course
Calculus IV

Apr 2021

The sweetest professor at Columbia. Amazing at explaining calculus in a way that makes it intuitive. Tests are not too difficult nor too easy but she curves well enough. Take her class if you need to take any Calculus class and she's an option. She is unrivaled in her teaching ability, intelligence, and kindness.

Jan 2021

Dr. Piechnik is the coolest. If you are afraid of math, go to her class and go to Office Hours, seriously. She insists she'll give out all these quizzes but hardly ever did and even when she did they didn't count much for your grade, they were mostly practice, and sometimes you could even work with people around you. She also always wanted to share stories and chat and really encouraged class bonding. She also refuses to grade on a bell curve, what you get in her class is a direct result of how hard you work which can be really nice in math classes if you're not the most naturally talented but willing to work hard. The workload was not super light but it was still Calc IV so all things considered definitely manageable.

Nov 2019

DO NOT TAKE: I honestly don't understand how he's a silver nugget Mu-Tao Wang teaches this entire course reading off of slides that are copy-paste from the textbook (some were just screenshots). He doesn't actually teach the class, and maybe half of us gave up attending lectures. He posts the slides on CourseWorks after each class, but there's really no point considering you already have the textbook from LibGen or something. Then, reading the textbook and doing its practice problems barely help with the exams. He loves proof-related questions, and the exams were extremely difficult. The curve was poor, but the fact that the class was under 30 people played into it. Really, the only people in this class are those who are required to finish the Calculus sequence. This is a nitpick, but he likes to pace around the room during the exams (yes, he proctors them himself), and - unlucky me who sat in the aisle - I found it unnerving that he would walk by and glance down at my work several times throughout the exam. If you have the option, take a different Calc IV.

Apr 2018

Super easy class. Much easier than Calc III. Professor Shen is a great lecturer, and he explains concepts super clearly. Even though there is a textbook for the class, it is much easier to just go to class, because he explains things in a way that makes them very simple. The answers to the homework are all online, but he often puts homework questions in the exams. Would definitely recommend him for Calc IV. He is able to teach neat little tricks while also staying on topic. He always has lesson plans prepared, and overall he is just so nice.

May 2017

Savin is OK, not that good but not awful either. He teaches poorly, spends huge amounts of time proving easy concepts and then rushing through examples. And he honestly shouldn't try to rush, because he has a hard time solving calc problems: he doesn't bother to work them out beforehand, so he tries to wing them in class and always gets lost somewhere, and then stands in front of the board trying to find the mistake until a) he gives up and says "well, the rest is easy, you should know it from Calc III", or b) a student finds the mistake and points it out for him. The majority of the class ended up just staying home and reading the book, which was much clearer and a more efficient way of learning the material. Beware though of the last third of the course, after the second midterm, when he starts teaching calculus of variations. It's not in the textbook, so you'll need to go to class to learn that. He assigns relatively straightforward homework problems, but gives extremely hard ones on his exams. The curve is decent (B/B+), so you can struggle through the exams and still come out fine, but if you really want to feel like you have a firm grasp on what you're doing, you won't get that here. Ultimately, if you really have to take his section, it won't kill you, but there are better sections out there for sure.

May 2017

Tldr: Savin is a completely fair professor who does his job and nothing more. Long version: Savin is a solid professor to learn Calculus IV from. Although I didn't attend most of this lectures (I had him for the 8:40 section and he teaches right out of the books/notes), the few lectures I did listen to were completely clear and intuitive. He stresses geometric intuition over rigorous proofs and teaches you to visualize what's going on with the random integration techniques you learn. He's not very personable though. His tests can be kinda tricky in a "goddamnit I should have gotten that question kinda of way." The "hard" questions are tricky because they force you to integrate over an awkward region, require you to see some trick like symmetry or rely on some intuitive understanding of geometric calculus. They're just difficult to solve in a testing environment. Just a note: Savin doesn't follow the usual complex analysis shtick. He does calculus of variations which I think is easier if you actually try to understand it. Problem is most people are too lazy and just didn't try. Luckily it was barely tested on the final and the related questions were unbelievably easy.

May 2016

Professor Shen is the best calc Professor I've had thus far. I have taken two other calc classes before this and struggled both times. Unlike other professors, Shen is very straight forward; he does not try to trick you. His lectures are straight from the textbook, almost completely verbatim. If you can learn from just reading the textbook you definitely do not need to go to class. (He says so himself.) He gets the questions for the midterms and final from the textbook! Some of the questions on the exams were even previously assigned for homework. It is literally that easy to study. When he had in class review before a test, I am pretty sure he is holding the test in his hand as he writes on the board exactly what we should study. Before the final, he wrote down specific examples from every chapter he insisted we should know how to solve. Some of those examples were on the final. I know that if I didn’t do good on an exam it is completely on me for not studying or practicing enough questions from the textbook. He can not make the exam simpler. The other calc 4 class that was occurring at the same time as this one with a different professor had an average on the first midterm of 50% while this class had an average of 75% - 15 out of 20 total points. The only con with his tests is that each questions is only worth about 3 points so losing a point here and there for a silly mistake actually does impact your grade. Additionally, he is a very nice person; very sympathetic! He stops his lectures to see if anyone has questions. You can ask as many questions as you need and he will patiently answer them. I know some students who freaked out before exams and emailed him for help and he always responded with reassuring words. I even know some students who asked to take the midterm a different day, either because they were actually really sick or because they honestly told him they would fail if they took it then, and he allowed it! Professor Shen even allows you to do an extra credit presentation. It is so rare to find a professor who will actually give extra credit. It’s clear that he does not want to fail you. He does have a bit of an accent but to me it was no problem. Just beware that he pronounces some words funny. (i.e what sounds like “de-man” is actually “domain” or “try-ple” is “triple”) In all, definitely take Professor Shen’s class if you can, it is the most straight forward class you will find. There is a pretty good curve but I would say your grade mostly reflects the amount of work you put in, it’s that simple.

Jun 2015

Bogwang Jeon is an excellent professor. He doesn't only understand his material himself, he also genuinely cares about his students and the quality of his teaching. As another reviewer mentioned, if you didn't enjoy your previous Calc course, he will make you enjoy math again. His lectures follow the book closely enough that it's easy to follow along and read up on things, but are structured and presented differently enough that it's really worth going to class. In addition, he's also just a fun guy to talk to.

Apr 2015

I took this class Spring 2015 with Professor Jeon and would recommend him at least for a silver nugget. He is the first mathematics professor I have encountered here that uses colored chalk, and it greatly helps in gaining a visual understanding of the material. He explains most steps very clearly, and if a student does not know how to get from one step to another, he'll answer the question right there. Sometimes his handwriting can be a bit unclear, but because he writes down most of the steps, it's easy to follow his work and point out any (rare) mistakes he makes on the chalkboard. He also takes the time to go through the proofs of various theorems, which I appreciated because most of them were unfamiliar to me before taking this class. He teaches well, and I think I learn better in my one hour in his lecture than in three hours with the textbook. At the end of the semester he spent the last couple of lectures on complex variables. He does have a Korean accent, but it is not thick enough to hurt his teaching. He makes an effort to learn the names of his students (and even recognized me outside of class and said hello), and cracks jokes every so often about his Korean-ness and about how mathematics is better than physics. His tests are fair, bordering on easy for those who are mathematically gifted. There are no trick questions - it is just six questions, where usually one of them is multiple choice. I am not particularly strong in mathematics, but I have done well under his methodical teaching style.

Jul 2014

The best professor I've had at Columbia by far. He's everything a math professor should be, clear concise notes, very approachable and helpful during class and during office hours. Very friendly and mature, despite how young he is, but expects a lot from students. While Calculus IV is a computational math course, he does provide some theory and interesting examples, with proofs and complex analysis. That being said, the class is Difficult, but fair, homework problem sets are very long but preparatory for the exams. Expect to devote a lot of time for this course. The tests are of fair difficulty and grading, but the final exam was particularly difficult, and long for the allotted time. Grades are slightly curved though.

May 2014

Robert Friedman does all you can ask of him. I don't know why he has some stigma of being a terrible professor. Calc IV can be hard at times (I took Multi in high school and still struggled) and some people just want to put it on him. He tries his best to teach you the material so he does challenge you, but at the same time he spends a lot of time trying to make sure you'll do well in the class. It's true the curve it's minimal, but he makes the test easy (but some times tricky) enough for everyone to do well so there really is no statistical reason to add one. I think your final grade may be curved a bit. I had about an 87% and that became an A-. Just take a good amount of time before each exam to really break the course down into Layman's terms and list steps on how to solve the problems and you'll do fine. He does so many things to let you know he actually cares.

Jan 2014

Woodbury is a gifted lecturer and a very friendly person. I found his class to be thorough and quite challenging. Woodbury expertly explained some of the more complicated calc IV concepts such as divergence and curl, and his almost daily repetition of the characteristics of conservative vector fields really helped solidify those ideas for me. I must criticize one of his practices, though. Woodbury likes to try out new things in lecture, so this semester he would pose a question similar to one of the homework exercises in class, and then give students time to solve it. Often, it was the second or third time we'd seen the concept, and so the questions would seem difficult (though to be fair he would usually do an example himself before asking the class questions). After giving students 5-10 minutes to do an exercise (or a few exercises), he would then ask students for answers. Once he heard the correct answer, he would write it on the board, and say something like, "If you weren't able to to get this answer, then come to me after class, or read the textbook more thoroughly." I found this a little redundant. If I had wanted to struggle with exercises myself, I would just have started the homework. I would have really appreciated this new approach if he went back and explained how to do each of the exercises. His approach often left me and other students lost. This doesn't diminish Woodbury's rigorous approach to the material, his enthusiasm, or the level of detail he crams into each lecture. Moreover, Woodbury was eager to help in office hours, and I would recommend that anyone who struggles with the material make an effort to attend them. Calc IV is a difficult subject to study, and when you're tackling everything from surface integrals to triple integrals in spherical coordinates, having a professor like Woodbury to go to in office hours was reassuring. Also, the last three weeks of the course include a survey of complex analysis. While this part does not include WebAssign, the homework assignments for this part of the course are really challenging. Overall I would wholeheartedly recommend Woodbury's section.

Jan 2014

Great class. This was the first time that I attended almost every class of a calculus course at Columbia. Woodbury's explanations are extremely clear and he puts huge emphasis on making students understand rather than memorize the material. He starts on new concepts by drawing parallels from Calculus I, II and III and explaining how the new idea is just an extension of an old idea in many dimensions, vector form, etc. The homeworks and exams require you to understand the material but also to be able to apply it to solve different kinds of problems.Woodbury is also very friendly, makes it a point to get to know every student's name and is willing to provide help when needed. The calculus sequence is normally thought of as a dull requirement that simply has to be done, but I actually really enjoyed this class. Definitely take it with Woodbury if you can.

Jan 2014

Professor Smirnov's Calculus IV class is not the most inspiring. His class is usually in the evening so that's a bummer. Also, his voice is a bit monotonous thus can lead to dozing off. Professor Smirnov gives out powerpoints of his lectures. However, these lectures are pretty much verbatim from Stewart Calculus textbook so do as you please. He provides practice exams and has a mini-review session on the class before the exam. He however seems quite eager to get the approval of his students thus is very responsive to constructive criticism. Overall, he teaches a fair section of Calculus IV and just wants his students to understand the material and do well in his class. The time section is just a little annoying though. Would recommend this class for people needing Calculus IV but are not particularly interested in the subject matter

Oct 2013

In general, Calculus IV is much harder contentwise then Calculus III / Linear Algebra / Differential Equations (1000 level for non-math majors) at Columbia (Corrin is of this school of thought as well), and there were definitely students who hit their respective intellectual ceiling. In particular, though, the problems on the exams have the same computational rigor as the homework, which means even if you know the relevant concepts in play, there is ample room to foul up the execution of the resulting equations under a binding time constraint. On net, her approach to Calc IV requires a strong, working command of Calculus I-III (including trigonometric) concepts as well as the ability to generate non-trivial proofs. Having some exposure to at least one higher computational math course outside the calculus sequence was definitely beneficial for most students, in my opinion. Day to day, Corrin’s classes consisted of a necessarily terse coverage of key formulae (for the sake of time) followed by extended blackboard work in small groups (half the class). This is contrary to the standard approach for most undergraduate math courses at Columbia, where class length lectures either have either an exact or close fidelity to the text. Accordingly, you must do the assigned reading from Stuart or Friedman as the case may be. Merely taking good notes and participating actively in group work will make the problem sets unnecessarily challenging and the exams nearly impossible. A failure to come to terms with the outside work / attention that this approach entails combined with the mathematical maturity issues outlined above drove a strong attrition rate in the course (about half the students dropped). That said, final course grades were generous for those that stuck it out (admittedly, the stronger portion of the class).

Jul 2013

PROS + Adorable old Russian man. His English is perfectly digestible, and he's so obsessed with getting good evaluations that he'll go far out of his way to address any of your concerns. + Structured approach. C'mon, PowerPoints and hardly any handwritten notes required? Piece of cake! Although everyone else (not exaggerating) had taken advanced physics or stats or analysis before, which really intimidated me, I ended up with the highest grade by sitting down with the PowerPoints a few days before each exam to extract the most important information. Smirnov includes everything he wants you to know on his slides. Extraneous studying might actually hurt you. + Light workload and fair exams. See below. CONS - Late time slots. He must be the token professor for GS and postbac students, but even as a first-year I signed up for his section because my schedule couldn't accommodate any other Calc IV class. "Should I take a 6:10 class, or should I kill myself?" is basically what I was contemplating during registration. - Mediocre presentation of the information. Mmhmm, Smirnov is egregiously guilty of word-for-word spewing sentences you can read for yourself. You'll have to work a little harder than you're accustomed to absorb things while you're sitting in class, since you won't be writing much down or seeing concepts presented in new ways.

May 2013

Paul is truly exceptional. He is a great professor who takes his teaching role very seriously and does not make anyone feel incompetent. I certainly asked my fair share of feeble-minded questions, but he was never condescending or impatient. On the contrary, he sees every question as an opportunity for him determine what you have yet to learn and to tailor an explanation especially for you. He is awesome in this way; he will usually try a handful of approaches and analogies (these are often funny and make students laugh, another major reason to enroll in his section). The day before homework is due he holds office hours where he goes over all the problems as many times as he is asked! He is also available for questions after lecture and if you email him to set up a time outside of office hours. He has a natural kindness and sincerity to him and he is always happy to meet with students and to help in a meaningful way. Did I mention that he is American? In case you have a phobia of Eastern European or Asian math professors, he is your savior. With that said, I would take his class irrespective of your mother tongue because he is honestly incredible in so many ways. His humility, humor, ability to explain the simple and not so simple in a straightforward way make him a very "student-friendly" professor, if you will. He will pepper his lectures with story time about mathematicians (if he forgets, remind him to tell you about Fourier and the wine cellar when you're in Calc IV), will rig his problems to have pi as the solution on March 14th, and will engineer a fun "orientometer" to help you with Stokes' Theorem. Come to class on time, he doesn't waste your tuition money and invariably starts on the dot. He puts lots of time into the course. He writes lecture slides which he posts before class. You can print these out and take additional notes during lecture. I wouldn't recommend skipping lecture though since he works out useful examples. I referred to these when I worked on the homework. He writes the written homework problems, two practice exams before each midterm and similarly before the final. He posts solutions to everything in a timely manner. By the way, the written homework is doable, just takes more time than the online (which is based on textbook exercises). Since written homework is less computational, I was afraid that I would be struggling with cryptic proofs, but they were not unreasonably challenging, and if you're stuck just go to office hours and you will feel better, guaranteed. I am usually nervous around professors but he doesn't have a forbidding presence. He is very nice and is eager to help you. In addition, he is young, so you'll understand his cultural references. He is unique in that he can bridge the accessible and the abstract. Oh I almost forgot... his self-depreciating comments about brain damage are endearing at times, but always so unfair. So what are you waiting for? Do you want a professor with an acute mind, a gentle heart, a teddy bear build, and a boyish innocence to educate, enlighten, and entertain you biweekly? Go register for his section while you can!

May 2013

Siegel is the man. Great guy, and one of the best math professors that you can have. Overall, Siegel's an extremely effective teacher. Going to lecture is really worth your while because his lectures are logical and relatively easy to understand. He puts his lecture slides online, but the problems aren't solved in the slides because he solves them in class. He is great at explaining concepts and answering students' questions, so again I'd recommend going to class. He's also a really funny dude, and he's fairly young so he relates to his students well. We were required to buy Webassign ($75), but the online homework was never too difficult and was very useful for learning basic concepts. On the other hand, the written homework could be difficult at times (I think he writes some of it himself), but if you worked with friends in the class it wasn't too bad. Before the two midterms and final, Siegel uploads two practice exams with solutions, and the actual exam is very similar to these. If you can do the practice exams, you should be fine for the exam because there really aren't any surprises. The material gets pretty hard after the first midterm so make sure you keep up with the work. You really can't learn the material the night before an exam. Siegel's also pretty accommodating. He'll let you hand in homework late if you have a good excuse, and he offered an alternate final exam date for people with busy exam schedules. In conclusion, I highly recommend taking Calc IV with him.

Dec 2012

Take a class with this man as long as you have the chance! Paul is a very clear lecturer, incredibly fair, speaks perfect English and even has a good sense of humour. Usually, having just one of these qualities is enough to elevate a math lecturer to "above average", so you can understand how excited I was about having Paul as a professor. To give you a better sense of the actual classes, he usually would spend about the first 15 minutes on the intuition behind a concept and the rest of the time on examples; so basically, there are a lot of examples. If you're one of the rare people who do really well with math theory and want to know the details behind all the theorems, this class might not be ideal for you, but I loved it. On the plus side, you'll also never be expected to prove something or solve a theory question on the exams. Paul was very clear about what was going to be on the exam, and if you've been going to classes you will encounter no surprises. Calc IV is probably not the hardest class in the world and you could teach it to yourself, but I went to every single lecture, and I never once actually opened the textbook because everything was so clear to me, and I do believe that Paul can take most, if not all the credit for that. He's also kind of cute, and pretty funny. And super nice, if you go to his office hours he will definitely help you a lot with the material or the weekly homework which can be a bit challenging at times (as it's more conceptual than the lectures and the exams). In short, if you have to take Calc IV, then Paul is probably your best bet by far right now.

Dec 2012

Professor Siegel is the best math professor I've seen in Columbia. I've taken about 6 math courses so far, and he is THE BEST!! I am quite surprised that there is no reviews about his classes yet. He teaches really, really well. He is very willing to help, has a nice humor, and has everything you would expect from a good professor. His classes are fun and very productive. Columbia should make clones of him and let them teach all the math classes.

Dec 2012

This is a strange man, and a very good instructor. I never felt confused about any of the material and he presented everything clearly and succinctly. He also kept the class entertained with short stories from time to time. Always responded to emails, was easily available, and exams and homework felt very fair. He also gave written homework that I think he made up, which seems like a pain and sometimes was but also enhanced my understanding of the material. He definitely went above and beyond as an instructor. I really recommend this guy!

May 2012

The first two months or so of this class are fine, because they follow the traditional Columbia math model of following word-by-word, example-by-example from the book. This takes advantage of the fact that generally the professors are ill-suited for teaching a classroom full of English speakers, which is certainly true for Qile (Dr. Chen? No, that sounds wrong). In any event, at no point during the semester was Qile effective at presenting material, but while we were using the textbook, that only meant that we had to go back and learn from the book instead. Life changed for the worst during the last month when Chen went rogue with complex numbers (sidenote: "Chen Went Rogue" would be a great title for a Chinese political thriller). I honestly have no idea whether I couldn't understand it because the material was actually difficult or was just incredibly poorly presented. That makes class and homework especially unenjoyable for a few weeks. I did well on Midterm 1, not too well on Midterm 2 (both averages ~80), and I assume not great on the final (I think everyone did pretty poorly on the final, though, so the curve was probably pretty generous), and ended up with an A-.

May 2012

I must admit, at first I only ended up in Eric Urban's class because all of the other Calc IV teacher's classes were full, and after reading some of CULPA's reviews I sincerely went in expecting the worst. However, Urban is actually simply a mediocre professor. He is intelligent and he follows the book fairly strictly (even so far as using the same examples sometimes). He seems like a nice individual, and I have gone to a couple office hours and he was friendly and was willing to work through some problems on the chalk board. His homework is not very long takes maybe a couple of hours to do in total and is from the textbook, and for every homework assignment he hands out homework solutions which were helpful. For the midterms, he bases the questions off of homework questions(he does not give the class averages but he told me them during office hours and when asked). He also gives practice midterms, goes through them in class, and then hands out typed well-written solutions. Also, as mentioned in a previous review, he does not use Courseworks very well, meaning it is imperative that you go to class so that 1) you don't miss homework assignnments and 2) you don't miss any handouts that he gives in class (i.e. homework solutions, practice midterms, graded homeworks). I received an A in this class, having gone to around 75% of the classes, but always doing the homework. I didn't do any excessive studying for this class (maybe the 2 hours for homework), but the material is not that much (covers two chapters in the textbook). The one part that was extremely hard was the complex functions/complex derivatives and integrals section that was tacked on to the end (and which comprised a lot of the final), but that required some self-studying. Overall, I have no idea how he graded the course but I received an "A" without working too hard in the class and not being that great at all in Calculus. Pros: -follows the textbook (homework) -fairly decent professor, available during his office hours -handed back homework solutions -practice midterms very similar to the midterms (which sometimes had questions exactly from the homework) Cons: -sometimes would get lost in his lectures and he sometimes would skip steps -not the best teacher but follows the textbook pretty well -coming to this class is a necessity because he doesn't post anything online

May 2012

Eric Urban seems as if he is an intelligent guy. but as a teacher i would not recommend him to anyone Here is why I would not recommend this class to you - Eric Urban does not teach. He reads the textbook in class and solves the examples that are in the textbook. when asked to explain something he is at a loss for words and does not manage to communicate it. - He is extremely rude and arrogant and does not give the slightest amount of fuck about the class or his students - He does not post anything on coursework's. not the homework's, the solutions to the homeworks, the grades, syllabus, solutions to practice finals. If you know how to do something you're lucky otherwise you're pretty much screwed in this class - There is absolutely no teaching that occurs in the classroom environment. Halfway through the semester i just went out of formality. - Grading. This class is not curved and the final is quite hard, so if you want an A in calc4 do not come here (If you think this is just cause I am stupid, I got an A+ in both calc 2 and 3) - He doesn't appreciate it when people bunk class and will make sure that you suffer in some way if you regularly do not go to class and do the material on your own. (So if you're one of those people who like to do that, he really made it hard for my friend who did) Here is why i would recommend this class to you .damn can't think of one good thing to say abut this class.

Jan 2012

If you're looking for a pretty solid professor in the math department whose native tongue is English and can explain things reasonably well, Professor Woodbury is your guy. This was his first semester at Columbia, and he's a young guy who just finished his PhD at Wisconsin, so I'd imagine he's a little inexperienced and can only get better as a professor. You can tell that he really cares and is trying really hard, but sometimes you don't want to hear about line integrals in the complex plane for an hour and fifteen on a Monday morning. This is only problematic because, unlike a lot of other math classes, class is often unskippable: he never mentioned whether we could turn in our weekly problem sets in the box, like most other math classes, and there are six quizzes throughout the semester, which were all pretty easy, but their existence means you have to go to class at least some of the time. On the bright side, he knows everyone's name and is really, really nice and generous with his office hours. And if you're ever up for talking about frisbees and Sufjan Stevens, go to his office hours or just show up to class early. I mostly wrote this review because I want people to feel comfortable that they're not doomed to a hellish semester if they choose to take Professor Woodbury's class.

Dec 2011

Sabin Cautis is an excellent instructor. He has a Harvard PhD and teaching experience from Rice, but neither of those statements sheds light on his ability to present the material in an enlightening and inspiring manner. At times the material involving Green's theorem, divergence Theorem, and others was quite confusing, but Sabin was always very approachable. Over the semester there were two different stand-ins, one of whom was equally adept at presenting the material in a comprehensible and engaging manner, and another who was incredibly confusing and difficult to follow. It made Sabin's teaching style seem incredible by comparison. Sabin's familiarity with the problem sets and teaching material for the imaginary calculus section of the course was a bit sub-par, but since he was probably rocking the Putnam exam (again) while he wasn't teaching class, I think we can excuse him.

May 2011

Tosatti is an awesome professor. I took his Calc IV class at 9:10 am, which for most college students is way too early, but his class was well worth taking. He is really humorous and really enjoys teaching the material. His notes are extremely clear, and he is really able to clarify every theorem known to man for integrals. The class to some extent gets a bit frustrating just because there are so many integrals to deal with, but Tosatti is able to guide his students through all the muck that is surface and flux integrals with ease. Plus his Italian accent and mannerisms are so adorable that you almost forget you are in a math lecture :)

May 2011

Sucharit is a likable and approachable professor, since he's young and very casual (he has special flip-flops that he wears year-round in the Math building). His one downfall, however, is probably that he speaks at the speed of light. This isn't really too much of a problem if you're paying attention, because his accent is clear and understandable. Also, since his speech is so rapid, he usually ends up repeating the same basic concept in a couple of different ways. I usually found myself a little bored towards the end of the class, but I never really missed anything vital in the last 20 minutes of class anyway. That being said, he does always keep the class until the very last minute (and sometimes a few minutes later.) As for exams, the midterm sort of took me by surprise. It was only four questions which meant that you had to be very careful not to make stupid slip-ups that could end up being very costly. He said that he tried to make the first problem slightly easier than the average question on a problem set, two similar to problem set questions, and the last one a bit more difficult, which was pretty accurate. The final was eight questions with a bonus on complex functions, and fairly manageable. My best advice would just be make sure that you complete every problem set and know what you're doing, as with any other math class. Overall Sucharit is an enjoyable professor. He doesn't make you feel stupid when you ask questions, and offers many times during class to ask questions, giving the class an interactive feel that other calc classes don't always offer.

Apr 2011

Professor Sarkar is an excellent teacher. He doesn’t rely on notes, even for his examples, which shows he really knows Calc IV, and he is able to explain everything thoroughly with lots of examples. He also doesn’t just give the easy examples, but rather he varies the difficulty so that they start easy and get harder so that we know how to deal with all different problems. This made the problem sets are very fair. This is the same theory he uses for his tests. On our midterm there were 4 questions, the first was easy and the last one was doable in retrospect, but was “AHH” on the test. But everyone seemed to feel that way and the curve reflected that. Speaking of curves, Professor Sarkar is willing to vary the percentages on the midterm, homeworks, and final, for each person (within limitations) so that everyone gets the better score. One of my favorite things about professor Sarkar is that he lets you ask questions in class. I feel that questions are an integral part of learning. And he openly accepts them. Also he asks us questions. So when he does an example he prompts us to tell him the next steps. This active participation really allowed me to learn the material. So if you have the option, definitely take Professor Sarkar.

Apr 2011

The bottom line is that if you're looking for an easy way to satisfy a requirement, this class will do the job. If you'd like to learn something beneficial for future courses, you won't get much except a review of Calculus I integration techniques. Tosatti is an extremely accomplished young assistant professor who makes it obvious that he could not care less about this class. While I'm sure his brilliant research is well beyond something as decrepit as Calculus IV, he's fairly obvious during lecture about his disdain for the material and our exceptionally shallow grasp of real math. Most lessons are condensed into plugging and chugging; the derivations as well physical significance/interpretation are glossed over. He seemed embarrassed to have to bring up Riemann sums. I think at one point he even said that "If you don't understand it, just memorize it." I took Calculus III with a professor who developed each lecture in the way he found most conceptually rich and who could wring interesting proofs out of dot products, so this class perhaps looks particularly bad in comparison. In the end it was a "waste of your time."

Apr 2011

What could this man ever have done to earn a silver star? Not only was he EASILY the worst math teacher I have ever had, but he also killed any desire I had to learn any math. I can confidently say I will never take another class in the math department again. First off, let me say his his lectures are ALL THEORY, NO APPLICATIONS. He will stand up there, droning on and on about theorems and proofs that are completely inconsequential to what the actual test material is on. Lecture is a complete and utter waste of time. Now, his tests. The two midterms were not impossible, and I could have scored very well, if it wasn't for his HORRENDOUS grading. He grades his midterms out of 20, and making the smallest mistakes will cause him to slash one point off here, two points off there, and all of a sudden you have a very bad score. However, he does throw theory onto the tests, so you need to know the proofs inside out. The final on the other hand, was a blood bath. Also, he is impossible to negotiate with since he does all of the grading himself. There is virtually no curve. In retrospect, I would have taken Calculus IV with any other professor on campus, period. I would never, and I repeat NEVER, advise anyone to take a class with this spineless, shell of a man. I sincerely hope someone from the math department reads this and either fires Gabor whatever-his-last-name-is, or at the very least relegates him to teaching Calculus I forever.

Jan 2011

Gallagher definitely deserves a mixed review; he's great in that he truly loves the material, he's very sweet and pretty funny at times, and the homework is reasonable. The midterms/final weren't terribly difficult, but the time constraint on the midterms was rough, especially considering that he takes off 5 points from a 20 point problem for any math mistake, no matter how small. It's very easy to get a low midterm grade if you make a few small mistakes. Also, I found the lectures entirely incomprehensible. Even when I tried to pay attention, it just seemed impossible to follow his logic. Still, I would generally recommend this class just because it's not unreasonable, and 90% of the material is out of the Stewart textbook, which I liked. Also, Gallagher's random tangents on poetry and mathematicians and the like are very enjoyable.

Dec 2010

The easiest professor ever! I took cal1~4 and I felt that CAL 4 was the easiest because of this The Man professor! The man!! Gallagher was the man, in fact, his TA "Ben" or "Ban" was very very terrible. He was always late at submitting out hws grades on the courseweb, and he was very very unhelpful at all. Take his class as early as you can because, it's so sad, but he seemed that he was very tired of giving lectures every time, and I assume that he might retire in few years. I got A in his class.

Dec 2010

Initially, people may find Friedman to be intimidating and unapproachable, but he really is not. He is a wonderful and knowledgeable professor who actually knows how to teach PROPERLY and communicate to students the necessary mathematical intuition. Limited memorization needed if you can follow the lectures (fast, but decent pace, and enough examples to show how to compute the things). Those who have an issue with his handwriting are exaggerating; it is more than readable if you understand what's going on. The proofs that are presented, which the majority of the class hates, are actually necessary to understanding the material. The topics get progressively cooler and more interesting to all who actually care about any type of mathematics, especially when you get to vector fields; although it does get difficult, I got the feeling that Friedman explained Stokes and Divergence Theorem very well that I can now apply it to physics, among other fields. Ultimately, he tied everything together so beautifully by concluding the semester with a discussion about complex numbers, of which his notes are really helpful and can replace any textbook (they still serve me well in higher level applied math courses). Conclusion on the prof: A+ effort and ability. Very willing to help and generally open to "intelligent" comments/ ques. (most of the questions being asked were just plain stupid that even I cannot tolerate them!!! - no wonder he dismissed them) Grading and Workload: Quizzes (10%) - time can be a little short if you don't know the material cold, but are very helpful preps for the exams. Manageable if you reviewed at all beforehand. Lowest one dropped. Around 14 Problem Sets (10%) - well chosen problems, with a good mix of proofs and applications/computations, and quite easily done in an hour Two Midterms (25% each), Cumulative Final (30%) - NO proofs; straightforward and almost a replica of the practice exams. Try to work quickly and leave time to check your work, though silly mistakes aren't penalized a lot. No curve; you won't need one since you'll come out with such an "unbelievable" understanding of the material due to Friedman's clear explanations that doing well isn't an issue. Enjoyable, and possibly best, experience thus far at Columbia.

May 2010

It's funny how Friedman has a bunch of positive reviews, then about 5 recent negative ones from the debacle that was Spring 2010 Calc IV. At the beginning of that class, he said something along the lines of "Many of you are probably here because you read all those positive CULPA reviews. Let me tell you, they are not at all accurate. I have messy handwriting, go too fast, and am often incomprehensible." He was totally right.

May 2010

Professor Friedman's Calc IV class was probably the hardest math class I've ever taken. His handwriting, true to past reviews, is horrible (although he does acknowledge the fact on the very first day of class). Part of reason it's so horrible may be the fact that he writes so fast that students can hardly catch up. Make sure to ask him what he wrote if you can't read it ---he won't mind. Also, since he usually writes down a bunch of proofs, which are really helpful to understanding the material (and one should write down), one shouldn't worry too much if something is missed because the proofs ultimately are not on the exams. The main point is that Friedman really knows his stuff. He has the ability to answer just about any question you have on the material. Yes, he might be kind of a prick during class when it comes to answering excessively nitpicky questions, but if you visit him during office hours, he is actually extremely helpful. I don't think he's nearly as arrogant as some of the past reviewers make him out to be. Concerning his practice exams, they are almost EXACTLY like his exams. Like the past reviewer said, there might be a slight difference in perhaps parametrizing a paraboloid instead of a sphere, but ultimately, one’s performance on the practice exam and one’s performance on the actual exam are highly correlated. The homework problem sets generally aren’t too bad, except for a few near the end with the complex functions ---find some study buddies in the class! In-class quizzes are pretty much counted for nothing, and the basic gist of them is to give you an idea of what you should know for the exams. The fact of the matter is, material in Calc IV just sucks to learn, no matter who the professor is. I think Friedman is getting a lot of crap for not necessarily being a lousy professor, but for teaching a lousy subject.

May 2010

I don't understand why people are complaining about Robert Friedman. Although I took this class last spring (09), I just had to say something here. Perhaps those who are complaining are simply the ones not willing to put in the time and effort to succeed in this class, which frankly, is not a very difficult thing to do. All you have to do make sure you understand the homework, because the exams will never be harder than the homework. As for his arrogance, I don't know what people are complaining about. He was nice enough to post a practice final when I asked him. He also gave me my midterm outside the classroom when I went to get some water, which was surprising since I hadn't even talked to him before. And he was very helpful during office hours. Yes, his handwriting sucks, and he writes fast, but grow up. I've seen worse. If you're looking for an easy A, this class probably isn't it. I only said probably, because it is an easy A for some of us. (Hint: I'm an applied math major.) If you want to see a hard class to cry about, go take PDE, Stochastic Models, or Numerical Methods. I apologize if that was a bit of a rant, but I'm sick of seeing people whine about Friedman or Calculus IV.

May 2010

Listen up folks, if you haven't heard of Tosatti, then you must live under a rock. He is the Justin Bieber of math teachers: a young, emerging superstar with a cult-like following, but withh talent. Anyone privileged enough to take his class will immediately fall in love with his boyish-charm, exotically-alluring accent and thorough teaching ethic. His problem sets are appropriate in difficulty to level of the course material and so are his tests. Moreover, Tosatti will listen to your concerns, take appropriate action to rectify any complaints and will demonstrate the sometimes abstract theorems of calc IV with concrete and clear examples. It was a great experience to take calculus four with Tosatti all because of his wonderful and amicable personality.

May 2010

Friedman is fine. The other reviewers below are crazy. Yes, he moves through the material quickly, and yes, if you ask a question in lecture that indicates you have no idea what the hell he's talking about, he'll gently blow you off rather than waste 20 minutes going back to the beginning. But he sticks to the schedule like clockwork and is incredibly available "OH are xx:xx to yy:yy or feel free to just drop by anytime" and will go as slow as you need in OH. He also added a weekly TA recitation this semester that was held 1 hour before class on the day the homework was due, which was great for getting help on that one problem you couldn't figure out or that one example in the book that doesn't make sense. Yes, he gives practice exams, and yes, they are the exact same format as the tests they're practice for. No, the problems aren't exactly the same, and yes, you might have to parameterize a paraboloid on the test when you only had to deal with a sphere on the practice test. Expecting the practice and real tests to be identical is ridiculous. Make no mistake, this is a hard class. Not only do you have to memorize a fair number of theorems, formulas and methods, you also have to develop an intuition for thinking about and parameterizing 3-dimensional regions. And well, this is math, you're really only going to get so much out of lecture. Overall, this is a hard class. However, Friedman cares and makes every effort to make himself available to help you to succeed. He doesn't, however, hold your hand. (The TA might though).

May 2010

As far as math classes go, I think I got a lot out of this class. Calc IV is where you finally get some understanding of the application of the math, especially to physics. Tosatti was a great professor who taught pretty much straight from the book. There weren't any surprises on midterms, and as long as you do the homework and understand the practice midterms/final, you should have no problems doing well. I'd definitely recommend him over Friedman. A cramster account would be helpful too. I found that the best way to make sure I was getting the material was to check each homework problem on cramster after having finished it.

May 2010

I agree with most previous reviews: Friedman is a horrible teacher, both his teaching style and personality. I disagree with most previous reviews: Friedman is not smart at all. If you’re in his class, God pities you, be prepared to self study the subject the whole entire semester. He doesn't seem to know his stuff at all. There is no point in going to his lectures because he just mumbles incoherently into the board and it is better for you to stumble through the HW problems. Worst of all, his exams were far harder than the material he attempted to teach in class, and his practice exams were nowhere near similar to the real exams. Be careful, he grades very harsh! I would never recommend Prof. Friedman as a professor, not in a billion years. No one deserves that sort of misery. To summarize, in order to do well in his terrible class you need to do three things: 1) Do the HW, skip classes 2) Memorize the practice midterms/finals 3) Drop his class as early as you can

May 2010

This was by far my least favorite class this semester. Perhaps, the material was more difficult than Calc III but Friedman did nothing to alleviate that fact. His handwriting was completely illegible (really is it too much to ask for?). The x's and y's looked the same as well as the u's and v's; which in math is a huge problem. Not only that, but his teaching skills were severely lacking. He moved too fast through the material, focused too much on proofs and not enough on application, and was generally unresponsive to questions. He was one of those professors that expected you to know all of the answers when clearly they hadn't taught you anything. note: The last section of material he covered was complex functions, which NONE of the other Calc IV classes were doing. It wasn't in the textbook and his notes/explanations on the topic were difficult to understand. The last three problem sets made you want to cry when you looked at them. Granted, maybe I'm being a bit too harsh because I'm not doing as well as I hoped. Let me just say that I learned everything that I did from the textbook (which really is a great source). The material was just not presented in a way that was understandable. I'm sure Friedman's a smart guy, but his teaching skills need improvement.

Apr 2010

Don't take this class with Friedman, it will be the worst experience of your college career.He is hands down THE WORST professor I have ever had at Columbia. Not only is he rude and pompous but he can't teach.We had weekly problem sets, midterm and final that were long and harshly graded-he is a super hard grader who curves around a C+. Not worth the anxiety in any form.The subject matter is the potential to be very fascination, but Friedman absolutely kills everything. He throws notes on the board, barely explains anything. Also, he is incredibly capable of putting anyone and everyone to sleep. He is so unhelpful during office hours, it is not even worth going. He assigns problem sets that take hours to complete and does not teach you the necessary material. The TA is amazingly helpful, and even admitted that Friedman teaches horribly. If you take his class, be prepared to work your butt off and learn absolutely nothing. Avoid this class if you can.

Mar 2010

Professor Friedman is a terrible professor. I realize that the fact he speaks English is a plus but let me tell you the man speaks fast is often incoherent and is very disorganized on the blackboard that it is useless to come to class. If you add the 4 annoying quizzes to the list I would have loved to take it with someone else.I was warned but I ignored it.... In general the Friedman creates an environment that is hostile to asking questions. If you do ask a question the answer is blurry or "I'm not going to solve this again" or he simply looks at you funny...He doesn't post answers to the problem sets or the practice midterm why? he says he doesn't have the time....His office hours are not much better and in general he seems annoyed if you ask him a question. Calc 4 is not too bad the first part (up to the first midterm is totally doable without a lot of work and the second part is harder). I think that Friedman adds the complex section more intensely then other sections and that part he just flies through.....it was hard to keep up with him. Bottom line not a good professor he simply follows the book only less clearly, not a nice guy kind of a bully on the kids that asks questions and not approachable. Give your self a better clac 4 experience and take it with some one else you'll cover the same material without having to deal with this guy or the quizzes....

Jan 2010

I do not agree with the below reviews Friedman is arrogant and does not like to answer question even though he think he is. He goes very fast (which to be fair could be just the class) but at the same time does not give enough examples to help you with visualizing what is going on. If you are someone who learns through proofs then go ahead take his class but if you need examples and problems to understand concepts then look elsewhere because Friedman is not your man. The handouts at the end of the semester are not teaching material even though he thinks it is. The homework for those handouts require much more work than most of the problem sets you've been doing all semester. The first test is easy (but so is the topic) the second test is not to say the least and neither is the final. If you are unfortunate enough to take his class he asks for definitions in his exams and expects specific words to be used. He also curves harshly and never defines how he curves. I took his class because of the reviews I saw below and was thoroughly disappointed.

Dec 2009

Ah, Joseph Johns. I can never say his name without smiling. You see, Joseph Johns was a terrible terrible teacher. He *tried* hard, but he couldn't teach for the life of him. He would stand in front of the class with photocopied pages out of the book and just redo the examples therein on the board. He would also, usually, get them wrong. Sometimes someone in the class would point out his mistake, and he would fix it and move on. When that didn't happen, and he arrived at an answer that differed from the book, he would stand in front of the class silently for however long it took him to discover his mistake. Then he would vaguely wave at the part of the board where the error was (if he had not already erased it) and say something like "oh, well, I wrote this part wrong, but you all get what I meant". This was all well and good for the beginning of class where the concepts were just re-hashed older ideas (extending integration into 3 and higher dimensions) but it made learning new concepts like grad+div+curl and the like very difficult. Few people attended his lectures -- I went to almost every one, but learned most of the material from the book (which is very good, for the most part). The end of the year involved imaginary numbers taught from these confusing PDFs scanned from another book -- that was by far the worst part of the semester, when we had a teacher that couldn't teach AND a "book" that made no sense whatsoever. Frankly, I don't think this review is going to matter because I doubt Joseph Johns will be teaching again -- from talking to fellow classmates, he did not get a single good end-of-year evaluation, and this was his first year teaching here so those evaluations actually have an effect. But writing this review has been cathartic. So there you go.

Aug 2009

Grigsby is an amazing person and professor. She had such a refreshing personality and interest in the subject that made you really want to learn the material. She was incredibly approachable during office hours as well. (She is also young and female - how common is that in a math professor?) Yes, the class did have weekly quizzes that mirrored the homework problems due the week, but I found the quizzes to be more helpful than bothersome. I reviewed the material every Sunday night before the Monday morning quizzes, which really did help me keep up-to-date on all of the material. Also, studying for exams was easier since I had already studied the material somewhat.The quizzes were 10 mintues long at the end of class. Sometimes I really needed a few minutes more merely because of the tedious-ness of the given problem and lost points a few times for a stupid minor mistake I made in the rush to finish. The quizzes are different from the exams. She gave practice exams, but after everyone did well on Midterm I due to the similarity between her practice exam and actual exam, she gave useless practice exams for Midterm II and the Final. The exams were tricky. Each problem had a trick to it that you either got or didn't. However, they were not extremely hard, just thought-provoking. Plus, her curve is VERY GENEROUS. I made in the mid-80s and received an A. Everyone that received over a 90 I think received an A+. In sum, take her class! I don't think you will regret it.

Jul 2009

She was nice and fairly clear in her lectures, though she put no effort into preparing lectures and largely did problems from the book, which was unhelpful since the book explained its problems well enough and you could ask a helproom helper about those problems. She said that she didn't have time for many office hours and to come up with examples not from the book, but that doesn't help students taking the class. She assigned almost no homework, which was good because it wasn't a burden but it was also a little difficult because the slightest mistake weighed heavily and you got little idea how well you knew the material. Her tests were very hard, and she tried to cover too much material (complex numbers, on top of the standard calc IV material), but she scaled the grades, so that seemed pretty fair to me. She was an okay teacher.

May 2009

The quizzes make the class artificially stressful because we don't have an awful lot of time for them, and they're relentless: we never had a holiday. They also prepare us little for exams. This class is stressful, but Prof. Grigsby's enthusiasm for the material does show in class. Seriously if you don't need to, if you're like me and wanted to take Calc IV as a utility, read a book. Just read the chapters of Stewart, get the main ideas without fussing over the tedious (!!) and esoteric details. This class, though I agree is not "unnaturally hard", is pretty stressful.

May 2009

This man is one of the clearest math professors I've ever had, hands down. His lectures are very easy to follow, and as long as you're paying attention his handwriting is relatively easy to read. Like the other reviewers say, he moves fast through the material, so if you stop paying attention in lecture for more than a minute or two, you're basically screwed for whatever you missed. He's pretty interesting though, and the material is cool stuff (compared to Calc III), so just pay attention in lecture and you'll be fine. If you stop him and ask a question, he'll explain it a different way without making you feel like a complete idiot. He's also very available and responds to email. His homework is about the most fair thing I've come across. A completely reasonable number of problems that line up really well with the lecture material, completely doable in 2-4 hours, due Monday morning. There are a few 15 minute quizzes at the beginning of class that consist of 1-3 short problems that are based on, if not from, the homework due that day. He puts up a syllabus at the beginning of the semester with all the assignments and corresponding book readings on Courseworks. If you pay attention in lecture and do the homework, it's very easy to do well in this course. The tests and quizzes are fair, the homework is fair, and you learn a lot. Frankly, it's hard to imagine a more straightforward class. Bottom line: take this class with Friedman. You learn a lot without it being stressful.

Feb 2009

I would avoid taking Prof. Grigsby's Calculus IV class. She is a pretty nice person, but her teaching is far from perfect. She seems to have trouble speaking in front of the class, which often takes away from her ability to teach effectively in my opinion. She gives weekly quizzes that really do nothing for you. It seems like a good idea to keep up to date with what's going on in the class, but the questions on the quiz are so conceptually easy, its more of just a time test. Can you complete said question in 10 minutes? If so, enjoy your 15 points. If not, better luck next time. What is even worse is that the midterm covered problems that had literally nothing to do with the quizzes. So instead of wasting 10-15 minutes of class once a week, explaining some of the more "challenging" questions that appear on the midterm would be kind of nice. I wouldn't say the class is unnaturally hard, but her teaching really doesn't help you understand anything but the simplest of problems. I understood very clearly what she taught on the board, but it simply did nothing come exam time (although it did help on the quizzes). And to put my thoughts into perspective, I have received an A or better in Calculus I-III. So take Grigsby at your own risk, but personally, it's simply not worth your time.

Feb 2009

Pretty decent professor. If you took him for Calc III, his teaching style is still the same. He teaches straight from the book as the other reviews have already mentioned.... so a bit boring. He goes at a good pace as well. You never really feel overwhelmed during lecture. Be warned of some differences though. For Calc IV, he posts practice problems that no longer reflect the midterms or final 100% i.e. It ISN'T like Calc III in which the practice exams were exactly the same as the real exams expect different numbers. So... be prepared for that. But as long as you know how to do the homework and the practice exam problems, you should be fine for the exams. Oh... btw... he has a Facebook, so add him for extra credit! jk, but I thought it's cool that he has a Facebook.

Jan 2009

Overall average professor-- I'll try to break it down in to pros and cons. PROS: +Two exams (40%), homework (20%) and a final (40%) seems fair. +Homework is never too many problems. +Provides review sheets for the exams and final. +His lectures are quite skip-able. I used 99% textbook to study and got an A-. +He is pretty accessible and helpful in office hours, and will even make special appointments for you without much fuss. +Pretty strong curve (my final average was about 80% and I got an A-). CONS: -HIS ENGLISH IS QUITE POOR. NOTE: THIS IS A PRETTY SERIOUS ISSUE (at least for me it was). -Lectures are not very helpful. -Homework is graded very harshly by the TA (I don't know who it was, the TA was behind the scenes all the time). -Exams feature about 4 standard problems then usually 1 insanely difficult problem that is very unfamiliar to you. -Since lectures are not helpful, if you don't understand it completely from the book, you might need outside help -I spent a lot of time in the Barnard Math Help Room... SO THERE YOU GO. Judge it how you may, but that's the breakdown of this teacher. Overall not recommended.

Dec 2008

I had heard good things about Prof. Neel and I wasn't dissapointed when I took Calc IV with him. His teaching style is clear, effective and engaging. I think he is one of the few teachers at Columbia that genuinely cares about his students. Being a clear speaker of the Englsh language definately adds to his appeal as a more than decent Math professor. Outside class he is extremely nice and acts concerned and wont make you feel embarrased for asking the most basic questions. His teaching style is pretty amusing, throughout the lecture his somewhat self deprecating humor + his own brand of mathy jokes will keep you awake or will atleast make you take a break from texting or staring out the window.

Dec 2008

Calculus 4 with Professor Neel was great. He's very clear and lectures quite lucidly. His notes are great, too. If you ever have to go to office hours, he's quite helpful there too. I'm a math major so I already think this stuff is cool, but Neel was definitely the best math professor I've had yet. Take if you can!

Dec 2008

Great professor! He's really helpful and wants to make sure that you understand everything. He's INCREDIBLY available outside of class. His handwriting isn't as bad as people say it is... on the plus side, he speaks English perfectly. I'd recommend that you go to class; you'll get a lot out of it.

Jan 2008

Professor Sesum is Serbian so her pronunciation of certain mathematical terms may not be what you're used to but that doesn't get in the way of her doing a clear and efficient job in explaining the material. She pretty much follows the book so it is quite possible to read the book in place of going to class. However, she frequently uses problems she solves in class on her midterms so at least go to class the day before the midterm which is usually a review session.

Dec 2007

The man is clear with his lectures and fair with his grading. The only downer is that his class starts at 9:00am.

Jun 2007

Prof. Grigsby is young, I think it may have been her first semester teaching, which made her very understanding and approachable. She was genuinely excited about math and more than happy to see students at her office hours. Her lectures were enthusiastic and well organized, covering what would be on the homework and problems similar to those on the exam. The weekly homework consisted of problems out of stewart, except for the complex analysis homeworks. They were all straightforward, occasionally a tricky problem at the end, but nothing hard. There were weekly quizzes, but I thought they were also easy if you had done the homework. Prof. Grigsby said her reason for giving them was not to be mean, but to keep us from falling behind, help us evaluate how well we knew the material. The midterms were also fair- a few straightforward problems and then a problems or two that required some thinking. The final was similar, maybe a little bit harder. The lowest quiz and homework were dropped. I would recommend taking Prof. Grigsby if you can.

Apr 2007

This class was great! Liu is a very young Chinese professor. She has a slight accent, but is not difficult to understand at all. She explains the material very well, and is always available for questions. She provides practice midterms that pretty much show you everything to expect in the real exams. She also does a great job at assigning appropriate homework problems.

Apr 2007

Oh my god. I usually read Culpa reviews of teachers I've had so I can see how credible Culpa actually is. This is the first time where I completely disagree with mose of the reviewers. Perhaps Math Majors love him, but I concentrate in math and I thought he was God awful. GOD AWFUL! For one, he failed so many people. His "curve" was nonexistent (and it's not like Jorgenson's Calc classes where a Curve wasn't needed...you could get a C-/D after studying for days). His tests were rididuclous. His teaching strategy was awful seeing as how he rushed through each topic and expected you to just understand what he was saying. I do NOT recommend him AT ALL!!! I pity the fool that takes Mr. T.

Mar 2007

I'll sum it up: Thaddeus is the kind of professor that math majors love, and everyone else fears. He's easily the hottest person in the math department and he's hilarious, and you will appreciate his many ways of explaining things. I loved how he tied Green's/Stokes'/Gauss' theorems together with a diagram. But his grading: oy. Nobody knew how they were doing in the class because he never announced averages on exams. I did ask a TA once, who told me that the average on the first exam was a 53% or so, and that exam was very easy compared with the second one. MThad gave vague ideas as to how you were doing in the class by giving ranges and corresponding grades afterwards--it was something like 88-100% is an A etc. We all thought he was kidding, but the curve in his class is light to say the least. I was totally blindsighted by my final grade.

Jan 2007

I agree with the previous reviewers. I did well on all of the homeworks, went to every single class, studied my ass off for the tests and practically choked on my turkey when I saw my final grade. It was a full grade and a half lower than I would reasonably expect. Yes, he is an engaging professor and seems like a really nice guy... I learned a lot but grades-wise he ate me for breakfast. merry christmas.

Jan 2007

I took him for Calc IV. HE is a nice guy, although his writing is kind of messing. Do not ask him trivial or stupid questions, though. His Calc IV class is decently and reasonably good and you learn hte material well.Tests are reasonable but do not expect them to be like his hw problems. He incorporates information from his notes, too. Great professor!:)

Jan 2007

I think the previous reviewer was a bit harsh, although there is some truth in what he/she wrote. The material in Calculus IV, especially the second half, is a good deal harder than what you've seen in earlier calculus courses, and Thaddeus perhaps makes it seem even harder than it is by asking very, very difficult questions on his exams, usually as difficult as the most difficult homework problems. I have to wonder whether anyone out of the roughly 100 students taking this course made an A. If indeed some A's were handed out, I'll bet there were not many. Thaddeus's exams were by far the hardest I've ever had, and he doesn't seem to apply much of a curve. I'm not sure what pedagogic purpose this serves other than to demoralize. You can work very, very hard in this course, diligently do all the homework, study hard for the exams, and still not do well, which seems a bit unfair. On the brighter side, I found Thaddeus an expert, engaging, even witty lecturer. I enjoyed his lectures and think they were quite helpful in reinforcing and expanding on the text. He also seems like a very nice guy. He just appears to have very high standards as to what constitutes excellence. I suppose that's his prerogative as a professor. My prerogative as a student is to try to avoid taking him in the future.

Nov 2006

I need to begin by making two things clear: math in general is somewhat difficult to teach, and Calc IV specifically is difficult in both teachable-ness and content. Thaddeus is the worst math teacher I have ever had. (Previous teachers: Ross (excellent prof) and Neel (good, slightly boring)). Thaddeus makes the material so much more difficult than it really needs to be. He ends up losing the class 10 mins into the period with his mistakes and overall poor teaching skills. I understand he was a Calc IV HONORS teacher. That is VERY different from regular Calc IV. You might think of me as a bitter student with a bad grade etc but I never finished the course with him, I dropped it. The earlier reviews are all for the proof oriented Calc IV class and Thaddeus may be a decent prof in such a class but is definitely not suited for a non-proof oriented class. In class, he basically proved things without doing real examples (this was even after I went up to him and requested it and he agreed). Proofs are interesting but you cannot take class time up completely for it especially when you are teaching a very abstract, visually oriented math class. In short, take Calc IV with another professor, dont take any basic calc class with Thaddeus. Take his proof class at your own risk =)

Jun 2006

Shaffiq is awesome. He's not your typical Columbia math grad student (that is, a super-undergrad); he understands the material like a professor, carries himself like a professor, and teaches like a professor. He has a very disciplined style and works example problems with clarity and thoroughness. If Shaffiq is teaching a class, take it!

Jun 2006

Not the greatest math teacher I've had because he basically proves EVERYTHING (all the equations, properties and theories) the entire class period but doen't actually do a problem for the class. Otherwise, he's a nice and funny man who reminds me of my Irish grandfather. The first two midterms are straight from the book. Just study the homework. But the final is basically all the stuff that wasn't part of the Calc IV curicculum that Gallagher taught on his own. Hence, go to every class and take the notes even if you think it's not part of the curicculum because it'll all be in the final!!! If you do all this you'll get through the class with an A.

May 2006

Part of me regrets writing this review, as I failed to attend class beyond the first class of the semester, other than for the midterms and final. Yet, I do not regret my absences. Professor Gallagher is a fascinating professor, if you want to know proofs, as he is a native English speaker. He passes out notes, homework, and answers in class, so make sure to come to class or make friends with those that do. The first part of the class and homework are all from the James Stewart book. However, after we finished the book, we progressed on to Complex Numbers and Fourier Analysis, which was based solely on lectures and notes.

May 2006

Gallagher is getting really old (my dad took a couple of classes with him in 1965), but he's still quite competent. He will ramble on at times during class about some great mathematician of the past that he knew or about poetry or whatever is bouncing around his head, but he's mostly on point. Class is nearly useless for understanding the material because Gallagher just presents proofs that he likes and a general overview of the material without examples - but if you like math his class will be one of the best you've taken, even if it is only Calculus IV. He seems to care about how everyone does in the class and is very receptive to questions. Because he's been here forever he teaches classes like this purely because he likes to (I think he's director of the undergrad math program also), so if you have the opportunity to take his class, definitely do. Grading is fairly generous. Gallagher gives partial credit on the midterms, so if you're clueless but you had the presence of mind to write down a marginally relevant formula he may spring for half credit.

Feb 2006

One of reasons why we come to Columbia is because of the brilliant Professors here. Osvath may be really intelligent, but he sure can't teach. He's very messy, and classes are really boring (Though I admit its hard to make Math interesting sometimes). Add to that really annoying exams that do not test your comprehension of the material, but whether u can memorize the solution or solve the answer to some really complex integration problem. Tests will demoralise you, I don't understand why he likes doing that. In all, a lousy instructor and Professor. Do not take his class unless you know the math already.

Jan 2006

OK, so Professor Osvath screwed up the first midterm, rendering two of the four questions impossible to solve. He gave people full credit if they got as far as feasibly possible, and counted the whole midterm less in our final grade. However, on the whole, he is one of the better calculus professors I have had. The class made me reconsider my loathing of math. He is very enthusiastic and really enjoys it when students come to office hours. The class was frsutrating because everyone in it just cared about their grade. He was a very personable professor and tried to learn everyone's name to answer their questions directly (which is saying something considering the class was around 50 people). His tests were decently difficult, but you really know what to expect. Learn the fundamental concepts of the class from the book,and be willing to think about them critically and apply them to less familiar situations. The course was very generously curved; he wanted to make sure that no one wanted to fail.

Jan 2006

I would never recommend Urban for calculus IV to anyone. Like previous comments, he is incredibly boring in class, and he simply repeats the information in the book (even the same examples). Personally, it was not difficult to understand his French accent, but that wasn't the main problem. It was that when asked to rephrase an explanation, he couldn't. Urban also gives very little partial credit, so in most cases on the tests you either get it or you don't. Even if there are multiple ways to solve a problem, if you don't do the easiest method (the method he wants) and get any part wrong, you get no credit. My friend got a D in this class, so be warned.

Jan 2006

there is no doubt Prof Ozvath is a brilliant man. However he also makes some of the hardest exams i have ever taken... He attempts to incorporate graduate concepts into the lectures..(then they find their way into the exams and you are really screwed) I got a B- in his class...my lowest grade here to far....I really do not recommend him

Jan 2006

I don't usually give negative reviews of professors, but Eric Urban is by far the most apathetic professor I've ever had. You get the impression that he spent a total of 5 minutes preparing for the class, and from my observations his lack of interest started way before students began walking out during the middle of the lectures. By lectures, I mean copying the textbook onto the board (and often making mistakes while doing so). His accent really isn't that bad, but illegible handwriting provides another hurdle. The only time that I learned anything at all in the lectures was when the TA taught the class for a week, and I was amazed by how easy the material can be if only someone can teach it in a clear, thorough manner. Urban's attitude toward students can only be described as arrogant, especially when he refused to provide answers to the practice final even when that would have helped a lot. All in all, avoid him, at least for the calc sequence. I hear he cares a bit more about his upper-level math classes.

Jan 2006

Okay, he's quite the character. He paces around like crazy. He definitely knows the calculus, but he just doesn't translate it well into instruction. He's very fluid with his grading, too... not necessarily in a good way. Our final ended up being 60% of the grade because he made so many mistakes on our midterms that he threw it out. On midterm days, he'll show up as if he stayed up all night writing the test. I don't recommend this guy, and I like calculus. It's definitely not the course.

Jan 2006

He really cares about math and wants you to understand. In class he can get distracted easily, but he is genuinely a nice guy. His tests are hard, but the curve helps with that.

Jan 2006

I HATED this class! I found myself confused for a majority of the semester because Urban fails to clearly explain the material. His french accent, although not horrible, doesn't help either. At one point one of our TA's came in to teach the class and I, along with the rest of the class, felt enlightened. His homework is ridiculously, EXTREMELY long and his exams quite difficult even though he does curve to a B. He seems like a nice guy although at times somewhat condescending esp. when he asked,"what? you don't get it, do you? what? really???" For the sake of your sanity, it's in your best interest to avoid Urban.

Jan 2006

Not a good professor, which is a shame. I think that he means well, but it's hard to tell. Gets way too sidetracked when teaching lectures in class, falls behind on material, and then gives absurd tests -- one test this term, after we'd all boned up on difficult material like Stokes' Thm. and double integrals, the test wanted us to integrate arcsecant as part of a regular problem. That sort of thing -- the tests would be fine if you had a Calc II or III textbook on hand, but require ridiculous command of obscure knowledge. Class average on the final 200-point exam was around a 60, which is low even for a curved class. It doesn't help that Calc IV is full of completely disinterested engineers, though -- all the class did was complain, and after awhile he just stopped listening to anyone. Not good form. It's tough to be bitter -- the curve is intense and despite doing poorly all term I got an A-. This will probably not be true in future semesters. Not recommended.

Dec 2005

Professor Urban did seem to take interest in the class in the beginning of the semester, but that quickly faded. I blame the class somewhat because about 2 lectures in, more than half the class stopped showing up and even more walked out right in the middle of his lecture. Because the door was right by the board, it was disruptive and extremely rude. While this is no excuse for a lack of interest in teaching, it was certainly a mutual disinterst between Professor Urban and the class. Professor Urban also had a hard time explaining things in more than one manner when people didn't understand him. It was mostly a language barrier thing as he speaks French, but it wasn't the worst of problems. What did bother me was that he refused to send solutions to the practice final even though we asked him to. It didn't make much sense at all. Overall, I hope if there was a class more enthused to learn he would be more enthused to teach, but all I can say is the class was extremely dry. The material is not terribly difficult, but it is new (especially line integrals) and should be carefully taught. There are much worse professors but I can't imagine Professor Urban being someone's first choice.

Dec 2005

Calculus 4 is a tough class, and Professor Osvath does not make it any easier. He may be a funny guy but he sure needs to understand his students better. He sets really hard exams that will really demoralise you. If you have a choice, DO NOT ever take his class. Personally, I have not learnt anything from him.

Dec 2005

Zhang is one of those professors and every smart kid hopes for. I personally only went to the first class ended up with an A in the class. Ok, so he does have pretty bad English, but he did seem pretty humorous. He assigns weekly problem sets that are optional. There are two midterms and a final. All of which are pretty straight forward. A lot of professors say that "if you can do the problem sets, you will be fine" but Zhang really means it. They are *exactly* like the problem sets but with different numbers. You pretty much just needed to memorize formulas and you'd do fine. I.E. i got a 92 on the first midterm and a 100 on the second.

Dec 2005

I would not take a class with him again. His attitude was generally arrogant, and he was not very approachable or friendly. His accent makes lectures difficult to understand, and our class went through three TA's over the course of one semester, so it was difficult to get grading issues addressed. Exams were curved to a B, but points were taken off somewhat arbitrarily .

Nov 2005

First of all, let's be fair to Joel. His accent is AWFUL, but only for the first few days of class. Eventually, you get used to it, and his handwriting is not bad. It's just math, verbal explanations aren't even necessary if you can follow his basic steps, which he writes in painstaking detail on the board. Everything is explained, over and over, and reemphasized in later lectures. It's basic, but you come out of the class with a comprehensive understanding of each problem and every proof that goes into it. He also does his lectures without any notes. It's amazing how the proofs and examples just come out of his head. He truly is brilliant, and a very nice man. And he's just so darned likeable!

Nov 2005

I love Professor Osvath. He has been my favorite teacher this semester. I came into this class, having taken Multivariable Calc. but not understanding any of what I had learned. I am so amazed now that I understand everything we have gone through. He is not only a good teacher that makes things easy to understand, he genuinely cares for his students. He even had a review session for our second midterm on a Sunday night on his own time. He's even funny and affable! He loves when you volunteer in class and tries his best to learn as many students' names as possible. One of his pet peeves is probably students who don't come to class, so come to class!!! He is absent-minded, though.. He messed up 2 out of 5 of the first midterm questions, so that midterm was counted half of the amount of the second one. All in all, a great teacher that made me laugh!

Aug 2005

I took this course in the Fall of 2004 and did very well. Professor Zhang was pretty funny. The course was definately slack. I would imagine that people who were hardcore about calculus might have been disappointed with the lack of rigor. I mean, the course is not some cakewalk, but it had a nice calm sense to it. I liked how Zhang emphasized fundamentals. It really tied together the different conepts and theorem's well. I think this class was really good. For me it was a nice mix of non-hardcoreness and fundamental concepts.

Jul 2005

Oh Matt, what can I say about Matt? Matt is really smart and really sweet. His lectures are really easy to understand and he's always available for office hours if you need help.

May 2005

Like another reviewer said, the negative reviews have no real basis. I've had Hou for a full year, and I really enjoyed the class (and I'm not a math major). His explanations are usually clear and understandable, despite the 9AM class time. There are two midterms: the first one is somewhat easier than the second. His reviews give a pretty good estimation of the actual test. Be prepared to think rather than just spit out formulas. No "real" HW, but weekly quizzes straight from the suggested problems. Just a tip: if there's one problem you can't seem to get right for hours, there's a 99% chance he will put it on the quiz (so find a friend!). Listen to his lectures carefully, and you may be able to catch gems like "verse visa" and "choose arbitrary".

Apr 2005

I took Hou for Calc 3 and Calc 4. I generally disagree with most of the negative statements about Hou thats written below me. He is a young MIT graduate who just started teaching here. He's extremely intelligent and a really nice guy. Of course there is a language barrier, and his spelling is off here and there but he doesnt mind stopping during lectures if you have questions. I have heard of some horrible stories about other math professors, but Hou is a fair man. Don't expect to breeze through this class, you will have to study and you will have to do your homework, but one great thing about Hou is NO WEBWORKS. For both Calc 3 and Calc 4, I found that his first midterm was significantly easier than the second midterm, so you should probably do as best as you can on the first midterm. His miterms are fair, and his reviews do help. He will discuss the major topics that will be on the exams. He's a really nice guy, which is why I dont understand why all these people are hating on him. Most other math professors are terrible, which is why i decided to take Hou again for Calc 4.

Apr 2005

One of the best math teachers I've ever had. His lectures are easy to pay attention to and are clear and add to the information covered in the book. He is always willing to answer questions and easy to understand. That being said if you are looking for an easy A don't take this class. The homework isn't bad, and the material is alright, but the midterms are impossible. I could do all the homework and problem sets, and even the practice midterm, but the test questions were much harder. He posts practice midterms which are hard, but doable, but the real exams are much more difficult than the practice exams. I've seen tests from other Calc 4 classes and they're rediculously easy. Want a challenging course with a great teacher take Anton, want a good grade take someone else. I've never gotten a grade below an A in a math course and I thought Calc 3 was ridicuously easy, but I'm going to be lucky to get a B in this class.

Apr 2005

His accent is really horrible; worse than his sometimes illegible handwriting. But he is a really good guy who knows his math. I recommend this class to anyone who likes physics; he tends to put lots of physics applications on hw and exams. Proofs too, sometimes. But generous grades. Odd habit of literally running out of class before anyone can talk to him, though. As if he were scared of his students.

Mar 2005

Boris is always willing to answer any additional questions students may have. Also he does a good job of going over homework problems and past exams when a student has a question. When he lectures the class he assigns problems that help to clarify the material.

Jan 2005

Professor Zhang is a mathematician, and he teaches like one. Calculus IV might thus seem ridiculous to this man and boring, and as the other reviews said, you are better off studying it on your own. But I think that is the rule for math classes in general. You simply can't expect to learn calc 4 if all you do is have somebody lecture you the material twice a week, especially if you are not intelligent enough to understand people with accents: Columbia has the best scholars from the globe. That said, his teaching is better for moral advice than for getting a clue about the material. He does do mistakes on the board, but if you are clever enough, you can learn a lot more from mistakes than from perfectly prepared lectures. He won't spoon-feed you during class, but do go to his office hours, and he will be very friendly and help you. All in all, a great guy.

Jan 2005

A class consists of him writing stuff on the board while making no sense at all and confusing everyone, and then everyone reading the textbook the night before an exam and all of a sudden, everything makes perfect sense! Zhang confused me more than anything. He is almost incomprehensible, Stoke's Theorem = "Stock's Theorem", Green's Theorem = "Corin's Theorem", and he will never know what he is talking about..such as "use the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus or whatever"......As you can see, class is a joke. You go to class to laugh, not to learn. The book teaches way better than Zhang can. The only reason why people like him is because he gives easy exams (but you don't learn). By the way, I got an A in the class, so I'm not writing this because he screwed me over..I'm writing this because his class is pointless and is just a waste of time. While you are at Columbia, you might as well learn something.

Jan 2005

Prof. Zhang (who’s name apparently would mean dirty in Chinese if said “Zang” according to him) is the worst Calc teacher I have encountered at columbia. The first impression you will get of Zang is that his English is horrible. I have encountered asian professors before (Prof. Cao and Prof. Kim) and in comparison they are both scholars of the English language. In the beginning you will, if you’re lucky, understand about 30% of what this man is saying and by the end of the semester you will probably understand 70%, which is still quite sad. However Zang’s strange pronunciation results in amusing terms like “Russian numbers” (rational numbers) but can be very confusing at the same time like “the Corin Theorem” (Green’s theorem). The language problem notwithstanding, Zang does not come off as a very good mathematician, continuously giving up in the middle of problems and being surprised when problems come out to be zero. He also finds that his students should take mathematics simply on belief as he always says “do you believe” at the end of horrible explanations. A great example of Zang’s math skills were demonstrated when he was solving the second midterm on the board after handing it back (of course he didn’t have answers or an answer key nor did he correct the exam, the TA did), the professor only barely got 3 out of 5 problems completely correct even though he wrote the exam! And the exam was not hard. Bottom line is I WENT TO EVERY SINGLE CALC 4 CLASS, NEVER MISSED ONE, UNLIKE THESE OTHER REVIEWS FROM PEOPLE WHO CLEARLY WENT TO AT BEST A FEW CLASSES, and after experiencing a full semester of Zang I can honestly say that he is a pretty bad teacher. Granted he is the most amusing teacher I’ve encountered at Columbia due to his many blunders and his ridiculous smile, but that doesn’t make him a good teacher. If you are considering Zang as a teacher this is all you need to know: HE IS A PRETTY BAD TEACHER, TEACHING SIMPLE MATERIAL, AND GIVING VERY STRAIGHT FORWARD EXAMS…READ THE BOOK AND GO TO CLASS TO SEE ZHANG’S UNINTENTIONAL STANDUP COMEDY ROUTINE. Oh and if anyone was wondering, no I am not bitter because I did badly in the class, I did well, I just don’t think making a class simple makes the teacher good.

Jan 2005

Going to class is pretty pointless, and though he's nice, he starts to get sort of annoying towards the end. He's sort of in his own world, and I would definitely say you get most of your knowledge of the subject from the book. The midterms are not bad, but the grader is super stingy with partial credit, and you're never told what the curve is. But who cares, the final is pretty easy, and it seems like, as in most math classes, if you do well on the final, that's the grade you get.

Jan 2005

I like this professor. He's funny and explains everything well, and is about a million times more approachable than some of the others in the math department. Also I found Calc IV easier than both I and II, not sure if that's due to the prof. or the subject matter. Anyway, I recommend him if you can get him.

Jan 2005

I wanted to add to the chorus of good reviews. Even if he's hard to understand at first Zhang is an entertaining professor. Homework and exams are reasonable. The one thing nobody mentioned that I appreciated a lot is he's as far as I know the only calc professor who tries to prevent cheating during exams. I had 2 calc classes here previously, and they used to sleep at the front of the room while the back row passed answers to each other. Zhang patrolled like we were prisoners at Alcatraz, which was nice.

Jan 2005

A really, genuinely nice guy. He definitely wants to help his students do well in his class. The first and last thirds are pretty straight-forward; he teaches complex numbers and differential equations for the umpteenth time at the end. Go to class, don't go to class, it probably doesn't matter that much. The middle part of the course is a different story. Both Zhang and the book seem to give up on the material. Classes degenerate into "I don't know how to do this. It just equals zero. Do you believe?"

Dec 2004

Boris gets no respect, and he's pretty vocal about it. He's good enough of a TA, but sometimes he's not always so helpful. When he takes over for a lecture or two, he asks students to do problems on the board, which can be a good way to make sure you know what you're doing, or a good way to look like an idiot in front of your class. He always gets problem sets back quickly, but if you go to the help room beforehand he might not always be able to help you.

Dec 2004

As you can see from the reviews below, his accent stinks. In addition, his handwriting was absolutely horrible, although it improved somewhat over the semester. My advice is to email him, as he is pretty coherent then. This is my first review, and I am reviewing him because none of the reviews talked about him teaching physics. You know how the textbook likes to cover applications, mostly physics and some probability? Well, he covers it all. On the tests, you will be expected to calculate the moment of inertia, solve the equation for damped vibrations, etc. You shouldn't really be at a disadvantage if you haven't taken physics, as it's just a few extra formulas, but it'll make you dislike the class more if you don't like physics. Also, he has contradicted himself regarding grades. Perhaps it's because it's his first semester, but if I am to believe his last statement regarding grades, it should be alright (although since so many people dropped his section, the class is pretty self-selecting) PS: His paper mobius strip was a little cute, but a pretty crappy attempt at using a visual aid

Nov 2004

I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent person, but I cannot get over the major lapse in judgment I had by not dropping this class and taking a different section. Our class ended up with an average of seven people attending lectures, with less than eighteen there on test days. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Reason one for avoidance: his French accent. Not merely an accent, but sometimes, full out French. Unless you know that "eegreck" means "y" and "squah" means square, you will not understand him. Reason two for avoidance: he does not answer questions, and practically runs out of class at the end. In retrospect, I fully regret taking calc with this man.