Review Comment

Physics of the Human Body

April 14, 2006

Herman, Irving
Physics of the Human Body

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I haven't finished this class but I felt like I should write a review before people picked their classes for next semester because the other reviews seemed a bit misleading to me. The fact that he gives open-book tests, along with the fact that his lectures are straight from the book (Even down to the anecdotes, no joke, even the stories he tells are straight from the book) make it seem like the class will be relatively easy. The problem is, while Herman is a very smart guy, he is terrible at explaining things which is reflected in his lectures as well as the book he wrote, currently a work-in-progress that is full of parenthetical notes-to-self. Honestly the material he presents is not overly difficult, but it's nearly impossible to sift through the dense lectures and books to figure out exactly what he is asking you or teaching you. The book is 750 pages long full of long paragraphs with examples embedded in the text which very often make very little sense as he will introduce obscure variables in one chapter and then reference them again in equations with no explanation several chapters later. The organization of the book makes it difficult to find anything and a huge process to figure out what he's saying. Herman has done his research and constructed a lot of interesting mechanical models for the processes of the human body, but I can't help feeling that he could benefit hugely from a co-author to make his book even remotely readable and/
or comprehensible. I wouldn't take this class unless you're hugely interested in the subject matter and willing to spend a lot of frustrating time decoding his book. One thing I will say is that the TA is excellent and truly understands the plight of students trying to understand what Herman is getting at.

Workload:

problem sets every 2 weeks or so, not overly difficult but hugely confusing and watch out for units, they're not consistent at all but this fact is not immediately obvious. One midterm test and a Final, both open book, watch the time, because he expects very complete answers to his essays despite a huge time crunch.

May 17, 2004

Herman, Irving
Physics of the Human Body

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Prof. Herman is certainly a nice guy. And yes, he is funny in a corny kind of way. But that doesn't make him a particularly good teacher. There is way too much material in the "textbook" (his typed up notes), and the HWs don't always follow directly from the notes. The tests aren't very enjoyable either, despite being open book. The classes consist of Prof Herman basically going word for word through the notes, interspersed with corny jokes and anecdotes. I did get the impression that he expected you to know things before taking the class, which isn't exactly fair, given that it's an intro class. He also seemed somewhat difficult to get a hold of outside of class; he didn't even have scheduled office hours. Oh, and regardless of how pointless it may seem to go to lectures, don't skip classes: he counts that against your grade. The material itself can be fairly interesting; it's just not presented in the best way. If you really like physics, and don't mind trying to teach yourself things, I guess you'd probably love this class.

Workload:

7 HWs, midterm and final, both open book. Missing class affects your grade.

May 15, 2003

Herman, Irving
Physics of the Human Body

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Prof. Herman is a really good teacher. Even if you don't think you learned a lot in his class, you'll still end up applying the things you learned in class to what happens to you in real life. The workload is pretty easy, except you should expect to get confused when trying to figure out which units to use for problem sets. The midterm and final are open book and notes. He is a funny guy, and his lectures are for the most part engaging.

Workload:

7 or 8 problem sets, open book midterm and final

May 12, 2002

Herman, Irving
Physics of the Human Body

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

This guys is awesome. The book is useless, but he types out class notes and hands them out for every chapter before going over it. It is still a must to go to class however, because it can be very hard to understand the notes without seeing the lecture. Lectures can be hillarious when herman tells stories. You'll end up thinking about material from the class in everyday life, which is cool. The problem sets vary from difficult to moderately easy, and are due every other week.

Workload:

1 midterm; a final, and 7 problem sets due every other week.

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