Stanford Splash

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Splash Virtual Fall 2021
Course Catalog


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Chemical and Physical Sciences Earth and Planetary Sciences
Engineering Humanities
Mathematics and Computer Science


Chemical and Physical Sciences

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C7666: Why is plastic recycling a lie
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Yuelang Chen

You are taught to recycle plastic waste. You see recycling labels on almost all plastic products. There are recycling bins everywhere. However, why is plastic pollution getting worse and worse? Is it consumers’ fault? In this class, you will learn why plastic recycling is a lie, and how this lie has worked for so many people for so long.


Class Style
Lecture

C7674: Quantum Physics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Sam Cree

As we zoom in to smaller and smaller scales, the universe starts behaving very differently, completely defying our intuition about how things work. But what does this have to do with cats, black holes, and comptuers?


Class Style
Seminar

C7660: Vision
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Okan Atalar, Devin Dean

Why did pirates wear eye patches? Is pink a real color? This seminar covers the physics of eyes and relates to modern topics such as phone displays, cameras, and color-blindness. Come and join to see what vision is all about!


Class Style
Lecture

C7665: Dark Matter and the Expanding Universe
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Johannes Ulf Lange

Come learn about some of the biggest mysteries in science. Although we believe that most of the stuff in the Universe is dark matter, we do not know what it is. Even more, we know that the Universe is expanding in size at an ever-faster rate but we don't know exactly why. We will discuss some of the evidence for why astronomers believe in such a strange Universe.


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
Algebra, Geometry, Physics


Earth and Planetary Sciences

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R7664: Star Shots - The Art of Astrophotography
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tejas Narayanan

Want to take photos like NASA? You've come to the right place! In this class, you will learn the basics of astrophotography – the art of taking pictures of space objects like galaxies, nebulae, and planets.

We will discuss the entire process, from picking a target to processing the final image. Topics covered include telescopes, general astronomy, manual camera settings, tips for taking night-time photos, image processing, and more!


Class Style
Lecture

R7657: What's Under All That Water? An Exploration into Earth's Oceans
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Courtney Anderson

Have you ever wandered what lies at the bottom of the ocean? Or wondered how animals live under the bone crushing pressure of the ocean? Or even wondered how deep the deepest spot on Earth is? In this seminar we will explore the the wonders of the ocean and it’s adverse impacts on our daily lives. Come and join this introductory seminar that is open to all who wish to learn about our blue planet!


Class Style
Seminar

R7677: Python for Oceanography
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Colette Kelly

Python is one of the most powerful programming languages for large, complex datasets, which makes it ideal for oceanographic research. In this class, we will use Python and Jupyter Notebooks to analyze a set of real oceanographic data (or data of your choice!). Please note that this class is for programming beginners — if you are looking for an advanced coding class, this one's probably not for you.


Class Style
Activity


Engineering

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E7676: Got Nature? Biomimicry Does!
Difficulty: **

Scientists and engineers are tackling pressing problems in our world from clean water, disease detection, to more efficient batteries. Who better to look toward than nature for answers? This class explores biomimicry concepts that inspire new materials and the nanotechnology tools needed to build and characterize them. Come join us for a deep dive into superhydrophobicity and remote use of a Scanning Electron Microscope!


Class Style
Activity

E7672: Materials Gone Wrong!
Difficulty: **

It's a bad day when your phone screen cracks or your car tire pops, but imagine your entire cargo ship splitting in two! Join us for this demo-filled extravaganza where we examine materials in extreme environments and how it leads to their untimely demise!


Class Style
Activity


Humanities

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H7654: From Folklore to Fiction
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Srihari Nageswaran

In this class, we will be studying the work of Zora Neale Hurston, Amos Tutuola, and Ki. Rajanarayanan, three writers whose fiction was informed by the study of their local folkloric traditions. This lecture is designed for anyone with an interest in African-American, Yoruba, or Tamil postcolonial literature. Class will be taught entirely in English.


Class Style
Seminar

H7653: Reading the Tamil Caribbean
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Srihari Nageswaran

Since the early 19th century, indentured laborers from South Asia and their descendants have made home in the various islands of the West Indies. In this introductory lecture, we will briefly study and compare the short prose and poetry of Tamil writers from the English- and French-speaking Caribbean to identify the anxieties, curiosities, and possibilities complicating the Tamil-Caribbean experience. Class will be taught entirely in English.


Class Style
Lecture

H7681: Communicating Science through Data Visualization and Journalism Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Nicole Corso

The pandemic has shown us many things, but one of the most important things it has shown is how important effective science communication is. A way journalists and scientists alike can be better at sharing this information to the public is through simple and intriguing data visualizations and explanations that are straightforward and concise. This class will walk through the importance of this idea and will provide interactive activities providing hands on data visualization demonstrations and data journalism techniques.


Class Style
Activity

Prerequisites
Downloading flourish, a free data visualization app/webpage.


Mathematics and Computer Science

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M7668: Fun with Sums
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Suzy Lou

In this class, we'll explore some interesting and beautiful things you can do with summations, illuminating some interesting techniques and surprising mathematical connections. Planned material: exploring reciprocals of triangular numbers, examining the familiar and beloved harmonic series, and visiting Euler's solution of the Basel's problem. We'll also examine how using telescoping series gives us insight into summing consecutive integer powers, as well as a geometric interpretation of the result for degree 3. As time allows, we'll also spend some time working through some problems together that illustrate some of the ideas presented. The material briefly touches on non-elementary ideas, such as Taylor series and results we will not prove, but familiarity with these concepts is not at all necessary for understanding the material.


Class Style
Seminar

M7669: Set Theory and Graph Coloring: Between 2 and Uncountable Infinity
Difficulty: ****
Teachers: Suzy Lou

Set theory provides a way to formalize all of mathematics using a single language, but different axiomatizations can result in different mathematical results. This fact, interesting in itself, may not be surprising to those who are familiar with the idea of set theory as foundations for mathematics, but in this class we present a graph which is surprisingly easy to define, and show that it behaves very differently when we make a simple adjustment to what we want to do with the axiom of choice.


Class Style
Lecture

Prerequisites
Familiarity with proofs and basic graph theory and set theory. Knowledge of the definition of countable/uncountable infinity. Familiarity with equivalence classes.

M7663: Paint by 1s and 0s - Intro to Computational Image Analysis
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Davis Perez

Humans are a highly visual species, and what we see is key to how we understand the world. How can we use computers to analyze visual information more quickly and quantitatively? In this class, we'll outline some of the basics of computational image analysis, then work through an example application together!


Class Style
Lecture

M7662: Cuddly Dolphins and Scary Reinforcement Learning
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Maximilian Du

How do you train a dolphin or a killer whale? And what can AI learn from it? Take a dive into the surprising connections between animal training and unsupervised artificial intelligence algorithms.

In this class you will learn the basics of animal training and reinforcement learning. We will look at how these two seemingly disjoint fields share many of the same insights. Topics covered include operant conditioning, LRS (least reinforcing scenario), behavior cloning, soft actor-critic, and more!


Class Style
Lecture

M7683: An Algorithm a Day Keeps the Doctor Away? Ethical Consequences of AI in Healthcare
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Jennifer John

AI has the potential to make medical diagnoses sooner and more accurately, predict which treatments will work best, and even discover new drugs. But how do we know if these breakthroughs benefit everyone equally?

In this class, we will explore algorithmic fairness - that is, whether a computer science system is fair - within the context of healthcare. We'll present case studies that have been in the news, and invite students to share their own ideas to make AI in healthcare more equitable.

After this class, you should be able to view news stories about AI breakthroughs through a more critical lens. Whether you continue to study computer science, medicine, or something else entirely, we hope that understanding the principles of fairness will be helpful to you!


Class Style
Seminar

Prerequisites
We do not expect any background in medicine, AI, or fairness.