I liked this class and Dodd as a prof. As a physics type of person, I didn't find the concepts particularly difficult, although the problem sets were a little finicky and took a long time to get the right answer sometimes. The tests were extremely reasonable; if you were able to do the problem sets correctly (which is basically required by the Mastering Physics system in order to finish) then you should be able to do the test problems, which are simpler than some HW problems. I will say I only understood how to apply concepts after attending recitation, but not after attending lecture, maybe that's the point but yeah.
I found this class very difficult, though interesting. We covered a lot of topics quite quickly, though I did really like Dodd's method of teaching and I felt that I could generally follow along. Problem sets were quite difficult, as were the exams. I do wish I had a bit more physics background before taking the course, though it is not necessary. Recitations and review sessions were very helpful and we went over practice problems weekly in breakout rooms.
Such a sweet man. Big grandpa vibes. His lectures were dry at times but he really did a good job of explaining concepts and proving them thoroughly. He often cracked dad jokes that were super endearing. Weekly homework that keeps you on top of the material. If you do the homework assignments well (and do the practice exam), you will feel prepared going into the exams. He is extremely helpful and generous in office hours. Most people didn't utilize them, but when you go to them he will stay with you for hours to make sure you understand the concepts!
If you like logic, proof-based physics, and reasoning, you will HATE Jeremy Dodd. His idea of a physics proof is writing out a formula on the board, just really really slowly. I consistently felt frustrated with how unmotivated the theorems and ideas in his class were. I am a very mathematically-minded person, and so derivations and proofs are very important for me Simply writing a formula on a board, and expecting it to stick does not work for me. Additionally, what he covered in class in no way resembled homework and exams. It was incredibly frustrating to have to self-teach myself all the material even if I attended the lectures. Overall, this course left me incredibly frustrated. I was the top in my high school physics classes (Mechanics, E&M, and Relativity!) but because of Dodd's class structure, grading scheme, and confusing lectures, I barely scraped a B in this class. Additionally, one of my friends literally quit physics because of Dodd. He loved physics and was planning to major in it and this class was literally so bad he quit the entire subject.
I think the course was extremely helpful in cementing my physics intuition and provided a really nice basis for whatever's to come (as a potential physics major). I did not do the readings (though I probably should have), but I got by in the course just fine without them. Dodd starting sending out some articles at the end of the course relating to modern physics which I thought were really interesting! The recitations felt a bit lacking sometimes, and I think that it is extremely necessary to study outside of class with another person (or group of people) to truly understand the content. The lectures were extremely interesting and entertaining because of Professor Dodd, and I felt like all of the work for the class was completely reasonable. If you are thinking about taking physics and don't have much of (if any) of a background in it, I strongly urge you to take this class over the 1200 or 1400 physics sequences. It might be a bit more challenging of content, but the workload for the class and the grading scheme with professor Dodd is extremely forgiving and better than any other physics class. Dodd was extremely pleasant to have as an instructor. I looked forward to coming to class every day because he tried his hardest to help people understand the content of the class. Even in the huge lecture we were in, he would consistently answer everyone's questions. I appreciate his dedication to making the content accessible to everyone, even people who hadn't taken physics or calculus before, and I thought it was a very good class for people who are beginning a physics track. His grading scheme made the class so much more forgiving to students who hadn't taken much physics in high school before. He dropped the lower ranking midterm and made the grade for both the score of the higher one, which was extremely relieving after failing the second! It was a bit intimidating to be in a class with so many people who had taken the class for an "easy A" because quite a few students took the class so they didn't have to take accelerated physics even if they were able to, but Dodd made this worry go away (there isn't a curve and these students will not hurt my grade because of that). I really liked the in-class problems he had us do with people sitting around us, cause they often were just the right amount of "tricky" and useful to test what we've learned. I was only able to attend one of Dodd's office hours, because of schedule conflicts, but I also went to one of the "have lunch with your professor events," and every time I talked to Dodd outside of class, he was extremely kind. In office hours, he wants to help you understand everything you have a question for, but also challenges you to try to work through the problems first by talking them through, which I really appreciated.
On top of being an amazing human being, Professor Dodd is an exceptional professor. His classes are organized, follow the textbook material very closely, and he makes himself more than available to meet with you to go over confusing concepts and difficulties you may be having in the course. His lectures, although, not exciting, are very well organized and easy to understand. He writes all important concepts on the board in an organized way that makes it very easy to take notes (or know what to take notes on) in his class. He even uses colored chalk to underline formulas in red and create intricate diagrams in graphs to help you understand physical processes. His tests are very fair. He never tests on anything that he did not explicitly mention in class or did not have a homework problem set, and he provides detailed formula sheets on tests so that you do not have to memorize formulas. Note: although the problem sets are usually pretty difficult, the problems he gives on tests are nowhere near as difficult as the ones on the homework problem sets. Overall. I would highly recommend taking any class Professor Dodd teachers.
Professor Parsons is a refreshingly straightforward and engaging professor. His lectures are clearly given, and his expectations are both reasonable and comprehensible. Exam averages tend to be relatively high -- a testament to his clear expectations and goals -- meaning that this is not a class for those obsessed with curves. If you work hard, pay attention, attend EVERY lecture (he does not always follow the textbook, often has his own style for solving problems, and does not post lecture notes), and seek out help when you need it, you will do well in the class. This is not a class for those who want to dive deep into Physics (i.e. get a conceptual understanding of concepts). Parsons tends to present a topic, tell you how to solve a specific type of problem on that topic, and expect you to essentially memorize the procedure and apply it to a general, but predictable, format of problems. Essentially, I know 'Parsons Physics' but I cannot necessarily apply that knowledge to novel problems. With that said, Physics serves a pretty utilitarian function for Pre-Meds, and Parsons gets this. Finally, I should add that he is a really cool guy, and at the top of his field. If anything, the class is worth it because of the opportunity you have to be in the presence of one of the greats. His office hours are, again, utilitarian, but he is a really interesting Physicist and it is a real treat when he shares some of his current work with the class at the end of the semester.
Dodd's class is definitely a decent amount of work and fairly challenging material, but his class is more than fair and he is a great teacher and a great human. He is more than willing to help, and his lectures are engaging, well-organized, interesting, and Dodd's pretty funny, too. Plenty of demonstrations to keep things interesting, and he responds well to feedback from the class on what they'd like to see in the class or how they'd like things to change. Really, my classes with Jeremy Dodd (Physics 1601/1602) have been my best academic experiences so far at Columbia - I've learned a lot, and although it's a lot of work, it certainly felt worthwhile.
First off, I'll give my background in physics because that seems to matter quite a lot when reviewing 1600. In high school, I took a basic algebra-based physics class freshman year where we essentially learned what acceleration was... then junior year I took AP Physics C Mechanics, got a 5, felt VERY comfortable with the material, and then senior year took AP E&M, had a teacher that didn't teach, got a 2, didn't learn much. Ok, so going into physics freshman year as someone who liked it a little, but really wasn't sure about majoring in it or anything like that, Dodd was a wonderful instructor who really changed how I looked at physics. He taught every class enthusiastically, faulty demonstrations and all, and really focused on kids learning an intuition for what was going on. Dodd helped me learn that Physics was more than just a science class that I was good at, but instead was really a fundamental method for looking at how the world works and why. The first semester felt a little easy for me due to learning Mechanics in high school, but I was somewhat dreading the second semester, because I thought I hated E&M and had no intuition for it. However, Dodd gave me a totally new perspective. He taught it so thoroughly and so well that it became something entirely different for me, and was one of my absolute favorite classes. Now, aside from me fanboy-ing Dodd, he really did have some amazingly helpful aspects of the course. 1. The textbook he chose is the best textbook for any subject that I've ever read. It was such a nice tool to have an easy-to-read, yet thorough exploration of the material to back up on if you missed a class or two. 2. Mastering Physics, which was our version of WebAssign, worked very well for me, making problem sets fun, challenging, and very educational. Also, the second semester, he added practice Psets that were perfect ways to study before the midterms, and before the final, he posted adaptive Psets, which were very helpful. 3. Dodd really took advantage of Courseworks. He posts all the information you could ever need about the course on the home page. He posts his lecture notes weekly. He posts before each midterm and final the formula sheet used on the exam, the material covered on the exam, the previous year's version of that exam, a solution guide to the previous year's exam, and seating assignments. And after each exam, he posts the score distribution, the exam itself, and the solutions. Really everything you could ask for. 4. All of his exams (ignoring the debacle of the first midterm of the Fall, on which most of the class got a 100%) are fair and well made. 5. He frequently sends out mini announcements via email, and he is very responsive to emails and after-class chats. 6. Finally, his office hours were a pleasure to go to. He is inviting, warm, and helpful, making office hours, in some ways, the best part of the class. To really understand how much Dodd cares for his students, I'll share an anecdote: On the last day of lecture, Dodd brought in a big bouquet of white roses and, saying that it felt like a quasi-graduation, he gave one to every student (at least those who showed up to lecture that day) because of how much he loved teaching us this year. Dodd is really a special teacher, and he made it clear to me that physics is going to be an important part of my education, convincing me to at least concentrate in it. I give him the highest recommendation to all.
Dodd The previous reviews point out many things about Doddâ€™s class that I can agree with. The problem sets tend to be harder than the samples in lecture, and occasionally contain unsolvable problems that he ends up throwing out. The tests also only have 4 questions each, so if youâ€™re unprepared you can lose points rather quickly. Here, Iâ€™ll diverge a bit from the reviews to provide a different perspective for students who: a) Really like physics b) Have taken physics C:Mechanics and E+M and received 5s c) Felt extremely comfortable with the material covered in above courses If youâ€™re deciding between the 1600 series and 2800 series, this will probably apply to you. Depending on the strength of your high schoolâ€™s physics program, you may find that this class is a repeat of physics C. Even with a good physics C background however, you will find a few of the problems challenging and unique. In this case, lecture attendance may not be as necessary on topics you feel great about. On topics that you want to learn more aboutâ€”like rotationâ€”just show up and pay attention. If you take 1601, you will most likely do well (B+,A-,A) without an intense amount of effort beyond the required work. TA sections are a joke and are generally unhelpful. As many of the people in the class are being exposed to new material / new depth of old material, you will have a bit of an advantage. Taking this class is a good idea if you want to keep your physics sharp but also work on fundamentals. However, if youâ€™d like to challenge yourself and learn more in depth, try 2801â€”itâ€™s easy to drop down to 1601 and your grade is adjusted for the difficulty difference.
Professor Dodd overall is a nice guy who genuinely cares about students and has truly good intentions. Nevertheless, there are sadly some negative aspects to this class that have made me hesitant to take a second semester with him. First off, Dodd does try to liven up the class with demonstrations. He did the conservation of rotational inertia problem which was funny as he got smacked in the face with dumbbells and the student with the dumbbells subsequently fell of the spinning stool. He always tried to incorporate some demonstration to make the class fun. Alas, a 10: 10 am class for me was, at the very least, way too early and I truly found it difficult to attend and fully pay attention every single time. He goes over the class well, but sadly far too simplistically. The only appropriate metaphor I can find to compare his class would be to be in kindergarten learning 2+2 and simple arithmetic in class and then having to do complex multivariable integration for homework. Dodd sadly goes over the easiest, clearest, and simplest problems and leaves the hardest, most confusing, and poorly written problems in the textbook. The tools given in class were far too insufficient for allowing students to answer the problems, and sadly I would do worse than the average on the problem sets as I actually tried to do the problems fairly and without answers most of the time while everyone else probably copied answers off the solutions manual. Why not just assign some problems of a moderate difficulty, and not have to rape my brain? The worst part of this class was the textbook. IT IS ABYSMAL. Sadly there are so many great textbooks available for physics and an elite private university such as Columbia has to assign the worst piece of crap on the face of the earth, Fishbane. Reading through chapters of Fishbane is akin to reading some poorly written, unclear, simplified, and confusing book and then being given insanely difficult problems at the end of the textbook which you were not given any tools from the book on how to solve these problems. It's truly the worst. This course may be good for students truly talented in Physics, but for me, even hard work and dedication and showing up to class as much as I could proved insufficient to do his homeworks, understand the material clearly, and do easily on his midterms/ final.
I'll generally recommend taking 1601 over 1401 because they aren't much different in terms of workload and I like Dodd. That being said, 1401 does seem like LESS work (something greatly appreciated as a first year), and unless you genuniely like physics (like me!) you might not appreciate an awesome professor and a delve into more a bit more theoretical material than 1401 exposes you to. Dodd explains the math way too fast, and I am lost often in lectures unless I am really doing my best to pay attention/get the material and not sleepy. Sometimes he recommends you read the book before going to class; disregard this advice, the book sucks. He explains the concepts rather well, and if you take notes during class, you can go back later and understand the specifics behind the math. I highly recommend going lectures. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. I have spent over 4 hours going through a chapter in the textbook trying to learn it on my own. Once I skipped about 3 weeks worth of lectures one month, bringing me behind to the point where I never caught up until the morning of the final. Go to the lectures, then attempt the pset, referring back to the book when you need help. Even if you don't understand everything in the lecture, just exposing yourself to it and taking notes is waaaaaay better than attempting to understand the material on your own. The first week or so of the class is easy and doesn't really require attending lecture. This is decieving, as the class quickly picks up and screws you over if you skip lecture. Dodd incorporates some funny demostrations into his lecture, some of which conclude with him getting smacked in the head with dumbells; videotape these. He is also rather British and has a nice sense of humor. Additionally, he arranges dinners with the "faculty/student interaction dinner" program so a group of about 20 students can eat food with him, discuss the class, and other topics of life. His office hours are very helpful and he will go over problems that are on the pset. It is very funny to see him try to get everyone out of his office when its 5 o clock. A student will be trying to ask a few last questions, to which his response will be "I'm confident that if you use your intuition, you will come to the solution" when the student clearly doesn't understand the problem. Again, make use of the time he does offer for office hours. Many times I would have questions for him after class, and a line would form. He always took the time to answer everyone's questions and concerns without trying to brush anything off (though he wasn't too excited about people switching down to 1401). Plus he really enjoyed explaining the specifics behind his demonstrations. Everyone skips recitation. When I would attend, I wouldn't go to the TA I was assigned to. There is no attendance/quizzes in recitation, so I recommend trying a session on each day and attending the one you like better regardless of which time slot you are signed up for. Very helpful if you take advantage of it, especially since most people are skipping it. Dodd really cares about his students and gives you all the resources needed to succeed in his class. (you just have to take advantage of them!) You will come out of the class knowing tons about mechanics; I can't open a door or go to a bowling alley without thinking of the corresponding physics formula. He is the director of undergraduate studies for the physics department, so he is really good to know if you want to major in physics. He also held review sessions before the final which were really helpful. The psets will kick your ass, but you'll survive if as long as you don't get behind!
Millis doesn't know how to teach. Period. He made things I understood in high school utterly incomprehensible. Most of the lectures were spent deriving useless formulae that were specific to the problem at hand. He'd go over problems in class and come up with wildly complex 'general' solutions that contained only variables he'd define along the way. So what this means is that you'll be spending most of your time in class copying down random equations that will make no sense to you when you look over your notes again. Homework is difficult. Many people did the problem sets in groups, but I foolishly chose to do them on my own, so I spent an average of maybe 3-4 hours per week on them. The problems are similar to what will end up on the midterms and the final, so make sure you understand how to do them. P-sets are given out on Thursday lectures, and are due the following Thursday, and chances are you and your friends will be cramming/finishing uncompleted problems from the week before. Most people end up with near perfect scores on the problem sets (which account for 20% of your grade), so you need to be getting 95+% on them to stay ahead of the curve. The good thing, though, is that Millis is a generous grader. I did above average on the two midterms (each accounting for 20%), got a 95 on the problem sets (20%), probably bombed the final (40%) seeing as I left out an entire question on special relativity (till now, still don't get it), but still managed an A. Don't think I got much out of this class though. Easily the worst class of my first semester.
This man needs a lesson in teaching. This is the kind of guy who, if you ask what time it is, he tells you how to build a watch. He wastes away the first two lectures discussing dimensional analysis (which if you don't know that and you're in this course, you should be put to sleep), which leads to him running out of time towards the end of the semester when it comes to explaining more important things (relativity, harmonic motion, rotational motion). If you took Physics C: Mechanics, you'll be fine. But be warned that this guy's lectures were so bad that I frequently found myself wondering if stabbing my eye with a pen would ease the pain of watching him babble in front of class. Big plus, however, is he curves BIG time. I got a 40 on the first midterm, (average was a 60), a 90 on the second, and bombed the final and still managed a B+.
His class was my most difficult my first semester of my first year, and many of my peers dropped to the 1400 physics class after the first midterm. During class he goes through concepts very quickly in a fashion unsuited for amateur physicists and often does not have time to go over many (if any) examples that mirror the homework. Awkward during office hours. The two midterms are only manageable because of partial credit. Some of the problems on the homework the TA cannot even complete. This class, however, is probably much easier for those who have done well in physics in the recent past (AP Physics C in high school).
This class is basically AP Physics C all over again. Which is a blessing, since Christ's lectures are utterly unintelligible. He makes things needlessly complicated, and it doesn't help when he makes mistakes and has to backtrack. The lectures are pretty much worthless; my only impetus to go was the vain hope that I might learn something. Theoretically, I did learn relativity, but only after I read the chapter and had my father, who teaches physics at USC, explain everything to me twice. Christ is a nervous, kind of mousy guy who failed completely at gaining any respect from the class due to his ability (or lack there of) as a professor and unconfident air, underscored by his mistakes. I'd recommend taking this class because it's not terribly taxing as a rehash of AP Physics C: you won't actually have to learn anything (except relativity). I wouldn't recommend taking it for the same reason, i.e. don't if you're hoping to learn something.
Norman Christ is, indeed, a very knowledgeable professor, and a very capable physicist. Substantiation? check out his Wikipedia page. He is also cute in a "what a smart guy/yoda" sort of way. But to make your decision about the class you need to know these: Do not be fooled by how easy the first two lectures are. Delusions of grandeur for many people. His lectures can often be inscrutable. You will be able to follow the math, but you'll need the book to fully grasp the concept. I did not go to problem sessions. Make friends, preferably those who do go. And live on your floor. Physics brings your floor, (the 2 engineers and 2 physics majors), closer. I still don't know how to study for this class. Good luck with that. Practice midterms are never really like the actual midterm. But do them anyways. Can make you feel better about yourself before the midterms. Beware of the Norman's third problem on every midterm. Although Norman is a saint, they are like the Third Reich, even if you aren't Jewish. You are pretty much guaranteed a 67 because the first two problems are usually easy. And you are smart enough to correctly spell your name on your test. Know your math. Reality: A decent grade is possible if you work for it.
Christ seems like an extraordinarily knowledgeable professor with a passion for his subject, but his lectures didn't manage to convey that knowledge to the class. Lectures were often very difficult to follow and there always seemed to be topics or concepts we didn't cover--we spent all our time on solving problems or proving equations, and not building any conceptual framework for what we were learning. I ended up teaching myself the first eight chapters over fall break, which is the only reason I passed the second midterm. (On the other hand, Christ's almost-daily physics jokes were adorable.) The TA running the problem sessions was not particularly helpful--he would often solve problems with math none of the students had seen (post-calc), if he solved the problems at all. The course would have been much more manageable (and effective, given that I learned very little from the instructors) if we had had decent problem sessions. The text was the best part of the course. I'm not taking the second semester of the class in favor of teaching myself out of the book, which is basically all I did this semester.
The lectures are really dry, except for demo days. Mostly, he proves and derives all the formulae which is cool if you actually like physics, but the engineers found it very boring. Most of what you learn from this class is due to the hwk. No one goes to the lecture. I was lucky in that my whole floor is engineers and science ppl, so we did the homeworks together, wednesday nights it was a few hours (10-1:30). Usually, the homewokrs are on something from the book, rather than from class, and may be something that he is going to teach, but hasn't yet. Relativity section was awesome. If you want more calculus, take 1400 physics, as this class mostly avoids it in the problems (1400 uses a better book too). If you took physics B or C in high school this class is a breeze, but i have been warned that second semester is much more challenging and actually physics. Worth it? Yes, do the crossword during lecture, you might see a cool proof or demo, then go to lunch with friends and do the problems.
Only take this class if you absolutely have to. If you aren't a physics major or don't have a strong background in physics, this class is going to be extremely difficult. Norman Christ is undoubtedly a charming and kindly professor, and I will never forget his daily dry physics jokes. But his lectures are entirely incomprehensible. I found it absolutely impossible to pay attention during a single class period. I'll put it this way: everyone who did well in this class did so because they ALREADY knew physics. Don't expect to actually LEARN a single thing. The class is also heavily math-oriented (more so than most physics classes), so beware if you are a lover of conceptual learning. Luckily, you can skip most of the lectures and just learn everything out of the book if you want. You'll do fine if you take this approach; but if you're not a textbook person, you're screwed.
Zajc is a legitimately nice guy and a brilliant physicist, but a sub-par lecturer at best. The lectures are entertaining for the wild and crazy rides he takes you on during them despite having little to do with course material ("You could just solve it by introspection, but we can prove it through a triple derivative! Let me show you exactly how!"). The lectures are otherwise fairly useless. If anything, go to Zajc's lectures to get a look at those ridiculous forearm muscles. A few homework problems can be legitimately challenging to nigh impossible; go to the recitation sessions to ask how to do them. They are a godsend. Test grading is based only off of the class mean and standard deviation, meaning if everyone does really well on one test (e.g. the first midterm), you won't do nearly as well on it as you would for a fairly mediocre score on a brutal test (e.g. the second midterm). You can drop one, but it's in your best interests to take both. In our case, a 100% on the first midterm was the equivalent of about a 50% on the second. The final is fair and comprehensive, be prepared for some substantial calculus usage though. Thankfully, the tests are open book (which doesn't help as much as it sounds) and the course grade is extremely generously curved (which definitely helps as much as it sounds). More than half of this class dropped to 1402 second semester, for what it's worth.
Professor Zajc is an interesting person. His lectures are not particularly relevant to the problem sets that you have to complete since they are largely derivations of the concepts that you'll have to apply; however, they are quite amusing. Zajc' puns, peculiar vocabulary ("here we have the vectoriness of the velocity of this massy thingy"), and general behavior are really quite funny. Sometimes you do wonder, though, why he's derived the universal law of gravitation for a third time in two class periods. Otherwise, he's quite a nice guy. If you have any difficulty, go to recitation and get your questions answered - Ali Hanks does quite a good job as recitation instructor as well as "guest lecturer" when Zajc is traveling.
His lectures are interesting but completely useless. He does ridiculously complex and irrelevant questions, but he can be quite funny at times. I basically go to class to write down quotes of him.
Zajc is incapable of sticking to any sort of schedule. He mumbles to himself about material that is more advanced than anything necessary in an introductory physics sequence while writing on the chalkboard in illegibly small chicken scratch. While there is nothing wrong with introducing supplementary material, it is a problem when it is done at the expense of material that is supposed to be covered and that is necessary for future courses. For example, there were 4 chapters we were supposed to cover in 1602 that Zajc did not have time to teach at the end of the semester because he couldn't keep to a schedule throughout the semester. I suppose this wasn't that big of a deal since his lectures weren't any good anyway. Be prepared to teach yourself everything out of the regrettably inadequate Fishbane book. If you read the book and take careful notes, you should be reasonably prepared for the homeworks, which vary in difficulty. Recitations are helpful as well. When studying for exams, redo all of the homeworks and don't even think about wasting your time reviewing the chapters themselves. Just do practice problems. Rigorous theoretical knowledge is not tested on the exams, but complex problems are. 1601 was significantly easier than 1602. I honestly don't know why Zajc teaches the introductory sequence for physics majors. I came to Columbia thinking I would be a physics major, but Zajc's class certainly changed my mind.
Hone is a naturally gifted teacher. His teaching style consists of deriving the equations and teaching the concepts. then, he applies this concepts and equations to solve example problems. And it worked very well. Hone is also very funny, managing to keep most people awake. The MWF schedule is a bit much, but that's what you get for cramming statics and dynamics into one semester.
Zajc's is so nice its hard to chide him, but the lectures in the class are totally useless. He doesn't do any practice problems and only derives equations. The midterms and the final were all hard, but he drops one of the midterms so he only counts your highest one. The class has a generous curve as well. I would reccomend his class if you are intrested in pure physics and the derivations behind the formulas.
Well, this review is kind of pointless as Prof Zajc was the only section for Physics 1601. I found this lectures very pointless and boring. (He tends to talk to himself, a bit, while he gives long proofs of stuff on the board...) Furthermore, pretty much none of the stuff he taught in class was helpful in doing the homework sets, which ranged from easy to hard. His exams are kind of unpredictable in terms of difficulty. The good thing is, he will only count your best midterm mark out of two. I scored well enough on the first one (which was easy) to skip the second one (which was apprently killer). The final was a fair and comprehensive.
Being very straightforward, Professor Zajc is an amazing instructor, but not in the literal sense. He is amazing because he does try his best in class to answer everyone's questions. Please note that this course in particular is excellent for physics majors, hence its course name ('For Physical Science Majors'). Zajc's teaching style involves many, many derivations of equations and many explanations of how these equations were even thought of in the first place. What he teaches is mostly appropriate for physics majors only. Zajc is always welcoming students during his office hours and explains the answers to your questions fully. Recommended for physics majors only.
Professor Zajc, rhymes with heights, may be a good teacher but the content of the class is so linear and boring that reading the book and going to recitation to work out practice problems is just as good if not better than going to lecture. In fact, you will probably end up reading the book instead of going to lecture. This class is approximately equal to AP Physics C.
She knows her stuff, doesnt mean you will. Homework problems are impossibly hard. Exams are really really reaaaaaly hard. If you want to fail, and do so after working your butt off, take this class. I highly recommend shifting to 1401. You wont regret it.
Very clear and interesting lectures. Prof. Miller didn't make any assumptions about prior knowledge and did her best to make sure every single person stayed with her. Homework much more difficult than lecture examples, but doable if you go to the help room or recitation sections. Difficult exams, but one is dropped and the curve is VERY generous.
I like Amber Miller. She taught the material well, especially relativity. Every now and then she would stop and make sure everyone understood what was going on. She seemed very interested in making sure the students were learning and understanding the material. It was also helpful that she allowed a page of notes on the exams. I wish my Calculus teacher had done the same... (My only qualm is that it was sometimes hard to see her decimal points, which would confuse me at times.)
she is a very nice teacher but also the homeworks are much harder than the examples given in class. additionally, the first midterm was pretty easy if you know the topics and also was very similar to the practice midterm, but then the second midterms was extremely hard, both topic wise and question wise, and much harder than the practice. luckily you drop the lowest of the 2 midterms. the final was challenging but easier than the 2nd midterm, though relativity is almost impossible. but seems that there is a decent curve.
Professor Miller was a decent lecturer. She tended to be go through the problems she did on the board rather well but she taught straight out of the book. Although, she was considerably more organized than the book-behemoth itself. I learned more from the TA's than I did during the class. Relativity was touched only superficially but there were two problems out of 8 on it on the final (which, by the way, was not a walk in the park, contrary to other reviews.) I didn't take AP Physics in high school but I still consistently scored top 3 in my class. But I still wasn't even close to the level of these other guys. The people here tended to be geniuses or failed geniuses from the 2800 level. Take this class if you are serious about physics. Find someone who you know who is a physics god if you want to pass. She says she gives make-up finals. Thats a Lie. I had 3 exams that day, hers was the first, and 1 the next day and she point blank told me she would not move her exam. Absolutely rigid would be a term I could use for her as a whole.
This was a great teacher for a great class. Parsons has a wonderful sense of humor, sometimes has the entire class erupting in laughter. He's also explains things well, in a way that everyone can easily understand. Definitley take this class if you want to have an enjoyable physics course.
Ok, I'll attempt giving a little info about Parsons that hasnt been repetitively mentioned by the other thousand reviewers. He maintains a subtle humor that keeps the class interesting, if you pay attention (sometimes hard to do since it is in a big lecture hall). My semester, the choice for physics teacher was Parsons or Miller, and everyone i know in either class agreed Parsons was the more interesting teacher. do your work, beat the average for an A- and above (approx), you'll do fine
Parsons is a great professor. He is excellent at explaining how concepts work or how to go about a problem, because he tells you WHY to take certain steps. The derivations of equations are understandably boring. Overall, I would say get Parsons if you have the option.
IM SO CONFUSED Did all the previosu people take 1601 with the same Amber Miller. I was a student who aced the Physics B exam and it was a difficult class because whatever she taught was worlds easier than the problems on the homework. Don't even touch relativity...that part of the class no one in the class got that. The majority of the class did not like her becasue she was a terrible teacher but not many have written reviews for her. Granted, she is an INCREDIBLY nice person. Very smart, but she is not the person for this class. Her notes are not detailed and how she writes them on the board, they are not able to be studied from for the exam. THe book sucks, and ther are not enough examples for what we learn in class. Poor wording and difficult reading causes everyone to hate that blasphemed cube of papers. Take it if necessary, but do your best to get parsons or whoever else.
As the review before mine said, Miller is great, enthusiastic, neat, organized, and VERY approachable. She tries to get everyone engaged in the class. Teacher easy to get, so take.
The lectures were presented by introducing concepts, then following with rather in-depth examples. This works well; however, if you prefer to learn physics by derivations and definitions, this might not be the class for you. The book is ok. It is one of those physics books that has plenty of pictures and colors to calm down people who are nervous about math. The mechanics and thermodynamics sections are handled reasonably well, but the E&M isn't good at all. The problem is that they dummy down the math to the point that many of the intuitively obvious vector calculus ideas become difficult to understand, rather than explaining the mathematics first and then the physics. For example, they don't even use vector notions of curl and divergence when discussing fields, and all problems where area, volume, or surface integrals would generally be needed can be simplified to single integrals. I would recommend using a supplementary book while studying this section if you are seriously interested in physics. The homework consists of ten problems. Usually these took me about 2-4 hours. I would STRONGLY recommend doing them yourself if you want to learn the material. The TA for the first semester was decent, but the second semester TA basically gave away the answers at recitation. I know some might find that to be great, but honestly, having your head ache for 10-20 minutes before understanding a problem is better than having someone do it for you and losing the experience. Homework is 20% of your grade. The exams are doable. There are 2 midterms and 1 final per semester. Students are allowed handwritten notes on one side of paper for midterms, and two sides for finals. Midterms aren't easy, but perhaps it is a testament to the class that as I was reviewing my errors on them for the finals, I was banging my head against the wall at how foolish my mistakes now seemed. The finals are really a comprehensive test of the material, and are worth studying for. Your best midterm is 30% of your grade, and the final is 50%. The curve is reasonable: it is difficult to get an A unless you really know your stuff, but an A-/B+ is pretty much in the pocket if you stay up to date. Amber Miller is friendly and competent. I would recommend this class.
OK- so i think the reason he is reviewed so well on here is because of the curve at the end of the class. I got at least a standard deviation below average on both midterms and presumably did just as poorly on the final (very little/no studying- yeah, i kinda gave up) and got a B- in the class. Lectures not particularly interesting, he is nice and funny, but this class (1601) is probably not for you unless you really are interested in taking a physics class with the smarter freshmen engineers. Do not take it just to satisfy your physics requirement if you're not interested in physics.
Oh lecture classes. Okay, this was a really interesting class, and Professor John Parsons taught it very efficiently and cleverly, but I can't really remembering him explaining anything. It seems like the lectures are only valuable if you've already read the textbook. As a result I had to drink like five cups of coffee to get through through every one of Parsons's interesting efficient clever etc classes, maybe it was a ventilation issue. Watch out cause Red Bull already banned in europe.
Amber Miller is an excellent lecturer and has a good rapport with her students. She has frequent asides with students, answering some very interesting questions and making the class much more enjoyable. The material is taught slowly and fairly thoroughly, being reinforced week by week. A helpful habit of hers is that she recaps the previous lecture before each current lecture, making it easier in case you've missed it. She is always very well prepared and has immaculate handwriting. Another very positive aspect of this class is that Miller drops one midterm. The first midterm is almost assuredly going to be a piece of cake, especially if you've taken physics before. Well over half the class got A's. The second midterm is significantly more difficult due to the material, but if you've done well on the first one, it will drop. I strongly recommend Amber Miller.
I disagree with all the positive reviews of Professor Parsons' instruction. Parson's lectures largely duplicated the textbook - the conceptual examples he used were often exactly the same as those in the book. The lectures themselves were unhelpful - some of them were occupied by long algebraic proofs for various formulas which could convince you that the formula was accurate but told you nothing about what it signified or how it could be applied. By far the most frustrating part of the course was the section on special relativity. Professor Parsons knows the material well, and when he solves problems he used certain tricks and shortcuts that he has learned from experience. But he doesn't point out the tricks and teach them in such a way that a student can reapply them. As a result, one finds themselves copying off the board but not absorbing any useful strategy for future problem solving. The lectures therefore just decary into a lot of algebra - hardly what a physics course should be! A final note: The book is terrible! It is poorly written, does not provide effective examples, does not have a good solutions manual - in short has nothing one should expect from a physics textbook. A real contrast to Stewarts Calc. Book!
Disregard old reviews: she is great now. The classes are well planned, lots of example problems solved in the class, adequete practical examples as well, approachable, willing to help, knows the stuff well. On the downside, the course was not paced consistantly. At first it was a bit too fast, and later it was just too slow. Overall: I will strongly recommend her. And though it's not her fault, the TA sucks.
He was very good. The problem sets were free easy points. Theres a huge curve for the midterms and hes a very clear and straight forward lecturer. Definatly take 1601 freshman year and not 1401.
Parsons is very clear when he is teaching and everything is pretty much straight forward, very easy to understand. However, they can get a tad bit boring. He doesn't go very fast and it's easy to fall asleep. Lucklily, the class room has many boards so if you fall asleep for 15 minutes it's not too difficult to catch up with the notes because things aren't erased quickly. He has no problem answering questions and knows physics pretty well. The problem sets aren't too long or too difficult, answers are basically given away at recitation if you choose to go. Tests aren't easy but there is a curve. If you know the material you will do fine.
Professor Parsons teaches an extremely intresting physics class. He comes up with great demonstrations, however his informative and clear teaching will hold your attention and the demos are just a bonus. His tests are fair, and are well balanced.
Parsons is an amazing physics teacher!!! If you have the oportunity to take his course, do so. He makes physics really easy and his tests are straight forward if you know your stuff. He's also quite entertaining in lecture.
Professor Parsons is amazing. Do yourself a favor and take him if you want to get anything out of physics 1601. His lectures are clear and logical, his examples are well done, and he can be very funny at times too. Very approachable and always willing to help out. You won't need to ever open up the book as he explains the material much better than the book anyway. A+
Professor Parsons is amazing!!! He knows the stuff well and expalains it well, keeps your interest from first moment till last, willingly answers questions. He has a very nice sense of humor, you just can't fall asleep in that class.
A great guy! He has a very loud and clear voice, and very well organized lectures. He also has a sense of humor that isn't nerdy. He is very nice and approachable and will work hard to make himself available to help students, so go to him for help, don't delay. TAKE PARSONS FOR PHYSICS.
This course was probably the most postive course evaluation I have ever filled out: the material is fascinating and Professor Cole is spectacular! The course is physics the way it is supposed to be, starting with F=ma and step-by-step deriving harmonic motion, coupled oscillators, classical waves, fourier analysis, electromagnetic waves, and, finally , elementary quantum mechanics. Almost without exception Professor Cole teaches the material the way that it must be taught for a physcist to understand, which brings me to the first caveat: this course is for PHYSICISTS, NOT engineers! repeatedly i heard engineering students complaining about the lack of applications and the formalism of the material; well sorry guys but that is what 1403 is for. This course has a lot to cover, essentially needing to bring up-and-coming physics majors from the introductory level to being able to take 4021 graduate quantum mechanics next year (which is the recommended path for majors), and even with extra classes and extremely generous recitations and office hours by professor Cole we still did not do some of the later material justice. Given that Professor Cole lives two hours away and works at Brookhaven, he was absolutely great about coming in for extra sessions to help us, sacrificing many hours of his time to help the often-small numbers of students that attended the extra sessions. He was also exceptionally open to quesions not directly pertaining to the material, for example after the final talking to several of us about the strong force and super-symmetry for at least 45 minutes. Some students have complained about the lack of a textbook, but I found that Professor Cole's lectures notes were wonderful at getting to the heart of the material without the unecessary frills in most newer texbooks... He provides us with several chapters from the French quantum book for background reading and recommends buying the French wave book as well. His handmade problem sets are terrific. It is only fair to mention that the class is rather disorganized, with due dates and extra lectures being added and changing willy-nilly and the changes (usually) being posted on Cole's website. This creates a fun casual atmosphere, but it is also irritating at times. Ultimately, this course is not for slacker engineering students wanting an easy A, but for anyone who loves physics it is a must-take experience that will change the way you think about and do physics for the rest of your time here.
He's a pretty boring professor. His handwriting is hard to read, and the TAs are slow at getting exams back (though homeworks are given back within a week). Demonstrations are always fun, though. By the way, he drinks Diet Coke. It was a question on the final. If you took AP Physics and had a basic understanding of it, this course will basically be review. There is some new material, like expansion of the universe (mostly for extra credit) and an introduction to quantum physics.
Hailey is king. The man is very easy to approach, quite friendly, easygoing and generally nice. I loved his in-class demonstrations especially since they most often went wrong providing a break from the montony of lecture and reviving the class . One problem I had with him is that when he's lecturing he doesn't like to stop to answer questions, he just ignores your hand if it's raised. But in his defense, most of the questions kids asked were irrelevant musings that they threw out in an attempt to impress themselves on the teacher and show that they had read the book. The course is hard, but that is not Hailey's fault. He races through the stuff he expects us to know from high school but takes pains to make sure we understand the interesting stuff like special relativity and dark matter. He made me want to switch from SEAS to CC just so I could be a Physics major, yes that is the power of the king.
If you took AP physics in high school, and passed the test, this class should mostly be a breeze, as far as concepts go. Hailey is a very good lecturer, he could keep my attention for an hour before I had to look at the clock, and the remaining half hour wasn't too bad. I thought he made the topics very clear and comprehensible. In class, this guy is great. But other than his lectures, this guy sucks. The homework sets were very easy, and the problems on the homework were not even remotely similar in format to those on the midterms or final, so they didn't help at all. Not to mention that only having 10 problems to cover an entire topic is not enough to learn it, and since his tests are vastly different than what the book has for problems, going through the book and doing problems on your own is a waste of time. The curve in the class is ridiculous. If you're satisfied with a B, you'll have no problem in this class, i think 2/3 of the class gets between a B- and B+, but if you want an A- or A, you'll have to work like hell, already know physics better than he can teach it, or just be really really smart. This review is mostly useless, because he is starting his research project over in Japan, so I don't think he is even going to be here next year.
Let me start by saying that I am not a total science person and that physics is a hard subject for me, and it does not come easy. After saying that, this is my review for Hailey: I LOOOVE THIS MAN! I had a horrible physics professor in high school, and this man made me love physics again. He will go into really cool topics and by the end of the class you'll know what you need to know plus al ot of other things that are very interesting and great for impressing friends (if your friends are into physics...mine aren't). Take this class if you have taken physics before. I am switching to the lower physics track but mainly because he is not teaching 1602...Sincerely, one of the best professors I could've come across. Because of that class, I might be an applied physics major.
﻿John Parsons is amazing. He does everything right. He has a loud, clear, unaccented voice which he uses to explain in a very understandable way each concept he wants the class to know. HeÂ’s even humorous. I donÂ’t think you can find much better. His lectures are interesting and the notes are very helpful. The only time I opened the book was to read the homework problems; otherwise itÂ’s entirely unnecessary as he usually provides a better explanation than the text does. Take his class if you can, itÂ’s a treat.
This class is HIGHLY UN-recommended. Sally Chapman is a very quick-moving professor who expects all students to put her class at first and only priority among other classes. She is VERY strict on non-academic aspects of the class, which really takes away from the material in itself. PREMED STUDENTS AT BARNARD: Take Chemistry at Columbia!!! This class was my worst experience at Barnard and I strongly do not suggest it. She may know her material, but I felt that it really impeded my learning of the subject because I disliked her as a professor so much.
Parson's teaching can be summed up in one word: WOW! He is an amazing lecturer and pretty much knows everything there is to know about the material. Attending class is critical since the material is often complex or poorly covered in the text. That's not a problem though, you WILL WANT TO ATTEND CLASS. If you attend you will walk out of each class feeling like you know exactly what the professor is talking about. He is a great teacher, funny, and very flexible--if you make contact with him once in a while.
Parsons is an incredible physics teacher. He's got a sharp sense of humor that keeps his class awake and attentive. He's got this booming voice (guaranteed audible to a deaf man at 500 yards) that lets you sit in the back of the class and still understand every word. Most importantly, though, his ability to organize and teach a lecture is really spectacular - several people I know switched in from the lower-level course (the 1400s) and found it *easier*. The only downside is that he's hard to get a hold of if you need extra help, and unresponsive over email - but hey, nobody's perfect.
Professor Parsons is the best professor I have ever had. He is very knowledgeable, and he delivers this knowledge to his students in a very effective manner. He is very approachable, and he encourages all of his students to attend his office hours. His responses to email are prompt, some within 5 minutes. Although the material and class is somewhat challenging, he explains it very well. I would definitely recommend taking this professor. Even though you don't enjoy the material, he will definitely bring it to life.
Definetly a challening professor. Both tests and homework are hard. there is a big curve so as long as you do better than the curve you're set for an A.
Great lecturer, explains every concept very clearly with illustrated examples. Witty and funny, he makes the class interesting and even fun at times. Assigned problems are difficult as are midterms and finals. Only take this class if you are willing to work your butt off and breathe physics for the semester.
He was an amazing proffessor! You're in for some great laughs and some very engaging lectures. Everything is very tangible and accecible in the lecture. Plenty of examples and plenty of explanation. Don't get me wrong - he's tough. You still have to read the book to really know what the heck you are doing on tests and homework - though because of Prof Parsons you now know what the heck the book is saying. He's an amazing lecturer...if you pay attention!Otherwise you will be talking about E=((pc)^2+(mc)^2))^(1/2) and how that relates to people traveling on skateboards that go significant fractions of the speed of light before you even knew you were relativley lost. Plus you might miss his ever so subtle and clever wit! I wouldn't reccomend missing too many lectures either for the sake of the exams and your homework. So if you see this guy's name next to the course you want to take...BY ALL MEANS TAKE HIM!!! He's tough, but its fair, and you will absolutley fall in love with whatever material he presents! He was without a doubt one of the best proffessors I have ever had - he made me enjoy physics despite the workload and my grades!!!
Prof. Evans is nice and very clear. He is open to listening to questions during lecture and he cares a lot about students taking an interest in him as a professor which makes him pretty accessible. His lectures are not that exciting and attendance reflected that. Some lectures are better than others. In the poets class he often tried to have demonstrations in class and would end most lectures with a good story or anticdote.
Hailey is a good teacher. He is easy to follow and derives everything -- which is definitely a good thing. He moves quickly so dont zone out in his class. You might wake up 5 minutes later and not quite understand what is going on. He's pretty funny and has a few quirks about him. But perhaps the best thing about him is that he shows the class how the basic stuff applies to cutting edge physics. For example, Keplers Third Law applied to prove the existence of dark matter. Or the existence of dark energy, lambda fields, the negative mass of the universe using Work, Pressure and Energy theorems. He manages to mix the utterly profound with the most simple things in physics. Also he is not arrogant at all. You can come up to him and ask him questions, schedule appointments, and he will make sure you get the stuff.
Charles Hailey is a decent professor. His lectures are generally interesting and often interspersed with material from modern physics (dark matter, etc...). His demonstrations are usually vastly amusing (even when they don't work). Hailey's focus on relativity at the end of the semester is one of the hi-lightes of the class (although one of the most confusing elements of it as well). Watch out for the midterms! If he tells you they are easy, dont believe him (ever!).
Prof. Hailey's lectures are mediocre and often times boring. If you like easy-to-follow physics professors you might like him, because Hailey derives everything. He's a quirky guy (he kinda reminds me of Kramer from Seinfeld) but overall pretty impersonal and sometimes arrogant.
Professor Hailey is a really good teacher. His lectures are almost always interesting and his explanations are great. He takes basic classical mechanics concepts (like the Universal Law of Gravitation) and shows you mathematically and conceptually how these relate to the existence of dark matter, X-energy, lambda fields, Xenon nuclei-neutralino collisions and such. Though he doesnt test you on this material, its really cool to listen to. He is well organized in his proofs and is an overall great guy. He has a good sense of humor, is easy to talk to, and understands the problems that a freshman physics student might encounter. He always talks of how he was once a struggling freshman physics student as well and how he wasnt the greatest physics student there ever was. OVERALL: really good teacher, funny, and engaging.
Hailey gives fairly interesting lectures. He often goes off on tangents to discuss related material in contemporary physics. Don't worry -- you're not responsible for that stuff.
Possibly the best professor I have for this semester. He really knows his physics, and he explains it so well -- I am amazed at how good my notes are! Granted that this understanding doesn't always translate to the problem sets, but he's happy to answer questions during the lecture. The best is when he does demos -- he has that rare ability to laugh with the class when something goes wrong!