He truly is a friendly and lovely man...but he is quite boring. The content is not too hard, but his explanations make it super difficult to understand. Going to office hours was a must for me. That said, once you are able to learn the material, the quizzes were fair. Midterm was really easy. The final was absolutely brutal.
I remember reading the reviews about Humensky before I signed up for his Physics 1 class. After taking 2 semesters with him I feel obligated to change the tone of his reviews. Preface: I am a Postbac Premed and I finished my undergrad 8 years ago. I was very apprehensive going into this class, as physics was never fun or easy for me in high-school, and remembered NOTHING. YES Humensky has a SIGNIFICANT work load. You will work, but you will LEARN physics. I went from zero understanding to a reasonably thorough conceptual understanding of the material. Humensky gives quizzes on Sundays and Tuesdays, but they're usually just 3-4 preparatory problems that make sure you read some of the material before you go into class for lecture...its online...its a quiz grade. It's SUCH a good system. Unless you're one of those people that reads every chapter before going into class on your own accord...cheers. I'm happy for you. Perhaps a bit jelly too. His hw ensures consistent lecture prep, and the problem set every Friday is a recap of the material he lectured that week. It's on wileyplus, you have 4 tries to get full credit,8 tries total. Beneath each problem is: a link to the specific chapter in the text, videos of similar problems being done, math help, a hint to help you if your stuck, and sometimes a step-by-step tutorial which walks you through the problem. Yes it has it's annoyances(interactive exercises), but it is designed to help you learn the material, through multiple problems with all of those resources at the ready. This is a class that is structured around this problem based learning; it works if you work. He has 1 hour and 20 min to teach you some complex ideas, so you have to do your part. I've had professors that offer ZERO office hours, Humensky started with 2 days of 2 hr blocks. He was later informed that this wasn't always enough and he added a third day to make himself more available. RIGHT??? He is one of the FEW teachers that truly wants you to understand the class material. He shows examples in class frequently. Yes, the derivations sometimes get me a little cross-eyed, but everybody learns differently, and some classmates definitely benefited from them. They didnt help me much but he presented so much other material that did. He always answers questions in a kind and thoughtful way and doesn't patronize, EVER. He promotes a very healthy dialogue with the class. He admits if he doesn't know something, and will always follow up after he's answered it. He is extremely responsive to student questions on piazza as well. Humensky will drop your lowest exam grade if it helps your average. He WANTS you to do well. He made one midterm really difficult last semester and the class averaged way lower than he expected. He acknowledged making it too hard, he regraded every test himself and gave the max amount of points possible. Most professors would just shrug and move on. He puts more time into his class than I've ever seen from any Prof before. -Also just have to add that he has the warmest disposition, is so approachable, and always rocks the classic dad style. #polosjeansandnewbalance. Hw "only hurting you" is BS if you actually do it and do it well. It also serves as a really great study tool to go over older material before an exam. I wanted to be able to retain this information for the MCAT. I wasn't just trying to get an A with as little amount of work as possible. If that's you, sign up someone with no hw assignments. If you learn by doing, you're willing to work, and you haven't taken physics in years/ever. Humey is your man.
I took Professor Shaevitz class first semester and did swimmingly. The concepts were easy and it was simply put- plug and chug. I felt that my professor prepared me well, and I did what was necessary to do well without a strenuous amount of effort. Second semester, I assumed would be similar but it was painfully not. I received an A- but it was tough noogies coming from a dearth of high school physics preparation. (Plus, truth be told, the material was simultaneously incredibly boring and challenging for me.) The concepts were not easy to understand, and I did not find Professor Shaevitz did an adequate job teaching us conceptually speaking (to the point where I was still confused what voltage was the day before the final). Given he did not want us to know the derivations for the exams, I wish he spent more time conceptually breaking down the material. I didn't find the derivations helpful to my conceptual understanding. Maybe the best way to sum up my experience is to say that my professor did not help his students gain a deep understanding of the material conceptually, making it difficult to approach problems with a theoretical framework of what was happening physically speaking rather than "hmm what equations do I have and what variable am I given". The class is painfully superficial to the detriment of the students' learning and understanding. (Maybe a helpful example to sum this up: A week before the final I asked a TA to explain relativity like I had never learned the material. His 15- 20 minute explanation helped me beyond the hours I had spent in lecture, doing the homework, reading the book, on Khan Academy/ YouTube- i.e. I never found a source that helped me consistently learn the material. I made the mistake of going to Shaevitz's recitation. Would highly recommend finding a TA who can help you understand the material conceptually.)
Professor Parsons is outstanding. His lectures are clear and organized, and he is very open about what he considers fair game for tests. He devotes a great deal of time to his students, from office hours to email replies. This was incredibly helpful during reading period, when he held an extra office hour AND a finals review session. He does an excellent job of completely addressing questions/problems, and is quick to note when certain material is interesting, but too complex to be acceptable for a test question. Lecture attendance is a must, as his tests are based heavily on his notes and explanations, which are all chalkboard, not electronic. Only one practice test (before the first midterm), but once you get used to his testing style, you can certainly do well by reviewing his notes and the assigned homework problems.
I really enjoyed the class. A lot of material was covered in this course, and he was good at streamlining it and focusing on what were the most important. He also explained concepts and answered student's questions well. He derives formulas in a way that is intellectually satisfying for students with a math background, without intimidating those who didn't, which seems like a nice compromise. He was also nice enough to provide his lecture notes on Courseworks, which was really helpful when studying for quizzes. The demos in class were entertaining as well. Humensky also just strikes you as a decent, nice, down to earth guy, for whatever that's worth.
Professor Parsons is great! He does some fun demonstrations before lecture and is a really lively lecturer. He only gave us one practice midterm for the first midterm, and you were sort of left to guess for the final two. However, as the previous reviews have mentioned, definitely study from his notes! He takes examples from notes and puts them on exams often, as well as problems from the problem sets, so do those too. He is pretty big into the calculus derivations and proofs of physics concepts and they are often included on exams, so if you are fuzzy on the calculus, I would recommend going with another prof who does not put calc on exams. I'm definitely not the physics person, but managed to pull off an A- putting in a lot of extra time, but what saved me is figuring out how to study for his exams (from both notes AND problem sets), which means going to lecture is a definite must.
Dr. Parsons is hands-down the BEST possible lecturer for physics II. The material is boring to most, but his witty remarks make the lectures bearable. His lectures are always organized and his exams are fair if you are able to do the homework; there are few to no surprises. Definitely take advantage of his office hours - he will go over any homework problems and is very good at explaining further what you might have missed in class. E+M is tough to teach yourself from the textbook, in my opinion, which is why having an excellent professor makes the difference!
A few things, so you know where I'm coming from: - I am not that smart (average at best) - I am not good at math (seriously, there is no engineer in me) - I am not good at solving problems. - The right hand rule made me cry. - I got an A in this class both semesters. Professor Budick is not a terribly inspiring teacher, but this course could have been worse. I appreciate his enthusiasm for the class and he really does care about the material, which is rare in any intro course. That said, other reviewers are not wrong that his teaching strategies are pretty disorganized and can be incredibly confusing at times. This class is by no means a piece of cake, and you will have to work HARD, but I disagree with the reviews that say that it is impossible to do well in this class. I have a hard time imagining that someone who hired tutors and studied every possible hour of the day (as reviewer: January '06 -- maybe he's changed since then, though) would do so poorly in this class. This is what I did: I read every chapter and took notes before I went to lecture, I did every homework assignment and turned it in on time, I did every practice exam at least three times. When I didn't understand something, I never simply looked at the solution. I had a tutor with whom I met once a week (this is free if you are postbac), and I made sure to ask every question I could. The trick to doing well in this class is to understand the problems backwards and forwards. He combines concepts on the exams, and it becomes tricky. He is not a great professor because he doesn't really teach you how to approach the problems and break them down step by step. However, if you do enough problems, you can acquire this skill yourself. I didn't do many more problems than the ones that were assigned and the ones he gave us at the beginning of every class. But this is a lot. In the beginning of each semester the homeworks took me about 5-6 hours. By the end of each semester I was down to about 2 hours (and don't give up towards the end of second semester, because the subject matter gets more complex, but the homework problems become insanely easy because he knows he is not going into enough depth to assign hard problems. People have said that the actual exams are hundreds of times harder than the practice exams, but this isn't true either. I do agree that the actual exams are harder, but I think that it is also harder because you don't have the security of checking your answers as soon as you finish the problems. Everyone is giving strategies to do well in this class, but no single formula is going to work for everyone. Figure out which study habits work best for you. The most important thing to do in this class, though, is to understand the concepts -- if you can do that, and then do problems over and over again, you will be able to get at least an 80 on the exams.
Hughes is a great professor and very organized lecturer. It's too bad less than half the class regularly attends lecture. He'll often tell you what's on the agenda for the class, and occasionally finishes early. He also says whether he thinks the topic is easy or difficult, which I find strangely reassuring (like he understands if you don't get it or something) Homework isn't collected or graded, but I recommend you do them (and the practice tests) before his midterms. Midterms (3 of them) are difficult. By the time you finish the third one (which is about 2 weeks before the final) you are done studying for the final. Average was around the 60s. He gives 20 problems (rather than the standard 3 multi-part problem tests), progressing in difficulty. Last 3 or 4 are really tough. Work steadily but don't expect much time to re-check answers. Try to attend the last lecture before the test because he'll give a few hints (nothing huge, but rather nice.) He'll spend some time talking about his research at CERN in Geneva ( it seems like he flies there every weekend) but it is interesting stuff and relates to the course material. He spends the last few lectures on topics not on the final (quantum mechanics and more on his research). As far as science lectures go, this was an enjoyable class.
he's a great teacher although he goes really quickly but i think that's how all the general physics 1200 level classes go.... he has 4 exams and a final exam.... the reason he has so many exams is because there is a lot of material to be learned in the course.... however.... he drops the 2 lowest exams... and if u do well on the 4 exams throughout the semester he will drop 2/3 of your final exam grade because the final exam grade is the equivalent of 3 exams. Therefore, you will have 7 grades in the end (4 from each of the 4 exams and 3 of the identical grade coming from the final exam so he dropped the 2 lowest grades).... his exams are fair but you should definitely know the material as well as possibly.... he said that he gives 40% of the class at least an A- in the end.... the averages on his exams were in the 70s so if you know your stuff pretty well you should be able to beat the average.... the problem sets aren't graded and you should definitely keep up with them because you will just have a ton of problems to do for the exams otherwise.... i wouldn't listen to the other reviews because he changed the curriculum of his course because it's his 2nd year teaching now and i think he heard the complaints.... all my friends who took him in the past and failed miserably were jealous that he changed his grading policy... he's a nice man and i would definitely recommend him
I wanted to defend Hughes from all these negative reviewers (well, partially defend him). Let me start out by saying that while I received an A in this class, I found it very difficult. I haven't taken biology with Mowshowitz yet, but my guess is that Hughes is basically the physics department equivalent of Mowshowitz. His exams are very hard and require both knowledge of the material as well as an advanced problem-solving ability. The average grade on the tests was consistently around 50% (obviously there was a substantial curve). So yeah, this class is hard. The positives? First of all, Hughes is an excellent lecturer (again like Mowshowitz?). He also devoted the last few lectures to explaining how atom bombs work, saying that he wanted to teach us something we'd actually remember after the MCAT (and he gave a lecture on developments in modern physics, which I found very interesting). Most physics professors at Columbia give exams with a few long, multi-part problems, but Hughes' tests had a more rapid-fire approach, with lots of short-answer questions. Basically, his exams get you ready for the MCAT. Overall, I thought this class was difficult but well-taught and fair. There was calculus on the problem sets but none on the exams, if that's important to you. I would also expect the quality of the class to improve a little in the second year.
Do not be fooled by the nonchalance of Professor Hughes. He may be "cool" but his tests sure as hell aren't. He claims that they are "MCAT style", but they aren't. They are cruel and painful (10 times harder than the MCAT physics questions), and sometimes you feel that studying for 3 hours vs 23 hours won't make a difference. The TA was rather useless, considering he didn't show up half the time and when he did he gave incomprehensible explanations. In any case, unless you desire to stress yourself out unecessarily, spare yourself from the misery.
Let me tell you this, if you know the beloved Prof. Moshowitz, this man could quite be her equal (or maybe even she's his mistress). This class was totally demeaning and this professor made us feel that way from the very beginning by saying what i'll never forget which i think resonantes throughout the premed sciences at columbia. He said, "well, i'm tenored here, so i don't care if you like me or not." what a way to set the tone/environment of the class. i suppose it was beneath him for him to have to teach us these topics. let me break it down for you in categories why: NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TO GO AGAINST SUCH _____. EXAMS-- a joke, completely. the average on every midterm was exactly the same 50%. AND, this is the biggy, they were ALL MCAT style. the questions will take you away to another place (definitely physics unrelated). you will spend hours upon hours doing his ACADEMIC TEXTBOOK problem sets(amounts of problems from certain sets are unreasonable) only to be awarded the 10% of your grade "prize," which by the way some will simply go to the TA to get the answers, while the graduate students as tutors were making a fortune off desperate postbacs and motivated undergrads alike. what i would like to impress upon you (and i think a large majority of my colleagues would agree with me) is that MCAT physics and ACADEMIC physics are very different animals, and b/c he was so pathetically lazy (more on that later) we were assigned problems from the text which even if we understood them had very much difficulty applying that theory to the very different STYLE of questions on the exam compared to the homework problems. YES, many of us purchased or used mcat practice books, but to no avail they were of no help. he allowed us to make our own formula sheet, 1 double-sided page for the second midterm but for the topic of magnetism you will come to see that it is useless. FINAL EXAM-- i think we were all raped. WAY WAY WAY toooo many formulas, and at the last 2-3 weeks of the course very quickly covered numerous chapters on relativity, diffraction gratings, optics etc. etc. that we had no chance to really learn but needed to prepare for this charade. he allowed 3 pages of formula sheets--spent half the exam trying to find the right formula and the problems were much too difficult. i walked out looked at someone, he said to me, "what just happened?" i too hadn't a clue. i studied like a masachist day and night for a solid week for this final, i really felt terrible, the worst i've ever felt leaving pupin that day. i must admit that i was upset. that is the very reason i decided to write this review, b/c i am hopeful that i can prevent others even a tenth of this experience or feelings that i did. if i can, then it was well worth it. LECTURES-- if i'd give the man anything, which it kills me to do, objectively, he really isn't a bad lecturerer at all-- about an overall B grade. that being said, when i went to the exams i said to myself where are all these people coming from. i've never ever seen them before. 40-50 students usually attended of a class of almost 200. i presume the numbers dropped b/c people's disgust and frustration of the entire situation. ultimately, he really is quite a decent lecturer, but this will DO absolutely NOTHING to alleviate your semester-long torture or help your grade. so since we are primarily concerned with our grade and possibly learning something in the class, this guy is not going to do either of those for you at all. he told us his purpose was to help prepare us for the physics section of the mcats. i would submit that he did a terrible job and diservice to us all that were unfortunate to participate. If you need to take this course do yourself a favor, and if at all possible plan or commit yourself to schedule it ONLY with prof. alan blaer, so that you may learn this tough tough material in a humane fashion. briefly, i did mention earlier i would return to his laziness, and i found this one thing particularly annoying. he was new here, so he needed to give us a practice exam for the first midterm. he photocopied Prof. alan blaer's first midterm AND formula sheet. AFTER we all spent time studying it and using it to prepare for the upcoming first midterm, he later told us that he changed his mind and would be giving an mcat style exam so that Blaer's exam wouldn't really help us too much and neither would the formula sheet. you can imagine the fury. he exercised poor judgement here and was very insensitive of our very limited time. that was his first mistake, and for me his last. trust me, shop elsewhere. don't be fooled by what seems to be a nice person lecturerer b/c i promise you, you will be sorry. i hope this helps anyone.
Prof. Hughes is new to Columbia, having taught previously at Cal Tech. He is definitely tough, much tougher than Prof. Shaevitz (I had him for Physics I). He has very high expectations for his students, thinking we're all engineers from Cal Tech. The material is also much tougher than first semester. I don't mean to scare you away from him, but if you do take this class, be prepared to spend time learning and reviewing the material on your own. Class does not really help, the textbook is the best. For some, it may just be over their heads, but if you enjoy Physics and grasp the concepts well, you'll do fine in this class and you'll probably learn a lot. I enjoyed this semester more than last because I learned more. This semester goes beyond the high school physics stuff. It's very interesting, but Hughes does not make it easy. Although Calculus is not required on the exams, all of the homeworks require it because the book likes to use it. The exam questions are very simple, easier than the homework questions, so the best preparation for the tests is to do as many questions out of the book as you can. Don't expect to walk right through this course like 1201.
Keys to maximizing your grade for the time you put in for Prof. Budick's class. 1) Try to make it to at least 90% of the lectures (He doesn't post them online either). If you do this, you won't have to read the book. I found this out late. Use the book only to look up formulas, read some of the "Touchstone" examples when your stuck, and obviously to do the HW. 2) Study Budick's solutions to HW. If you don't do the HW, don't worry about it, just make sure you get the solutions and then go back and see how Budick does the problems. I guarantee you that you will learn more from this method in 30-45 minutes per than if you bust your ass doing the HW for 5 hours by yourself. This is especially true in the later part of the course, (after about chapter 12). 3) When Budick hands out the practice exams, you should do them until it hurts. My advice is to write out each test at least 2, probably no more than 3 times. There is no better way to study for the test. If you do this, the formulas will become second nature (you won't waste a minute staring at the formula sheet). More importantly, you will know the question that Budick takes from the practice exams cold. If you get less than 25/25 on the question that Budick gives from the p exam, then you didn't study them enough, and you can't blame Budick for that. If you have time, read through book questions and target the ones that look like something Budick might put on the test. He DOES, at least second semester, put one question straight from the book HW on the tests. There should really be no more than 10 HW problems that look like "Budick test questions" so you should nail that question too. For the final, I wouldn't bother with the HW anymore. There are so many practice exam questions (40) that I think the little time you have to study is best spent on that. Take home message - Don't waste your time reading the book, do the practice exams again and again. First two means/medians (whatever he announces in class): 64, 55 (or so). Follow these steps, and you should be able to beat these means pretty easily. For those taking F1202, watch out, because 2/3 to 3/4 of the class switches to another professor and you're left with the 45 people who did well with Budick. first two means/medians: 77, 86. These are hard to beat. If I had it to do again, I might take Budick for F1201 and switch for 1202. About Budick: very nice. Good lecturer. Smart guy. Will give the class extra time on tests. He is not sadistic, don't be scurred, bud.
Alan Blaer is without question the greatest professor I have ever had in either my academic career, undergrad or postbacc. He has a great sense of humor, and his lectures are absolutely crystal clear and fun. Although there are numerous factors that I can't identify, I'd say that Professor Blaer does three things which make his teaching great: 1. He includes many of the rigorous concepts (unit vectors, the cross product and line integral -- though he never actually used the latter term in class) behind the material that other professors gloss over. Other professors think that including such things will confuse students but don't realize that they are necessary for students' understanding. Moreover, Professor Blaer has the talent to present such concepts so that they are absolutely clear to students. The result is that every idea Professor Blaer presents is well-defined -- no ambiguity. 2. During the first few minutes of every class, Professor Blaer runs through (almost) all of the material we covered in the previous lecture, or at least everything that is a prerequisite to understand the current lecture. He always begins this with his famous phrase "You will recall . . ." The result is that many fewer students are lost due to missing or forgetting the material of the previous lecture. 3. He takes the different problems that are given in the book, classifies them into a handful of categories, and he shows you the method to solve each category of problem. Therefore, for every problem that was thrown at us, we could identify its type and the method needed to solve it. The result was that the process of problem-solving, which is often a crap shoot even in science classes, became systematic. There were 2 midterms and a final. All were certainly fair tests. In the pre-exam review session, Professor Blaer does tell you the *type* of questions that will show up on the exam and the method of solving that type. However, I'd say that the actual exam problems are significantly harder that the ones in the review session. Therefore, substantial studying is still required, even with the review session. If you have the opportunity to take *any* class with Professor Blaer, do not miss this opportunity. Professor Blaer will make you love physics and love him, even if you have no initial interest in the subject. Professor Blaer sets a very high standard for teaching that, unfortunately, other professors do not live up to.
I read the reviews about Prof. Budick and was terrified, absolutely terrified at the prospect of taking his class. (I didn't get a spot in Blair's...) The other reviews are largely accurate--Budick is a very approachable, affable and entertaining professor and his exams become difficult unless you do a lot of problems. What you have to realize though, is that Budick will not hold your hand in this class like Blair will. If you're self-disciplined and have an ounce of pre-med drive, you'll do fine in this class. The whole thing about the thousands of problems that await you and the potential of smart kids doing poorly in this class...um, that would be the case in any class if you didn't know how to study for it. If you ask any Physics professor how to do better in physics, he/she will tell you to do more problems. It's no different in this class. Also, if you're in Budick's class, I guarantee you will learn more (much more) than Blair's class and probably will understand it better for the MCATs. So suck it up, do the work and get your A.
Professor Blaer can translate concepts into plain words better than anyone I've had at Columbia. He's good natured, organized, engaging, and smart. Also goofy-funny. Lectures from memory. Very compulsive when it comes to Physics (likes to stay after class and look over the notes he has left on the board). His compulsiveness can be mistaken for arrogance, but it's really dedication. Links past and current topics very well. Prefers variables to numbers (unless numbers make more sense, e.g. circuits), which helps because it works to avoid losing track of the physics in a series of calculations. Answers questions well and completely. That said, he takes his sweet time doing all these wonderful things. For every one outstanding student at Columbia there are at least two or three who are not as gifted but try to make up for it through hard work. A Blaer class helps the latter, but not to the detriment of the great student, who just gets bumped up to an A+. The curve is very high, with the median representing the cut-off between a B+ and an A-. Close to half the class gets some sort of an A letter grade, which is ridiculous. Overall, if you want to understand and even enjoy Physics, learn how to approach problems efficiently, and have the grade to match, then Blaer is your man.
Let me first start off by saying that we, in Budick's class, resent all those who are in Blaer's class. While people in Blaer's class are receiving good grades with minimal effort, those in Budick's class slave for hours on end with problem sets that 1.) don't really affect your grade (i.e. you can get by without doing them) and 2.) don't really resemble the problems given on the tests. Physics is not easy and I don't agree with the review that if one takes this class seriously it would be a breeze. The amount of time you put in this class doesn't really translate into a good grade unless you really know your physics. Budick doesn't really dumb down the material. He goes off on derivations really quickly which is why his class is about 5 chapters ahead of other classes. Budick is a nice and friendly man, and I don't believe he is a "toughass" when you ask him about your grades. What many people have a problem with is the pace of his class and overall difficulty of his tests. He does give practice exams and among those practice exams one question will be on the test so it is to your advantage to know the solutions. However in the end his class is just overbearing. If you have background in Physics, which there are several in the class, then I see how the class might seem easy, but for the rest of us who've had no exposure to the subject, it's torture. His class is not cake walk. This is the breakdown as to how many people have left his class: In a class of about 100 in the beginning of the year only about 70 were left after the first midterm when they realized that they didn't have the grade. In the beginning of the 2nd semester about 45 people were left. The lucky rest switched to Blaer's class. By the time the first midterm of the 2nd Sem arrived less than 30 were left. About 2/3 of the original class gone. That should tell you something. I guess in the long run, his class will really help you prepare for the MCAT if you're pre-med but be prepared to work your ass off.
Professor Tuts is a great teacher. He presents the material in a very clear way which is easy for the non-physics minded (which most of us are, even if we don't want to admit it) to understand. He is approachable and his office hours are very helpful. His exams are tough but not impossible. In response to one of the reviews above, he is not an ass. He is actually very funny and friendly if you get to know him. I have never seen him turn a student away. He will sit with you for hours until you understand the material. He received a teaching award this year, and I definitely think that he deserved it. If you have the opportunity to take a class with him, do it. You will not regret it.
Pre-Meds should be thankful for Tuts' business-like approach to teaching Physics. His lectures include a few jokes to keep the mood light, but he does not pretend that all the students are Physics majors. He knows that his course is a requirement for many students, and he tries to make it as painless as possible. 40 out of 100 is the mean for most tests, making an A very doable and a B fairly easy.
you know what, he sucks. Okay, so he explains stuff fairly clearly . . . he never, and i mean NEVER gives you any hint as to how to do a problem, and then the test comes around, and hello, you get totally raped. Both of the means for the midterms this semester were a 45. That is insane. most people answer the questions in "essay form" wherein they write down every frickin formula and physics concept they know in order to get some partial credit. it works.
Professor Tuts is both incredibly brilliant and a great professor. He has an amazing ability to elucidate everything he teaches. He is also very approchable and often goes out of his way to help students during office hours. GO to them! The homeworks are reasonable in length, and if done with care, can pay off on test day. DO them!! Exams are reasonablly difficult, but are graded on a curve. Overall, Tuts makes physics a great experience at the end.
Highly recommended. An excellent professor. Totally professional, Prof. Tuts is fully committed to his class, and he treats his students with friendly respect. He is obviously a very experienced teacher (and very smart) and doesnÂ’t miss much. He has a sense of humor, and can be good fun (especially in demos). The professor comes to each lecture prepared with detailed notes, and often uses demonstrations and/or graphics (posted on website later). As other reviewers have noted, Prof. TutsÂ’ lectures are wonderfully clear, and he works through the material step-by-step, giving students time to take notes. ItÂ’s remarkable how well he communicates to such a large class and successfully engages both advanced students and those less fluent in physics. Some students who found high school physics difficult were relieved that the professor was able to make physics understandable - even interesting - for them; others felt his was an enjoyable challenge. His demonstrations of problem-solving can be mind-boggling at times, and are beneficial, if not inspiring, examples. Prof. Tuts is well organized, and takes advantage of the course website to manage the class with a minimum of paper, not only posting announcements, weekly problem sets due and then their solutions, but also providing useful information, such as special class notes, that ordinarily would be too logistically difficult to prepare and distribute. (Check out also his Physics Dept. website for personal background and research information and physics links for students.) Studying about one-and-a-half textbook chapters a week and doing the problems is a lot of work. Developing problem-solving skills is one goal of the course; therefore unless you already know all about it, the homework - although not obligatory - is essential practice in these skills, which are tested in exams. (ItÂ’s hard to categorize exams; it depends where you are at. The class average is a B.) Go to Recitation. Take advantage of the team of graduate students in the Help Room for assistance; maybe find one or two you find most helpful and meet with them regularly. If youÂ’ve read this far, here is something worth waiting for: the professor is an extraordinary guide to creative problem solving - and he will work with you at your level. If you take your question about a physics problem to him during office hours, which can be a group event, he will likely set you up at his blackboard and explore with you approaches to that physics problem, while you write everything down on the board. ItÂ’s valuable personal attention, and also helpful to watch. A visit not to be missed! So, all in all, for the prepared student, physics is possible; if you think you are an advanced student, you may still learn a lot; but for a dedicated student at whatever level, here is the possibility for an outstanding learning experience with - as another reviewer has aptly stated - a full professor who cares.
Although I took these classes from him a little while ago, when I saw that Professor Valero had no reviews on the website, I had to put in 2Â¢ (no relation to procrastinating on an essay whatsoever). Anyway, Mario (as he insisted we all call him) is great. Suuuuuuuper nice, very clear, and very understanding. Oh, and an adorable Prada briefcase, natch. Take any Spanish class you can from him. People who know him transfer into his classes when they have the chance--it's worth it.
Professor Tuts was a truly phenomenal teacher. He is extremely knowledgeable and what is even more rare among science professors, is able to effectively communicate the information to the class. His lectures are clear and thorough, and though you may not be smiling after his tests, you will certainly leave the class with a solid understanding of the material. Unless you aced the AP, go to class, and recitation's not a bad idea either.
I think Prof. Halpin-Healy only teaches this course during the summer and that's a good thing. The class really sucks. His lectures frequently run over and he expects immediate comprehension of ideas within the class period. Much of what is covered in class is irrelevant for the exams. Material on the exams is difficult and usually unlike that from the text problems. The upside is that most people can pull a B without really learning too much (except perhaps that physics is a horrible, stressful thing).
I don't know a single student who enjoyed this class. Sciulli has a knack for making an unbearable subject like physics even more unbearable. His lectures are dull as stone. The highlight of the year is at the very beginning when he shoots down a falling stuffed monkey to demonstrate projectile motion - it's all downhill from there. He has no enthusiasm for teaching and this reflects in the rapidly diminishing attendance for the class. Expect to never have to fight for a seat.