Review Comment

[MSAE 3103] Elements of Materials Science

October 21, 2013

Noyan, Ismail Silver_nugget
[MSAE 3103] Elements of Materials Science and [MSAE 1001] Atomic Scale Engineering: New Materials

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

Treat yourself to a class with Professor Noyan—for at least a semester, you’ll become a “gentleperson.”

Columbia (particularly SEAS) has its fair share of Ben Stein “Bueller… Ferris… Bueller”-esque professors, but Professor Noyan falls decidedly outside this group. A lecture with Noyan is much more than an exercise in blackboard transcription. Starting on the first day of Atomic Scale Engineering, he greeted us by name (as “Mr. __” or “Ms. __”) and engaged us with questions about the material, cracking jokes and jumping about with more energy than 90% of the class. The course had no required textbook, and the lectures explored curiosities about the workings of the world: What is color? How do lasers, refrigerators, and fiber optics work? How do you make a superior sword?

The lectures benefit not just from Professor Noyan’s personality, but also from his work at IBM and various national laboratories. You’ll solve problems involving everything from toilet making to turkey cooking, and discuss some philosophy, history, art, and architecture in between.

Noyan’s teaching style was much the same for Elements of Materials Science, though due to the larger class size and foundational nature of the course, the lectures and homework followed a course textbook closely.

Good luck, “chaps.”

Workload:

Atomic-Scale Engineering of New Materials:
A few assigned homework questions per week, plus a few “ad hoc” questions that arise during lecture
1 midterm
1 brief presentation about a materials-related topic of your choice
Final exam

Elements of Materials Science:
A few assigned textbook questions per week, plus a few “ad hoc” questions that arise during lecture
1 midterm
Final exam

December 11, 2008

Noyan, Ismail Silver_nugget
[MSAE 3103] Elements of Materials Science

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

I disagree with the reviews of Professor Noyan. He does (try to) have a sense of humor, which is usually a welcome trait in professors. However, his sense of humor usually manifests itself in cold-calling students in class, and then mocking them for not knowing the answer. He is also not all that "approachable"-- his office hour consists of one hour during which you make an appointment in advance.

It is nice how short the homework assignments usually are. However, Noyan has an odd practice of adding "ad hoc" homework questions to the assignment, which usually stem from one of his cold calling questions-- if you can't answer, it's homework for everyone. Aside from being annoying, this also means you have to attend every class to make sure you know what the ad hoc questions are, because there is no other record of them.

The third problem I had with this class is that it covers an insurmountable amount of material. It is impossible to grasp all of the material with the depth that Noyan desires on his tests. The syllabus was reasonable, and had the class covering approximately Ch 2-10, 12, and 18 of the textbook by the last week of class. Somehow he covered all of this way early, and so added five more chapters of material. Ridiculous!

The material in this class is actually quite interesting and the conceptuality/memorization is in a way a nice break from all of the processing of the rest of the curriculum, but I would not rate this class or professor to be superior in any way.

Workload:

Week to week, not that bad: weekly problem sets of 2-5 questions, tending towards 4 plus a couple google-able ad hoc questions. One early midterm that was crushingly hard this year. One final for which you will find yourself scrambling to fit all of that material in your brain.

January 30, 2008

Noyan, Ismail Silver_nugget
[MSAE 3103] Elements of Materials Science

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

Great lecturer, great course. He has a lot of vitality and really puts forth a lot of energy for his courses and his students. You will come to love this professor -- one of the best I've had.

Please realize that this is a survey course and needs to cover TONS of material; you don't go into things very deeply, but it is a lot of information to know. As such, you'll need to study by memorization for the midterm and final. Overall the workload is not bad, but you learn some really great things about how the world works around you. I always heartily recommend this course for almost anyone I meet (esp. engineering/science majors) because of both the things you learn and the great professor.

Workload:

Weekly problem sets: usually short (~1 hr or less), midterm and final that are fair but require a good amount of studying.

May 13, 2005

O'Brien, Stephen
[MSAE 3103] Elements of Materials Science

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

Wow, what a horrible professor. He literally teaches by reading what's on his powerpoint slides and notes. His teaching style is extremely unstimulating and easily puts people to sleep (many didn't even bother to show up after the first few classes). The subject is supposedly interesting; however, his teaching sucks the life out of the material. That's pretty sad considering how young he is...

His midterm and final are a test of how much and detailed you could memorize, which is kind of stupid considering that's not the focus of this class. Just memorize everything he wrote down, then you'll be fine.

He seems to be a nice person outside of class, but he definitely needs to improve his way of teaching!

Workload:

Weekly problem sets, a presentation + lengthy paper. One midterm and final.

April 18, 2004

Noyan, Ismail Silver_nugget
[MSAE 3103] Elements of Materials Science

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

This is the best course I've taken in the engineering school, and Noyan may be the best professor I've had at Columbia. The class is a whirlwind tour of everything you need to know about materials science (and since the rest of the classes in this department are so bad, this may be all you ever learn) and Noyan is a superb tour guide. He is passionate, funny, enthusiastic, brilliant, straightforward, and a simply outstanding professor. He does use powerpoint slides, but he only picks out the important stuff and is absolutely willing and capable of turning them off and teaching on the blackboard. (He does so quite often for the harder derivations and things you should pay a great deal of attention to.) He knows this material inside and out, loves questions from the gallery (even tangential ones), and really brings his real world engineering knowledge to the table in meaningful ways. He's full of practical advice for life, for engineering, for basically everything - and all he wants is to share the knowledge with you. He's totally interactive (there's no wall between the lectern and the students), and thus he can be a little intimidating at the start because he does like to drill individual students on the material from the previous week throughout the class. It seems scary/embarassing/annoying but once you know what's going on, you find that his drilling has really made you get the material in your head. And you understand it enough to explain it back to him. It's awesome.

Even though the professor is swell, this class isn't a breeze just due to the sheer amount of material you have to get through. However, he's such a great teacher that if you just try a little, you'll learn a whole lot. He tests you much more on understanding than application, so his tests are completely do-able from your notes (think essays explaining a concept rather than problems applying a concept) and getting a good grade is a likely possiblity.
Basically, Noyan's engaging teaching style and amazingly comprehensive knowledge of just about everything ever makes this class everything typical SEAS classes aren't. So, if you're up for a challenge and actually want to get something out of a class, Noyan's the man to help you do that. Don't get fooled into majoring in MSAE because this class is great though - nothing on the MSAE track after this is half as good...

Workload:

Weekly homeworks - not too hard or long. Midterm and final - also completely reasonable if you have been paying attention all semester long.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2012 Fall TR / 10:10-11:25 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2010 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2009 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2008 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2006 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2005 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Stephen O'Brien 2004 Fall TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2003 Fall MW / 5:30- 6:45 PM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2002 Fall MW / 5:30- 6:45 PM 1
APAM / MSAE APAM MSAE E3103: Elements of Materials Science Ismail Noyan 2001 Fall MW / 7:40- 8:55 PM 1