scampering around on a stage? Take this class to learn about the history and performance of opera, as well as why opera is undoubtedly the most important part of classical music.


Prerequisites
Some musical background

A5742: Processing: Making Art with Computers
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nathan Lachenmyer

Processing is a java-based programming language with the goal of taking productive engineers and turning them into artists, and turning artists into code monkeys. That is, the goal is to use computers and programming to make art!!!

Check out http://www.openprocessing.org/ to see what you can get yourself into :)


Prerequisites
None! We will go over computer programming from the start, but it will definitely help if you've programmed at all before.

A5737: A Journey Down the Uncanny Valley
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ari Donnelly

"I...I don't...understand it...It's Tom Hanks....playing Santa Claus...he looks wrong....why is this so creepy?"

Unfortunately, Tom Santa-Hanks fell into the Uncanny Valley, which is what happens when an animated character is designed to be as human-like as possible. Ironically, this character usually
creeps everyone out rather than being a compelling character.

In my class, we'll talk about theories behind the Uncanny Valley, some tips from animation masters such as Pixar and Dreamworks for avoiding it, and the noble if not foolish pursuits of those who have attempted to cross it unscathed.


Prerequisites
Keep fresh in your mind some animated movies that creeped you out.

A5873: Blood and Honor: The Story of the Warrior in East Asian Cinema
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jennifer Yoo

From Kurosawa Akira (Seven Samurai, Ran) to Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), directors in East Asian cinema have been telling the story of the warrior for decades. From the classics to the latest groundbreaking films and trends in cinema, find out all you need to know about this truly unique and essential genre of East Asian film!

Please note: A majority of the video clips shown in class will contain some violence.

A5744: Interactive Introduction to Electronics Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nathan Lachenmyer

Come learn about electronics the old-fashioned way -- by doing! We'll build a variety of circuits that will let you control light and sound, and touch on a variety of topics in electronics.


Prerequisites
None, though any electronics experience is a plus. If you've already built circuits before, you'll probably be bored.

A5618: Everything about Accordions
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ruth Byers

Learn about the technology, history, music, and lore of accordions, and get a chance to play one yourself!

A5902: Infographic Design: Turning Data Into Art
Difficulty: *

Representing data visually can be a challenge, but learning to do it well can make your research and presentations engaging and accessible.

This one hour seminar, taught by a team of designers from MIT’s student newspaper The Tech, will teach you to create effective and visually appealing infographics. You’ll even get a chance to draft a few yourself! Feel free to bring in your own set of data to work with (If you don’t have any, don’t worry — we’ll give you some!). Evolve beyond Excel pie charts!

A5736: Super 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 the super-sized version of To Infinity and Beyond! We’ll cover the birth of Pixar, how they have become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed film studios of all time, and what they have planned for the future.

This class will be longer than it has been in previous years with more material, such as a few Pixar short films.


Prerequisites
Watch Pixar movies, and learn how to speak Whale.

A5815: Paper Crafts and Electronics
Difficulty: *

Learn how to add simple, elegant circuits to paper crafts, such as greeting cards, pop-up books, and more! No prior experience or skill with crafts or electronics required.

A5740: Learn HipHop Dance and Dance Crazes! Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mitali Kini

This is a class where you'll get a chance to learn some hiphop dance choreography, as well as fun, popular dance crazes! Come with your energy and get ready to try this awesome dance style! Individuals from any level of experience are encouraged to attend (no experience in dance necessary).

A5899: Collecting Memories
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Allison Hansgate

As a recent college graduate, I can say from experience that so many things change from middle school to high school and from high school to college. With so many things that change in a relatively short time frame, it's hard to remember how things used to be. If you are a nostalgic person or someone who likes to keep mementos, come learn my tips for holding on to your important memories. We will discuss scrapbooking, creating photo albums, and journaling as some of the ways to look back on what happened even just a few short years ago. I'll also provide suggestions for how to do this in a way that is not too time-consuming.

A5909: Visualizing Music Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Harry Richman

a quick exploration of sound, intervals, chords, and beyond

A5623: Introduction to Lightsaber Dueling and Stage Combat

This class will cover proper stance and grip when holding a lightsaber, basic spins, how to strike, and how to defend. Once everyone is comfortable wielding their lightsaber we will expand on these skills, using them to teach students how to construct their own choreographed duel, which they will have time to practice. We will be available to critique and assist in creating and learning your own choreography.

We tried this class out at Splash 2011 and it was a huge success. Every team made an extremely impressive ~1 minute long duel which blew me away. Due to the class' success we are teaching the class multiple times during Spark.


Prerequisites
Students should be physically fit and well coordinated. No prior experience is necessary.

A5651: Typography and Typesetting
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tana Wattanawaroon

Typography and Typesetting are about arranging text into a piece of publication, which is in no way simple. It is about choosing fonts, size, spacing, and everything. Modern word processors have made publication accessible to anyone with computers, while taking some beauty away from this extremely delicate craft.

Take this course to learn about the basics of typography and typesetting! We will look into publications at different levels: glyphs, lines, paragraphs, and pages. We will learn how to maximize beauty while preserving readability and legibility. We will explore how technology has transformed the era of good old press into the age of digital typography.


Computer Science

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C5879: From Wire to Web: Digital Computer Networks
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: David Xiao

This year, 2 billion people will transfer 950 exabytes (950 billion gigabytes, or about 150 DVD’s per person) of information through the internet. These bits will zip through hundreds of miles to get to their destination, in fractions of a second. And that’s just the internet. We’re not even talking about GPS, television, radio, phones, LAN parties, or the USB cables. Yet.

This is a 2 hour crash course on how computers talk to each other. We’ll start with electrical impulses through a wire, through the World Wide Web, and if we have time, beyond. A little bit of theory, a touch of history, a cool demo or two, some math, and a dash of aloha.

C5804: Lambda Calculus
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zach .

Lambda calculus is a primitive mathematical system for describing functions.

Concepts from lambda calculus are fundamentals of many modern programming language, and it is used to formally prove particular properties of some algorithms.

Note: Lambda calculus has nothing to do with differential calculus. No significant mathematical background is required, other than a familiarity with functions.


Prerequisites
Basic programming knowledge is required (in any language)

C5889: Intro to Machine Learning
Difficulty: ***

Ever wondered how Netflix creates personalized movies suggestions for each user? How Google finds similar websites? How anti-plagiarism software works? This class explains techniques that enable computers to draw conclusions from data and make predictions about what properties subsequently acquired data is likely to have. The class will cover both the mathematical background of machine learning and its practical implementation when tackling real-world problems.


Prerequisites
We'll be doing examples in Python (bonus points if you can code in it) but any programming language will be fine. Basic knowledge of algorithms and data structures is a must -- you need to know the difference between an array and a dictionary, for example.

C5847: From Wire to Web: Digital Computer Networks Explained
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Russell Cohen

Ever wonder how the internet works? This course starts with voltages on a wire and works up to figuring out how your data finds its way across the globe. This is a 2 hour crash course on how computers talk to each other over the magical thing we call the internet. We'll start with electrical impulses through a wire, through the World Wide Web, and if we have time, beyond. A little bit of theory, a touch of history, a cool demo or two, some math, and a dash of hawaii.

C5726: Learn how to [learn] LaTeX
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

Want to learn how to use LaTeX to format your mathematical formulae like this: $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n^2} = \frac{\pi^2}{6}$$? 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 I’ll tell you how to install it on your own computers.

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.


Prerequisites
You should be self-directed and capable of learning from examples.

C5734: Parallel programming in Theory and Practice Closed!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: David Girardo

A wide reaching introduction to parallel programming.
We will explore much of the theory behind parallel computing:
What's the deal with parallelism? (What is it and why should we care)
Different hardware implementations such as Symmetric Multi-Processing, Clusters, and Quantum computers.
The difference between task parallelism and data parallelism.

The rest of the class will be devoted to exploring existing and future tools for parallel programming, and arguing why functional parallelism is the way of the future!


Prerequisites
Comfortable programming. Familiarity with functional programing a plus. More math (linear algebra) means you will get more out of the quantum section, but is not required by any means.

C5787: Amortized Analysis
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Amortized analysis is a method of determining the worst-case average runtime of an algorithm, without using probability.


Prerequisites
If you've never heard of Big-O notation, this class will be pretty confusing for you.

C5627: Programming Your TI Graphing Calculator Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Lewin

Do you want your calculator to do your math homework for you? Do you want to write your own games to play during math class because your school doesn't allow iPhones? I will go through an overview of writing programs on Texas Instruments (TI) graphing calculators. The class is compatible with the following models: TI-83, -84, -85, -86, and -89. Please bring your calculator to class.


Prerequisites
Prereqs: Students should have completed Algebra I, but programming experience is not necessary.

C5916: Regular expressions and finite automata
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alex Dehnert

The field of computability theory covers what sort of functions computers can compute. Two of the simplest --- and most restrictive --- formal definitions of "computation" are regular expressions and finite automata. We'll discuss what sorts of functions they can compute, and which is more powerful.


Prerequisites
Experience with formal math (e.g., proofs) may be helpful. If you've already know which of regular expressions and finite automata is more powerful (or, probably, if you just know what finite automata are), you will likely be bored.

C5917: Web Programming in Python with Django
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

Learn to use Python to easily make awesome, dynamic websites!

Websites made only from HTML pages are not dynamic, and therefore can't do very much. However, using certain well-known web programming frameworks (such as PHP) requires lots of coding, even for the initial setup, and involves manually accessing SQL database tables.

But with Django, you can leave that all behind! Because the Django framework is implemented in Python, it means that if you use Django, you get the dual benefits of the simplicity and power of the Python language. Additionally, Django is specifically designed to allow you to create web applications incredibly quickly.

In this class, we'll learn the various concepts that must come together to create a Django website, and build a very simple web application.


Prerequisites
Proficiency with HTML and Python. Previous experience with web development and some knowledge about databases would be helpful, but are not required.

C5878: Modern web design: Intro to grid systems, responsive layouts, and SASS
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Wylie Conlon

Web design has been changing rapidly in the past few years with the introduction of CSS3 and tools like SASS. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting things you can do with CSS, taking advantage of modern tools and practices.

In particular, we'll take a look at grid systems, which make design and mockups easy, CSS media queries, which let you make a website that scales beautifully to fit any device, and SASS, which makes CSS more expressive.


Prerequisites
Understanding of CSS

C5867: 6.01T
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Timothy Yang

6.01 crammed into two hours! Also known as Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I, 6.01 is the first step to being a Course 6 major. 6.01T is simply 6.01(Tim's Version). We'll be covering basic programming, signals and systems, feedback, control, circuits, op-amps, probability, search algorithms and more! If we have time, at least. This is obviously more breadth than depth, but it will be awesome.

C5842: Put Together The Pile of Junk! Full!
Difficulty: ***

Ever wondered how to put together a computer, or what all of those random parts do? Come put together computers that are older than you are, and learn about the innards in the process!


Prerequisites
Interest in computer hardware, patience

C5716: Intro to Computer Vision
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Matthew Vernacchia

Computer Vision is the science of making robots and machines see! It's used to help robots or self-driving cars navigate, to recognize faces, to make cell phones read QR codes, to inspect products, in medical imaging, and much more.
We'll do a hands-on intro to some basic techniques (edge detection, line and circle detection, filters) and then move on a more general discussion of advanced techniques.


Prerequisites
Knowing Java will help you get more out of the demos, but it's optional as there will be non-coding versions of the demos

C5882: Make a Computer! (On Paper)
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Ben Horkley, David Xiao

1) Here's a transistor.
2) Take this class.
3) ???
4) Computer!

This class will take you through the basics of what makes a computer work, from the transistor level all the way up to putting it together into a basic processor. Learn what it takes an MIT class 2 months to cover in 3 hours!


Prerequisites
Knowledge of basic Boolean algebra.

C5915: Making Other People's Websites Better, with JavaScript Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Gary Wang

Ever been annoyed by websites that don't do what you want them to do? Do you want to make the tiny text on Facebook less painful to read, download videos from YouTube, stop yourself from wasting time on reddit, or make Gmail display a pop-up when you get email? Or do you want to do silly stuff like rotating the page by 45 degrees or poking yourself on Facebook?

First, we'll go through a brief introduction of JavaScript, and how to use tools like Greasemonkey to apply it to other websites. Then, we'll go through some examples of annoying websites while learning all the JavaScript we'll need to improve them.


Prerequisites
You should be familiar with another programming language, but you don't need to know any JavaScript beforehand. Knowledge of HTML and CSS may be useful, but is not necessary.

C5622: Career path as a software engineer
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Meggie Zhang

This course will help students who are interested in becoming a software engineer to learn what it's like to be a software engineer and what are the career paths they can choose. I will combine my own career experience and the industry statistics to paint the picture so you can be aware and prepared to what's ahead of you. Hope this will help you to be more successful in your career in computer science.


Engineering

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E5857: How to plan and execute covert operations in deep cover Full!
Difficulty: **

Learn the essentials of covert operations work. We will analyze the success and failure of many important covert operations in an attempt to discover the elements of a successful covert op. We will study important government-sponsored covert operations as well as terrorist plots and guerilla warfare. By the end of this class, students will be familiar with these operations and the reasons for their success or failure. We cannot legally claim that you will be sufficiently knowledgeable to plan and carry out your own covert operations after this class.

E5817: Build your own Rechargeable Solar Lamp Full!
Difficulty: **

Come explore the physics behind solar energy, photovoltaics, and electricity - then use your knowledge to design and build your own rechargeable solar lamp!


Prerequisites
Prior soldering experience will be very beneficial, but not necessary.

E5644: Introduction to Plane Crashes Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Mel Hunt

How in the world can a pilot not notice that their plane is headed steadily towards the ground? What sorts of mechanical failures can cause a plane to crash? How can a pilot prevent a crash from getting deadly? Come hear stories of plane crashes and pilot error, and learn a little about flying along the way!

E5833: Spaghetti Bridges! Full!
Difficulty: *

Put your engineering skills to the test with angel hair pasta and crazy glue! We will build bridges in teams to hold the most weight when spanned across about 10 inches of space. Each team will be given a limited number of supplies, including pasta and glue to build their bridges!

Before building, we will talk about some basic physics that governs some design principles behind bridge-building, so that your bridges are as strong as they can be!

E5781: Extreme Biology
Difficulty: **

In this class, we don’t just learn about and memorize biology. We perturb, manipulate, and engineer it. This class consists of two major parts: one that teaches students to appreciate the logic and reasoning of biology with problem solving practices (in genetics, virology and neuroscience) and one that introduces students to the principles and tools of synthetic biology and genetic engineering with a hands-on activity involving genetically altered bacteria. We will cover concepts including, but not limited to, recombinant DNA (transforming genomes to add foreign properties), DNA sequencing, and DNA synthesis. We guarantee awesomeness.


Prerequisites
Interest and some background in biology. Enjoys problem solving

E5935: Toilets! Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Reuben Aronson

Toilets are one of the best examples of purely mechanical systems that are everywhere and easy to open up and figure out. In this class, we’ll do just that: open up a toilet and try to figure out how it works. Not only will you get the experience of figuring something out, but you can take home your new knowledge and fix your own plumbing!


Prerequisites
Interest in figuring stuff out. This class is more intended toward people who have not had as much experience taking apart random things -- if you have, go home and do it yourself!

E5750: 3D Printers on Mars
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bruce Mackenzie

New 3D printers may change the way we manufacture things, allowing us to make objects at home, which might otherwise be made in a factory and shipped to us.

To live on Mars, we should be able to make plastic ‘from thin air’ (the only kind of air Mars has), and then use a 3D printer to make most any shaped plastic object we need.

The Mars Foundation and a WPI group are planning a museum activity/exhibit which will show how to print yourself a house (well, maybe just the furniture) on Mars. It is not ready yet, but you can give us your opinion on what we have so far. If you cannot attend but wish to be kept informed, send a brief note to BMackenzie@alum.mit.edu

E5754: How to Live on Mars Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bruce Mackenzie

How would you build a house on Mars? I’ll show lots of pictures of
possible Mars structures. We will review the conditions on Mars which
affect how you would live, work, grow food, and build houses.
Differences from Earth include: low temperature, very low pressure,
carbon-dioxide atmosphere, almost 25 hour days, long seasons, dust,
and radiation. One advantage is lots of cheap land. The Mars soil and
air have every element we need to live and build structures, but not
in convenient building forms such as wooden 2x4’s. We might have to
make fiberglass, brick, or aluminum structures. They must be
cylindrical to hold the internal air pressure, with air-locks for
doors. Oh, incidentally, how to pay for the rocket to get you there is
not included. I will also suggest ways you can get involved and help
the settlement of space. If interested, we can form an internet
discussion group to continue the discussion, or write to
BMackenzie@alum.mit.edu to join the web discussion group.

E5757: Reverse Engineering
Difficulty: **

Reverse engineer something awesome!

E5713: How to Use a Slide Rule
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Shaymus Hudson

Back in the day, when things were more hardcore, you couldn’t find an engineer or scientist 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
Knowledge of the basic trigonometric identities is a must.

E5649: An Introduction to Environmentally Benign Design and Manufacturing
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Vrajesh Modi

This class will introduce students to resource accounting, thermodynamic analysis and exergy accounting, and life cycle assessment (eco-audit and EIOLCA). Format will consist of a 50-minute lecture on theory followed by a 60-minute exercise. Students will be divided into groups for the exercise.

E5733: Cars - How they work and why
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jacob Bailey

A brief overview of the science behind cars, including introductory thermodynamics, as well as discussions about transmissions, different kinds of engines, rear-differentials, and more.

E5756: Questions about Living in Space and Future Space Settlements
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Bruce Mackenzie

Bring your questions about how we might live in Space, on Mars, asteroids, moons of planets, or Luna (what Earthlings ‘the Moon’, forgetting that there are lots of moons)
I will try to answer them. and maybe throw some questions back at you. Preference for questions about how to live in
space, construct spinning space settlements for artificial gravity, grow
food, find air and water, stay warn or cool, etc. There will be little
math or equations, just general information.

E5851: Understanding DIY 3D Printing
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zachary Sherin

Have you ever wanted a machine that prints out every last-minute gift you could ever wanted? How about one that prints replacement parts? Maybe you just really need a science-y way to make that sculpture you've been thinking about. How about all of the above? 3D printing is a way to make fast prototypes or even just awesome models. Come along to see a 3D printer that anyone could assemble, and learn about why you would want to. 3D printers rule, and this class will teach you about what it takes to make one, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and maybe even let you print a model of yourself (no guarantees).

E5837: Locomotive Engineering
Difficulty: **

Trains. How do they work? We'll learn about locomotives and railroad operations, from the evolution of locomotive design to how trains are scheduled and dispatched.

E5834: History and Evolution of the Bicycle Full!
Difficulty: **

Learn about the history of bicycle engineering. We'll talk about take apart the innards of a bike: we'll repack bearings, respoke wheels, break and re-form chains, etc.

Towards the end of the class, we will also talk about cool new bike materials and technologies like bamboo and carbon fiber frames, in addition to some cool do-it-yourself bikes. Come learn to appreciate the amount of engineering that went into designing a bicycle.

E5791: Egg Drop Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

I give you a limited amount of materials, a limited amount of time, and the following task: PROTECT the EGG! Work in teams to design and build a vehicle to keep your egg from breaking... when I drop it out the window. The winners earn eternal glory. The losers have to clean up their eggs.

E5913: Soldering Seminar
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Adam Suhl

Learn how to solder and then solder awesome circuits!

E5910: Quantum mechanics to web applications in two hours
Difficulty: **

We'll start at the bottom and work our way up at ludicrous speed.


Prerequisites
General scientific or computer knowledge will be useful.

E5860: Rocket Payload Development 1
Difficulty: **

Ever want to send something into space? The MIT Rocket Team can help. Take this course to develop a scientific payload that we'll fly in one of our rockets to 1 mile sometime in April. During this course, we'll give you the background on the project and design requirements and some suggestions. We'll then let you brainstorm a payload of your own. Come back for Rocket Payload Development 2 later in the day and we'll have materials for you to put your project together. We'll then email you with the flight results once it's flown.


Humanities

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H5803: Life, Death, and Calvinball Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Michael Pappas

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


Prerequisites
An interest in discussing open philosophical questions.

H5717: Exploring Islam
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Noor Doukmak

A brief intro to the core beliefs and practices of the third of the Abrahamic faiths, Islam...followed by a discussion guided by comments and questions from students on related topics of interest.

H5859: How to be on the run from people who are more powerful than you are Full!
Difficulty: **

Did you piss off Michael Weston? A mob boss? The Feds? Come to this class to learn the essentials of running away and staying away from the man. Throw out your cellphones, pull out your fake passport and don your sunglasses, this class will cover how to stay low and stay on the run when you're in trouble and someone is out to get you. This class is part of a three part series with "How to plan and execute operations in deep cover" and "Chemistry of Explosions."

H5783: Impromptu Speaking
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

You have 30 seconds to think... and 3 minutes to talk. Learn how to collect your thoughts quickly and organize your thinking to give a speech. Practice good public speaking techniques-- connecting with your audience, holding their attention, and making them care about what you have to say. Everyone in the class will be expected to speak.

H5862: Dissecting Video Game Characters: What Makes Them So Great?
Difficulty: *

Ever felt like you are fighting alongside Samus Aran from Metroid, walking the same journey with Link from The Legend of Zelda, or being scientifically enriched by Portal’s GLaDOS? Ever played a game and felt sympathetic, endeared or touched by video game characters? Learn how characters are designed, and how they fit into video games! We will talk about different aspects of character design: appearance, traits, personality, and backstory influence.


Prerequisites
An interest in character design (not necessary video game characters)

H5749: Greek and Roman Mythology
Difficulty: *

An awesome overview of Classical Mythology. Including descriptions of the major gods and goddesses, important demigods, and accounts of hero/romance stories.

H5898: The Wide World of National Anthems
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Charles Xu

You're probably more or less familiar our national anthem's tangled history--from the pen of a minor poet riffing off an unsingable drinking song, to a sporting-event staple publicly mangled hundreds of times a day, sometimes on live TV. In fact, national anthems the world over have taken surprising paths from their unlikely origins to their present (sometimes not-so-)exalted status. We'll listen to some and discuss their musical, lyrical, and historical qualities, addressing such curiosities as why China banned its own anthem for a decade and why the Dutch pledge loyalty to the king of Spain. And we'll talk about how they reflect the foibles of nationalism in general.

H5794: The Most Profane Poet: The Literary Merit of Eminem
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Paul Yuan

Heralded by some and criticized by the rest, Eminem is one of the most controversial recording artists of all time. This class will deconstruct his music, taking it at more than face value, and examine it from a literary perspective by considering tone, voice, theme...etc. Disclaimer: students in this class will be exposed to explicit lyrics.


Prerequisites
A general knowledge of Eminem's music is very helpful. Only his more popular songs will be discussed, the majority of which can be found in Curtain Call (2005).

H5715: How to Bullshit
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Pavel Panchekha

I, Pavel Panchekha, know exactly what I'm talking about. So will you, after leaving this class. What was the question?

Come to this class to learn how to consistently look knowledgable, intelligent, and informed; for a tour of art criticism, politics, and philosophy; for a look at the grease that makes the wheels of the world turn. By the time you leave, you'll be an expert on being an expert.


Prerequisites
Must be willing to lie, by falsehood or by omission.

H5721: Paradoxes of Democracy: Fair Elections and Voting
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Stephen M. Hou

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


Prerequisites
Comfort with arithmetic; interest in voting, political science, decision-making, and/or economics.

H5775: Build a Language
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Jennifer Melot

Come learn about some concepts from linguistics (phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics) and use them to create a new (and Very Exciting!) language which we will develop during the class.

(note: don't expect to be able to write a novel in our language after the class is over - this class tends to focus on more abstract properties of language, though we will create a small lexicon)


Prerequisites
experience with multiple languages or the international phonetic alphabet helps but is by no means required.

H5610: Journalism and Why It Matters
Difficulty: **
Teachers: David Han

A crash course to the basic foundations of journalism, "Journalism and Why It Matters" will teach everything from writing the perfect lead to taking the clutch photo. Classes will be structured so that students will practice writing strategies and journalistic writing styles. Students will learn not only how to write news stories, feature stories, and editorials but also how to write them for an audience. Enrolled students will learn how to take interesting photographs and how to choose which photographs are best to print. Students in "Journalism and Why It Matters" will understand the ethics of journalism as well as the importance of journalism in the world today. The goals of the class are two-fold: to instill a sense of journalistic competence for aspiring editors and photographers while cultivating a greater appreciation for news sources.

H5844: Battle Ballads: The War-Time Music of the 20th Century
Difficulty: **

What does a war sound like in music? Come learn about the history behind some of the most influential compositions of the 20th century. Meet the music of Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, Benjamin Britten and more!

H5773: History of Language
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Staly Chin

Why are all the languages in the world so different? Why do languages change? Why does this matter?

This class features a macroscopic look at the development and deviation of language and the forces that mold the tongues of today's world.

H5745: A History of and the Evolution of Language
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Patrick Lin

Explore an overview of the development of language in human history. This class will trace the evolution of the Proto-Indo-European to major modern languages and analyze some reasons for the major splits that have occurred. This will lead into comparing and contrasting the languages within a common family of languages. The class will end with a discussion about the extinction of languages over time.

H5763: Poetry Out Loud
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Farrell

Poetry is language that is more than text.
Poetry is words given the spirit to saunter across to a crowded bar, to cut a man's tongue from his throat, to caress in sorrow a stone-cold cheek, to reach in hopes to touch the face of god.

Poetry is therefore not to be rummaged for among old parchments but shouted onto the cobblestones of the public square and therefore written as with a sunbeam upon their minds.

So, bring your favorite poems and pieces of spoken word to read or recite. It can be your own or another's. We'll have some to share as well.

Or come and listen


Prerequisites
Vocal chords and ears.

H5839: World Religons (and non-religons)
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Nursen Ogutveren

This class will be a brief introduction to a great diversity of religions. We will discuss the well-known religions, lesser known religions and religious sects, and non-religious movements. (such as Confucianism and Buddhism)

Refreshments will be provided during the discussion portion of the class, where we will look at similarities and differences between religions, what the purpose of religion is, and how we can use religious diversity to our advantage.

This class will be a safe non-pressure environment for open discussion, and is great for students who are open-minded and interested in broadening their cultural understanding, love to learn and discuss different cultures, or want to share something about their own religion.


Prerequisites
An open mind, a non-judgemental attitude, and willingness to discuss religion.

H5876: Japanese Folklore: Kitsune, Oni and Yuurei, Oh My!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jennifer Yoo

Ever wondered what a "tanuki" really is, or what the difference is between a youkai and a yuurei? Find out the answers here! Join us as we explore Japanese religion, folklore and superstitions.

H5919: Autism, Aspergers and the spectrum
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

Autism, Asperger's syndrome, and related conditions, are some of the fastest growing mental health challenges in the country. In this class I will give firsthand knowledge about living with Autism, its effects on socialization and intelligence, and the importance and success that early occupational and social therapy can have to alleviate social and communicative difficulties.

H5831: Trans 101
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Lian Guertin

This class will be an introduction to what it means to be transgender. We'll talk about topics such as identities, transition, and how to be supportive, with plenty of time for questions.

H5625: Writing a New U.S. Constitution
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ethan Lewin

Suppose you are a delegate at a 2012 convention to write a new U.S. Constitution. Which institutions would you keep? What changes would you propose? Would you change the Bill of Rights? We will simulate such a convention, and hopefully by the end of class, create the outline of a new American government.


Prerequisites
At least one year of high school civics or U.S. history.

H5852: Pizza Appreciation Full!
Difficulty: *

Learn about what makes a pizza truly beautiful on the inside.


Prerequisites
Breakfast.

H5728: Tangled: A Comparative Survey
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Lawrence Whisenant

Stories from our childhood often find their ways into the cinema. Join us in watching Disney's Tangled. We will learn about other versions of the Rapunzel story and find out what makes Tangled different.


Prerequisites
A basic knowledge of the Rapunzel fairy tale.

H5751: Dirty Greek and Roman Mythology
Difficulty: **

The time has come to remove Greek and Roman mythology from its lofty academic pedestal and bring it to the masses in the vernacular of modern times. Come enjoy this survey class on those SOB’s from the ancient pantheon. We will try to bring humor to those stuck up old stories you heard in middle school through the best use of foul language and dirty humor we can come up with. But don't worry, we won't be skimping on anything. This class will cover all the bad a$$ info that we talk about in the more tame class, we'll just be doing it a bit differently. And we would be infinitely pleased if you would join us.

H5595: EPCOT - The Vision and the Reality Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Danica Bybell

Did you know that Epcot, the theme park at Walt Disney World, wasn't always going to be a theme park? It was originally going to be a model community, complete with a monorail, glass dome enclosing the central city, and constant technological advancements.

Come learn how the park we know today grew out of these original ideas, and how some of the plans went into other projects around the world.

This class has a minor overlap in material with "Disney - A History."


Prerequisites
None.

H5800: Dreams and Dreaming
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Carol Hardick

Dreams and Dreaming introduces you to psychology, cognition and memory from the perspective of a sleeping brain, using an interdisciplinary approach of neuroscience, psychology and humanities. The Harry Potter series and the movie, Inception, has lots of twists and turns and both raise questions about the brain, knowledge and artificial intelligence. What's possible and what isn't? Can an idea be planted in a person's mind? Can two people share a dream? With lots of discussion, we’ll explore those questions, and more.

H5621: How to be me -- find the inspiration within
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Meggie Zhang

What are you going to be when you grow up?
What are my passions?
Who am I?
What does it means to be alive?
What's the meaning of my life?
Am I different from other people?
Am I alone in the world?
---
Have you ever wondering any of these kind of questions? How can you be sure to always be yourself in the world full of distractions?

I will bring in some basic knowledge of science, philosophical thoughts as well as some comparative religions ideas to help student to learn the ways of thinking. Teaching philosophy is not the goal of this class, but the goal of the class is to help students to learn some basic skills on self development to see beyond what they are now so they can become what they want to be tomorrow.


Lunch

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L5940: Lunch Period
Difficulty: None
Teachers:

Enjoy a break for lunch with your friends! Please register for at least one lunch period on each day of the program.


Mathematics

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M5761: Hamming Codes and a Game of Hats Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Carl Lian

You and your 14 of your prisoner friends are being given a chance to be freed. Each of you is randomly given either a red or a black hat to wear, which you can't see, but everyone else can. At the count of three, each person must simultaneously guess the color of his or her hat, or pass. If at least one person guesses correctly and no one guesses incorrectly, everyone is freed; otherwise, you are all sent back to your cells for a lifetime of misery.

It turns out, it's (probably) your lucky day: you and your friends can win this game with probability $$15/16$$! In this class we'll learn how, and learn a bit about error-correction in computer science along the way.


Prerequisites
You should understand binary (base 2) arithmetic.

M5813: Scooping the Loop Snooper
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

Want to understand this: http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/loopsnoop.html?

Computers are powerful, sure. But can they compute anything you want them to? Is there anything computers absolutely can’t figure out, no matter what? The answer here is absolutely yes—computers are not omnipotent.

In this class, we’ll prove mathematically that despite whatever clever algorithms people can come up with, there will always be problems that are impossible for a computer to solve. (We’ll look at one particular example called the Halting Problem). Along the way, we’ll encounter and investigate two theoretical constructs which compute: deterministic finite automata (DFA’s) and Turing Machines.


Prerequisites
Algebra II

M5908: INTEGARLS
Difficulty: ***

Come learn about INTEGARLS from two finalists in the MIT Integration Bee! We'll be teaching a number of cool integration tricks, like crazy tangents and swingy-swingy.


Prerequisites
You should know calculus, enough to know what a u-substitution in an integral is.

M5812: Zero to Infinity!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

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

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

Are there multiple sizes of infinity, or just one?


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


Prerequisites
Algebra II Willingness to think abstractly (If you know and understand the proof that the size of the real numbers is larger than the size of the natural numbers, you will most likely be familiar with all/most of the material in this class. Take a class on something you don't already know instead!)

M5814: Ranting about Set Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Bianca Homberg

Took Zero to Infinity? Already know the material from that class, but still interested in the subject? Want to learn more about set theory, infinity, logic, or paradoxes? Then come take this class! Topics covered may include ordinals, cardinals, ordinal/cardinal arithmetic, construction of the natural numbers, Russel's Paradox, Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms for set theory, the Axiom of Choice, and more! All based on what *you* want to learn.


Prerequisites
Zero to Infinity, or the ability to sketch a proof of Cantor's diagonal argument.

M5907: Infinitely Many Proofs of Infinitely Many Primes!

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.

M5918: Unique Factorization and the Sum of Squares
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

Over 400 years ago Fermat claimed that a prime number can be written as the sum of two squares if and only if it is of the form 4n+1 where n is a whole number. over 2000 years ago Euclid described an algorithm for finding the greatest common factor of two numbers. 164 years ago Gabriel Lame thought he had found a proof of Fermat's last theorem which was later shown to be fatally flawed. All three of these concepts (as well as many, many, many more) and intimately related with the concept of unique factorization. Contrary to what you might think not every type of number has unique factorization, when unique factorization does occur however, we can use it as a very powerful tool to prove very cool results. In this class we will cover Various "Euclidean algorithms" (including ones discovered thousands of years after Euclid himself was dead, as well as the original) how these algorithms allow you to prove unique factorization. Examples of when unique factorization fails. And how this all relates, and allows you to prove Fermat's 400 year old claim. If time permits we will also discuss primes of the form x^2+2y^2, and unique factorization for polynomials.


Prerequisites
a good background would proofs would be helpful, knowledge of highschool algebra up to algebra 2 is an absolute necessity. Prior knowledge of Abstract Algebra or Ring theory is not necessary.

M5769: Coloring
Difficulty: ***

As math majors, we don't know how to color in the lines. However, we do know how to color within figurative theoretical lines. Come learn how.


Prerequisites
If you know about graph coloring, you may be bored.

M5620: The Art of Guesstimation
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Norman Cao

Sometimes math is difficult. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just guess an answer and hope it turns out to be right? Well actually, you can.

Learn how to make ballpark estimates, how to create mathematical models out of thin air, how to use statistics to draw interesting conclusions, and how to generally provoke and madden mathematicians with your guesses!


Prerequisites
Precalculus experience recommended; Calculus and Statistics helpful not but required

M5888: Solving $1,000,000 Equations
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Dylan Yott

In this course, we will study polynomial equations in several variables. For example, we will be talking about solving equations like: $$x^{2} + y^{2}= 1$$, or $$y^{2}=x^{3}+1$$, or $$x^{3}+y^{3}=z^{3}$$, where $$x$$ and $$y$$ are whole numbers or fractions.

This will lead us to discuss lots of important concepts in algebra and number theory, and I promise it will be awesome.

Oh, did I mention that $$2$$ of those equations above are related to two of the hardest problems in modern mathematics, one of which, Fermat's Last Theorem, is solved. The other one, the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, still has a $1,000,000 out for a solution.

This class is essentially a condensed version of my HSSP class, Algebra and Number theory, so if you're really interested I have lots of extra materials you can read to learn more.


Prerequisites
High school algebra.

M5776: Round Tables, Symmetry, and Groups
Difficulty: **

David is setting up ten chairs around a round table for a party. He has two kinds of chairs to choose from: wood or metal, and he can use as many of each kind as he likes (including zero). How many ways are there to set up the chairs? Two setups are considered to be the same if one can be rotated to match the other.

To start solving, you might point out that at each of the ten positions, you have two choices, for a total of $$2^{10}=1024$$ configurations. For any such a configuration, you could rotate it to get a total of ten configurations that correspond to the same setup. The answer should thus be $$1024/10=102.4$$. Uh oh.

Alas, we would then resort to casework: There is 1 setup with no wooden chairs, 1 setup with one wooden chair, 5 setups with two wooden chairs, and so forth.

But there is a better way! In fact, the first method that gave us $$102.4$$ setups is not hopelessly flawed. Once we figure out what is wrong with it, we'll be able to apply some clever ideas about symmetry to fix it up and solve the problem.

But then, Cathy shows up to the party and sees the reflection of the table in a mirror. She notices that the reflected setup is the same as the original: The chair setup has an axis of mirror symmetry! Knowing this additional information, how many possible setups are there now? With the powers of group theory that we will learn how to wield, we'll see that this problem is actually not that much harder than the first one.


Prerequisites
If you understand the argument leading up to the wrong answer of 102.4 in the course description, you're all set!

M5854: Important Directions
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ben Zinberg

There are lots of directions out there -- up, northeast, 11 o'clock.... In this class we will study these directions and ask, which ones are the most important? For example, by computing the direction in which the Fibonacci numbers travel, we will be able to come up with an explicit non-recursive formula for the nth Fibonacci number. Time permitting, we will look at applications to physics, differential equations, and numerical computation.

(Mathematical buzz word: Eigenvector.)


Prerequisites
Nothing is absolutely required. However, I highly recommend learning how to multiply matrices if you haven't seen it before. All this means is, spend a few minutes looking at http://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/matrix-multiplying.html under "Multiplying a Matrix by Another Matrix." Also some familiarity with polynomials (e.g., quadratic formula) would be a plus. At the end, if we have time for applications to physics and differential equations, you might want to know what physics is and what differential equations are.

M5670: Computational Language Theory
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Josh Alman

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

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

Please note: we will be doing some math in this class!

M5883: Geometry of Maps (Gauss Appreciation 101)
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Dylan Yott

Have you ever looked at a map of the Earth and wondered why Greenland isn't a world superpower? I mean, just look at it, it's practically the size of South America! But, is it really? Actually, South America is nine times larger! Unfortunately, in our attempt to map the spherical earth onto a flat piece of paper, we distort areas quite a bit. Imagine trying to flatten out an orange peel onto a table, it doesn't work quite well.

Why would we use such a distorted map? Well this particular map, the Mercator projection has the nice property that, while its areas are wrong, its angles are correct, which is extremely important for navigation. Are there any maps that preserve area? Actually, yes, and its very easy to do! Why not use that? Well, as you might be able to predict, that map messes up angles!

Is it possible to have a map that accurately displays angles and areas? Or more importantly, one that preserves all distances? The answer is a resounding no, which we shall discuss in this class using some truly amazing theorems of Gauss.


Prerequisites
Should be very familiar with calculus. Know how to parametrize a curve. For example, (cos(t), sin(t)) parametrizes the unit circle. If you're comfortable with this, look into how to parametrize a surface, It's not that much harder. Know your trig!

M5892: Extreme Math
Difficulty: ****

We did this for Splash and some people seemed to like it, so we're doing this again:

This class is mostly an excuse for us (the teachers) to watch you (the students) flail while you try to solve tricky math problems on the spot.

This is how it will work. We will give you a math problem, and you’ll have to immediately present a solution on the black-board. You’ll have up to eight minutes to present your proof, but you need to continuously be presenting. Then our panel of judges will award you a score based on how correct, confusing, and amusing your solution was. There may or may not be teams, depending on how many students we get.


Prerequisites
The problems we'll give you will probably be at an easy Olympiad level. At a bare minimum, you should be comfortable writing/coming up with proofs; preferably, you're a USAMO qualifier or at least feel comfortable solving Olympiad-level problems. Also, if you're extremely shy, you probably won't enjoy this that much.

M5766: Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Gaurav Singh

Suppose you write a program to compute all the prime numbers. Can you tell if it stops? Now what if we had a really complicated program. Could you tell if it stops? Could a computer tell if it stops?

In this class, we will think about abstract "computers", and we will talk about what a computer can or cannot do.


Prerequisites
You should be comfortable with mathematical abstraction, and with proofs.

M5824: Infinity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Illan Halpern

What interval has more number [0,1] or [0,2]? Are there more integer numbers or natural numbers? What about rational and real numbers? Are all infinities the same, or are there many kinds of infinity? If you ever wondered about these questions, now it is time to come find the answers!


Prerequisites
Familiarity with functions helpful, though not required.

M5822: Introduction to Calculus
Difficulty: **

Calculus is an important portal to higher mathematics. We'll be covering differential calculus, including limits and differentiation. The class will start off with the delta-epsilon definition of limits and progress through the various differentiation tricks like L'Hopital's Rule, etc. The last concept covered will be the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, which we hope will help launch you guys into the fun world of integration!


Prerequisites
Some algebra and trigonometry knowledge.

M5720: Wanna Bet? Interesting Puzzles from Betting and Probability
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Stephen M. Hou

Are you the type who calculates the odds of getting a particular hand when you play poker? Do you enjoy explaining the Monty Hall problem to your parents and friends? If so, this class is for you! We will examine some classic puzzles that involve betting or probability. If time permits, I'll discuss the mathematical, economic, and psychological reasons why people buy insurance policies and lottery tickets, even though they know that, on average, they will lose money in the long run (and the insurance companies and lottery commissions will earn a profit). Note: This class is intended to teach mathematics and to have fun solving challenging puzzles. This is NOT to promote or endorse gambling.


Prerequisites
Participants should enjoy math puzzles and challenges. Experience with math contests like AMC, AIME, ARML, or HMMT is highly recommended. Must be familiar with probability to the extent that you can calculate (a) the probability that exactly two heads will come up if I flip a fair coin three times and (b) the probability that a sum of 8 appears if I roll a pair of standard dice.

M5937: Love, Marriage, and Mathematics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: David Hemminger

Learn how to play matchmaker with your friends! In this class, we will study the problem of trying to pair up $$n$$ men with $$n$$ women as best as we can, given that we know the preferences of each man and woman. In studying the problem, we'll learn how to avoid affairs and discover how well a Jane Austen novel works out for the women.

M5911: Game Theory Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sam Trabucco

Come learn about how to analyze games! We'll talk about games like tic-tac-toe, nim, and chomp, and why some games are actually interesting to play, while others are over before they've even started.

(Note: we'll be discussing (mostly two player) games of perfect information here, though "game theory" can encompass other things.)


Prerequisites
None

M5920: Math, games and puzzles
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua Frisch

Games are fun. Puzzles are tricky. Math is mysterious. This class will discuss the interrelationship between all three. In this game and puzzle centered course various games and puzzles with deep and non-obvious mathematical structure will be played. We will play with, discuss, and discover a variety of games and puzzles including impossible puzzles, seemingly impossible puzzles, games where we know who should win but not how they should win, games which are used to model nuclearwarfare, and games which can be used to represent every other game, if time permits we will also discuss computers, games, and a million dollar math problem.


Prerequisites
Algebra 1

M5596: Quadratic forms
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Holden Lee

We'll take a tour of modern number theory by examining quadratic forms, from their roots in Gauss's time to our modern understanding. We'll touch on topics such as infinite descent, ideal factorization, p-adic numbers (Hasse-Minkowski), composition laws, modular forms, class field theory, and Chebotarev density. Emphasis will be on ideas rather than proofs.

A quadratic form is a polynomial in several variables where each term has degree 2.

We'll examine questions such as: Which numbers are the sum of 2 squares? How about 3 squares? 4 squares? How many representations are there? What proportion of primes can be written in the form $$x^2+ny^2$$, for a fixed $$n$$?


Prerequisites
basic number theory (ex. modular arithmetic) and algebra (ex. polynomials, complex numbers)

M5796: The Glorious Gamma Function
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Adam Hood

Ever wondered how to extend the factorial function to non-integers? How about how to solve integrals that you have previously thought to be nearly unsolvable? Well, now you can! The gamma function opens a huge new set of possibilities, from it's very purpose to a lot of unexpected uses for it.


Prerequisites
Strong foundation in calculus and an excellent knowledge of algebra

M5893: Counting: Beyond "1, 2, 3..."
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Miriam Gershenson

Do you know how to count?

“Of course I do,” you say. “I’ve been practicing since preschool.”

But do you really know how to count?

In this class you’ll learn how to answer questions like these: How many different ways can you arrange the letters of the word SLEEPINESS? How many ways can you pick a committee of 4 people out of a group of 20? What if there are 8 women and 12 men, and the committee has to include at least 1 woman and 1 man?


Prerequisites
You should be comfortable with Algebra 1 or the equivalent. If you've seen "n choose k" before, this class is not for you.

M5865: Introduction to Mock Trading Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ryan Liu

Ever wonder what Wall Street Traders do? Come learn the basics of trading! After about an hour of learning terminology, we'll do some simulated trading with poker chips. So if you like dice, card games, and doing math in your head, this class is definitely for you! There will also be a special prize for the best trader!


Prerequisites
Basic understanding of probability and expected value.

M5863: Evil Maths Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Alex Cole, Stephen Face

Do you like evil? What about maths? Then this class is for you!


Prerequisites
Being ready for hard problems, stupid problems, and maybe a few impossible ones too.

M5886: Euclid's Mistake
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Dylan Yott

So let's say we have a line in the plane, $$L$$ and a point $$p$$ not on that line. Then I can draw a line through $$p$$ parallel to $$L$$, right? This doesn't seem too difficult to do, but why are we always able to do this?

The answer is, it works because we built our geometry in such a way that it had to work! This idea that lines are either parallel or intersect at one point is known as Euclid's Parallel Postulate. So, while it is obvious that Euclid's geometry is immensely useful in applications, it turns out that it isn't the only valid notion of "geometry".

That is, we can come up with a new model of geometry that satisfies similar axioms, but fails our parallel postulate. That is, I could find infinitely many (!) lines through $$p$$ parallel to $$L$$. If this isn't weird enough, it turns out that this new geometry lives on a surface that looks like a sphere with radius i. Yes, as in the imaginary number i. Weird!

These ideas just scratch the surface of a beautiful and rich field called hyperbolic geometry. Ideas from hyperbolic geometry have applications in number theory (Fermat's Last Theorem), and in Einstein's work on general relativity. It's gonna be awesome!


Prerequisites
Calculus! Understanding the formulas for arc length of a curve and surface area. If you're also taking my "Geometry of Maps" class, then you'll have an easier time.

M5809: Colorful Throwable Paper Math (Modular Origami)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Benjamin Kraft

Some people like to do their math on paper. But I like to do math *with* paper. Some people like to do their origami with one piece of paper. I like *lots* of paper. So we'll be combining the two, and folding lots of little pieces of paper (that is, making modular modular origami) and using a bit of math to make colorful throwable paper dodecahedra. If we have time, we might even make buckyballs or donuts or something else; you'll definitely leave knowing how to make such things. And then you can throw your math at your friends!

For the math-haters: We might talk a bit about some of the math going on, but don't worry if you aren't a math person.

For the math-lovers: If you want to hear about it, there's lots of graph theory and a little topology going on that we can talk about.


Prerequisites
If you've made PHiZZ units before, you will probably be a bit bored. If you don't know what those are, great! No paper-folding experience is necessary.

M5725: Counting Past Infinity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

Did you ever have arguments about whether or not $$\infty + 1 = \infty$$? Come learn how to count past infinity, graphically!
Time permitting, we'll then go over the formal definition of numbers as sets, and talk a little bit about cardinal and ordinal arithmetic.


Prerequisites
You should know how to count. You should also understand the definition "a set is an unordered collection of distinct objects".

M5832: Group Theory
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Daniel Zaharopol

You can add things that are not numbers. It sounds, absurd, doesn't it? But remarkably, you can generalize the core principles of addition to work on things that are not like numbers at all. This produces the concept of a group, a set of objects with a binary operation that is associative and has a couple of other nice properties. Groups allow us to study symmetry, crucial for physics, chemistry, and most of mathematics.

The simple notion of "you can add things that aren't numbers" brings forth a huge number of concepts in mathematics. We'll talk about isomorphisms, homomorphisms, kernels, quotient groups, and more. If you want to get a sense of what studying advanced math is really like, this is an excellent place to get a taste of how mathematicians think.


Prerequisites
This course will be very fast-paced and abstract. Although we don't require any background other than basic high school algebra, you must be ready for (and interested in!) some very challenging mathematics.

M5855: Edible Math
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

What can toothpicks and marshmallows teach us about math? How about m&m's? A chocolate bar? Twizzlers? Cheese sticks? Pineapples?

Let me prove to you that I'm not crazy: there really is a lot of math in food!


Prerequisites
If you have food allergies, you might want to think twice about taking this class.

M5739: The Mathematics of the Card Game Set
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Aaron Potechin

In this course, we show how to play the card game Set then show some of the mathematics behind it, including several cool mathematical tricks.


Science

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S5793: Weird Atoms and Strange Photons: The Quantum Nature of the Universe
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Hiro Miyake

It turns out that behind the scenes nature works in bizarre and wonderful ways. I’ll explain some of these ideas at the size of atoms, where particles routinely walk through walls, are both everywhere and nowhere at once and where almost anything can happen. One place where these weird cases occur is at very cold temperatures, billionths of degrees above absolute zero. At these temperatures, millions of atoms can act as one huge atom. We’ll discuss these cryptic sentences and explain how weird our universe really is.


Prerequisites
This course is aimed towards students who have never heard or hardly read about, for example, wave-particle duality and quantum mechanics. The only requirement is that students are interested in learning how nature works.

S5785: Estimation workshop
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

How many grams does this textbook weigh? How many centimeters wide is the blackboard? How many milliseconds does it take to snap your fingers?

Don't know? Just guess! We'll take wild guesses at the answers to a bunch of questions like these. Then, we'll try again, revising our guesses into good estimates by using benchmarks and comparisons. Finally, we'll carefully measure the answers. Through this class, you'll build intuition for how heavy, how big, how long, how cold, how fast, and how loud the world around us is.

S5858: Chemistry of Explosions Full!
Difficulty: **

Learn what makes things go bang. Covers low-order explosives such as black powder, as well as primary, secondary, and tertiary high-order explosives such as RDX and TNT. Learn what chemicals go into making explosives and how they are safely manufactured. This class makes a three-part series with "How to plan and execute operations in deep cover" and "How to be on the run from people who are more powerful than you are."

S5666: Psycholinguistics: How the Brain Processes Language
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Julie Moyer

Psycholinguists study how language impacts us at the biological level by studying the human brain. In this short class, you'll learn which brain areas are important for language, what happens when we damage them, and how things like multilingualism play a role in language learning!


Prerequisites
None. Some biology or psychology background is helpful, but not necessary.

S5722: String Theory 101
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Eric Newman

The course title says it all. This lecture will be an explication of string theory in all its glory.

The first half of class will be dedicated to learning about the primordial foundations of string theory.

The latter half will then be devoted to recent development and current research being done in what is surely one of the most exciting fields in modern science.


Prerequisites
A good understanding of some basic physics and math concepts will be helpful.

S5798: Intensive Introduction to Cosmology
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Benjamin Horowitz

In this class, we will give a whirlwind tour of the key concepts of modern cosmology. We will cover the dynamics of the expansion of the universe (the Friedmann equations), the history of the early universe (inflation, nucleosynthesis), formation of the cosmic microwave background, and dark matter. Depending on time, we can also dive into some more specialized topics like galaxy evolution, primordial black holes, and gravitational waves.


Prerequisites
This class will assume some basic knowledge of physics (energy, forces) and mathematics (algebra, trigonometry). It is also recommended that students have some exposure to basic calculus concepts like the derivative.

S5845: Modern Biotechnology Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Sin Kim

Learn about several recent hot topics in biology and look beyond what crumbly old biology textbooks tell you! Biology is no longer just a study of living things. In combination with nanotechnology, scientists managed to make biological molecules and living organisms do previously unimaginable things. Imagination is ultimately the only limit. After introducing recent inventions and innovations, the class will discuss what could be next for biology.


Prerequisites
1 year of high school biology; knowledge in AP biology recommended

S5786: GPEAC: the Gravitational Potential Energy Appreciation Club Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

The higher an object is raised off the ground, the more gravitational potential energy it has. If the potential energy of the object is allowed to be converted into kinetic energy, but then the object abruptly encounters an opposing force (which we'll call the "ground") how will the object be affected?

Come appreciate gravity and potential energy with GPEAC!

S5723: A Visual Introduction to Special Relativity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Christian Ferko

In this class, we will try to get some intuition for the weird predictions of special relativity (like time dilation and length contraction) using a tool called the spacetime diagram. These diagrams let us see visually why relativistic effects occur using just geometry.

The class will use a lot of qualitative arguments, so if you've studied relativity formally or want mathematical rigor, you'll probably be bored.


Prerequisites
Basic algebra and geometry skills, like graphing lines and looking at shapes in the plane.

S5746: Chemistry with Logic (and a bit of common sense)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Linda Xu

You have before you, 4 unlabeled bottles of clear solution. You know they each contain something different, and you're given a generous supply of beakers; nothing else. How would you go about figuring out what each of them are, and under what circumstances would you be able to come to an answer?

You have a supply of nitrogen air, which is contaminated with oxygen, ammonia, water, and nitrogen dioxide. How would you get rid of the contaminants, and in what order must you do that?

This class will focus on applying a few basic chemistry principles and a healthy supply of common sense to a wide range of logic problems, building the intuition needed to use qualitative knowledge flexibly.


Prerequisites
Taken at least a year of high school chemistry, preferably AP level. Having some intuition about how any two given chemicals would interact/knowing lots of trivia on the subject is definitely a plus.

S5795: Probability and Genetics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Voss

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

Topics to be covered include pedigrees, recombination, conditional probability, binomial distributions, modes of inheritance, and calculating probabilities of all sorts. With sample problems and probability demonstrations!


Prerequisites
Know what a chromosome is.

S5894: Quantum Mechanics and What It All Means
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Charles Xu

Is the moon still there when you're not looking? What about an electron? If so, where? Why should there be a difference? Is there a difference? Even as they've crafted quantum mechanics into the most fantastically successful theory ever, physicists still struggle with the basic question of interpreting what's going on. In this class we'll introduce the bare bones of QM, as well as the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation and why it's so deeply unsatisfying. We'll talk about how Einstein got it subtly wrong and why it took so long to pinpoint his error. Finally, we'll run through some popular alternative interpretations like many-worlds (the multiverse), de Broglie-Bohm pilot waves, and decoherence...plus the bigger issue of why/whether any of it matters scientifically.


Prerequisites
An open mind and not much else. What little math we need will be covered as we go along.

S5613: All About Birds
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Rebecca Shi

Come learn a few basics of birdwatching and how to identify backyard and other common birds! We will practice outside, weather permitting, to search for the common birds around MIT. Binoculars will be provided, but feel free to bring your own if you have them.

S5802: How to Build A Time Machine
Difficulty: ***

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Well, good news! You don't need a phone booth, magic, or even electricity! All you need are cosmic strings and a fast rocket. (And some relativity, but we'll help you with that.) Anyone with a healthy enthusiasm for physics and time travel is welcome!


Prerequisites
Basic algebra, geometry, trigonometry. Introductory physics is helpful but certainly not required.

S5799: Myth or Truth?
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Carol Hardick

Can a person's mind be controlled? Can a person be brainwashed into believing something?
We'll decode brainwashing, subliminal messages and other myths about the mind

S5732: The Magical Beauty of Parasitic Wasps
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Peter LoVerso

Parasites have gotten a bad rap over the past couple centuries. They've been looked down upon as inferior, broken organisms that deserve to be objects of disgust, rather than study. But because of attitudes such as this, some of the most wondrous and complex biological pathways we know of have been left by the wayside. Here, we will look at the intricacies of mind control, neurosurgery, and symbiotic viruses through the study of Ampulex compressa, Cotesia congragata, and Zatypota percontatoria.

Warning: this class will be looking at pictures and videos of parasitization. This includes videos and pictures of wasp larvae eating caterpillars, spiders, and other organisms alive. If pictures like this make you feel squeamish: http://i.imgur.com/RWBI8.jpg (Warning, it's a picture of some larva emerging from a caterpillar)
then this may not be the class for you.

S5897: Neutrons and Nanomaterials
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Emily TenCate

Learn about how we can examine the structure of materials (especially nanomaterials) using different types of radiation, and the tools and equipment scientists use to discover their interesting properties.

S5705: The Greatest Physics Crisis of All-Time
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Eric Newman

Do you currently have a life crisis that you would like to talk about? If so, you need therapy, not this class.
Instead, as the course title indicates, this class will be dedicated to what many physicists call the greatest crisis in the field.

This crisis goes by the name of gravitational collapse and spacetime singularities.

In this lecture, we will study black-hole formation and the prediction of singularities.

After learning more about the different types/manifestations of singularities, we will discuss its implications on the study of physics.

The last part of class will be dedicated to possible ways to escape the inevitability of gravitational collapse.


Prerequisites
A good understanding of basic physics and math concepts will be helpful.

S5890: Relativity for middle school
Difficulty: **

Ever wondered how fast the fastest thing in the universe is, or what that "thing" is? Come explore what happens when we start to examine the realm of high-speed physics, where distances grow shorter, time seems to pass more slowly, and just about everything you know as "fact" is no longer quite true. We intend to make this accessible to a wide range of students, so do not be intimidated by the mathematics of relativity - we will be focusing on the qualitative aspects of the science.

S5729: Viruses and Epidemiology

Have you ever wanted to know how the 1918 flu spread so quickly, why some viruses make you sick immediately while others surface only after weeks or months, and why the creation of a mutant virus that can spread from ferret to ferret has public health and national security officials worried? Learn all of this and more - (non disease causing) treats provided!

Taught by MIT Team HBV.

S5905: Maxwell's Equations... for Middle Schoolers
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

I'm not really deviating from my normal, "tried and true" 2hr Maxwell's equations class. In spite of being for Middle School students, this class will still cover single and multivariable calculus, also special relativity, and will derive the integral form of Maxwell's equations. (full description below) I've just never tried teaching this class to a middle school audience: I want to see what happens! :-D

Maxwell's Equations:
These four equations describe one of the most universal and elegant relations in physics. They are Maxwell’s equations, unifying all observations of relativity, electricity, and magnetism. Don’t let the notation scare you off – this class has no prerequisites (as in, just be able to graph a function), but we will rigorously derive Maxwell’s explanation of electromagnetic phenomena (including light, electricity, magnets, …). “Derive” with the catch that, as I don’t believe in writing long equations on the board, everything in this class will be presented as a series of intuitive /and/ rigorous deductions, preserving concepts rather than constants.
We will begin with only two observations. First, the relativistic nature of light: you can’t catch up to a light beam – it will always move away from you at speed c. Second, our observations of the force between two charges described by q_1*q_2/r^2: q_1 and q_2 being the magnitude of the two charges, and r being the distance between them. From these two observations, we will DERIVE the explanation of everything else. Aka, the world will unfold before you and it will be beautiful.


Prerequisites
All this said, and there being no “hidden prerequisites,” the world will need to unfold before you /very/ quickly. I basically just claimed that I would introduce all of single-variable calculus and about half of multivariable calculus in the first hour of class – which I believe is an attainable goal – but this class will be rigorous, will be extremely intense, and will require the full two hours. You should brush up on what functions are and how graphing works - we won't be talking about any specific graphs, but we will frequently talk about "all possible equations with various finite-dimensional domains" -- and that phrase should mean something to you. :)

S5903: Probabilistic Reasoning
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Avril Kenney

Probabilistic models let you represent how likely different things are to be true. People have notoriously bad probabilistic intuition in some cases, but in some cases you're surprisingly good at mental calculations you don't even know you're doing. In this class we'll go over the basics of probability, and then talk about ways in which people are good or bad at thinking probabilistically.

S5829: Molecular Gastronomy Full!
Difficulty: **

om nom nom... with science!

We'll use chemicals not normally found in your kitchen to create interesting foodstuffs that defy traditional cuisine.


Prerequisites
A willingness to try awesome but possibly strange food

S5759: History of Mathematics in Biology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Quanquan Liu

From the simplest leaf to the most complex cells, mathematics has always lurked in the background of common biological phenomena. This course will feature topics ranging from patterns in nature to the mathematics behind genetic mapping to current methods used in modeling cancer and much, much more. Come learn about current research in biology, medicine, and biotechnology from a mathematician's perspective!

S5884: What's so scary about Organics?
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Francisco Pena

In organic chemistry, often the biggest hurdle to jump is actually imagining the structures of molecules which is why we'll explore the basics of organic reactions using 3D models. A (literally) hands on approach to a sneak peak of orgo.


Prerequisites
1 year of chemistry (not necessarily AP)

S5923: Viruses and Epidemiology

Have you ever wanted to know how the 1918 flu spread so quickly, why some viruses make you sick immediately while others surface only after weeks or months, and why the creation of a mutant virus that can spread from ferret to ferret has public health and national security officials worried? Learn all of this and more - (non disease causing) treats provided!

Taught by MIT Team HBV.

S5743: Synthetic Biology -- What it is, and where its going Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nathan Lachenmyer

Have you heard about Synthetic Biology? [Well, now you have!]

Synthetic Biology is a hot new field combining biology and engineering, with the goal of designing and fabricating biological systems that don't exist in nature. Sounds like science fiction, doesn't it?

Come learn about how synthetic biology works, what you can do with it, and where the field is headed!


Prerequisites
An interest in biology!

S5850: Introduction to Special Relativity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ryan Normandin

This is the class that will throw everything you know out the window. Time travel is not only possible, scientists actually know how to do it! The Law of Conservation of Mass is a lie. Energy Conservation is another lie. From a four-dimensional point of view, you are a strand of spaghetti. Come and learn how to not only time travel, but turn into a black hole while you’re at it!


Prerequisites
Basic Algebra and the Pythagorean Theorem (One derivation will use a bit of calculus, but nothing ridiculous).

S5805: Music Decomposition Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ranbel Sun

What is sound, and what does it really mean to "turn up the base"? This is not a music theory class but rather an introduction to signal processing in the context of music and speech. We will travel to the magical frequency domain and learn about sound detection and synthesis in both humans and computers.


Prerequisites
Know what a sine wave looks like

S5835: Medical Cases Closed!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Shulin Ye

I give you medical cases, you try to guess the diagnoses.


Prerequisites
AP-biology level knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.

S5643: Phase Diagrams
Difficulty: ***

What happens when you lower temperature and raise pressure on a material? What if you mix it with something else? How can you depict and read all of this in a single graph? Learn about the power of the phase diagram, perfect for anyone interested in chemistry or materials.


Prerequisites
Introductory Chemistry

S5891: Biochemistry Fundamentals in Disease Research
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Nevin Daniel

This is going to be a hectic, crash course (with discussion) in as many basic fundamentals of biochemistry on a high AP/college level that I can fit in and then use them to look at current research in 1-2 diseases (e.g. cancer). For people who want AP exam prep, background for a high school research project, or just are generally interested in biochem and medicine.


Prerequisites
AP Chemistry/AP Biology experience are definitely recommended.

S5841: A Conceptual Introduction to Einstein's Theory of Relativity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Andrew Chen

Relativity can be "relatively" confusing, but it doesn't have to be! Come for a conceptual, low-math introduction to Einstein's finest ideas. Learn about spacetime diagrams, time dilation, gravitational redshifts, and much much more!


Prerequisites
Some high school physics recommended.

S5901: Crazy Sex: The Genetics of Sex Determination Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sweet Tea Dorminy

Come learn a little bit about genetics --- and the more crazy living things of the world, complete with strange !

Chromosomes are structures that store and organize DNA, and some of these chromosomes control sex. Now, most of the time, we understand this pretty well: female humans have two complete sex chromosomes, while male humans have one complete chromosome and one of a slightly-broken chromosome. We designate these XX and XY, respectively. But not everything has sexes that are determined like this... platypus sex is determined by $$\textbf{10}$$ different chromosomes instead of 2, for instance. In this class, we'll learn how chromosomes work and explore how this plays out in exotic sex chromosomes :-)

S5724: Your classical intuition is wrong!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jason Gross

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

S5875: How the Genetic Code was Written and Deciphered
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alioth Drinkwater

That table of codon-to-amino-acid correspondences sits in the back of every biology textbook, taken for granted, but it actually has a fascinating story. We'll explore the biochemical and evolutionary reasons why the genetic code got to be the way it is, and the elegant set of experiments that deciphered it. (Teaser: did you ever wonder why, exactly, all four codons for proline are in the same "square" of the codon table?)


Prerequisites
High school biology and chemistry. Know how DNA replication and protein synthesis work. Have seen acid-base chemistry. Know the difference between covalent bonds, ionic interactions, hydrogen bonds, and van der Waals interactions.

S5830: Maxwell's Equations
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Zandra Vinegar

These four equations describe one of the most universal and elegant relations in physics. They are Maxwell’s equations, unifying all observations of relativity, electricity, and magnetism. Don’t let the notation scare you off – this class has no prerequisites (as in, just be able to graph a function), but we will rigorously derive Maxwell’s explanation of electromagnetic phenomena (including light, electricity, magnets, …). “Derive” with the catch that, as I don’t believe in writing long equations on the board, everything in this class will be presented as a series of intuitive /and/ rigorous deductions, preserving concepts rather than constants.
We will begin with only two observations. First, the relativistic nature of light: you can’t catch up to a light beam – it will always move away from you at speed c. Second, our observations of the force between two charges described by q_1*q_2/r^2: q_1 and q_2 being the magnitude of the two charges, and r being the distance between them. From these two observations, we will DERIVE the explanation of everything else. Aka, the world will unfold before you and it will be beautiful.


Prerequisites
All this said, and there being no “hidden prerequisites,” the world will need to unfold before you /very/ quickly. I basically just claimed that I would introduce all of single-variable calculus and about half of multivariable calculus in the first hour of class – which I believe is an attainable goal – but this class will be rigorous, will be extremely intense, and will require the full two hours.

S5607: Quantum Physics - what you wish you learned in AP Chem
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jimmy Sun

What are chemical bonds? Where do the quantum numbers come from and what do they actually mean? A brief introduction to Quantum Mechanics and applications to chemistry.


Prerequisites
(AP) Chemistry, some physics/math background

S5771: Taking the Twinkle out of Stars
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Fangfei Shen

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I want to see what you really are.

Come learn why stars twinkle, why astronomers don't like the twinkling, how engineers can get rid of the twinkling, and why taking the twinkle out of stars leads to better science.

S5593: Explosive Chemistry!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Sweet Tea Dorminy

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


Prerequisites
Know what a Lewis structure is


Walk-in Seminar

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W5731: Magic: the Walk-In Seminar
Difficulty: **

Come play Magic! BYOD (bring your own deck -- or a friend's).

W5778: Long Sudoku is Really Long
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tana Wattanawaroon

Long cat is long. Long Sudoku is really loooooooooooong. Come solve one or two of the 40+ Sudoku puzzles chained together, or just take a puzzle home. There will be plenty of hints and tips.

W5825: Decorative Knots for Jewelry and Accessories
Difficulty: **

Learn some basic decorative knots to make belts, purses, hair accessories, bracelets, earrings, and whatever else you can come up with.

W5885: Chess Simultaneous Exhibition
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Daniel Grazian

I will be running a simultaneous chess exhibition. I will go from board to board, playing 12 to 18 people at once. Good luck!

W5650: Math and Art: Shiny Geometric Constructions
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Chelsea Voss

Come use math to create works of art! Learn basic and advanced geometric constructions, from bisecting an angle to constructing a pentagon, and even approximating a heptagon! Draw fractals with precision, acquire a useful mathematical skill, and invent your own elaborate geometric pieces of art!

W5823: Quidditch!

Come learn how to play the Muggle version of Quidditch.

W5818: Swing Dancing!
Difficulty: **

Impress all your friends with some super classy swing dancing!

Learn the basics of swing, and a few fun moves to get you started. Beginners welcome; it's a ton of fun.

W5828: Play Bughouse -- Team Chess!
Difficulty: **

Come play bughouse with us! Bughouse is a variant of chess involving teams of two and the ability to place taken pieces on your side of the field. We'll give you a brief intro and then play some games! Maybe we'll even do a mini-tournament!

W5843: Cardboard Art!
Difficulty: **

Make things out of cardboard! Costumes, necklaces, chalkboards, 3D models, recursive boxes, cardboard mache, or even cardboard BOXES! MAKE ALL THE THINGS!!!

W5792: Learn to Knit
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Scarves, sweaters, mittens, shawls, hats, socks... you won't be able to make any of these in one hour at Spark. But I can teach you how to get started on your first knitting project. Who knows, maybe it'll spark a life-long hobby of knitting beautiful things.

W5808: Ninjas
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Benjamin Kraft

Be a ninja in Lobby 13.

W5864: SET
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.

W5906: Python Bee!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Anthony Lu

Think you can program? Come to the Python Bee and show off your skills! Don't know Python? Show up and watch anyway!

Prizes will be awarded.

W5770: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream!
Difficulty: **

Come learn some interesting facts about the science of a really cold gas, and eat some tasty ice cream too!

W5806: Paper Engineering!
Difficulty: **

Come build awesome things out of paper! We'll have different engineering challenges using paper, rotating every half hour. Build paper airplanes, bridges, and towers!

W5887: Schafkopf!
Difficulty: **

Do you dream of picking up big ladies in the blind? Do you dare to pick on red death? Do you have nightmares schmearing to the partner, only to find yourself failing to make schneider, or even worse, getting schwartzed?

Come play Schafkopf, a German trick-tacking card game of epic proportions — and even more epic words. We pity the mauers

W5840: Friendship Bracelets!!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tessa Green

Learn to make friendship bracelets out of embroidery thread!

W5661: Rubik's cube jewelry
Difficulty: **

Make earrings, necklace pendants and key rings in the shape of Rubik's cubes to show off or give to your friends.
Please Note: This class will end half-an hour early.

W5735: Play Doh Circuits!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Morgan Stewart

LEDs are fun! Play Doh is fun! Conductive Play Doh that makes your childhood creations light up is even more fun! We'll use conductive and insulating dough along with random electronic parts to see what amazing stuff we can make.

W5790: Solving Crosswords!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Taylor Sutton

I'll have lots and lots of crosswords to solve, ranging from easy to impossible, both themed and themeless, small and large. Come work on one by yourself, or even better, pick a hard puzzle and attack it as a group.

W5900: Epic Fort Building
Difficulty: **

Come build a box fort of epic proportions! No, really, we do mean epic. We have HUNDREDS of boxes -- come play!

W5727: Anime Courseware
Difficulty: **

MIT has over two dozen different majors, and choosing a course can be a daunting challenge. Anime, or Japanese animation, is a medium that spans a huge spectrum of different genres— with a lot of titles in science-fiction, a genre that holds plenty of interest at a science, engineering, and technology school. Explore all of the courses at MIT through anime in an exciting fast-paced guessing game! Watch clips of anime representing all of the Institute majors, from Aeronautics and Astronautics to Physics, and learn about some our famous ani-alumni, anime characters who attended MIT!
This event is hosted by MIT Anime (http://anime.mit.edu/).

W5807: Make your own Slime
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ranbel Sun

It drips off the table like liquid. Punch it and it becomes solid!

Get your hands dirty while learning about non-Newtonian fluids.

Please Note: This class will actually run from 5:30 to 6:30.

W5821: Play Go!
Difficulty: **

Go is a truly great game with simple rules but endless complexity, so whether you are a complete beginner or an expert or anywhere in between, you should stop by and learn/play some go!

Go (known as Weiqi in Chinese and Baduk in Korean) is a game that originated in China about five thousand years ago. The objective is to control a larger territory than the opponent. The rules are so simple; yet from simplicity comes endless strategic depth. Whereas the strongest chess programs can defeat grandmasters, the strongest Go program can be defeated by a strong club player.

W5895: Salsa dancing
Difficulty: **

Come learn to dance salsa! We'll go over the basic step and a couple of building blocks, and in no time at all you'll be salsa-ing around Lobby 13.


Miscellaneous

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X5922: Islam for Non-Muslims
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Harun Omer

Have you ever had a question about Islam and did not know whom to ask? Islam is much talked about these days yet most people know very little about it. What is the Islamic concept of God and of life after death?
What about dreams and revelation? What is the Islamic perspective on other religions, in particular Christianity?
Throughout you will have the chance to ask anything in an open-spirited environment. This class is for you if you want to better understand your Muslim classmates, get an idea of the religion which is currently shaping world politics and of course to better understand your own faith by learning about another religion.

X5797: Ultimate Frisbee: Strategy
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Stephanie Ger

Ultimate Frisbee transcends a simple pickup game played at picnics and after school. Instead, at the competitive level, there are many rules that govern the game, even though there are no referees, and strategy involved in each play. This class will be a brief introduction to competitive ultimate, the rules that govern the sport and different offensive and defensive plays.


Prerequisites
n/a

X5838: You and the Law Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Leonid Grinberg

The law surrounding children and students is extremely complex and unclear. Come learn about some of the history surrounding children and the law, particularly in the context of public schools. Be prepared to discuss some complex issues.

X5914: Make a Splash: Spreading Splash around the country
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Chris Kennedy

Wouldn't it be great if Splash happened more than once or twice a year, in more places than just MIT?

In fact, it does! Over the past four years, the scope of Splash, Spark, and other similar programs has expanded tremendously--there are now 14 colleges around the country where groups of undergrads have gotten together and decided to put together Splash programs.

This class will be an informal discussion about the possibilities and prospects of establishing new Splash programs at colleges everywhere. More specifically, how you could create a Splash when you get to college.


Prerequisites
Knowing what Splash/Spark is. Since you're looking at the catalog for Spark right now, this presumably applies to you automatically.

X5768: Boffer Swords 101: Expanded Section 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.

X5628: Bicycle Maintenance and Repair Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ethan Lewin

Being able to maintain and repair your own bicycle is a useful skill that will save you money and time. I will cover the basics, including lubrication, brake replacement/adjustment, tube replacement, chain replacement, and wheel alignment. I will also describe the different types of bicycles and how to decide whether a bicycle in a particular price range is worthwhile or not.


Prerequisites
You should know how to use a screwdriver and wrench.

X5640: Cryptography
Difficulty: **

Learn to read and write simple substitutions and more sophisticated ciphers. Students will analyze ciphers by hand and using computer techniques.

X5594: Disney - A History
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Danica Bybell

This is a repeat of the same class from Spark 2011:
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 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.

X5718: Intro to Everything: Facts, Figures, and Ideas That WIll Change the Way You Think
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Zoe Schladow

This course will examine everything from early creation myths to design and technology in an effort create interdisciplinary connections and open minds to new ways of thinking.

X5880: Road Rules - What How We Drive Says About Us
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kayla Meduna

Are rotaries better than other types of intersections? Do traffic signs work? Does wearing a helmet on a bicycle cause cars to leave you more space? What is the most stressful thing that you will do in everyday driving? Come find out the answers to these and other questions!

X5853: The Most Challenging Puzzles
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Daniel Zaharopol

Join us as we solve some of the deepest and most challenging puzzles around. These puzzles, seen in competitions such as the MIT Mystery Hunt, require careful analysis and deep logic, and they’re often given without any instructions! We’ll go through a sample of these puzzles and try to work through them together. Stretch your brain and grow your skills for finding deep patterns, examining open-ended questions, and pulling out solutions without nearly enough information.

X5711: MAKE THE BEST PIES EVER! Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Phillip Seo, Zoe Snape

Learn the secret of an easy and excellent homemade pie crust and then test it out with four different kinds of sweet and savory pies--blueberry, apple, pecan and meat.

X5646: An Introduction to Negotiation
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Vrajesh Modi

This class is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of negotiation. Topics covered will include basic terminology and strategies. Format will consist of: (1) a brief lecture on theory; (2) a one-hour exercise/simulation; and (3) debrief. Students will be divided into teams for the simulation.

X5764: Islam for Non-Muslims
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Harun Omer

Have you ever had a question about Islam and did not know whom to ask? Islam is much talked about these days yet most people know very little about it. What is the Islamic concept of God and of life after death?
What about dreams and revelation? What is the Islamic perspective on other religions, in particular Christianity?
Throughout you will have the chance to ask anything in an open-spirited environment. This class is for you if you want to better understand your Muslim classmates, get an idea of the religion which is currently shaping world politics and of course to better understand your own faith by learning about
another religion.

X5626: How to Ace Your College Admissions Interviews
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Ethan Lewin

So you have the grades and the SAT scores. You've poured countless hours into perfecting your college application essays. But what about the interview? I will share my tips on what the interviewers look for in an applicant, how they rate applicants, and how you should prepare.


Prerequisites
Intention to apply to college for entry in 2013 (you are probably a junior now).

X5645: Parliamentary Procedure and Debate Closed!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Simone Agha

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

X5730: How to Solve a Rubik's Cube
Difficulty: **

Do you want to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube? Come and find out how.

X5856: P.E.
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kate Rudolph

Take a break from learning at Spark and come break a sweat. We'll stretch out and then do fun, team-based cardio activities for an hour. Be ready to get moving!

X5603: The Game Mechanics of Pokemon
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Adam Gleitman

If you want to be the very best, then you need to know how the world around you works. In this class we will cover the basics of the game mechanics of Pokemon, including finding, catching, training, breeding, and battling.

How can you find rare or shiny Pokemon more easily? Is it worth it to teach a Linoone how to Surf? How can a level 1 Pokemon defeat a level 100 Pokemon in one hit? Take this class and find out!


Prerequisites
You should have played at least one of the Pokemon games. This class does not focus on any specific generation or any specific game.

X5689: ZDI.001 Introduction to Zombie Defense
Difficulty: **

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

X5714: Fundamentals of Shogi
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sumit Gogia

Learn the basics of shogi, a board game similar to chess often played in Japan (except absurdly more exciting). You will learn
1. The essentials to tactics and strategy
2. How to epically slap tiles to the board
3. Special, unnecessary shogi traditions

X5921: Kick, Push: How to Ride and Maintain a Longboard
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Parker Chambers

This seminar is meant to teach proper riding technique for longboarding, such as the most comfortable riding stance and kicking positions, basic tricks, sliding, and how to do it all with style! The second portion of this seminar focuses on the parts of a longboard, basic longboarding physics, and proper longboard maintenance.

X5774: Mission Impossible: The MIT/UMBC Spark/Splash Collaborative
Difficulty: **

MISSION OBJECTIVE: Join forces with UMBC's Splash to save the lives of
your daring companions and complete your mission. The year is 3012,
and you are the team of FedEx spaceworkers aboard one of the largest
FedEx delivery ships in the universe. But, an unexpected problem has
arisen during delivery and now you are struggling for survival in deep
space. Now you must step up to the task and complete your delivery.
Successful deliveries will earn you the materials necessary to repair
your ship and return home. ARE YOU UP FOR THE TASK?!?! You will be
communicating with students from UMBC's Splash (quite similar to MIT's
Spark) to complete your objectives. This class will be run
simultaneously with a class at UMBC, so you will be doing these
communication exercises in real time!

X5788: Peanut Butter & Jelly Robotics Full!
Difficulty: *

Think you know how to make a PB&J sandwich? Well enough to explain it to an extraordinarily stupid robot? Then this class is for you. Work with your classmates to instruct a robot to make delicious sandwiches.

X5652: 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.

We will learn, we will watch, and we will play!

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

X5801: Stock Investing 101 Full!
Difficulty: **

Interested in the stock market? Interested in learning more about legendary investors like Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch? Interested in how and why companies like Starbucks and Apple succeed? If so, come to learn how you can be a successful investor- it's not rocket science!

X5789: Constructing Crossword Puzzles
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Taylor Sutton

Many prominent newspapers, such as the New York Times and LA Times run daily crosswords, and anyone can submit a puzzle in the hopes of having it published. In this class, we’ll go through the construction of a few different crosswords, see some different types of themes and grid shapes, and look at the various tools used by constructors to aid them.

X5755: 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
A mind open to wonder.

X5874: How to run a Splash!
Difficulty: *

Step 1: Get teachers.
Step 2: Get students.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: SPLASH!

...want to know what the "???" is? Come find out how we make Splash happen! Presented by the directors of Splash 2011.


Prerequisites
None!

X5632: Cooking Probabilistically Full!
Difficulty: *

Sometimes the best ideas are total accidents. Come explore how to cook randomly! We'll look at some interesting applications of learning done by chance, and apply that to a few different types of food -- quesadillas in particular.

Come, be adventurous, cook stuff that you'd never expect to work!

**Students with diary/wheat allergies would not be a good fit for this class, as a large portion of it will be taste-testing. We will always tell you what you are eating, before you eat it, and you can choose not to add anything in your dish.


Prerequisites
Feel comfortable doing simple cooking on stoves.

X5866: Optical Illusions Full!
Difficulty: **

Is that my eye or my mind playing tricks on me?
Optical illusions have long since been a hot topic of
study among not only leading scientists, but also
regular people just like you and me! In this class,
students will examine the most commonly seen optical
illusions types from physiological illusions, ambiguous
illusions, paradoxical shapes, and more! Fun is
guaranteed in musing out exactly how these interesting
figures distort our perception.

X5719: Aquarium Keeping and Aquascaping Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jessica Pourian

Ever wanted to keep an aquarium but afraid your goldfish will just die? Come learn about the proper methods of freshwater aquarium keeping, from compatibility of various tropical fish, necessary diets and habitats, care and maintenance of tanks and much more. Learn about professional aquascaping and how to start a beautiful planted tank!

X5767: 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, we will also give a short demonstration on using your sword, and discuss both basic swordfighting concepts and basic footwork.

X5619: Play DDR like a pro!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Holden Lee, Daniel Ron

Want to know how to get good at DDR? Want to impress your friends? How the heck to read arrows flashing past at 400 beats per minute? Then this class is for you!

In the first ten minutes we'll go over beginner and intermediate footwork tips, and introduce various step patterns such as gallops, cross-stepping, streams, and hands. In the next forty minutes you'll get the chance to practice, with individualized feedback.

Students with health issues are not advised to take this class.

Note: This class is not intended for you to show off your DDR skills. If you can regularly get B or better on 10-footers then we won't have too much to teach you.

X5612: Make Chainmail!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Alyssa Zisk

Chainmail- the stuff used for armor, not the annoying emails. I'm going to teach you how to make it if you take this class. You'll be learning European 4-in-1.


Prerequisites
You should have two hands that can hold pliers (preferably attached to the same person.) Also, you should be OK with repetitive tasks.

X5641: Cupcake Decoration Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lillian McKinley

Ever wanted to make pretty cupcakes like you see in bakeries? Now you can learn how. Techniques taught include color changes, frosting and icing, embellishments, and animals/characters.

X5877: Mafia
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Daniel Grazian

I will explain the rules and some basic strategy of the popular parlor game, mafia. The students will then play as many games of mafia as time allows, and I will offer feedback.


Prerequisites
None

X5642: How to Write an Email (And Other Communication Tips)
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Anika Gupta

The email (and other electronic communication) can be a powerful tool or a showcase of incompetence. Learn how to do it right for everything from sharing information to making requests. Pick up other communication tips as well!


Prerequisites
None

X5762: Chocolate Tasting
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jayson Lynch

Come learn the fine art of tasting chocolate. We will be sampling a variety of dark chocolates while leaning about their composition. We will discuss the flavors, textures, and composition that gives each chocolate its own unique character.


Prerequisites
Love of chocolate