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Splash Spring 2018
Course Catalog

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Arts Engineering
Humanities Math & Computer Science
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A488: Improv Comedy by Fuzzy Dice Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Cameron McKenzie

An hour-long introduction to improv comedy taught by one of Princeton's very own improv groups, Fuzzy Dice. We will introduce the basics of improv comedy, play a variety of warm-up games with participants, present an improv scene or two and give participants a chance to get the feel of being in an improv scene.


A489: A (Hybrid Workshop) Introduction to Poetry
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Katherine Stiefel

Do you consider yourself a poet? Do you love reading poetry? Do you just think it's cool and wish you could get into it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider taking this class! We'll blend the boundaries of a traditional poetry class and creative workshop to see how, as writers, we can learn from and contribute to the art form. You will walk away with some (historical and modern) context for English-language poetry, different forms to experiment with, and strategies for writing and revising. Like all good workshops, we'll have snacks and tea. Experience optional, snaps required.

If possible, bring a piece of original poetry. Rough pieces preferred!

A494: Say More with Less: an Intro to Short Films Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Favour Oribhabor

Whether you meticulously watch every Oscar-nominated short film or you just enjoy music videos, this class could be for you! We'll discuss the elements of a good film, watch some critically-acclaimed shorts, and finish by making our own. Remember, brevity is the soul of wit.

A507: Breakdancing 101
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Evelyn Karis

Come learn the basics of breakdancing from top rock to footwork. We'll teach you what you need to know in order to throw a full set in the next dance cypher you happen upon.

No previous dance experience necessary!

A519: Crash Course in Magic and Mentalism Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Luis Cardenas

A course meant to teach you how to amaze and baffle the mind. Come and learn how to do magic and read people's minds! This introduction will immerse you in a world of wonder and mystery.

A521: Introduction to Traditional Chinese Martial Arts: Wushu Basics Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jessica Pan

Wushu encompasses all of the traditional Chinese martial arts styles, from the flowing movements of Tai Ji Quan to the sharp, explosive power needed to wield a broadsword (Dao).
In this course, we will cover some of the basic stances, kicks, and forms of Chang Quan, or "Long Fist" (we will also introduce performance-oriented aspects of wushu such as cartwheels and rolls). This bare-handed style emphasizes the extension of the body and requires flexibility, balance, and speed.

Please come ready to engage in physical activity! T-shirt, gym shorts recommended.

A523: Video and Media Full!
Difficulty: **

Learn basics about video and media.


A524: Intro to Latin Dancing
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Fernando Hipolito

Mรกs Flow Dance Company, Princetonโ€™s premier Latin dance company, will teach the basics of classic Latin dancing styles such as bachata, merengue, and salsa. If time left, we will explore more advanced techniques.

A530: Bhangra 101
Difficulty: *

Come learn bhangra, a high energy folk dance from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan! No experience required.


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E506: Build a Personal Website Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Roland Fong

Learn how to build your own personal website hosted on github! Learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and version control with git. Please bring your own laptop if you have one!

Bring a laptop if you have one! Some experience with git/github would be nice but not required.


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H495: Esperanto
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Holden Lee

Saluton, amiko! (Hello, friend!)

Esperanto is the most successful constructed language in the world today. Its creator, Ludwik Zamenhof, designed the language to be easy to learn for everyone, and with the hope that it would foster friendship among people of different ethnicities. Because of its simple grammar and systematic vocabulary, it's estimated that a person can become fluent in Esperanto in 1/10 the time it takes to become fluent in English.

I'll give a first lesson in the language, as well as discuss the vibrant history, culture, and ideology behind Esperanto.


H497: Petroculture: Society and Art in the age of Oil and Climate Change
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Charles Copeland

How do fossil fuels impact the aesthetics of our culture? How can art respond to climate change? We'll explore these questions and more with a mix of lecture and interactive activities.

Will include watching and analysis of a few movie clips.

H501: toki pona Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Holden Lee

toki - language; to talk, to speak
pona - good, simple

Toki pona is said to be the smallest language in the world, with just 123 words. Inspired by Taoist philosophy and the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (language influences thinking), Sonja Lang created the language in 2001 as an experiment: what happens if we boil language down to the bare essentials? Come take part in this experiment!

For inspiration, check out this podcast episode:

I will follow this course:


H503: The Seminal Catastrophe - Was WW1 "Inevitable"?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Kouta Ohyama

This year marks 100 years since the end of WW1, an event that has played a crucial role in geopolitics as we know today. The common narrative attributes the beginning of WW1 to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 - but can the cause of a tragedy of such scale be reduced to a single bullet? (Hint: No)

Students will first engage in a simulation of Europe in the early 1900s to experience the role of a policy maker. In the second half, students will switch roles to historians and discuss the events and actors "responsible" for the war.

No prior knowledge of history required.

H504: The Age of Bronze: Greece before Ancient Greece
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Aidan Gray

Anyone who's read the Iliad or the Odyssey has heard of Bronze Age Greece, buried somewhere in the distant past; a world of death-masks and epic poetry, convoluted mythology and difficult to read pictographs. The period between about 1650 BC and 500 BC is rather murky, but the few tantalizing clues about long-lost civilizations available to us have captivated historians for generations. Come and find out who the Mycenaeans were! Whether or not there was a Trojan war! And what went on in the Bronze and Dark Ages to create the Ancient Greece we know of.


H505: Classical Mythology: Ovid's Metamorphoses
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tashi Treadway

Ever heard of Ovid and his Metamorphoses? Curious about the various transformations and their meaning to the Romans, as well as us modern readers?
Each section of the three sections will have a different focus:
1:00 - 1:50 About Hubris
Characters: Phaethon, Narcissus and Arachne
2:00 - 2:50 About Love
Characters: Orpheus & Eurydice
3:00 - 3:50 About Creation
Characters: Chaos, Four Ages of Man and the Flood

H516: Intro to the Poetry of Etheridge Knight
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Sivan Tretiak


the skin
of my poems
May be green, yes,
and sometimes
or worn

the snake shape
of my song
may cause
the heel
of Adam & Eve
to bleed . . .

split my skin
with the rock
of love old
as the rock
of Moses
my poems
love you

H518: Literary Modernism and T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land"
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nina Wang

Above all, uncertainty was the theme of the early 20th century. The introduction of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the development of Sigmund Freud's idea that psychology is dictated by an unknowable subconscious, and the onset of World War I were just a few events during this time that completely shattered the boundaries of both human violence and human knowledge.

In this class, we will read T. S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land" and examine the way it embodies the Modernist literary movement through the strange, disorienting, and unsettling ways that it experiments with the written form.

Math & Computer Science

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M487: Natural Language Processing for Social Good (AI4ALL) Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Catherine Chen

This course is an introduction to using AI for social good. We'll specifically look at the tools and applications of natural language processing -- how computer programs can represent text, and how we can use these representations to solve problems in society. Students interested in AI for social good should look into Princeton's AI4ALL program:

Familiarity with basic algebra. No previous computer science experience needed.

M490: Modeling Randomness in Finance and Mathematics
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abhiram Karuppur

How do we calculate the value of something whose properties change randomly from day to day? This is a conundrum present in the finance world, where assets like bonds and options change in price based on random "shocks" that occur everyday. We will learn what makes commonplace financial assets difficult to price, and how we can use quantitative modeling to predict how these assets are going to change in price over time.

Basic knowledge of economics, BC Calculus

M492: Cryptography: The Science of Secrecy Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Francesca Falzon

In our technology driven world, securing our sensitive information is becoming increasingly important. This course will serve as a short introduction to the field of cryptography, with an emphasis on symmetric key encryption. We will try our hand at the famous Caeser cipher and substitution cipher, and move onto learning about the perfectly secret one time pad (OTP).

Don't know what any of these words mean? Don't worry! We assume no prior knowledge of the content and will define all terms as they are introduced. So, roll up your sleeves and let's get hacking!

Knowledge of Algebra I and Algebra II may be useful, but not necessary.

M499: The Mathematics of Voting Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: William Simon

America's democracy is broken.

That, at least, is a conclusion many seem to have reached. The culprit? According to some, it's a voting system that discourages people from voting their consciences and pushes candidates toward extreme ends of the political spectrum.

Many reforms have been proposed, from instant run-off voting to increasing the number of congressional districts, and from requiring people to vote to using nonpartisan committees to redraw congressional districts. But will these reforms accomplish their goals? And if so, will there be unintended consequences?

For voting rules at least -- such as instant-runoff voting, Borda's count, Copeland's method, and others -- it is possible to make mathematically precise definitions of desirable properties and prove whether or not they hold. For example, if I vote for candidates in instant-runoff voting in a way that doesn't match my true preferences, is it possible to secure an outcome I like better? (the answer is yes!)

Using analysis of these voting rules as a jumping-off point, we will explore the mathematical advantages and disadvantages of many voting reforms proposed in the United States.

No prerequisites, though familiarity with mathematical proofs will be helpful.

M502: Algorithmic Game Theory Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: George Chernov

Algorithmic Game Theory deals with various exciting questions: Can you win in the Prisoner's Dilemma? Can building a new road in a crowded city bring to an increase in traffic congestion? Is there one best voting procedure, and what flaws do contemporary voting rules used in various countries have? What is a Nash equilibrium? If you are interested in any of these, come and learn!

None. In particular, you don't need to know any calculus. Just willingness to learn and have fun!

M508: Special Topics: Laguerre Polynomials
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Chirag Bharadwaj

This class introduces some special polynomials used in mathematics. Students will learn about polynomial solutions to differential equations that have rich applications in modern physical chemistry. We will develop a toolkit for differential equation-solving using Victorian algebraic techniques.

Strong algebra skills and knowledge of single-variable calculus (including sequences and series). Familiarity with differential equations will be useful, but not necessary.

M510: Probability and Expectation
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Kevin Lin

This course is about understanding probabilities and expected value and how they can be used to evaluate decisions to maximize the long-term gain and minimize risk of such decisions. Such understanding has applications ranging from games to finance to biological systems.

Should have a good understanding of what probability is and how to calculate it.

M511: Genetic Algorithms for Nonconvex Optimization Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Emily de Jong

What happens when you take the principles of natural selection and apply them to computer science? Evolutionary algorithms! This course will discuss the concept of "convexity" and what it means to find a local versus a global minimum on a computer. It turns out that finding a global minimum can be a lot harder than it sounds...enter genetic algorithms. You'll learn how to mate and mutate functions to approximate real-world data and find optimal solutions; we'll cover an overview of this problem-solving approach including an interactive example!

Never heard of convexity of optimization? No problem--this course is intended as a high level overview of the field and a closer inspection of one really neat class of algorithms. No computer science or coding experience required. Some mathematical background would be helpful.

Familiarity with math up to the level of calculus would be helpful, but not required.

M512: Privacy in the Digital Age Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Hans Hanley

made or the last Amazon product you bought? Privacy is a significant concern in the technological age. With many different online trackers like DoubleClick, Disqus, keeping records of the websites that we visit and our browsing habits, it can seem impossible to protect oneโ€™s privacy. This course is intended to introduce students to improve their own personal privacy protections and give students an understanding of how companies track users online. We will mostly concern with decreasing our digital footprint online. Topics will include online cookies, encryption, and various methods of circumventing tracking methods used by various companies including Tor and CyberGhost.

M513: Fun with matrices and finite fields
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Roger Van Peski

Finite fields are like the real, rational or complex numbers in that you can add, multiply, and divide, but very different in that they only have a finite number of elements. This means there are many nice counting questions one can ask about n-dimensional space over a finite field and matrices acting on it, and in many cases these counting questions mysteriously mirror analogous questions for finite sets, connecting to things you've seen like counting the number of $k$-element subsets of an $n$-element set (i.e. binomial coefficients).

Know what a matrix is and how to multiply them (if you don't know this, Wikipedia it). Finite fields will be introduced from scratch so don't worry about those, although if you've seen them before it'll probably help. Know about binomial coefficients.

M531: Intro to Computer Science with Minecraft! Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Max Piasevoli

Interested in Computer Science but lacking coding experience? Enjoy playing Minecraft in your free time? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then come join the Microsoft Student Partners and begin your computer science journey with this class!

The Microsoft Student Partners will lead students through a Minecraft based interactive environment that will introduce abstract, computer science concepts. By the end of the workshop, students will be able to understand and relate the functionality of real Javascript code.

No prior experience is required, so come have fun and grow with us!

M532: Web Development with HTML/CSS Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jessica Edouard

Ever wonder how websites are made? Ever wanted the ability to create your own personal website to show off to the world?

Do you want to ability to do it from SCRATCH?

Join the Microsoft Student Partners for a very basic introduction that describes HTML and CSS basics with the ability to deploy it to the actual world wide web! During the workshop, we will be demoing on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's comprehensive set of cloud services that developers and IT professionals use to build, deploy, and manage applications through a global network of datacenters.

No programming experience? No worries! Beginners completely welcome!


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S484: Modern Perspectives on Dark Matter and Dark Energy Full!
Difficulty: **

Together, dark matter and dark energy comprise roughly $$95\%$$ of our universe, and we're not sure what they are. Now that doesn't mean that we are clueless. In fact, there are a number of competing proposals that give detailed descriptions of these entities and experiments are winnowing down the number of valid theories.

In this course, I will present a few of the leading candidates for dark matter and dark energy and enough background to understand how clever (and also crazy) they are.

Familiarity with calculus will make some of the things I write on the board more familiar, but the emphasis will be on ideas rather than calculations.

S491: Chemistry Behind Environmental Disasters
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Abhiram Karuppur

Many environmental disasters, like Chernobyl, PCB contamination, and the Flint water crisis, are discussed predominantly from the policy side. But how do we explain these disasters scientifically, using fundamental concepts in physics and chemistry? We will learn the basics behind the science of fluid mechanics, diffusion, and corrosion and how they apply to several environmental disasters. These concepts can then be used to help prevent future disasters.

Introductory Physics, Chemistry

S493: Lucid Dreaming Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Quinn Gruver

Would you like to fly like Superman to Hawaii in seconds? Perform on stage with your favorite band? Or spend time with a loved one who has passed away? Learning the art of lucid dreaming -- becoming aware that you are dreaming within your dream -- will allow you to direct and create completely realistic, multi-sensory experience like these every night. We'll cover basic history, scientific explanations, and most importantly, techniques and applications to help you start lucid dreaming!

S498: The Material and Bacterial Science of Food Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Grace Kresge

Come learn about the science of food through hands on demonstrations (read as: snacks)! Whether you're an aspiring biologist, chemist, material scientist, or simply a foodie, we invite you to come learn something new. Topics of discussion include the process making of cultured and fermented foods such as cheese, yogurt, and beer (not served, sorry!) as well as the a look at some of your favorite snacks through a materials science lens. Why is jello jiggly? What makes good chocolate? Why are some cookies soft while others are crunchy?

Some chemistry

S500: Innovative Solutions to Climate Change
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Clare Martin

Nuclear energy. Electric cars. Smart thermostats. You've likely heard of these common solutions to climate change raised in conversation or featured on the news, but what about the emerging solutions to climate change that have not received as much airtime? This lecture will educate you on some of the current and potentially revolutionary solutions to climate change, such as ocean fertilization, desert sunlight solar farming, and synthetic meat. Because these solutions demand further research, you will also learn about their shortcomings. Come curious, and leave inspired to approach the issue of climate change from new angles!

S509: The Wonders of Topological Superlattices Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Pavel Shibayev

In this class we will explore the mysteries and recent experimental findings surrounding one of the interesting realms of condensed matter physics, in particular within the context of topological materials.

Topological superlattices have been seriously studied by several research groups recently, and I will introduce you to the observations (validated by theory) of phase transitions that take place in samples consisting of heterostructures of alternating layers of topological and normal insulators. An explanation of experimental techniques will be provided, along with the demonstration of actual samples used in this recent research. If you find experimental physics exciting, this class is for you!

S517: The Fun, Fun World of Computational Neuroscience
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Noam Miller

Do you identify as a computer or are you still in denial? If you want answers--well, if you are just a computer you cannot really "want" answers per se--anyway, join us for an interesting exploration of the philosophical, biological, and computational underpinnings of the mind.

Algebra and an open mind

S522: Immune System: Defenders Full!
Difficulty: **

Come learn about your body's mechanisms for fighting pathogens! Immunology is a broad, diverse field; in these 50 minutes we will discuss the basics of the immune system and its implications (including autoimmune disease, infectious disease, and cancer immunotherapeutics).

High school biology

S525: Black Holes and Supernovas Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Udit Basu

Come take a peek at some of the most extreme objects in the universe. We will take a broad overview of the death of massive stars and how these objects evolve over time.

S529: Learning Learning-Theory Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Sarah Wilterson

Can you spend less time studying and still learn the same amount? Scientists have discovered a number of ways to speed learning and boost memory. In this class, you will learn how to improve your own class performance using techniques backed by science. We will investigate a few learning tools and the pioneering experiments that lead to their discovery.

Sample topics: recall practice effects, spacing effects, the generation effect, transfer of learning

Familiarity with the scientific method will be useful but is not necessary


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X485: Choosing a Major and Career: Statistics I Wish Every Student Knew
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Nathanael Ji

An overview of various career positives, negatives, and random tidbits. College career services are often inadequate in reporting realistic data on jobs (compensation, hours, lifestyle, geographic freedom), and I wish that more students had this information when making one of the most important decisions of their lives: what to focus on for four whole years of college. Special focus on engineering, finance, and management consulting career paths. Taught by a Chemical and Biological Engineering student with minors in Computer Science and Finance, with experience at Tsinghua, Princeton, Citi, and Morgan Stanley.

X496: Everything you need to know about Climate Change
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Charles Copeland

A quick overview of everything you need to know about climate change. Includes the basic science, reasons to act, pathways towards a solution on the problem, and ways you can get involved!

X515: Mindfulness and Meditation Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Connie Zhu

What is mindfulness meditation, and how can we use it in our lives? This course will teach how mindfulness meditation can be a tool to increase self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, and understand ourselves better. Additionally, we will discuss key themes of mindfulness meditation and tips for maintaining a personal practice. Students will learn and practice various meditation techniques.

Beginners welcome; no prior experience necessary.

X520: Solving Carbon Emissions in New Jersey
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jinn Park

Climate Change has been cast as a partisan issue for the last decade, and after pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the U.S. Federal Government is less likely than ever to take action. Is all hope lost? No!
In this talk, we'll discuss a simple, effective, and politically feasible policy for fighting climate change at the New Jersey STATE level. There are similar policies under consideration in Massachussetts, New York, Rhode Island, Maryland, Washington, and the nation's capital. The policy, carbon fee and dividend, has been proven to work in places like British Columbia, Denmark, and Ireland, WITHOUT hurting the economy. Carbon Fee and Dividend is supported by Democrats such as Cory Booker and former President Obama, as well as Republicans such as former NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Senator Lindsey Graham. We'll discuss the policy and how it combats climate change in New Jersey.

X526: Botany Club - Dorm Room Plants Tips and Tricks Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Florence Odigie

Do you want to learn how to keep your plants alive, the best plants for a dorm room, or just want to plant something? Then this is the course for you! We will start off with an instructional portion about how to care for plants in a dorm room and what plants are best. Then, we are going to have a portion where you get to plant something for you to take home.

X527: Rubik's Cube Solving
Difficulty: **
Teachers: John Li

Learn to solve a 3x3 Rubik's Cube.

X528: Fun With Scissors and Paper Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Shefali Nayak

Also known as Introduction to Pop-Ups and Paper Engineering. In this workshop, I'll show you how to make your own pop-up cards and other paper crafts. With a few cuts and folds, you can make everything from birds to birthday cake!

You'll get a crash course on the history of movable books and what artists are up to now, but most of the hour will be spent on hands-on experimentation. We'll start with the basic elements of paper engineering and then go into how to apply them to your own ideas. You should walk away with a pop-up card or mini book of your own design! If there's time and interest, we'll also look at other elements of interactive books, and play around with things like 3D paper crafts and hexaflexagons.

X533: Avalon: Come and Play!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Louis Gosart

This is a walk in activity, where you'll be able to play Avalon and meet other Splash participants! Come and enjoy the game. Come at any time and leave at any time!
If you've never played - it's easy to learn!


X514: Writing about Science
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Arjuna Subramanian

Come try your hand at crafting non-technical science writing fit for public consumption! All levels of scientific knowledge and journalistic experience are welcome - the only requirements are enthusiasm and a willingness to engage in constructive criticism.

Reading selections drawn from Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Zimmer, and more, you'll be introduced to the key principles and tricks of the trade followed by some of the best science journalists and luminaries of long-form explanatory science writing. After appreciating the work of these modern masters, you'll get to take a stab at writing breaking science news and/or creative passages about any science-related topics that animate you.

You'll leave this class with a basic writing skillset to help combat science illiteracy and spread your passion for science by distilling complex topics into digestible news and/or soaring prose.

No specific prerequisites, but you are advised to bring pen-and-paper or a laptop for short, informal writing exercises.