Louis Brus

Mar 2017

DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. Do yourself a favor and get the easy A from gen chem and skip this class completely. Why kill yourself for a B when you can get an easy A doing minimal work. This class was one of the worst classes ever. He is incomprehensible, and just a terrible teacher. The tests are unpredictable, the recitations are hard to do well in (still easier to do well in than the tests), and everything about this class was unforgiving and not worth the copies time I put into it. Just do not take it.

Jan 2015

Professor Brus is just a bad teacher. By the end of the class, less than 50% of the students went to lecture. His notes are available online, and the homework and book assignments will definitely help you learn the material if you are motivated and diligent. But going to his class is nearly pointless, as it's impossible to understand what he is saying as he teaches. I could not hear him, he mumbled a lot, he was completely unaware when his microphone was not working, etc. The only benefit from going to lecture is the consistency/focus on the class you might get because of the schedule; also, he occasionally diagrams something on the board that you will need to know for a test (something that can't be found online). Overall, if you just want to get skip a semester of chem, you have a strong chem background, and you like learning on your own--go ahead and take intensive. He's often the only professor teaching it. But if you can avoid it, don't take his gen chem.

Oct 2014

Terrible lecturer, terrible exam questions, do not take this class.

May 2014

Louis Brus is nice enough but he is straight up an awful teacher. I've taken three years of chem (including AP chem) and still found the midterms to be a little challenging. Instead of going to class, it would be better if you just read the book, did the hw problems, and studied the lecture slides. The midterms are pretty hard, but the final is super easy if you make sure to go over the midterm answer keys. He literally uses a lot of the same questions for the final- so study those answer keys! Still make sure to study though, because not all the questions are from the old exams.

Mar 2013

While professor Brus if obviously an extremely nice and intelligent man he was an inept professor – he knows the material all to well, but it’s as if he has forgotten what it’s like not to know the basics and is unable to translate this. The comments below are spot on about his lectures, they are powerpoints (that he apparently didn’t even make himself) that he reads in a barely audible monotonic voice. The biggest issue with his teaching style was that there was not a course syllabus and he did not put the slides up before class or let you know what chapters were going to be covered- that would have allowed you to prepare for class so you could attempt to follow along. I found it more helpful to spend the lecture time going over the previous work, waiting for the reading assignments to be posted and then teaching myself the material before deciphering his lecture slides. By the end of the semester 90% of class was not showing up to lecture – it was pretty sad. Also the fall semester of 1404 is about 90% engineering freshmen that seem to have a really good grasp of the concepts ahead of time, so if you are not in the boat be prepared to work a bit harder to stay in the curve. He doesn’t give out practice midterms for the exams so you have no forewarning of what the exams are going to be like. He said he didn’t have a big enough test bank to give out practice problems so my advice is find the old tests and learn what the concepts are from there because he can modify the question slightly to get a different answer. He also apparently didn’t give any information to the TAs prior to exams which made them ineffective for the review because they had to choose what they thought was the most important material and were not always correct. If you are taking this out of sequence with Chem 1 in spring and Chem 2 in the following fall I would say DON’T. Take Chem 2 in the spring with a better professor - the material doesn't draw heavily from chem 1 so you don't need to remember everything.

Dec 2012

This was an easy class targeted at engineers who knew basic chemistry, but didn't need it for their major. Most students in the class already know the stuff from AP Chemistry or similar classes. In fact, I had already studied Organic Chemistry in detail, but still took this class because I'm not terribly interested in chemistry. Prof. Brus' teaching style is lack luster. He switches off the lights and puts up a PowerPoint - he's basically asking you to sleep in his class. Hence most people don't turn up to lectures. He puts up his slides online anyway, so it doesn't make a difference. There are also weekly recitations with a quiz which are far more interesting than the actual class. If you're not a Chemical Engineering, BME or Material Science Engineering major and if you don't have any genuine interest in chemistry, this class is for you. Don't expect to learn much though. Its sole purpose is to fill the chemistry requirement. Note: This class is about 80% the same as 1604 intensive general chemistry, but doesn't give you AP credit. So if the credit is important to you, go for that instead.

Dec 2011

While Professor Brus is a cute man, I hated attending this class, as did everyone else I knew in the class. Most people didn't even show up because the lectures were so boring. He was definitely a knowledgeable man but his teaching method is ineffective and his voice is impossible to follow. If you want to do well, you have to spend a considerable amount of time teaching yourself from the textbook, which I do not think is fair. I was very jealous of all of the people who had recently taken AP Chemistry in high school--they were basically the only ones able to do well because they had already learned the material. I was also, however, genuinely disinterested in the material in this class but was required to take it as an engineer.

Jan 2011

Louis Brus is a nice man, and is evidently knowledgeable about his subject. That said his lectures are hard to follow because of the poor acoustics of the chemistry auditorium, and his inadequate microphone system. General Chemistry is a let down of a class, even for those interested in the field. The second two midterms basically cover orbitals and nothing else, and it can get very tedious. That said, Brus's lecture slides are phenomenal. I gained very little through my attendance, and simply read through the slides to achieve a decent grade. The midterms are challenging, but the final basically used the same questions. So study those answer keys! Also, don't forget to attend recitation in its entirety every week. The TAs are great and you'll learn a lot more through them than from the lecture.

Dec 2010

He is really hard to follow. Not because he is too fast or too complicated but because his voice is the most monotonic voice in the world. I really try hard. It just doesn't happen, his words don't go through. If you want to take genchem from him and you don't have a chem background, get ready to spend time with the book. I'm surviving via my TA. This is personal opinion though shared by many others.

Apr 2010

If you are enticed to take Intensive General Chemistry to get out of a semester of General Chemistry, be warned that you will be miserable in this class. I absolutely hated being in this class. Louis Brus has chicken-scratch handwriting, talks to the board, fails to answer questions fully, and goes off on tangents about the Chemistry department, particularly his own research. As a pre-med, I feel like I would have been better off taking General Chemistry for two semesters and learning something rather than attempting to perfect the art of mind reading in order to figure out what exactly his disorganized lectures were aiming to teach. He does not follow the text book in a coherent pattern and will often delve into somewhat complex mathematical aspects of chemistry.

Apr 2010

So, I took this class last semester with Brus. To be honest, I'm still a bit uncertain if Brus was ever actually a good teacher, like some people say he is. There were a few pretty good lectures, and Brus has a very interesting brand of dry humour... In that it's hard to tell if he's making a joke or if he's naturally that depressed. I went to his office hours around three times, which is three times more than a huge amount of the class, I think I failed to ever make an impression on him. Plus it was rather awkward, every time... Essentially, this is second semester General Chemistry, and it covers some of the most interesting units in GChem, imo. In that respect I was very glad I took this instead of GChem, because it was short and to the point, whereas some of the teachers of first semester seemed to focus on somewhat trivial stuff (like crystal lattices...). At the beginning of the year he said he would do a unit on electrochem, which we ended up skipping, and we never covered titration problems, but both of those things are *huge* pains in the ass, so I'm glad. That said, having this class at 9:00 am was almost painful. Prof. Brus, while a fairly decent lecturer who likes to use the blackboard, has an almost monotonic voice... Combined with the uncomfortable chairs and somewhat dry material, it can be all too easy to fall asleep. I think I slept through about seven lectures at least; the only reason I didn't sleep through more was because I started drinking obscene amounts of caffeine and got obsessed about sleep to the point where I started not doing homework (I had a class Mon-Thurs that ended at 7:00pm, fyi). He focused a lot on theory during lectures and didn't really bother to solve problems from the textbook, so you had to rely on your TA and the textbook being able to help you through them. Some of them were just impossible, but it's important to know how to do them. It was essential to do the homework problems and go over the textbook, because the tests were really heavily based on them, and if you didn't do it during the year you ended up being kind of screwed over. Warning: most of the class ended up being screwed over by acid-base equilibria. My TA was pretty cool and really, really awesome about answering questions and helping us learn the material both during recitations and during office hours, but the quizzes he gave were long and challenging (or painful >>;). (Tim Berkelbach, fyi) I heard from some other sources that he's pretty condescending to people, but as a TA he was good and really understood our plight. I had a huge advantage in having taken AP Chemistry in high school. My school really prepared me well for that test; we did a month of going over decades of exam questions, and I ended up getting a 5. A lot of the material, therefore, wasn't entirely unknown to me (though kinetics and thermodynamics was, and it's insanely conceptual and messed up), and it helped in doing the problems and understanding stuff. And yet, you can't just cruise by in this class without putting in some effort. There is enough new material that I didn't get bored, and the textbook included a lot of derivations that, if you go through them, really enlighten your understanding of the unit. Definitely recommend snagging a blackboard and just writing down, line by line, what they do--it will help you remember how the different equations are used. They're provided during the test (thank god), but they'll be absolutely useless if you can't figure out in time how to use them. This class is probably really good prep for physical chemistry, especially if you take the time to absorb the material and try to go a little beyond it, like looking up books and things like that. While I can't say that Prof Brus is the most stimulating of teachers, he's certainly like chemistry royalty (even if I didn't realize it at the time of taking the class).

Jan 2010

Brus is a good professor, and this is a good class for students with a fairly strong background in chemistry. When he started the semester, the material was all from Chemistry AP. However, after the first midterm, he realized that most students in this class knew that stuff well and moved on to more interesting material. He covered a lot of the same subjects as Chem AP, but took them more in depth to give his students a better understanding of what is actually happening and how it applies, giving examples from topics such as global warming. His lectures were not the most engaging, and I found it at times difficult to stay awake, as this was a morning class, but it is worth taking if you enjoy chemistry.

Dec 2009

Interesting class. If you chemistry is your favorite subject he is an ideal professor because his courses are not identical to the book but often touch on the same material in a different way. On the first day of class I felt like I understood reactions and collisions in a new way. If you miss class its not a big deal because the notes are online but studying the lecture notes is painful, its easier to just pay attention in class. He doesn't check homework so doing it is not stressful and theres only about 1-3 hours every 3-4 classes. Maybe 10 problems per chapter. The exams are not ridiculous and the quizzes are very easy. Very nice and friendly, also tries to skip material which everyone knows from high school or that is archaic and taught because of tradition (like indicators and incorrect atomic models). I recommend this class and this professor for anyone serious about learning chemistry. If you are just taking it because you have to I might no recommend him.

Jan 2007

This was Brus's first time teaching Pchem I in a long time, and it showed. That being said, i have to admit, despite my terrible grade, that he is a fair teacher and a nice guy. He tries hard to teach the best he can, though he can get a bit befuddled and hard to follow. READ THE BOOK BEFORE YOU GET TO CLASS. You may have to push him a bit to figure out what's next on the syllabus, but if you read, or just skim, the chapter before class, you will find his lectures infinitely more interesting. His lectures are a good mix between concepts and derivations and if you study those topics well enough, his tests will be easy. Focus on understanding all the equations and ideas, rather than just problems. In the end, if done right, you will understand pchem better than you ever thought you would.

Nov 2005

easy...never went to class...crammed two nights an A he posts all his notes them!! he goes over things not in the book and they show up in exams... ill take him again in a heart beat...

May 2005

Professor Brus is fantastic! I found his lectures to be very boring for the first few weeks - but once we got to thermodynamics - wow. Brus does a great job of enriching your knowledge of chemistry, and is very approachable. He's very nice and enjoys telling adorable little jokes. If you honestly want to understand the concepts behind what you are learning, enjoy chemistry, etc... Brus is the professor for you. If you are a pre-med, another professor would probably be better, Brus does not test very much on calculations...MCATS... Finally, BRUS IS NOT EASY (he is not hard), but he is not as easy as ONE CULPA review presents him to be.

May 2005

If you have a strong high school background in chemistry, neither 2nd nor 1st semester general chem. should really throw any surprises at you. With that said, Brus approaches the material in this course from a very "different" perspective. As the other reviewers have noted, he is not interested in mathematical computations; he is interested in helping you to gain a fuller understanding of concepts. I personally believe that a true understanding of the concepts cannot be achieved without first understanding the mathematics behind the theory. If you very strongly prefer a more traditional approach to chemistry, I recommend Valentini. Otherwise, Brus is not a bad option. His lectures are interesting. They do not merely regurgitate the textbook; they provide a fresh perspective on much of the material. I did not find the exams to be all that difficult. Reviewing his notes is a must, as a great deal of his test questions come DIRECTLY out of his notes. In short, read the book for a basic knowledge of the material, then go to class as frequently as possible and be sure to study his notes before the exam. Some of the exam questions are very simple, such as: What's the formula for the relationship between gibbs free energy and the equilibrium constant? Yes, no joke. And if you don't know the answer to a question right off the bat, often the wrong answers are so blatantly wrong that process of elimination works really well. Overall, an okay professor with a unique approach to chemistry, and a very doable class. If you're looking to make the grade, Brus is not a bad choice. If you're more concerned with learning chemistry in a traditional/normal manner, go w/Valentini.

May 2005

Brus is an amazing guy. He knows his chemistry. He's very approachable, whether you have a question or just want to talk about the class. His lectures are basically straight out of the book so if you read the textbook and read his notes online,you should be alright. As said above, calculators aren't his thing - and is great if you don't know math! I wouldn't say his exams are wordy but sometimes he will try to trick you. I liked his class a lot more than Fine's. Take Brus, you will be happy you did.

Apr 2005

He is extremely approachable, and I never ask questions of professors because I am on the shy side. But he is great!!! His lectures are not boring they are straight and to the point. I agree the exams are hard, but I agree that it should be more about understanding the theory than being ale to punch in numbers in a calculator till and answer matches the choices. It is worth going to lecture

Apr 2005

This lecture SUCKED! He is the most boring professor I have ever had and his tests are wordy and confusing. He doesnt make you want to go to lecture at all and certainly you dont have to. He posts his coffee stained horrible lectures online and from that and reading the book you should be fine. Dont bother even bringing a calculator to the exams, you wont be needing it since he would rather confuse you with his wordiness. He is a terrible professor and really scary to approach. Too bad too, because there is not much of a choice in terms of professors for chem unless Turro or McDermott are teaching, and good luck getting registered for that.

May 2004

so you don't pay attention in class, you go to recitation for 10 min to take the quiz, and you show up to the midterm after glancing over the book for one hour lastnight...chances are you will get a b+. Brus makes his tests "concept" based, and all you need to do is read the book and go over the notes he postes online (maybe). all in all, Brus is an ok teacher, but dont look to use a calculator for this class.

May 2004

Brus is a slightly below-average professor, neither terrible nor great. On the positive side, he gives informative lectures and explains the theory behind the material in the textbook well. He also frequently dismissed class early, sometimes 20-30 minutes early. On the negative side, his lectures sometimes go off on lengthy tangents that don't really relate to the material in the course. His tests, although not excruciatingly difficult, have vague questions that can be very confusing. He was also disorganized--he never put out a syllabus only started posting lectures on the course website halfway through the semester. If you end up stuck with him, don't panic, but if you want a more structured, organzied class, look elsewhere because he will not give you that experience.