professor
Michael Tippett

Apr 2021

1) Partial Differential Equations is a difficult class to wrap your head around when you are dealing with infinite series within infinite series that supposedly converge to a viable solution. The concepts are similar to those applied in Linear Algebra and ODEs, however, there is a little blind faith that the things you are doing work. As Tippett suggests, you cannot fully understand all mathematical theory, however, you get used to applying it and understanding what it means and where it fits. 2) Professor Tippett is a wonderful professor. Although he does follow the book (which is not as terrible as suggested previously), Tippett is quite eager to answer any and all of your questions to help you understand the material; all you have to do is ask. It is almost impossible for him to anticipate what level of misunderstanding that everyone is experiencing and how to address each person which means you need to ask for assistance unabashedly. Otherwise, he would still be reviewing some of the most basic concepts in the first few chapters. Professor Tippett makes you feel like the questions you ask are worthwhile and valuable to everyone in the course. In office hours, he will review anything you need him to in order to move forward with your grasp of the material. The homework he provides is worthwhile but can feel like a stretch from the material in class, but you will figure it out at the end of the day. Unfortunately, no one can magically make you understand the material, but Tippett provides the friendly environment and support necessary for you to develop your understanding of the material. He teaches the material he tests, does not kill you with work, answers any and all of your questions patiently and eagerly, and is ultimately a kind and humorous individual. Quite frankly, I do not know what else you need from a professor, but in order for you to do well, you need to put in your part too! 3) Professor Tippett is a pretty funny guy. I look forward to his class writing nearly 5-6 pages of notes each class and hearing him snicker at some new concept or elaborate in the irony of some mathematical method. I thoroughly enjoy learning the material and I have feel like I learn an incredible revelation every time we discuss a new PDE. However, make sure you are paying attention since Professor Tippett does make very small mistakes that are hard to catch, but they are not fatal to understanding the material, I promise. Just make sure you tell him if he misses an exponent, mistakes a sign, or mixes up notation. Finally, just look forward to the class and do your best. Do the homework and try to understand it outside of the classroom. Ask as many questions as possible, you will be rewarded. Also! Make sure you find friends and form a study group to discuss the material. Teaching others and learning about how to visualize what you are learning are the best ways to developing an intuitive grasp of what is happening.

Nov 2020

Objectively the best dressed Professor in SEAS, and also has some killer memes, like making his zoom background into Tiger King clips and telling us the final was open note but "no humans or AI". However, his teaching ability is subpar, and as a previous review mentioned, he follows the textbook to a T, whereas the book (Haberman) isn't very good to begin with. The class is very difficult, but the workload isn't overwhelming; you'll feel fine about it until you get your first midterm back. I would have dropped had the semester not gone P/F, and I know many others would have as well. Overall: what is a PDE???

May 2020

Professor Tippett is not one of the best professors I had nor one of the worst. PDE is a very challenging class for someone who first takes it. The textbook chosen for this class is not good at explaining the materials, and Professor Tippett did it even worse. It is very hard to follow him during lectures because he did not give students a big picture of what they are studying, and he constantly makes mistakes during derivation. (Constant mistakes during derivation are very dangerous for students who first learn PDE. Students ended up thinking themselves even though they were right.) I learned most of the materials from watching youtube videos and trying to figure my way out in the hard-to-understand textbook.

Dec 2018

A true gift to the Applied Math department. I came into his linear algebra course barely knowing what a vector was and I ended up loving the class. The problem sets are extremely difficult and graded for accuracy but this, in turn, made the quizzes/exams less intimidating. Professor Tippett is very funny so that makes what most people would consider a dry subject, actually really enjoyable to learn. Unlike most other classes, I never felt like I wanted to his skip class nor did I dread the work. He is an exceptional educator, albeit fast, but he gets the material across in a very understandable way. On top of all of this, he is super approachable and his office hours are helpful as well. GO TO HIS OFFICE HOURS YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!! If you want/have to take linear algebra at any point, do yourself a favor and take Professor Tippett's class. He's the best.

Jun 2017

Professor Tippett is very helpful in class and in office hours. In general, he is a great teacher. The class size was huge (In the big room in Havemeyer) and the professor could not be heard well from everywhere. He used good examples in class which clarified my concepts a lot. The homeworks were generally easy, and mainly from the book. The homeworks are graded by different TAs every week to make sure no one student keeps facing a harsh grader. Midterms are often lengthy and include a good mix of easy, medium and hard questions. Midterms are usually out of 130-140 points, so losing a few points affects the percentage less than you would imagine. He also has bonus questions in all exams but they are usually much harder. Partial points are awarded. A solid understanding of the material is required to do well on the course. I disagree with the previous comment regarding the curve. In the beginning of the semester he hands out an info sheet detailing the rough grade boundaries. (90+ A range,80+ B range etc) According to that I expected an A- given my percentage of 92-93% but ended up getting an A. In my opinion, while the original boundaries may not be the friendliest, he tries to stick to the boundaries. I do not think he downcurves at all.

May 2014

LECTURES: Boring, long, proof based. Hard to follow. Makes lots of mistakes in class but answers questions well. HOMEWORK: Mostly from the textbook. Two problem sets made by the professor--more difficult than textbook problems. Textbook problems not very indicative of exam questions. Each one for me took ~4 hours EXAMS: Two midterms one is ODE, second is Linear Algebra. Generally average is in the ~70% range. Linear Algebra is easier to study for since we had the problems he made for the psets. ODE is harder to study for since we only had overly easy textbook problems. Final is evenly distributed through topics--questions as vague and confusing as preceding quizzes. CURVE: Wow. I wanna make it clear that this is an opinion since I have no idea what other people got. The curve for me was awful. Did average on the quizzes and well on the homeworks and for some reason ended up with a not so hot grade... Also, I know this isn't unheard of but it is quite rare for a professor to fail a student... right? tl;dr: wasn't hell but I suggest you look for a different professor if you could

May 2014

Overall, pretty good! The course was an introduction to differential equations and linear algebra. I have to say (possibly naively, seeing as I only just finished freshman year) that this was a very useful class. Critical material showed up in three of my other classes. I strongly recommend taking this as early as you can. For the first half of the semester, we covered first-order differential equations in their many forms. These are very useful and showed up in my calc, physics, and EE classes, even during freshman year. The second half covered linear algebra and second order differential equations. I think most people (me included) felt that the first half was not that bad, but the second half got pretty trippy. The textbook is not good. Advanced Engineering Mathematics. It is not helpful at all. Something iconic that I remembered was that on the first homework, it asked us to distinguish whether certain equations were linear or nonlinear. The definition of a nonlinear equation was: "A nonlinear equation is one that is simply not linear." The definition of a linear equation wasn't given until the next chapter. It wasn't a very good definition either. And there was more stuff like that everywhere. Some of the linear algebra stuff was pretty weird and confusing. Just about everybody had trouble with it. To worsen the situation, the most confusing parts weren't in the textbook. I learned from a classmate that the stuff people had trouble with was pulled straight from a textbook listed on courseworks as recommended. He also told me that this textbook explained it clearly. To make matters even worse, some of the TAs didn't understand this part and couldn't help with it. Now, I am highlighting the negatives a lot. But this was a good course! We covered 1st order ODEs, linear algebra, and a little bit of 2nd order ODEs. 1st order ODEs took the most time. I think that Professor Tippett covered everything pretty well. The first few lectures of each major unit were a little confusing (the linear algebra one especially), but after you got the hang of it (the homeworks were helpful), it became a lot easier. Professor Tippett is a very nice man. I had to reschedule a quiz because of a competition, and he was happy to help me do so. He's a very smiley guy, and I find him very funny, in a dry sort of way. He makes a lot of simple mistakes (like writing '+' instead of '-'), and he solves the questions (as in, he doesn't copy them from notes), so the errors get carried through. However, he invites people to correct him as soon as they see mistakes. And when they do, he apologizes and redoes the problem, continuing from where he messed up. He also takes questions well. If somebody asks about something they don't understand (even if it's from weeks back), he'll go over it on the board. I believe that he really does want students to learn. I do think that he teaches well. In my opinion, he is an exceptional professor. Tl;dr: Very useful class. Bad textbook. One unit was very confusing (and was the main unit on one of the quizzes). Very nice, smiley, and helpful professor.

Apr 2014

I took Prof. Tippett for APMA E2101 - Intro. to Applied Math. Never have I before had a professor so bad that I felt the need to write a review. At the beginning Prof. Tippett was a decent professor even though he was prone to making mistakes while doing examples in class. However, for the first part of the semester when he was teaching ODEs, it was decent, but once we got into the Linear Algebra part of the course, he was dreadful and probably one of the worst professors I have ever had the displeasure of being taught by. If you have to do the class, AVOID Tippett! It is the most painful experience I have ever been through.