Education for students, by students

Next Splash at Berkeley is planned for Sat. Nov 19th 2016!

Splash Spring 15
Course Catalog

Jump to Categories
Arts Engineering
Humanities Math & Computer Science
Science Miscellaneous
Social Sciences


[ Return to Category List ]

A15: Round Singing: Beyond "Row, Row, Row your Boat" (High School)
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ruth Byers

Rounds are songs where multiple people or groups sing the same thing at different times. "Row, Row, Row, your Boat" is an example-- you can sing it in four parts, each starting one measure after the last.

Round singing is a easy way to create beautiful music, and is also a good first step to learning to sing harmonies. We will learn and practice singing some easy rounds and show you where to look to learn more.

You should be able to read music well enough to follow along on the sheet music while singing. Fabulous sight-singing skills not necessary.


[ Return to Category List ]

E42: How This Website Works
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

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

We’ll cover, very briefly, the basics of all the major concepts of web design, including HTML, CSS, client-side scripting, and server-side scripting. Time permitting, we'll also talk about databases, version controlling, and caching. All examples will be taken from the Splash website.

If time allows, we’ll take a look at some of the administrative portions of the website - the pages that help the Splash directors administer the program.

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

No computer experience is required. In fact, if you have a lot of computer experience, you’ll probably be bored. But if you don’t already know most of the terms listed in the description, then you’re encouraged to register for this class!

E2: Intro to Circuits
Difficulty: **

Enter the world of electronics and make a cool circuit to take home with you!

None, just an interest to learn!

E22: Engineering Design and Graphics Full!

Enter the world of engineering design! We'll be using computer aided design as a tool to conceptually design, draw, and model.

Basic Geometry


[ Return to Category List ]

H39: Let’s Talk About Poetry Full!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Melissa Ko

Enjoy reading and discussing poems? We will take it easy, eat some snacks, and talk about poems. Feel free to bring a short poem that you want to share, but please keep it PG-13.

This class will consist entirely of reading poems out loud and discussing what we think about them in groups. Participation is a must.

Math & Computer Science

[ Return to Category List ]

M24: Encryption and Secrets
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sunjay Koshy, Lucas Yan

Ever want to learn how to keep your messages secret or how encryption works? We will be going through the basics of cryptography and the math behind why it works. The basis of encryption is the fact that some calculations are computationally difficult. You will also learn how to create your own encryption algorithm. Topics covered include RSA encryption, AES encryption, and polynomial secret sharing. If you like secrets, then this class is for you.

M19: Error-Detecting and Error-Correcting Codes Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mehrdad Niknami

Mistakes happen. You say one thing, but your friend hears something else. Humans are remarkably good at correcting mistakes, but what about computers? How do they detect and correct errors when communicating with each other? In this course we'll dive into the math behind error correction. (We'll assume you've learned polynomials and systems of linear equations.)

Algebra 2 required; basic Java or similar programming experience highly recommended

M28: Introduction to Haskell
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Roy Tu

Inspired by an unhealthy obsession for mathematical purity, Haskell is a very strange, but incredibly beautiful, programming language. A functional language (to the extreme!), its rigorous constraints are what allows it to do crazy things most other languages can't, such as automatic memoization, infinite lists, and pattern matching.

In the interest of time, probably this will not be an interactive thing. But after this class, I encourage you to install GHCI and write some Haskell code yourself!

Some programming experience preferred.

M30: Combinatorial Games
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Alex Irpan

Do you like games? I like games! But in particular, I like combinatorial games. Combinatorial games are turn-based games with no randomness and perfect information. For example, Tic-Tac-Toe is a combinatorial game, and so is Chess

This course will first start with playing around with some classic games from combinatorial game theory (Nim, Chomp), then move into how these games can be made mathematically rigorous.

You should know how to never lose at tic-tac-toe. There will be some proofs, so familiarity with proofs is recommended.

M5: Problem Solving
Difficulty: **

Come learn! I'll try to bring in some clean, cool problems that shows how beautiful math can be (without the monotony of high school math classes).

An open mind!

M36: The Internet: How does it work?? Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: J.D. Zamfirescu

Possibly the largest engineering project ever created by man: the Internet puts millions of phones and computers all milliseconds away from each other, and it's hard to imagine life without it.

This fully distributed system works because of a few protocols that all Internet devices follow.

In this class, we'll explore the physical and logical foundations of the Internet, and get hands-on with the four fundamental protocols most commonly used: Ethernet, IP, TCP, and HTTP.

Bring a laptop (if you like) to follow along with our exploration!

M6: Intro to Python Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ashvin Nair, Roy Tu

Learn how to make your computer do what you want it to. We'll go over basic Python syntax and control structures, then compose a simple but useful program (maybe a mathematical expression evaluator or spelling corrector, depending on how much time we have).

Please bring a laptop set up with the Python 2.7 programming language ready to run. Linux or Mac setup should be easy, for Windows you can refer to: If this is impossible for you, feel free to email me. I'll let you know if we secure a computer lab and don't actually need to have personal laptops.

M38: Intro to Abstract Math
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Henry Maltby

We will provide an introduction to mathematics in the collegiate sense as opposed to the high school one: as a tool for "formalizing abstract constructions" instead of "making calculations."

Topics introduced may include sets, operations on sets, equivalence relations, equivalence classes, partial and total orderings, and groups. Examples may be taken from Euclidean geometry, matrix algebra, logic puzzles, and (sparingly) single-variable calculus.

These concepts may be found in the beginning of a course on naive set theory, abstract algebra, or topology. While particular attention will be given to examples and visualization, the underlying logic and rigor will be stressed to an agreeable extent.

Algebra II (Pre-Calc or equiv suggested)

M34: Introduction to Big Data
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Che Yeon Hyun

What is big data? A lot of people have heard about it but they actually do not know what it means. This is a course where we will see what big data refers to and why it's becoming an hot issue nowadays.

M18: Computers & Internet for Laypeople
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Allen Guo, Sean Zhu

Hey there! Have you seen a computer before? Perhaps you've even used one to connect to the Internet? Of course, you have, computers are all around us these days!

You may have heard terms like "RAM" and "OS" and "boot" before. When you use a web browser, you may have seen words like "http" or "server". What do these all mean? You may have tried to look these up using a dictionary, on Wikipedia, or perhaps by asking your parents. Sometimes these kinds of resources don't end up helping with your confusion.

That's what this class is for! We will explain how computers work and go over weird terms in a way everyone can understand! This class will be a discussion -- feel free to stop me anytime to ask questions along the way.

Also a final note: Please don't feel discouraged to attend this class because you think computers are hard. The point of this class is to you show you that it's not as hard as it looks!

Not much, just an open mind! And if you can, please have in mind some general (non-programming) questions about computers and I'll try to answer each in 3 sentences or less!

M31: Intro to Java Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Allen Guo

Want to program in the language that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and other powerful role models have used? Is so, Java is right for you. Java is a programming language that is widely used today world wide. With Java, you are able to create programs that you would think aren't possible. We will cover the basics. Take this class if you want power in your hands!!

A computer that has Eclipse installed. Refer to this video of how to install the software.

Social Sciences

[ Return to Category List ]

O41: Education Research, Policy, and Reform
Difficulty: *

Through simulations and activities, students will learn about current issues in education research, policy, and reform. We will discuss how to address the achievement gap, equity, and access. Students will also learn about research conducted in the Education department by faculty and students.

By exposing students to multiple perspectives surrounding these issues, we hope students learn more about the root causes, institutions, and policies that perpetuate the current problems. We will further introduce and ask students to analyze various policies and proposed solutions through different viewpoints and theories. Students will then work with the class to build upon the strengths and limitations of these approaches to reimagine public policy and improve the prospects for social change.


[ Return to Category List ]

S27: Introduction to the Introduction of a Formalism for Quantum Mechanics
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Roy Tu

A nonrelativistic rapid-fire introduction to quantum mechanics.

If you read any popular science medium you'll probably notice that the treatment given to quantum mechanics is either filled with buzzwords like "superposition" and phrases like "everything is everywhere at the same time!" which are inspiring but uninformative. If not that, they're technical to the point of incomprehension.

This makes me really SAD, especially since there are very elegant ways to describe quantum mechanics from a mathematical standpoint.

In this class I will (attempt to!) analyze the results of various Stern-Gerlach experiments, and how to model them in ways that are useful for calculations. In particular, we will establish a formalism for expressing the state of particles as matrices and vectors (Dirac's "Bra-Ket" notation). And if we have any extra time we can do some Schrodinger's equation stuff? That would be neat.

The class will follow an approach similar to the first chapters of "A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics" by Townsend and "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics" by Griffiths. If you read either of these ahead of time you will be thoroughly disappointed by this class, because you will probably not learn anything new.

(That being said, I ENCOURAGE you to read both books, because they provide a much better foundation than I would be able to).

A time-optimistic syllabus for this class is as follows, in order of descending "we'll probably get to it"-ness:
- Explanation of intrinsic vs. orbital angular momentum
- "Discrete"-ness of spin for elementary particles
- Analysis of four Stern-Gerlach experiments
- Dirac's bra-ket notation
- Born's interpretation of quantum mechanics
- An analogue to polarized light, and how to compute the transmission of light through various polarized sunglasses
- Basics of Schrodinger's equation (we won't be deriving it; if you're interested in that, read this instead: )
- Solutions to the Schrodinger's equation for various potentials (infinite square well, Dirac delta potential well)
- Quantum tunneling

tl;dr Quantum mechanics is doubleplus interesting and I wish to share it with you!

Linear Algebra (Preferred) Differential Equations (Preferred) Calculus (Highly suggested)

S33: Vision: From the Retina to the Brain
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Pierre Karashchuk

How do we see? If I show you a picture of a cat, how can you instantly tell it's a cat, while engineers have struggled with this problem for decades?

In this course, I'll map out our visual system, from the cones and rods of the retina to the higher levels of the cortex. I'll talk about weird effects science has uncovered, and why those might make sense, if you look at how the brain works.

S7: Everyday Memory Full!
Difficulty: *

Learn about how everyday memory is formed and how you can enhance the things you remember!

S40: Intro to Epigenetics: From Development to Cancer
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Melissa Ko

Does DNA determine exactly how a living organism will look or behave?

How do all the many cells in the human body function differently despite having the same DNA?

Discover how non-genetic factors in our cells lead to a diversity of cell states, allowing us to function as complex, multicellular organisms, but also causing serious problems such as cancer when these factors go awry.

This class is a basic introduction to epigenetics. If you are already familiar with histone modifications, etc. then this may not be the class for you.

basic understanding of cancer and cell biology (if you know what oncogenes are, the structure of DNA, and what a cell is made of, you will be fine)

S4: Taylor Series in Physics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: John Groh

Taylor series are a very powerful way of approximating complicated functions, and they appear everywhere in modern physics and engineering. In this course I'll briefly review the mathematics of Taylor series, and then show how they are used to describe physical phenomena ranging from vibrations of atoms in solids to the stability of asteroid orbits.

Calculus I is required. Calculus II and ordinary differential equations are not required but would be helpful.

S26: A lightening introduction to Einstein's Special Relativity
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Tom Zick

Have you ever wondered what Special Relativity is all about? This class will provide a brief introduction to the physics of near light speed reference frames. We will discuss how time can slow, and length can contract when one observer is moving near light speed, as well as the curiosities that arise from this. Including, but not limited to, what happens to a train moving near the speed of light when it is hit by simultaneous lightening bolts (spoiler alert: they will not look simultaneous to passengers on the train!)

We will be zipping quite quickly through algebra so concurrent enrollment in pre-calculus level math is not necessary but would be helpful.

S32: Brain Computer Interfaces
Difficulty: **

Interacting with computers using only your mind is no longer science fiction.

We will talk about how information is represented in the brain, how we can record that information, and how we can decode it in order to control technology.

We may have also have a demo.

S20: Achieving the Coolest Matter in the Universe
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Thomas Mittiga

The coolest matter in the universe isn't on the dark side of the moon (a tepid 116K or -250F) or hidden in the deepest depths of space (a brisk 2.6K or -455F), but rather is right here on Earth.

Interest in science and willing to ask questions.

S25: The Physics of Interstellar
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tom Zick

Interested in black holes? Intrigued by the movie interstellar, but left wondering how physical the physics of it really is? In this class we will use the movie as a springboard to discuss how time can stretch, whether planets can orbit black holes and even wormholes.

A prior viewing of Interstellar is useful, but by no means necessary!

S1: Physics of Black Holes
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ben Horowitz

How does a black hole form? What is an event horizon? What is the difference between a Kerr and Schwarzschild metric? In this course we will discuss these topics, and maybe get into some of the still open questions.

Algebra would be very useful. Basic physics knowledge would also be helpful.

S29: Sex, Drugs, and Harm Reduction: Public Health
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kyle Li

Learn about what public health is, and how it affects you in an activities based class!

This course is aimed at introducing students to the benefits of public health in alignment with conventional medical practices. Students will not need to have any prior knowledge on science or health courses. All instruction and activities will be presented in an introductory and exploratory manner.

Additionally, as a case study, we will see how harm reduction affects drug usage and sexual education across the US!

Prepare to have your preconceptions debunked, and your minds enlightened!


[ Return to Category List ]

X37: yoga, meditation Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mona Jain, Meena Jain

yoga for eyes, body, and mind


X17: So You Want To Be a Scholar
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mary Shi

So you want to be a scholar, but you don't exactly know what that means. This course covers both practical and philosophical aspects of entering the American professorate: What is the role of academics in society (and is it changing)? What makes someone a successful scholar? How should professors balance their demands of their teaching, research, and intellectual passions? How do you even become a professor in the first place? This class is in a seminar format. We will begin our discussion with close readings of selected philosophy of science and social theory texts, and then move to an open Q&A with the instructor and each other. All disciplines welcome. The instructor is a current PhD student in Sociology with a BA from Yale University in Political Science and Molecular Biochemistry & Biophysics.

X45: Avatar: Legend of Korra Discussions
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Jordan Moldow

Legend of Korra, the follow-up animated series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, just finished airing its final season. Many consider the two shows to be two of the best series ever. Critics have called Korra "progressive", "subversive", "one of the best shows on TV", and "some of the highest quality fantasy of our time". The show is known for its awesome animation, beautiful music, powerful themes, and great characters.

Come to discuss anything you'd like pertaining to the Legend of Korra, and be prepared to discuss topics that others come up with as well. Some ideas for things we may talk about (SPOILERS!!!):

- Bending in the technological world.
- Did technology advance too much during the series?
- The Equalist crisis. Was Amon right? Would the Equalists have been okay with the post-Book 1 Republic City government?
- How did the short, dramatic, plot-driven seasons of Korra compare to the longer, adventure-filled seasons of Airbender?
- Was Book 2 good? What were its strong and weak points?
- What did you think about the return of the airbenders?
- What did you think about the Red Lotus? And, for that matter, what did you think about the role of the White Lotus throughout the Legend of Korra?
- What were the best references to The Last Airbender? What were the worst references that should have been omitted?
- Korra's spiritual and emotional journey, and the evolution of her self-image.
- What should the future of the Earth Kingdom look like?
- Some allies and enemies believed that monarchies should be ended and the division of the four nations should be eliminated. Agree or disagree?
- When were "good guys" wrong? When were "bad guys" right?
- Which book was the best?
- How does Legend of Korra compare to The Last Airbender?

Students should have watched all four seasons of Legend of Korra, and ideally also all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Student should also be interested in discussing their thoughts on various aspects of the show.

X44: Chess Openings: Strategy from the Start Full!
Difficulty: **

Learn to strategize your chess game from the very beginning! We will analyze common openings and how to use them effectively, review famous chess games and their openings, discuss theory of board control, and provide other tips to getting the most out of your first few moves. The board is wide open, but that doesn't mean your plan of attack can't have started long ago!

Students should have enough knowledge of chess to apply strategies and play a game to completion.

X35: Rock Your Interviews!
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Amy Hu

Come learn interview skills and resume writing for college and future careers!

X3: The Physics of Rock Climbing
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: John Groh

Come learn about how rock climbers are able to scale seemingly hold-less walls, how their ropes and protection work, and more!

Basic physics would be very helpful, as we'll discuss forces, torques, friction, and more. However, I'll quickly review the basic concepts of each topic for those who haven't seen them before.