Review Comment

[APPH 4200] Physics of Fluids

January 02, 2011

Mauel, Michael Silver_nugget
[APPH 4200] Physics of Fluids

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

One of the worst classes I have taken here that could have easily one of the best. I registered for this course with very high expectations. I was planning on studying oceanography and/or atmospheric science for grad school, so I thought the 'Physics of Fluids' would have been the ideal preparation. Moreover, Mauel is renowned to be one of the most enthusiastic lecturers on campus (he really is) so I figured this class has to be a hit. Boy, was I ever wrong.

My biggest gripe with this class is that Mauel almost never uses the chalkboard and teaches solely from his scanned notes. He compiles his poorly written notes into a powerpoint and lectures with the aid of a smartboard. Each slide is packed with a ton of information, mostly equations with very little comments, and he crams about 45 of them into a single lecture. For an 1hr 15min lecture this works out to be a minute and a half per slide. Unless you have had a lot of exposure to the subject and/or have an IQ of 250 you will have a difficult time learning at the pace at which this man teaches. As a SEAS student, I have grown accustomed to drinking from the so called fire hydrant. The usual remedy is to simply read ahead of each class but that brings me to my second biggest gripe: the text book.

Mauel uses a textbook by Kundu and Cohen, which is quite frankly the worst textbook I have ever used. It claims to be an introductory text but assumes that you know all the jargons of the subject. The book is as readable as a phonebook and not nearly as organized. Mauel follows the book for the most part but the chapters usually go beyond the scope of what's covered in the lectures. Needless to say, learning from this book is very difficult. The book does cover 'everything', so by the end of the course you'll find that it serves as a decent reference. For learning purposes, I had to borrow a few books from the library which turned out to be a life saver.

My final gripe is with Mike Mauel himself. I really like this guy. He is as brilliant, enthusiastic and entertaining as people say he is and he really knows how to spark the class's interest. However, he doesn't seem to put much effort into his lectures anymore. He essentially recycles the same set of lectures every year. Even the stuff on courseworks had dates that were 2 years old. There were many instances were he forgot what a slide was about, fudges the explanation and fingerjabs the smartboard to go the next slide. He also doesn't give out past exam questions to prepare for his exams. He claims it's too much work to come up with new questions. He didn't even go over the midterm with the class.

In summary, if you have a good amount of exposure to fluids, a solid physics background and solid math background up to partial differential equations then this class can be manageable. If you are like many people and are without said exposure and background, your learning curve will be very steep and you will have to put in a lot of work to keep up with the class.

Workload:

He assigns a problem set every two weeks. Questions are usually easy and from the textbook. He occasionally throws in a monster problem that requires hours to get through.

1 midterm and 1 final. Class average was about 60 for the midterm. The final felt a lot harder.

He has two grading schemes:
PS: 25% M: 25% F: 50%
PS: 1% M:33% F: 66%
which ever gives you a higher grade

January 15, 2006

Sobel, Adam Silver_nugget
[APPH 4200] Physics of Fluids

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

Ah, Professor Sobel. He means SO well. Alas, he still stands in front of the equations that he is trying to explain. He doesn't seem to grasp that you need to write a little bigger on the board than you would in a notebook, particularly if you're dealing with subscripts.

If you can look past that, however, Prof Sobel is a great teacher. He a) understands REALLY difficult material, b) understands that the material is REALLY difficult, and c) is nice. That last one matters a lot when you're banging your head against the wall. He wants his students to do well, and is willing to help.

The class is hard. This should not come as a suprise to anyone considering a 4000 level physics class. If you don't have a strong math background, it will be harder. This, too, should not suprise you.

Workload:

Reasonable. A problem set every week and a half or so. The final was unbelievably difficult, but he curved it. Had he not, I think that the entire class would have failed.

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Michael Mauel 2012 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Michael Mauel 2010 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Michael Mauel 2009 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Michael Mauel 2008 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Michael Mauel 2007 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2006 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2005 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2004 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2003 Fall TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2003 Spring TR / 10:35-11:50 AM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2002 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
APAM / APPH APAM APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids Adam Sobel 2001 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1