A few highlights of the Spring 2021 offering of the course:

What is ES 2 about?

In one sense, ES 2 is about learning to program: we'll spend a substantial fraction of the semester looking at the Python programming language and writing code. But in another sense, the programming is just a means to an end. The real aim of this course is to use programming as a tool for critical thinking in a data-driven world.

Spend a few minutes with practically any form of media, and you'll see percentages and statistics and charts strewn all over the place. Claims with numbers attached sound more definite, but numbers can be manipulated in many, many ways, often without any intent to deceive. In this course, we'll write code to simulate systems, process datasets, and create visualizations. Along the way, we'll discuss many of the challenges, pitfalls, and outright lies that come up when working with data.

Given the times we're living in, we'll be looking at a lot of data related to COVID-19. Hopefully this is fun and empowering; showing ways that you can analyze data for yourself and critically analyze many of the claims being made.