professor
Marcel Nutz

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

May 2014

This was one of the most worthwhile, rewarding, and challenging classes I’ve taken at Columbia. We covered a ton of material and the pace was very intense. The course basically covers a lot of standard probability topics from a rigorous mathematical perspective. A good part of the course involved introducing measure theory and Lebesgue integration, of which some was familiar from the end of analysis 2. Marcel is obviously brilliant and understands the material very well. He told us on the first day that while there are a lot of great connections between the intuition and mathematics of probability, we were not expected to realize this overnight and it would probably take some time, but that things would eventually fall into place if we continued to struggle with the material. He was definitely right about this. Lectures were generally well-structured and organized, but very fast. Towards the middle of the class, there were a number of very long proofs, some of which took the entire class period. We didn’t follow a textbook for this class, and I think it would have been helpful if some lecture notes were posted online, because it is a lot of dense, notational-heavy material copy from the board. Homework assignments were interesting and well written, but also quite challenging. Most of them took me a long time to complete, but I definitely learned a ton from working through them. Having taken the analysis sequence before this course was definitely helpful, but I felt this class was a step up in difficulty from analysis.

Jan 2014

Marcel is a very competent Calc III professor. The workload for his class is average, and his midterms and final are very straightforward and easy (if you have done the homework). I enjoy how he is always so happy in a 8:40am class and how helpful he is in office hours. His lectures are not boring, so go to the lectures. He explains the conceptual part of Calc III very well and I was rarely confused. You don't have to be smart in math to get a good grade from him. Just put in an honest amount of work, do his assignments, and memorize some formulas to ace the midterms. He assigns weekly problem sets and for every problem set, there is one or two tricky question(s). If you are stuck on a homework question, don't hesitate to go to his office hours! I highly recommend Marcel for Calc III.

Jan 2014

Overall, Marcel Nutz is a good choice as a Calc III professor. He may not be the best or most exciting teacher, but I am grateful I had him compared to some of the other Calc III professors. In general, Nutz is a cheerful person who arrived to his 8:40 class with an organized lecture plan and a smile, which I appreciated. Lectures consist of him going over topics from the book, which can get monotonous at times, but I found going to class more helpful than the book, which can be confusing at times. Sometimes, a word may be hard to discern, but he is very open to questions, pertaining to his handwriting or the subject-matter. Nutz will often introduce a few simple examples of the current topic and focus more on proofs, so I recommend doing extra problems from the book when studying for tests. Homework consists of ~14 problems from the book; occasionally, this will include more difficult problems, like proofs, that make you throw your hands in the air and say, "Why Marcel?" Midterms are fair and have a generous curve: in general, easier than the problem sets, but you should still study for them. The final is basically a longer midterm.

Jan 2014

Nutz is alright. He is not the very best, but he certainly is not the worst. Like many of the other reviewers have mentioned, his lectures are pretty dry. He does tell a few jokes every now and then, but staying awake may prove vexing. He also sometimes rushes through the material, and you might be forced to learn from the book. But on the bright side, Nutz is a competent mathematician. I still went to class every morning, for he sometimes told us shortcuts and other neat tricks not found in the book. He was very helpful during office hours; do go visit him if you're confused. The homework can get very annoying, as some of the proofs take up a lot of time. You can't always expect to get help from the TA or the Barnard math help room. Visit Nutz during office hours if you're stuck. The best part about Nutz, though, is his exams. He does a decent job of reviewing all the material, and his tests are very easy, especially compared to the homework problems. The class is curved to a B+, so it's not too hard to get an A. Even an A+ is attainable with some effort.

Dec 2013

Marcel Nutz is your average Calc III professor. He is pretty boring, but he is solid at teaching. I will give him the benefit of the doubt since Calc III is a boring subject to begin with. This class is perfect if you are just trying to fulfill a requirement. He does not use Webassign. I went to a couple of his office hours. He is a nice guy and is very willing to help students out. I also appreciated his fast response when it came to emails. His homework assignments are long but that is pretty standard for Calc III classes. It took me on average 3 hours to do the HW. Overall, I am glad I took this class even though I did not do as well as I wanted.

Dec 2013

Marcel Nutz is a solid choice for Calculus III. Having sat in on Maria Cueto’s class and having had Alex Drewitz as a sub I can say that I clearly prefer professor Nutz to both of them. While Nutz might not be the most energetic professor, he has his own personality, and he teaches you exactly what you need to know in clear, organized lectures. I appreciate how he focuses on Calculus being conceptual rather than formulaic. For example, while talking about distances in 3D space, he emphasized that all these formulas come from projecting one vector onto another, and this was extremely helpful in understanding and remembering the formulas. I also appreciated his use of erasers, rulers, etc. to demonstrate 3D principles, which is helpful for someone like me who doesn’t always understand 3D drawings. His handwriting is mostly legible, but if you are confused, you can always ask him to clarify what he wrote and he will happily do so. If you don’t understand him in class, go to his office hours. I found him helpful and reasonable in office hours. He doesn’t give practice exams but the harder book problems are on par with the exams. He does a good job of reviewing and emphasizing what you need to know in the class before exams. The exams increase in difficulty, as does the material, but all of them are most definitely doable. On top of that, his curve is quite generous. About half the class stopped coming to lectures eventually, and you can definitely learn what you need from the textbook, but I find his lectures more helpful than reading the textbook. Overall I think Nutz is a solid Calculus III teacher who provides you with a good understanding of the material in a relatively low stress, fair, class.

Jun 2013

Marcel Nutz is a very weak professor and very bad at explaining his lackluster scribbles of taken directly from the early transcendentals textbook. Nutz is a boring teacher, yes calculus III is probably not the easiest course to make exciting, but Nutz doesn't even try. He rarely attended office hours, ignored emails I sent to him, and whenever I tried to ask him for help after class seemed too arrogant to care. Nutz exemplifies the frequent mediocrity of teaching in low level math classes at Columbia, yet having moved from a different section I can clearly say he falls close to the bottom of the bucket in teaching aptitude. Although Nutz is likely fluent in multiple languages, his accent is thick and his handwriting is poor. All in all, you can tell that Nutz does not care about his low level undergraduate students and ignores their whims. If you plan to actually do well in this class, you are best suited learning straight from the book. You could regularly go to his class and get nothing out of it. I wish Columbia could find someone more motivated to teach this class.

May 2012

Nutz is totally fine. He's not better than fine, but he's not worse. His lectures are pretty dry at times. Toward the end of the semester half the class wasn't showing up. At times it felt like he was just reciting a problem to the board, and didn't care if the class was following along. However in office hours he was reasonably helpful, and had a good sense of humor. The homework was reasonable. Assignments were graded and handed back promptly. The exam was pretty well written, and he did a good job reviewing so you knew what he was likely to test you on. Definitely recommend him for Calc III if you don't mind uninspiring lectures.

May 2012

Marcel Nutz is great. He has some pretty funny anecdotes about his French education and the apparent cultural differences between France and US. Also, his English is clear and his notation on the chalkboard is consistent and "almost surely" (lol) readable. He doesn't demand too much of students in lecture: For more difficult proofs he usually spells things out, and is willing to provide additional details when students ask for them. The class is great. He conceded at the beginning of the course that the notion of measure and random variables as functions may not be immediately intuitive, but that it would make sense as the course proceeded. He was right. After taking Analysis; in particular, Analysis II, this course may seem like an introductory course because much of the time is spent on introducing definitions and elementary results from measure theory. In this sense, the course is pretty straightforward. However, for those not very comfortable with pure math (cough engineers/physics students ;-p), this course may take a bit more work. As far as preparation goes, having a background in mathematical statistics or seeing an introduction to measure theory could be helpful. Great course if interested in stochastic processes.