# [APMA E4903] Seminar: Problems in Applied Mathematics

- Departments: Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
- Professors: Chris Wiggins

I took Professor Wiggins seminar last fall semester. There has been negative comments about him, but I did not find him insulting at all. Most of the seniors’ presentation went smoothly and he was willing to listen and ask questions to the presenters to make sure he was understanding their topics. I barely skipped his class and I did not see him being condescending to the students.

In my case, I do not think I had enough time to prepare for my presentation and I frankly told him that I was baffled and lost on how to begin my presentation. He took me seriously and spent hours generously helping me to finish my presentation.

So if anyone has to take the seminar course, don’t hesitate to ask him for help. I found him truly helpful.

Each student has to present their own topic for 75 minutes and I do admit that the presentation is long, but all you have to do is chillax during class. It is worth getting to know the professor and the students who have a same major as you. You get to know what others would be doing with the major once they graduate.

#### Workload:

Juniors- A light workload. You have to write about 250 words each for 5 presenters. A 500 word reflection at the end of the semester.

Seniors- A 75 minute presentation.

Originally posted in December 2015:

For juniors and seniors studying applied math, the seminar provides an opportunity to learn directly from both outside speakers and peers on various topics in applied math. Seniors have to prepare a 75 minute presentation on a topic to share with the rest of the class. Professor Wiggins is very helpful in assisting with the presentation, and he provides guidance on how to best approach your topic (both qualitatively and quantitatively, as he will assist with both outlining your talk and also will help you better research your topic). The key is to pick a topic that you are passionate about and would like to spend time researching and learning about on your own. I found that I not only enjoyed researching my topic, but also that it bridged connections between various applied math courses (whereas courses may not directly build on each other, it was interesting to see the connections between them in a single application). Many presentations also draw on results from the last hundred years (if not more recently) and this is also an exciting complement to other courses. Reflecting on the seminar, I can say it has been a great experience in terms of being able to connect with applied math students and also learning about the numerous ways applied math affects daily life (in many cases, in ways you wouldn’t have known existed before taking the seminar).

#### Workload:

Seniors: One class-long presentation. Juniors: 5 responses during the semester and one 500-word response at the end of the semester.

The review from January 27, 2012 is spot on about Wiggins as a person. I would even go a step further and say that his behavior around students is completely unprofessional and often insulting. Furthermore, I found his seminar to be a pathetic excuse for a course and I think requiring it is a complete waste.

The entire “course” is centered around presentations, most of which are given by the seniors in the course. Each senior is responsible for one 75-minute presentation of a topic of their choice, and that’s basically the entire course. When you are not presenting you are expected to show up and watch the other presentations (or play around on Facebook) and perhaps ask a few brown-nosing questions to the presenter if you are in that kind of mood.

He also invites in several of his own presenters, and this seems like mostly self-promotion on his part. They all seem to go out of their way to mention what a mentor Wiggins was to them when they were students at Columbia, or something absurd along those lines. Most of the presentations were very boring, and I can honestly say I have never been in a classroom with so many students on Facebook during class.

Wiggins spends the entirety of most lectures sitting in the back of the room and typing emails on his phone. He will often look up and attack the presenter with questions in a rather adversarial manner. He seems to go out of his way to nitpick and tear you apart for not following his (often unwritten) rules, and he does not do this in a constructive way at all.

I really don’t know how I was supposed to benefit from this class in any way. It honesty seems like this is Wiggins’ way of dealing with his teaching requirement without having to prepare any lesson plans.

#### Workload:

As a senior you’re expected to show up twice a week and give one 75-minute presentation. As a junior you are expected to show up once a week, write 5 short feedback tweets for presenters (140 characters each), and one 500 word essay on what you learned from the class.

## Directory Data

Dept/Subj | Directory Course | Professor | Year | Semester | Time | Section |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2013 | Spring | MW / 11:40-12:55 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2010 | Fall | W / 11:00-11:50 AM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2009 | Fall | W / 11:00-11:50 AM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2008 | Fall | W / 11:00-12:50 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2007 | Fall | W / 11:00-12:50 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2006 | Fall | W / 11:00-12:50 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2005 | Fall | R / 2:40- 3:20 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2004 | Fall | R / 12:18- 2:00 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chris Wiggins | 2003 | Fall | W / 12:18- 2:00 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chia-Kun Chu | 2002 | Fall | W / 12:00- 2:00 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E4903: Seminar-Problems in Applied Math | Chia-Kun Chu | 2001 | Fall | W / 12:00- 2:00 PM | 1 |