course
Mechanics

May 2021

Professor Hone is incredible. He is one of the best lecturers and teachers I have had at Columbia. Teaches you everything you need to know in lectures and made mechanics easy and fun. I never had to even touch the books aside from homework problems. With that being said, grading was ROUGH. I personally did not like the grade distribution whatsoever and it appears like a decent chunk of the class was curved down. The grading process and cutoffs were also vague. You just have to do really really well on the final. Felt like I was doing well in the class all semester but ended up with a shitty grade.

Nov 2020

One of the better professors I've had at Columbia. As a freshman, I was worried about taking a class with so many sophomores, but his explanations are easy to understand and he is extremely approachable. His lectures are so helpful, and he and his TAs (Nathan and Antony) are dedicated to making sure you do well and understand the material. While there is a Pset due on every M, W, and F, they are only two problems that are actually useful in understanding concepts, so it wasn't a burden. A fantastic class, I would definitely try taking it with Hone

Oct 2018

This likely is not the fault of Dr. Levin directly, but way too much background in physics is assumed for the Intro Mechanics class. I took physics in high school, so I was able to keep up with the concepts, but I feel for the girls who thought they'd take a physics class to widen their horizons or challenge themselves, but just ended up feeling stupid. And it's not as if these girls aren't "cut out" for physics; it's that the material is taught in a way that does not sufficiently link each concept to others. If we, as a women's college, want more women in subjects like physics, it cannot be taught in this way. No one wants to study something that makes them feel stupid. This is where the part about Dr. Levin comes in. She is funny, commanding, and obviously very intelligent, but she is not a very inviting teacher. Sometimes she makes condescending comments or answers questions in a way that implies the question was stupid or unnecessary. Granted, there are always those few people in every class that have to let everyone know how much they understand the material, and so do make unnecessary comments, but Dr. Levin's contempt is not always contained to these people who arguably deserve it. All in all, don't depend solely on the instruction of Dr. Levin, take advantage of TAs, lab instructors, tutors, help rooms, GOOGLE, etc etc as much as you can.

Jan 2017

This class was by far one of my favorite classes the past semester. I've heard some horrible stories about teachers catapulting information at their students and not caring if their students understand the topic. Prof. Mukherjee is not one of those teachers. Granted, her derivations can be unclear, and some homework assignments were difficult, but since there is a physics help room, office hours lead by the TA, AND office hours lead by her, your questions will always be answered. On top of that, her grading system works in your favor. She drops your two lowest grades, and curves the final. And if your final is a better grade than your quizzes/midterms, she'll replace your final grade with your quiz grade. Tldr; you're going to get the best grade possible. Class time is typically spent with the first bit being lecture, and the second bit being problems worked on the board, and sometimes amongst groups you're sitting next to. As long as you put in effort and seek out help when you need it, you'll be fine.

Jun 2014

LECTURES: Professor Hone's lectures are straightforward and to the point. There are some derivations but much of the time is spent on helpful examples. I preferred to just attend his lectures than read the textbook. I know some people that made it through using the textbook since the textbook is pretty good at explaining things too. However, I prefered Professor Hone's delivery as that was something that just worked for me. Overall, I found if attended lecture, it was easier to keep up with the work and material. EXAMS: Somewhat straight forward. I can say all exams were fair. However, not all problems are problems that you have seen before thus one must really master the material in order to get full credit for the problem. I personally found the first exam more than fair and second exam challenging. The final was the hardest exam of all and also a time crunch. HOMEWORKS: This is probably the single most annoying part of the course. There are homeworks due every class. Also class is M, W, F. Granted, the psets due every class are 2-3 problems each, it is still annoying. To be completely honest though, it did keep me on my toes and did not allow me to slack off. GRADING: (I found the grading of assignments and exams to be fair/lenient) 2 exams (20% each) Homework (15%, 40 or so assignments, 9 lowest dropped) Final (40%) Office Hours (5%) -- these are mandatory office hour sessions. You must attend 2 before each exam (including final) tl;dr: unusually a lot of work and little things but ultimately you will leave the class with a strong understanding of basic Mechanics. I recommend this professor!

Jun 2011

I must admit that in the first few weeks of class, I was disappointed with Professor Hone. He didn't cause the textbook to sing a song when I opened it, let alone make the chalk explode with the power of his magical teaching abilities that I expected with a gold nugget. So sad. As the weeks went on, however, I realized that the magic that got him this gold nugget is in the simplicity and clarity of his teaching, in addition to his genuine desire for everyone to do well. Although he doesn't propel me into being a physics major, he comes as damn near to inspiring people to like mechanics as is possible with such content. His teaching style, as explained before, is to both derive concepts and reinforce them with examples -- a practical method of problem solving that I wish more professors use. I did fairly well in this class, and I can attribute at least 80% of it to Professors Hone's teaching. After taking, and practically failing, Physics 1600 last semester, I came into this class with low expectations and consequently threw myself into it. By merely attending class and doing the problem sets (by myself, the night before -- I survived), I was able to grasp as much material as most. I barely studied for the exams apart from writing down some relevant formulas. Professor Hone's teaching was enough to solidify the concepts in my mind. I ended the course with an A-, which I was satisfied with. Professor Hone cares so much about teaching and it shows. He repeats, time and time again, his office hours and holds extra office hours before exams. What kind of person nearly begs you to take up his time? I only went for office hours once before the final, and I felt almost guilty for not taking advantage of Hone's open door. Don't sell yourself short by taking this class with Testa. Seriously, don't.

Dec 2010

ill get right to the point do not take this class with Testa i had test for engineering mechanics the topics and material covered in the class are easy it is all basic physics like newton, mechanics and work energy. however, testa finds a way to make this a lot harder than it needs to be. he is a very boring teacher and the notations he uses are difficult to understand so going to class just sucks but it pays off. i did not go to class and was able to read the textbook and learn that way but he asks stuff on tests that is qualitative stuff that he says in class so it is some what worth going to class. one question on each quiz(out of 3 or 4) is very ambiguous for example one of the questions said tell me something about point c Do not take this class with him it is hard and boring and you don't really learn anything in class.

Dec 2010

Testa means well but conveys the subject matter in a very cluttered, convoluted manner during lectures. The course's subject matter is not difficult but can be challenging to learn because of his teaching style and the discrepancy between what is taught in class and what is supplied by the textbook (Testa does NOT like the textbook and especially in the last third of the course, and deviates in theory. He also teaches the manner in a way that jumps around the book in a non-sequential manner which may bother some---you'll have to search for the corresponding topics to lectures). That said, if you go to Testa's office hours, he can be a bit more helpful.

Sep 2007

I took Savin's class in the Fall of 2006, and I honestly don't understand why people thought it was hard. I took physics in high school, but it wasn't AP, and it was senior year, and I did really poorly, so I was worried about coming into college physics. The material was challenging in the homeworks and some lecture stuff, but if you go to her office hours or get extra help, it's not that bad. The part of the class that I really enjoyed was the exams, because they were REALLY easy compared to the problem sets. The exams were pretty straight-forward and didn't contain many of the tricky elements that the problem sets had. I think people just psyched themselves out and thought they were missing something in the problems on the exams, so they didn't do as well as they wanted. But honestly, it's a fairly do-able class.

May 2007

I'm so glad I took Mechanics with Hone! I have a physics phobia, so I assumed Mechanics would be awful. But I actually learned a lot and performed fairly well on his exams due to his clear teaching. He's very accessible and you should definitely go to office hours, because homeworks are tough. He dropped the quiz requirement this semester and instead gave two midterms, both reasonable (although the second one had a mean of about 50%). The MWF class schedule is not friendly, but at least he does a Monday dance when he realizes nobody is listening. You'll like Hone a lot.

May 2005

Hone's mechanics class was awesome, he's a great teacher who can make a somewhat boring topic very interesting. His examples were always very clear and he'd always tie them to real-life example (very helpful in engineering). He was also one of the most approchable teachers I've had, a few friends and I ran into him at a pizza place and he sat down and chatted with us. He also holds great review sessions, though he doesn't really drop any hints about what exactly the exam questions will be. On the last study session he brings in a ton of pizza for everyone who's there.

Mar 2005

He is amazing. He is what a teacher should be. He will make everything make sense even if you weren't as on top of your previous physics classes as you should have been. His notes are AWESOME in that they are logical and step-wise with words and tricks and examples instead of just some formulas thrown on the board. They actually help you do the problem sets when you look back over them! Not that you would be taking this class unless you needed it, but take it when he's teaching if you have a choice of semesters...

Feb 2005

He is a fantastic Professor, he makes a potentially tedious subject seem easier, and is always keen to help students. Great great guy, take his class if you have too. In fact, I'm hoping that he teaches all the Mechanical Engineering classes.

Jan 2005

Testa is awful. He seems interested in the material, but just flat out doesn't know how to teach. He does however seem to care about getting his points across (he basically yells the entire lecture), but again he never makes any sense. this is a fairly easy topic, but he twists the second half of the semester into a collection of garbage formulas.

Dec 2004

Antonova is an adorable Russian professor. However, her lectures are monotone and if you haven't had a good night sleep, you are likely to doze in her class. The pace of the class is not too fast, especially because she works problems on her power point presentations with the class. The lab component is easy. There is no specific format for the notebooks, and as long as you've included all the calculations and a convincing paragraph in the analysis, there is no problem earning a high grade.

Mar 2004

A great professor. Sadly, i never went/go to class, but a few friends do. The schedule itself is horrible (M/W/F) but he does his best to make it fun and interesting, and he does a damn good job at it. As far as teaching, i show(ed) up mostly fridays to hand in the weekly homework, and from what i saw, he knows his stuff, knows how to teach it, and most importantly, knows when to slow down and repeat what he just said. He's sooo accessible. He will go out of his way just to help you with any problem you have (class-related or not), and has office hours seemingly constantly. As far as workload goes, it's the usual engineering workload. Weekly problem sets (they are hard, don't start them the night before), two midterms and a final. The book will cost you an arm and a leg! Soo expensive, not clear at all, but contains millions of problems. If you want to learn anything, i suggest you go to class, or borrow another book from the library. Overall, probably the best teacher in engineering who's course i've taken, not because he's the smartest, but because he actually wants to teach instead of just do research. Teaching is a job to him, not just a nuisance.

Nov 2003

Shaevitz is a good professor. He teaches out of the book quite a lot, but he does explain things well and his lectures are interesting and easy to follow. He's also very funny; he seems to always laugh at whatever he is doing, which is hilarious, if you ask me. Breifly, he is understandable and competent.

May 2003

You are the luckiest mo' fo if you have this guy teach you mechanics. I've heard horror stories of other professors who teach this course, and God must have smiled on you if you get Hone. Nicest guy ever to teach such a boring topic. Oh but there's more!! You actually learn in his section. His notes are awesome. And for the first time, I met a professor in engineering who loves to teach this material and manages to keep you awake at the same time. (unless you have a hangover thursday night and go to the friday class) He's lenient with late homeworks, a problem set due every week. At the end of the semester, he holds review sessions and he feeds you!! The only downside is spending $200 on two books, and if you buy them used maybe for $150, but Columbia Bookstore doesn't sell them used. But the book he uses is very helpful, I plan to keep mine for future reference. If you find out he's teaching the course a particular semester, I recommend hold off the class til then.

Jan 2003

Most people love Prof. Gjelsvik. He is very knowledgeable about various applications of engineering and will do an excellent job demonstrating the practical aspects of the engineering in everyday life. His will likely be one of the most poorly structured classes in the department, and that may or may not bother you. There is no text to refer to, which I found somewhat annoying, but if you attend lectures (and you must for this course), you will likely be fine.

Dec 2001

Prof. Gjelsvik is a knight of the old school of engineering. He is extremely animated and will try to make even the most attrocious material interesting. He cannot help deviating on amusing tangents that range from cranking up a WWII tank to where a turkey's center of gravity lies. His tests are fair, reflect the Homework and notes, and he grades on a straight 20pt. scale (A=80-100, B=60-80, C=40-60, etc.). There is no book for this class, so prepare to take it up the A__ if you don't go to class.

Sep 2001

Atle is a great teacher - funny, understandable, and clear. He's like the really funny really smart grandfather you've always wanted. I'd take a class with him again. The only thing about this class was that there was basically no text - the texts were useful for formulas, that's it. There are no practice problems or exercises to help you get ready for the final, which is a lot harder than the midterms, which are based on examples given in class.