December 20, 2004

Albert, David
[PHIL V3576] Physics and Philosophy

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

The subject matter is fascinating, although the course title is misleading: we didn't get to the philosophy until the last class and the physics is all quantum mechanics. Tough for someone like myself who knows little physics or math, but not impossible. I was totally lost during most of class yet I aced the extremely easy midterm (that most others somehow failed) and I had plenty to write about on the final paper.

Albert might be a worldwide-expert philosopher of physics, but that has its drawbacks. He puts no time into teaching except for the class period itself (for which he was generally five to ten minutes late) and the office hours--not even enough time to make a syllabus, assign homework, or type up a description of the final paper. Albert has no interest in you personally, what your name is, or how you're doing in the class.

As for his lecturing, Albert seems to think that if he is just pedantic and repetitive enough, anyone will be able to understand every advanced detail about a field of science that couldn't even be conceived of until the twentieth century and that still makes no sense. You won't feel prepared to write the final paper and he won't give you much help, but it will be the only way that you really learn anything from the class.

Workload:

You have to read a short book that Albert wrote and recites almost verbatim in class; extremely easy midterm on technical stuff that most people somehow failed (they were assigned a make-up take-home exam); a 15-20 page research paper