Review Comment

C2002 Introduction to Astrophysics I

June 15, 2015

Johnston, Kathryn Silver_nugget
C2002 Introduction to Astrophysics I

Professor Johnston is one of the most enthusiastic teachers I have ever had, and is certainly a good fit for this intro class. She is extremely approachable and helpful, so do not hesitate to her ask questions or ask her for advice about the class material or anything else related to astrophysics.
The material can be confusing at times, but never too challenging, and Kathryn does an excellent job of breaking down the different topics and relating them to other parts of the course. Her lectures usually consist of Powerpoint presentations, with breaks here and there to write out proofs or do examples. This course is usually one of the first courses students take in astronomy, so it provides some background material and a basic understanding of concepts in astronomy that can often be used in the more advanced astrophysics classes. Kathryn's excitement about the different lecture topics often showed, which made the class more enjoyable. She does not drone on in a boring fashion, but rather keeps an upbeat sentiment when discussing everything.
The most disappointing feature of this class, though not a worrisome issue, was the grading. Kathryn was a very picky grader, so you might lose a point or two on each problem unless they are thoroughly thought out. Ultimately, this was for the better, and helped provide a deeper understanding of the material. The grading was not super harsh, but do not expect an effortless A either.

Workload:

5 problem sets, 2-5 hours each, fair and designed to make you think.
1 final group presentation. Kathryn assigned all the groups (of 3 students) a different scientific paper related to some topic covered during the semester. This was her first year doing this, so I'm not sure if she will continue it or not.
1 midterm, 1 final exam, both of which were also fair.

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