Review Comment

[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

January 10, 2013

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

This class was.....interesting. This class should be under the physics category instead of astronomy. The class is divided into two sections: first, calculate rotations, distance of stars and how they interact with other bodies in space, The second part is the evolution of stars and their lifespan. The first test is completely math based and the second test is math based and short answer. This class is an easy A IF you go to class and pay attention. You cant just sign up and expect to show up for the review sections and ace the test. Also I felt for the most part I learned stuff but one of the questions on the final I felt like we had to completely memorize what he wrote and I feel like that isn't learning. Also he would talk about stuff so deep it was almost irrelevant for the class because most of us were only taking it for the science requirement, My advice, this class gave me more stress than I wanted from a silly general ed class and I only missed class once or twice. There are better classes out there for the science requirement. Applegate is awesome as a person but you could tell it was hard for him to explain something so complex to students who will not continue this area of study. FIND ANOTHER CLASS

Workload:

He gives out practice problems that are very similar to the test questions but that doesn't make the test any easier. Some of his notes are very/too complex for an intro class. However he will drop one of your midterms if you bombed it but that puts more pressure for you to do well on the final. Too much stress!!!

May 03, 2010

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System and [ASTR 1403] Earth, Moon, and Planets

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

After taking two Astronomy classes with Applegate, I strongly suggest this class to anybody wanting to boost up their GPA. There is absolutely no homework, but it is vital that you just SHOW UP to lecture. Applegate writes all the notes you need on the board, so you don't even need to listen to him, just write down what he says and pay attention when you are interested. There is absolutely no homework, don't even bother buying the book. His midterms are literally his problem sets, with one or two added questions. He is a very charming man, and his jokes start to grow on you. TAKE THIS CLASS IF YOU WANT AN EASY A.

Workload:

Nothing. 2 midterms (worth 25% each) and a cumulative final. Applegate says if you get an A in the final, you get an A in the class (meaning, if you mess up in one, not to worry).

January 05, 2007

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

I was persuaded to take Applegate's class in a last minute shift (already missing the first class)feeling terrified after reading all the reviews about him (particularly the one "C visited me the first time ..." resonated with me. He might have been a bad professor during last classes which I had never taken probably due to his personal family problems But with all honesty, I found Applegate a very special professor and his class an easy one to follow. I have not got my grades yet, but I am sure I have got either an A or A+. Prof. Applegate is a traditional American Prof, no-nonsense, straightforward (when it comes to exams), fluent English, (good for me, coz English is not my native) mastery of the subject, with his special sense of humor, (you have to realize the depth of his jokes, to laugh your head off). If you want to do well, go to every lecture, master the problem sets he hands out and you can buy the book (you don't have to) just to look up some topics he discusses in class, but you don't get it. I promise you will fullfill a headache free science requirement with a good grade.

Workload:

Problem sets (not collectable), Two exams, and a final. He does not play tricks with his students surprising them with monstrous exams.

May 19, 2006

Helfand, David Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

There are few at Columbia let alone any university that are as passionate as David Helfand. I took this class for him, not knowing it was one of the hardest science requirements. I went from failing the course to doing very well in the end - this I attribute entirely to him and his drive to teach me, a humanities student how to think like a scientist. If you care about learning, this man is a godsend. If you want to get out of Columbia without doing a thing, perhaps you should look another direction.
It is rare to have a professor who will devote so much to a student - I advise taking advantage of this wealth of a professor.

Workload:

Not so bad, though this depends on your math skill levels.
In the end the work is worth it.

April 04, 2006

Helfand, David Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

This class is not an easy A...or an A at all, at least for those of us non-math people. However, if you're willing to forgo that grade, I would definately recommend it. Helfand's lectures are both theatrical and informative, and the workload is not at all difficult. Quizes are open note, and you can take one sheet of notebook paper with whatever you like written on it to the midterm and final. This is because Helfand encourages students to digest the material and think about it, rather than memorizing. He himself is incredibly well informed on astronomy and pretty much everything else.

Workload:

One problem set and open note quiz every other week, midterm, final

January 10, 2006

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

What everyone failed to mention is his stupid grading/curve style. There IS no curve. He simply says if you get an A on your final, then the two midterms won't matter, he'll give you an A. But what are the odds of that happening?

Workload:

2 midterms, 1 final, no curve.

November 09, 2005

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

The "C" fairy visited me for the first time at Columbia in this disaster of a class. Not only did I make an effort to come to every class (big mistake), and try to follow along with his incomprehensible lectures (stupid move #2), but I refused to cheat on the midterms and finals like so many others seemed to be doing (strike three!) Somehow, I really must have been remiss in understanding how awful this could really be. Apparently with someone like Jim Applegate, there's just really no way of getting out of the class after the drop date except dropping yourself out of the high window in the back of the lecture hall onto 120th Street.

Workload:

Midterms and finals count for everything. No homework, and really no way of knowing what your grade's going to be apparently.

October 04, 2005

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

SAVE YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS WAS BY FAR THE WORST CLASS I HAVE EVER TAKEN AT COLUMBIA!!!!! James Applegate expects noone to come to class so when no one shows up, he doesnt seem to care. People would randomly leave throughout his lecture for which he would droan on and on about such complex math problems that noone could understand or follow. After going in and asking him for help, he was even more of a jerk off. Don't be fooled by rumors of an easy A, its nothing of the kind and the man has no problem giving out bad grades. There is also rampant cheating that occurs throughout the year for which he also doesnt give a s**t

Workload:

no homework but your ass will be kicked in the midterm and final, BEWARE!!!!!!!

September 04, 2005

Helfand, David Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

Helfand is a terrific professor, and this class is an ideal way to satisfy part of the science requirement for people who are interested in science but aren't considering any kind of science major.

Helfand is an absorbing lecturer, funny and informative. The class is not geared toward science-majors, but it doesn't feel dumbed-down. There is a special focus on using the subject matter to illustrate the fundamental principles of scientific inquiry (much like Frontiers is supposed to do, but better).

Helfand really has a gift for making the material understandable, and each of his lectures of is full of "man...science is cool" moments.

Helfand admits that his class isn't the easiest way to satisfy the science requirement (it's not), but the effort is worth it. This is the deal: go to lecture, take a lot of notes. There is a lot of information, and Helfand will make it clear what is most important. Don't bother with the reading in the textbook. If you have trouble with the problem sets (they can be tricky), go to office hours, and Helfand will walk you through almost everything.

Workload:

5 problem sets, 5 quizzes, midterm, final. He drops your lowest quiz grade and lowest problem set grade.

June 18, 2005

Helfand, David Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

The reviewer below must have been in a different class than the rest of us. Firstly, attendance was almost always healthy. If you've seen Prof. Helfand lecture, that should be profoundly unsurprising. He speaks clearly and engagingly and stops frequently to solicit questions from the class. Ask questions! He likes it, and it helps in understanding the subject matter.

The class isn't particularly difficult, especially if you have a good science background (nothing too big -- AP sciences in high school are sufficient). That said, some of the units can be a bit abstract or counterintuitive at first. If you're uncomfortable with things like unit conversions and scientific notation, this is not the class for you. Nor should you take this class as a way to breeze through the Science Requirement. For those who are interested in astronomy and don't mind some basic numbers-work but are worried about odd concepts, this is where Prof. Helfand's openness comes in handy. You can ask questions in class, at regular review sessions, at office hours, at an appointment that you set up, or via e-mail, to which Prof. Helfand usually responds within 12 hours or so, even the night before a problem set is due.

If you go to the vast majority of classes and don't let your questions go unanswered, an A should be within reach. On top of that, the class is a lot of fun and Prof. Helfand helps greatly in making an innately interesting subject fascinating.

Workload:

Five problem sets and five quizzes, with your lowest score on each dropped. There's also a midterm and a final. The class average on all four components is curved to 80.

May 23, 2005

Helfand, David Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

I took this class wanting a challenge that was doable. Yet if you are not a math person, do not take this class. Notice that I say "math person", not "science person". That is because this class requires almost no scientific thinking, contrary to Helfand's claims at the beginning of the semester. Rather, the thinking required for the class consists almost solely of petty, mathematical computations on the problem sets and exams. Previous reviewers have raved about Helfand's amazing lectures and speaking style ("he was a theater major!" exlaims one.) Yet this is Helfand's only plus, which is sad because he has nothing to say. Also, Helfand lamented dramatically during lectures that he was "losing touch with the students for the first time in 27 years" or some bullshit like that. Indeed, Helfand speaks truth: almost no one attended lectures and everyone attended his review sessions that were held the night the problem sets were due. Is this really the way to learn or to run a class? Do not take this class if you actually want to learn something astronomy. Fritz Paerels is a much better...

Workload:

Illogically worded problem sets that had nothing to do with the material covered in class, a midterm and final

May 21, 2005

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

ATTENTION STUDENTS W/ DISSABILITIES!!! This class is said to be an easy A, but that is not so. In fact, it is ABSOLUTELY false! The way the course is structured makes it incredibly easy not to come to class ever, so pretty much nobody does. He hands out problem sets and then the next class he hands out the answers to them, which look strikingly like the tests. I know it sounds easy - never come to class, he gives you all the answers - but somehow it's not quite that simple. I can't figure out if it's his grading or what, but I know very few people who got A's in this class. The review sessions he offers before each test are absolutely useless, don't even bother with them. My biggest gripe, though, is that if you are a student with a dissability and you take the tests with ODS, he does not treat you with the same respect he treats the other students with - you won't get your exams back in a timely manner as the rest of the class does. He did not grade our exams at the same time as the rest of the class's, so we didn't get them back for about another week and a half. Further, he promised me several times he would get them graded by the "next class" and it never got done. Only after an administrator from ODS contacted him, did we recieve our graded tests. I was absolutely shocked that he thought he could treat students with dissabilities with such nonchalance and when questioned about it he acted as if it was no big deal that he blew us off and that, in fact, it was quite all right to do as if our tests were more difficult to grade. I can't tell you how mistreated he made me feel!

Workload:

Hardly anything at all - you never really even have to go to class. He'll give you answers to all the problem sets (which are never graded or even turned in) and the test questions are taken directly from the problem sets - a tough grader though.

May 02, 2005

Applegate, James
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

Prof. Applegate is the man! He is fun, dorky, funny, smart...all in one. Oh, and this is an easy science-fulfilling class. What's not to like?

Workload:

Two midterms. Final. A- or better.

May 21, 2004

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

All I have to say is Joseph Patterson is my favorite teacher in this entire university. He is the nicest and funniest guy in the entire school. Throughout the course I had no clue what the hell he was talking about but he was always there to help me. He is amazing and I suggest that everyone should take this class regardless of your interest (or lack there of) in astronomy.

Workload:

Problem sets were hard, midterm and final curved fairly.

May 21, 2004

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

Patterson is a good teacher though obviously disenchanted with the present structure of the science sequence. He basically somnambulates through lectures and is intrinsically amusing. The subject matter is interesting, but one never knows whether to take notes during the parts of the lecture when he dicusses pictures on the over-head projections.
This class has a fantastic curve, so leave your grade anxiety at the door.

Workload:

5 Prob. sets (easy-medium difficulty) midterm, final.

May 15, 2004

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

Non-math and non-science students, be wary. This class will go completely over your head. This is not such a tragedy, though - you can still pass this class quite well. Prof Patterson's lectures are difficult to follow and often sleep-inducing. Yet, he does give out all of his lecture notes and the textbook is very helpful if you can stand to read it. Also, his help sessions for problem sets and exams are amazing. He is a nice man and does not want people to fail. So, even if you feel lost in class, DO NOT WORRY. The exams and problem sets, though they seem daunting at first, are very fair. Find a study/problem set partner to work things out with and you will be fine. Also, do not be afraid to go to office hours - he loves students who come see him and ask him questions.
Although this was not the best class I've taken, it was not a complete loss, because I did get to bond with a lot of people as we struggled through the problem sets together. Prof Patterson is not a good lecturer, but his quirky sense of humour and friendliness are a definite plus.

Workload:

Medium: 4 problem sets (we were supposed to have a fifth, but he decided not to assign it), midterm, final

May 09, 2004

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

The most irreverant and amusing Professor I've had, class is quite a breeze as he is extremely entertaining. His teaching is however more obscure, and his problem sets are even more obscure. That said, with some work, one can do well enough (I forgot every bit of math b4 this class), even at the mathematical problem sets. Its not an easy A in any case - while the curve is generous, only about 25% get As as evident in the transcripts.

Workload:

4 out of 5 prolem sets that require about 8 hrs of work to do well. Midterm and finals full of weirdly phrased questions that can throw you off.

April 18, 2004

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

This class was a joy. I loved going, and thought prof patterson did a tremendous job simplifying and breaking down topics that are really complex, without talking down to you. Its true, the problem sets are a little bit a of a stretch, and he doesn't always refer to what they cover directly in lecture. But the midterm was totally reasonable, very fair with a good curve. I think prof patterson is adorable, he makes me laugh outloud in class, and he even gives the people prizes (candy, random trinkets) for answering his questions. He's enthusiastic, smart, and laid back. And hey, the subject matter is really cool. It will definitely give you material to wow people at cocktail parties. I think its a great choice to fulfill the science requirement...esp the single one, cause you dont need to have taken the previous class in the sequence to understand this one.

Workload:

sporadic homework sets (they're 5 problems and he gives you 2 weeks... stop complainin), fair midterm & final, going to class can be important b/c there are number of questions on the midterm that he only mentions in class, arent in the book

July 20, 2003

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

As someone who doesn't like science but is still good at it, I would not reccomend this class to anyone who didn't have a very strong interest in astro. Nothing about the class is truly difficult, but the lectures were horrifically boring, the problem sets long and often tricky, and the TAs unhelpful. The material that was going to be on a test was always a surprise, and they were never straight forward. Patterson is clearly excited about his subject, but I didn't see him engaging the class as much as the other reviewers claimed, nor does he have a realistic expectation of what the class should know after his lectures. Even though I studied hard, did all the reading and, by superhuman efforts, stayed awake in all the lectures, I still had to bail out with a last minute pass/fail.

Workload:

Textbook readings are dense but not long, problem sets take forever, and tests can be rather difficult.

April 19, 2001

Patterson, Joseph Silver_nugget
[ASTR 1404] Beyond the Solar System

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

If you have a slight interest in science, Prof. Patterson has the ability to turn it into a passion. Many classmates attempted an astrophysics major after taking his class (but most realized that these classes get very hard, very quickly). He'll come into class and tell you about when he was struck by lightning, or in a coma thinking he could end the world, or singing songs about the collapse of stars. He keeps class entertaining. The workload is very easy if you have a strong physics background; however, if you don't, it might be a bit of a stretch to say you can get by with no participation. Grading is very fair (strong curves) and most leave the class appreciative of astronomy.

Workload:

Problem sets, midterm, final. Most PS questions somehow relate to sports.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Jacqueline Gorkom 2011 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System James Applegate 2010 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 2
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Mary Putman 2010 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Mary Putman 2009 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Kathryn Johnston 2007 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System James Applegate 2006 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System David Helfand 2005 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 2
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System James Applegate 2005 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Joseph Patterson 2004 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System David Helfand 2003 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 2
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System James Applegate 2003 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Jacqueline Gorkom 2002 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System David Helfand 2002 Spring MW / 2:40- 3:55 PM 2
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C1404: Beyond the Solar System Joseph Patterson 2001 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1