Stratosphere Summer 2020
Course Catalog


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Arts Engineering
Humanities Math & Computer Science
Social Science Science
Miscellaneous


Arts

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A142: Japanese: Instant Ramen Edition Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ryan ODell

Ever been interested in the language of Japan? This simple introductory course to the Japanese language will teach you the bare minimum to get you speaking Japanese in no time flat! We'll go over counting, important vocabulary, basic sentence structure, and more. No prior knowledge required!


Engineering

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E145: An Introduction to Neuroprosthetics
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Warish Orko

Many things can go wrong with the brain, from strokes to seizures. How does it happen and what can we do to help? What devices exist that directly connect with the brain to treat disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or epilepsy?

This course takes a quick look at the exciting field of neuroprosthetics using Parkinson's disease as a case study.


Prerequisites
Intro biology useful and recommended, but not required.


Humanities

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H135: Introduction to Indian Culture Through Reading Hindi and Sanskrit
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Madhavan Murali

India is home to some of the world's oldest civilizations, and the Hindi script has been around for 5000 years. In this course, we will go over everything you need to know about how to read Hindi as well as learn about important aspects of Indian culture through it. Note that while we will not go into too much detail regarding grammar, you may learn a few survival phrases. This course is more focused on reading and speaking Hindi and cultural terms related to India.


Math & Computer Science

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M137: Infinity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Mandar Juvekar

Is infinity a number? Can I take infinitely many steps toward my destination and never get there? Are some infinities bigger than others?

For centuries, infinity has been one of the most fascinating and elusive concepts in human culture. In this class we will talk about the infinite, look at various infinite sets, and explore the powerful and confusing nature of infinity.

M141: Better, Faster, Stronger: An Intro to Algorithmic Analysis Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Ryan ODell

Ever wondered how computers accomplish a task? Here's a hint: they use algorithms! But here's the catch: not all algorithms work the same. Some are better, faster, and stronger than others. We'll look at a number of examples of algorithms, including common sorting algorithms. No programming experience required, though some experience wouldn't hurt!

M133: How to Code in ANY Programming Language!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Katie Karabetsos

What's the difference between Python, C, and Java? While they are indeed pretty different, the fundamentals are truly the same! Once you understand the concepts of how coding works, it can be easy to pick up whatever language you want to do whatever you want to do. In this class, we'll be going over a couple notable differences between languages but mostly focus on universal concepts such as loops, conditional statements, functions, data types, and arrays.


Prerequisites
This course is best for students with little or no previous programming experience

M131: From the Naturals to the Reals: A Curious Construction
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Arian Nadjimzadah

Georg Cantor, the inventor of modern set theory, once said that “God made the natural numbers; all the rest is the work of man.”
In this lecture we build the real numbers, which contains such pivotal constants as $$ \pi $$, $$ e $$, and $$ \sqrt 2 $$, elegantly and soundly on the foundation of the natural numbers.


Prerequisites
Some familiarity with Highschool algebra will be helpful. A basic familiarity with sequences of numbers will be helpful, but is not necessary.


Social Science

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R144: Digital Citizenship & Literacy Full!
Difficulty: **
Teachers: AJ Jordan

In this class we will explore the basics of how the modern internet works and is designed, and we'll discuss what the consequences of that design might be. From there we will move on to talking about real-world government surveillance made possible by the ideas we've discussed, and we'll conclude by talking about what impacts these policies might have on citizenship, society, and the idea of democracy.
This class will include a significant discussion portion. Students should come ready to share the ideas they're thinking about and developing as the class progresses.


Prerequisites
Students should be comfortable using a computer and the internet.


Science

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S140: Flattening the Curve: What Does It Mean?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Sparrow Tian

An introduction to simple exponential growth models and more complicated logistic growth models, and a discussion of their meanings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Prerequisites
High school algebra

S134: Herps 101
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Katie Karabetsos

Herpetology: the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians. Let's talk salamanders, lizards, frogs and snakes! We'll be talking about some interesting species, herps as pets, the hobby of herping, and more! If you have any herps (or other pets) we'll have time at the end to share.


Prerequisites
Interest in reptiles and amphibians

S139: Gene Therapy and Cancer Treatment Full!
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Anca Frasineanu

Are you curious about current research in gene therapy treatments for cancer and how they work? In this class, we will learn about some genetics, including the importance of telomerase activity in DNA replication. We will also talk about ways of gene editing/silencing (CRISPR and RNAi). We will then explore the difference between these and gene therapy, and how gene therapy is used in cancer treatments. If we have time, we will look at a situation where gene therapy was really successful, to end on a hopeful note!


Prerequisites
Some introductory biology recommended, but not required.

S136: The Art of Asking "Why?"
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Madhavan Murali

Fact: any question lover should take this course. Why? Because any questions you have about questions will be answered. Why? It satisfies the curious mind always wondering how something actually works or the type of person that doesn't accept "Because I said so" as an answer. Why? Because this course finds out the deepest limits of human knowledge and exploration, and why we should never stop playing the "Why game".

S132: Chemistry at the Movies
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Julian Maceren

From jump scares to popcorn, there's a lot of chemistry going on at the movie theaters. This course will explore the fundamental concepts of organic chemistry and chemical instrumentation through a look at the chemistry that happens when you're watching a movie.


Prerequisites
None, but prior knowledge of general chemistry is encouraged.


Miscellaneous

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X143: Sparrow’s Kitchen
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Sparrow Tian

Don’t know what to do with canned goods and pasta? Let us make a delicious plate of pasta together.


Prerequisites
If you want to cook along: boiling pan, frying pan, salt, oil, garlic, canned anchovies (optional), chili flakes (optional), any pasta sauce (pesto tomato sauce is my personal fav, but any sauce will work), onion, ground beef (pork, turkey will also work), and your choice of pasta and cheese. If just watching: none.

X146: Juneteenth: Black Lives, Post Slavery
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Miles Perry

In this class, we will be discussing the livelihood of black people in the context of America's so-called "Post Racial Society". In this class, we examine how America laid the foundation for the Black Lives Matter movement we see today through the use of redlining, economic disparities, and most importantly police brutality. We will be drawing on the works of James Baldwin, Anglea Davis, and Danez Smith, while also looking at more contemporary modes of education such as protest flyers, tweets, and student movements.