Review Comment

[C2002] Intro To Astronomy II

December 22, 2008

Bryan, Greg
[C2002] Intro To Astronomy II

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

This review is more a reaction to the May 25, 2008 review than anything. It is true that Bryan's class was relatively easier than Menou's. And Bryan was a relatively easier grader. But it was a good class, and he's a good instructor. He's a nice guy, and he's very accessible after class and any time his office door is open.

First, the time "wasted fielding stupid questions" was because of an obnoxious kid sitting in the front row who wasn't even an astro major. He should not have been in the class, and Bryan handled him with grace while the rest of us were making faces.

Second, the first 15 minutes of astro recent events discussion was a lot of fun for those of us who actually like reading and learning about astro. It was a very "Big Picture" pedagological tool. Taking this out of the class would be like having an econ class that didn't spend a few minutes talking about the current economic crisis.

And what of spending the entire class describing the expansion of the universe? First, Fatty kept having his mind blown. Second, the quarks-to-cosmos class took weeks to do what we did in that one class, and those students still didn't have it down like we did.

And finally, this is Columbia. If having to read outside of class to help get the material down is such a pain, then transfer to a state school.

Workload:

Weekly problem sets. Open book midterm and final. Not easy, but not *too* hard either. Bryan is a fair grader.

April 26, 2005

van Gorkom, Jacqueline
[C2002] Intro To Astronomy II

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

Yes, she has an accent. I think she knows this as well as we students have. She tries to help her students. She cares. And if you have a problem with her accent, ask her to speak louder. She will not be offended.
I found Professor van Gorkam to be a very knowledgeable lady and approachable too. This means that if you cannot possibly figure out a problem from the problem set on your own, you can make a visit and she will prod you to the solution.

If you are in a small class like intro to ast. then take advantage of it. Impress her. Answer her questions when everyone else is drawing a blank because they decided not to read the quick summary at the back of each chapter. She will reward you. Or if you're genuinely interested, read the chapter and answer her question in depth. Then she'll really love you. Of course we have to remind ourselves that she's in a field where a lot of the things she's teaching, she's also reseraching too and there are no definite answers to, only theories. If you just show her that you too can come up with a theory based on info from the book, she'll appreciate it.

Workload:

fair, midterm and final, five problem sets, extra credit assignment

January 21, 2004

Kay, Laura
[C2002] Intro To Astronomy II

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

I love Professor Kay. She is terribly sarcastic and amazingly intelligent. Her lectures are clear, to the point, and funny. They can be boring occasionally, but they're powerpoint so that's to be expected. She posts all of her lectures online, and will even copy her notes for you if you miss class. The subject matter is interesting, and if you're ever confused or just want to talk about something, go to her office hours. She's a bit hard to get to know at first, but then becomes very friendly.

She's also led an amazing life--if you're ever curious, ask her about her time in Antartica, or her pilot's license, her EMT certification, and when she was so close to being an astronaut.

The class itself is much more focused on theory and ideas than math or physics. If you're interested in more math-oriented astronomy, take one of the Columbia classes, because her math is pretty basic and she gives you all of the equations.

Workload:

Problem sets that are easy, fair midterm and final. She allows both mathy people and wordy people a chance to do well. Very fairly graded. In fact, for the midterm last year, she said "I think the TAs are being too harsh, so I'm going to grade these myself." Easy A. Very little math involved.

June 23, 2003

Kay, Laura
[C2002] Intro To Astronomy II

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

The biggest complaint I have is that she had an extremely arrogant attitude when I asked for help during the one time I went to her office hours. Thereafter, I got my astronomy/physics friends to help me out as a first option. She did turn out to be much more helpful via email so since I prefer email communication anyway, it worked out fine. She always replied promptly and even as late as 11PM. She definitely was available which is a huge plus in my book and that pretty much negates the rudeness factor. I did have some sporadic interesting conversations with her right after classes, but in my experience, she was fickle in friendliness when it came to talking to her in person. I most definitely recommend taking her classes, though, because her teaching method is excellent. She makes everything sound simple and easy (and she gives a high curve if you're worried about your GPA), she puts all the powerpoint presentations on her website, and the textbook was interesting and readable, not "academic". Just don't get upset if she's rude to you in person. A professor that teaches well, grades absolutely fairly, and does instant emails is worth any in-person rudeness.

Workload:

5 open-note short quizzes; 6 easy homework assignments; midterm; final

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Frederik Paerels 2012 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Jules Halpern 2011 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Greg Bryan 2010 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Jules Halpern 2009 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II G Byran 2007 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II David Schiminovich 2005 Spring TR / 1:10- 2:25 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Arlin Crotts 2003 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Jacqueline Gorkom 2002 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1
ASTR / ASTR ASTR ASTR C2002: Intro to Astrophysics II Jacqueline Gorkom 2001 Spring TR / 2:40- 3:55 PM 1