Review Comment

[PHYS G4023] Thermal & Statistical Physics

December 08, 2016

Denef, Frederik
[PHYS G4023] Thermal & Statistical Physics

Professor Denef is very nice and will answer whatever questions you have. He's very responsive to emails and sends detailed replies to homework questions. However, don't expect to learn anything from the lectures. The homeworks typically have nothing to do with anything Denef talks (or rather, mumbles about) in class, and you will be teaching yourself the vast majority of the material from the textbook. When the homework is easy this isn't a problem but as the class gets more and more conceptual and the mental leaps you have to make are greater, this becomes very frustrating. He does say very funny things in class sometimes, even though I learned more about thermodynamics studying for the GRE than I did in this class.

Workload:

Weekly (LONG and often time-consuming, never seen a professor who assigned problem 1, parts a-r) problem sets. Easy midterm, the average in my class was a 23/30. Harder final. 25% HW, 25% midterm, 50% final.

January 08, 2011

Heinz, Tony Silver_nugget
[PHYS G4023] Thermal & Statistical Physics

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

Tony Heinz is a good professor. He teaches the material in a very straightforward manner. The lectures are straight from the text (which I don't think that anyone really read) as are the problem sets. He is clear and answers even the most imbecilic questions kindly and with patience. He is an incredibly nice guy, especially for a physics professor. The only downsides to the class were that the textbook (Schroeder) is really at a pretty low level, the problem sets are sometimes painfully tedious, and that Prof. Heinz does tend to lecture in a dry monotone (although he will occasionally get excited about some example or application). Overall, it was a good class with a good professor, and I would recommend it to math/physics students as well as engineers looking for technical electives.

One note: the bulletin claims that quantum mechanics is a prerequisite, but it we didn't use anything beyond the idea that energy is quantized other than writing down the specific energy levels of a particle in a box in class. You really don't need quantum, which was a disappointment.

Workload:

A problem set due each week with 6-8 questions, a really easy midterm, an impossibly hard final (completely out of the blue and unlike any of the practice finals).

December 16, 2009

Heinz, Tony Silver_nugget
[PHYS G4023] Thermal & Statistical Physics

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

Prof. Heinz is fantastic. He is sweet, cares about his students, is a clear lecturer, good at explaining and getting through difficult material, gives fair exams. He also has a nice, down-to-earth perspective on the physics to offer which is a good one to be exposed to. (For example, he appreciates being able to give order of magnitude estimates for quantities off-the-cuff.) The textbook for Thermal and Statistical Physics, Schroeder, is also very readable. Chances are, if you are going to take this course, you are a physics major and therefore have to, but if for some reason you are unsure, I definitely recommend it. It made me want to study Stat. Mech at a more advanced level.

Workload:

About to be expected for a mid-to-upper-level physics course. Some tedious calculations, but it builds character, and that's the nature of the field.

December 23, 2008

Heinz, Tony Silver_nugget
[PHYS G4023] Thermal & Statistical Physics

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

I cannot believe that have been no reviews of Tony Heinz. This man is absolutely amazing. His dictation is clear and understandable, his answers to questions are always on mark (in the case of a slightly off-topic question, he connects it with the material). The biggest difference between him and other physics professors I've had here is that he emphasizes numbers a lot more. Every other professors just asked us to solve for some quantity in terms of physical constants, but Heinz repeatedly stresses the important constant, which gives you a very good physical intuition for the numbers you are working with. He holds his own recitations and review sessions, which is a lot more than what a lot of professors do already.

Also, the textbook we used was great. (Thermal Physics, Schroeder.) It was clear and concise, and very suitable for our level.

Workload:

Weekly problem sets that are very easy. 1 midterm, easy, allowed 1 formula sheet. 1 final, hard, allowed 2 formula sheets.

January 25, 2005

Zajc, William
[PHYS G4023] Thermal & Statistical Physics

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

Zajc tries so hard that you feel badly if you don't reciprocate. You don't have to, as the class is easy enough, but you'll definitely feel like a bit of a heel when Zajc berates himself for not being a better teacher.

His teaching style is organized conceptually if not physically on the blackboard. If you follow along, you'll notice that everything fits together very well in your notes. You'll learn the subject on a conceptual and computational level but you'll miss out on any deep theoretical issues. This is good or bad, depending on your perspective on physics.

He's the nicest physics professor I've had here (and I've had 'em all...) and he's certainly not out to get you. Do the homework and come to his office hours a couple of times. He'll give you a good grade and he'll probably even remember your name afterwards.

Workload:

Problem sets every 1.5 weeks that are neither too difficult nor too easy. Two midterms and a final, all radically different. The first midterm was easy, the second was only slightly harder but had some surprise topics on it, and the final had a few hard questions and a few deceptively hard questions.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics Malvin Ruderman 2012 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics Tony Heinz 2010 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics Tony Heinz 2009 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics Tony Heinz 2008 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics Alfred Mueller 2007 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics Timothy Halpin-Healy 2006 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics William Zajc 2004 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics William Zajc 2003 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics William Zajc 2002 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS G4023: Thermal & Statistical Physics William Zajc 2001 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1