professor
Jeremy Dodd

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Jan 2021

I liked this class and Dodd as a prof. As a physics type of person, I didn't find the concepts particularly difficult, although the problem sets were a little finicky and took a long time to get the right answer sometimes. The tests were extremely reasonable; if you were able to do the problem sets correctly (which is basically required by the Mastering Physics system in order to finish) then you should be able to do the test problems, which are simpler than some HW problems. I will say I only understood how to apply concepts after attending recitation, but not after attending lecture, maybe that's the point but yeah.

Dec 2020

I found this class very difficult, though interesting. We covered a lot of topics quite quickly, though I did really like Dodd's method of teaching and I felt that I could generally follow along. Problem sets were quite difficult, as were the exams. I do wish I had a bit more physics background before taking the course, though it is not necessary. Recitations and review sessions were very helpful and we went over practice problems weekly in breakout rooms.

May 2020

If you like logic, proof-based physics, and reasoning, you will HATE Jeremy Dodd. His idea of a physics proof is writing out a formula on the board, just really really slowly. I consistently felt frustrated with how unmotivated the theorems and ideas in his class were. I am a very mathematically-minded person, and so derivations and proofs are very important for me Simply writing a formula on a board, and expecting it to stick does not work for me. Additionally, what he covered in class in no way resembled homework and exams. It was incredibly frustrating to have to self-teach myself all the material even if I attended the lectures. Overall, this course left me incredibly frustrated. I was the top in my high school physics classes (Mechanics, E&M, and Relativity!) but because of Dodd's class structure, grading scheme, and confusing lectures, I barely scraped a B in this class. Additionally, one of my friends literally quit physics because of Dodd. He loved physics and was planning to major in it and this class was literally so bad he quit the entire subject.

Dec 2019

I think the course was extremely helpful in cementing my physics intuition and provided a really nice basis for whatever's to come (as a potential physics major). I did not do the readings (though I probably should have), but I got by in the course just fine without them. Dodd starting sending out some articles at the end of the course relating to modern physics which I thought were really interesting! The recitations felt a bit lacking sometimes, and I think that it is extremely necessary to study outside of class with another person (or group of people) to truly understand the content. The lectures were extremely interesting and entertaining because of Professor Dodd, and I felt like all of the work for the class was completely reasonable. If you are thinking about taking physics and don't have much of (if any) of a background in it, I strongly urge you to take this class over the 1200 or 1400 physics sequences. It might be a bit more challenging of content, but the workload for the class and the grading scheme with professor Dodd is extremely forgiving and better than any other physics class. Dodd was extremely pleasant to have as an instructor. I looked forward to coming to class every day because he tried his hardest to help people understand the content of the class. Even in the huge lecture we were in, he would consistently answer everyone's questions. I appreciate his dedication to making the content accessible to everyone, even people who hadn't taken physics or calculus before, and I thought it was a very good class for people who are beginning a physics track. His grading scheme made the class so much more forgiving to students who hadn't taken much physics in high school before. He dropped the lower ranking midterm and made the grade for both the score of the higher one, which was extremely relieving after failing the second! It was a bit intimidating to be in a class with so many people who had taken the class for an "easy A" because quite a few students took the class so they didn't have to take accelerated physics even if they were able to, but Dodd made this worry go away (there isn't a curve and these students will not hurt my grade because of that). I really liked the in-class problems he had us do with people sitting around us, cause they often were just the right amount of "tricky" and useful to test what we've learned. I was only able to attend one of Dodd's office hours, because of schedule conflicts, but I also went to one of the "have lunch with your professor events," and every time I talked to Dodd outside of class, he was extremely kind. In office hours, he wants to help you understand everything you have a question for, but also challenges you to try to work through the problems first by talking them through, which I really appreciated.

Feb 2019

On top of being an amazing human being, Professor Dodd is an exceptional professor. His classes are organized, follow the textbook material very closely, and he makes himself more than available to meet with you to go over confusing concepts and difficulties you may be having in the course. His lectures, although, not exciting, are very well organized and easy to understand. He writes all important concepts on the board in an organized way that makes it very easy to take notes (or know what to take notes on) in his class. He even uses colored chalk to underline formulas in red and create intricate diagrams in graphs to help you understand physical processes. His tests are very fair. He never tests on anything that he did not explicitly mention in class or did not have a homework problem set, and he provides detailed formula sheets on tests so that you do not have to memorize formulas. Note: although the problem sets are usually pretty difficult, the problems he gives on tests are nowhere near as difficult as the ones on the homework problem sets. Overall. I would highly recommend taking any class Professor Dodd teachers.

May 2015

Dodd's class is definitely a decent amount of work and fairly challenging material, but his class is more than fair and he is a great teacher and a great human. He is more than willing to help, and his lectures are engaging, well-organized, interesting, and Dodd's pretty funny, too. Plenty of demonstrations to keep things interesting, and he responds well to feedback from the class on what they'd like to see in the class or how they'd like things to change. Really, my classes with Jeremy Dodd (Physics 1601/1602) have been my best academic experiences so far at Columbia - I've learned a lot, and although it's a lot of work, it certainly felt worthwhile.

Aug 2014

I took the 1403 as a summer course and got an A without much pain. To clarify, I am an engineering student who has to take an annoying natural science course to fulfill my track. Being said, I am not a physics person. Professor Dodd is, as mentioned in all comments, warm, helpful, approachable. It was a pity that I didn't take much use of his office hour, but I am sure it would be of great help to everyone. Professor Dodd assigns homework through Wiley Plus web assign, which is exactly the same thing as the textbook exercise. However, there was a time that he assigned several non-textbook problems which required some derivation. Not that intimidating at all. Jeremy also posts literally ALL the helpful stuff on coursework's. Don't forget to take full advantage of them. Our TA was Zac. I barely went to his recitations though I think they would be helpful if you need someone guide you through textbook exercises. Honestly, I really preferred solving them by myself. The midterms and the finals are pretty reasonable in difficulties. If you solve all the problems he assigns, well at least that's what I did, you will probably get a grade better than your expectation. DO take Professor Dodd's class! It's painless, clearly structured and, better than most physics classes in high school, won't make this subject intimidating for a non-physics-major student like me.

May 2014

First off, I'll give my background in physics because that seems to matter quite a lot when reviewing 1600. In high school, I took a basic algebra-based physics class freshman year where we essentially learned what acceleration was... then junior year I took AP Physics C Mechanics, got a 5, felt VERY comfortable with the material, and then senior year took AP E&M, had a teacher that didn't teach, got a 2, didn't learn much. Ok, so going into physics freshman year as someone who liked it a little, but really wasn't sure about majoring in it or anything like that, Dodd was a wonderful instructor who really changed how I looked at physics. He taught every class enthusiastically, faulty demonstrations and all, and really focused on kids learning an intuition for what was going on. Dodd helped me learn that Physics was more than just a science class that I was good at, but instead was really a fundamental method for looking at how the world works and why. The first semester felt a little easy for me due to learning Mechanics in high school, but I was somewhat dreading the second semester, because I thought I hated E&M and had no intuition for it. However, Dodd gave me a totally new perspective. He taught it so thoroughly and so well that it became something entirely different for me, and was one of my absolute favorite classes. Now, aside from me fanboy-ing Dodd, he really did have some amazingly helpful aspects of the course. 1. The textbook he chose is the best textbook for any subject that I've ever read. It was such a nice tool to have an easy-to-read, yet thorough exploration of the material to back up on if you missed a class or two. 2. Mastering Physics, which was our version of WebAssign, worked very well for me, making problem sets fun, challenging, and very educational. Also, the second semester, he added practice Psets that were perfect ways to study before the midterms, and before the final, he posted adaptive Psets, which were very helpful. 3. Dodd really took advantage of Courseworks. He posts all the information you could ever need about the course on the home page. He posts his lecture notes weekly. He posts before each midterm and final the formula sheet used on the exam, the material covered on the exam, the previous year's version of that exam, a solution guide to the previous year's exam, and seating assignments. And after each exam, he posts the score distribution, the exam itself, and the solutions. Really everything you could ask for. 4. All of his exams (ignoring the debacle of the first midterm of the Fall, on which most of the class got a 100%) are fair and well made. 5. He frequently sends out mini announcements via email, and he is very responsive to emails and after-class chats. 6. Finally, his office hours were a pleasure to go to. He is inviting, warm, and helpful, making office hours, in some ways, the best part of the class. To really understand how much Dodd cares for his students, I'll share an anecdote: On the last day of lecture, Dodd brought in a big bouquet of white roses and, saying that it felt like a quasi-graduation, he gave one to every student (at least those who showed up to lecture that day) because of how much he loved teaching us this year. Dodd is really a special teacher, and he made it clear to me that physics is going to be an important part of my education, convincing me to at least concentrate in it. I give him the highest recommendation to all.

May 2014

Since most of the other reviews are from people who aced AP Physics C and took this class, I’ll say right off that my perspective is different. I did not take AP Physics, or even E&M physics in high school really. Coming into this class all I knew was V=IR. I took Dodd because I figured I could drop down if I needed from 1601 into 1401 and I probably should have because everyone in 1601 knew more than me coming in, but I stubbornly stuck with it until Christmas and then, hearing that 1602 would be a more level playing field, I decided to stick with in for semester two. On paper, Dodd doesn’t seem like the best professor, and if I were to describe what about his teaching style worked I would not be able to. He gives weekly 10-problem PSets (on masteringphysics.com), and asks you to read the book. I read the book but not in sync with the course (all at the beginning and end of the semester). I went to most lectures and feel that I got a lot out of them, I think that this is why I did better than most people, many of whom did not show up for his 10am class. I also went to recitations and felt that they were very productive (again most people forego this. bad idea). My TA Zac was amazing. It’s not exactly an easy class, but I feel like it could have been more rigorous. However, I do feel like I understand electricity and magnetism after this class. I like physics because of his class. The reasons that I stuck with the class is that Dodd is truly the nicest professor I have had at Columbia. He is humble and cares about the well being of his students. He will remember your name if you introduce yourself to him. He will make time to meet with you outside of office hours if you want. Definitely go to his lunch with a professor if you can, he’s a charming man. Given the opportunity, I would take the class again.

May 2013

Columbia lacks a good physics class for students who don't want the rigor of 2800, yet have done physics at a level equal to or above AP Physics C (1600). 1602 is more or less a rehash of AP Physics C: E&M. I took 2801 first semester and dropped down to 1602 for the second semester because 2800 took too much of my time (I have come to regret this decision). For those who don't have much physics exposure, go for 1400. Dodd rushes through Thermodynamics and E&M at a furious pace, giving students no time to digest the material. If you took this class, and this was the first time you were learning the material, I pity you. It's impossible to actually learn anything from Dodd at the speed at which eh teaches. Dodd is a friendly, approachable teacher who does a lot of fun demonstrations. He assigns homework which is harder than material covered in class. Exams tend to be easier than the problem sets. This class is meant for students who have taken AP Physics C or the equivalent, and want a physics sequence they don't want to study for. I suggest taking 2800 if you want to actually learn real physics (be warned that 2800 is indeed a hard class) and 1400 if you don't know physics.

Jan 2013

Dodd The previous reviews point out many things about Dodd’s class that I can agree with. The problem sets tend to be harder than the samples in lecture, and occasionally contain unsolvable problems that he ends up throwing out. The tests also only have 4 questions each, so if you’re unprepared you can lose points rather quickly. Here, I’ll diverge a bit from the reviews to provide a different perspective for students who: a) Really like physics b) Have taken physics C:Mechanics and E+M and received 5s c) Felt extremely comfortable with the material covered in above courses If you’re deciding between the 1600 series and 2800 series, this will probably apply to you. Depending on the strength of your high school’s physics program, you may find that this class is a repeat of physics C. Even with a good physics C background however, you will find a few of the problems challenging and unique. In this case, lecture attendance may not be as necessary on topics you feel great about. On topics that you want to learn more about—like rotation—just show up and pay attention. If you take 1601, you will most likely do well (B+,A-,A) without an intense amount of effort beyond the required work. TA sections are a joke and are generally unhelpful. As many of the people in the class are being exposed to new material / new depth of old material, you will have a bit of an advantage. Taking this class is a good idea if you want to keep your physics sharp but also work on fundamentals. However, if you’d like to challenge yourself and learn more in depth, try 2801—it’s easy to drop down to 1601 and your grade is adjusted for the difficulty difference.

Dec 2012

Professor Dodd overall is a nice guy who genuinely cares about students and has truly good intentions. Nevertheless, there are sadly some negative aspects to this class that have made me hesitant to take a second semester with him. First off, Dodd does try to liven up the class with demonstrations. He did the conservation of rotational inertia problem which was funny as he got smacked in the face with dumbbells and the student with the dumbbells subsequently fell of the spinning stool. He always tried to incorporate some demonstration to make the class fun. Alas, a 10: 10 am class for me was, at the very least, way too early and I truly found it difficult to attend and fully pay attention every single time. He goes over the class well, but sadly far too simplistically. The only appropriate metaphor I can find to compare his class would be to be in kindergarten learning 2+2 and simple arithmetic in class and then having to do complex multivariable integration for homework. Dodd sadly goes over the easiest, clearest, and simplest problems and leaves the hardest, most confusing, and poorly written problems in the textbook. The tools given in class were far too insufficient for allowing students to answer the problems, and sadly I would do worse than the average on the problem sets as I actually tried to do the problems fairly and without answers most of the time while everyone else probably copied answers off the solutions manual. Why not just assign some problems of a moderate difficulty, and not have to rape my brain? The worst part of this class was the textbook. IT IS ABYSMAL. Sadly there are so many great textbooks available for physics and an elite private university such as Columbia has to assign the worst piece of crap on the face of the earth, Fishbane. Reading through chapters of Fishbane is akin to reading some poorly written, unclear, simplified, and confusing book and then being given insanely difficult problems at the end of the textbook which you were not given any tools from the book on how to solve these problems. It's truly the worst. This course may be good for students truly talented in Physics, but for me, even hard work and dedication and showing up to class as much as I could proved insufficient to do his homeworks, understand the material clearly, and do easily on his midterms/ final.

Dec 2012

I'll generally recommend taking 1601 over 1401 because they aren't much different in terms of workload and I like Dodd. That being said, 1401 does seem like LESS work (something greatly appreciated as a first year), and unless you genuniely like physics (like me!) you might not appreciate an awesome professor and a delve into more a bit more theoretical material than 1401 exposes you to. Dodd explains the math way too fast, and I am lost often in lectures unless I am really doing my best to pay attention/get the material and not sleepy. Sometimes he recommends you read the book before going to class; disregard this advice, the book sucks. He explains the concepts rather well, and if you take notes during class, you can go back later and understand the specifics behind the math. I highly recommend going lectures. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. I have spent over 4 hours going through a chapter in the textbook trying to learn it on my own. Once I skipped about 3 weeks worth of lectures one month, bringing me behind to the point where I never caught up until the morning of the final. Go to the lectures, then attempt the pset, referring back to the book when you need help. Even if you don't understand everything in the lecture, just exposing yourself to it and taking notes is waaaaaay better than attempting to understand the material on your own. The first week or so of the class is easy and doesn't really require attending lecture. This is decieving, as the class quickly picks up and screws you over if you skip lecture. Dodd incorporates some funny demostrations into his lecture, some of which conclude with him getting smacked in the head with dumbells; videotape these. He is also rather British and has a nice sense of humor. Additionally, he arranges dinners with the "faculty/student interaction dinner" program so a group of about 20 students can eat food with him, discuss the class, and other topics of life. His office hours are very helpful and he will go over problems that are on the pset. It is very funny to see him try to get everyone out of his office when its 5 o clock. A student will be trying to ask a few last questions, to which his response will be "I'm confident that if you use your intuition, you will come to the solution" when the student clearly doesn't understand the problem. Again, make use of the time he does offer for office hours. Many times I would have questions for him after class, and a line would form. He always took the time to answer everyone's questions and concerns without trying to brush anything off (though he wasn't too excited about people switching down to 1401). Plus he really enjoyed explaining the specifics behind his demonstrations. Everyone skips recitation. When I would attend, I wouldn't go to the TA I was assigned to. There is no attendance/quizzes in recitation, so I recommend trying a session on each day and attending the one you like better regardless of which time slot you are signed up for. Very helpful if you take advantage of it, especially since most people are skipping it. Dodd really cares about his students and gives you all the resources needed to succeed in his class. (you just have to take advantage of them!) You will come out of the class knowing tons about mechanics; I can't open a door or go to a bowling alley without thinking of the corresponding physics formula. He is the director of undergraduate studies for the physics department, so he is really good to know if you want to major in physics. He also held review sessions before the final which were really helpful. The psets will kick your ass, but you'll survive if as long as you don't get behind!

Dec 2011

Sadly I had to take a 3rd semester of Physics for EE, but Dodd made it pretty painless. I twas unfortunately a 9am class, but this area of Physics seems to be Dodd's specialty. Dodd isn't as engaging as Hailey, but I think overall does a better job teaching the material. That said, E&M is probably harder to teach. Dodd is very well organized, well spoken, articulate, and capable of doing problems in a straightforward and instructive manner. Some reviewers blame him for regurgitating the text book too much; I didn't find that was the case for this portion of physics, because it is his specialty, I think. Dodd's online-posted notes are very useful, even if his hand writing is hard to read. He did not prepare any practice exams because he "had not taught the course" before.

May 2011

Give this man a silver nugget at the very least! Dodd is an exceptionally gifted and caring teacher. He really cares more about how much you learn over dry scores as evidenced by his grading scheme: only your highest midterm counts. He's also very engaging during office hours and will take the time to walk you through any HW problem, concept or random physics tangent you may be interested in. Dodd is extremely clear during lectures and noticeably takes the effort to explain concepts as simply and comprehensively as possible. Compared to the other "big name" professors in the physics department, Dodd really reminded me of a high school type of teacher. He goes out of his way to get to know you during office hours if you attend, learns your name etc. I feel most people who reviewed Dodd in the past were in either the 1200 or 1400 sequence and had very little exposure to how horrendous math/science professors can be at research universities. I was in 2801 and honors math A first semester and the difference in teaching ability between those professors and Dodd is ridiculous. Homeworks are a perfect balance of rigor and accessibility. There's generally a problem or two that makes you think but overall the problem sets (of 10 problems or so) are very doable and if you pay attention in class shouldn't take longer than 3-5 hours. The midterms and final are distinctly easier than the homeworks, and as I said before the lower midterm is dropped. Dodd also has extensive office hours on top of multiple recitations before the HWs are due so there's really no reason you shouldn't have a near perfect homework average. On top of that, he curves to an A-. Frankly this class is set up so you can succeed. The best part is if you care enough to take notes during lecture, actually do the homeworks and attend office hours/recitations as needed, you will learn a lot of interesting physics. I highly recommend the 1600 sequence over the 2800 sequence for students who want a SOLID foundation in physics rather than acceleration for the sake of it.

Mar 2011

He was a very clear, straight forward teacher. His classes were good--not terribly interesting, but not dreadfully boring. He taught almost straight from the book, so the examples in class were pretty easy compared to those he assigned for homework, which I found quite challenging when I tried to do them just based on my notes. I really had to rely heavily on reading the material and teaching it to myself. There were a good amount of demonstrations in class which livened things up a bit. He's a very nice guy and very approachable.

Aug 2010

Classes are clear cut and follow the book. Also beware that the "example" problems that he puts up on the board are the really easy ones. Homework problems are of much greater difficulty; I really wished that he challenged us more in class with the example problems. Most of the time, you will be left doing your problem set well into the night and suddenly discover that the problem makes no sense and is not related to any other problems that you have done before. Make sure to work in groups, so that you can help each other out. However, he is very willing to help anyone with concepts and will take time outside of office hours if needed. That being said, his grading system is a little weird. It is two tiered: 1) 1st midterm 20%, 2nd midterm 20%, final 40%, homework 20% or 2) Better midterm, homework, and final (He doesn't list out these percentages anymore; maybe because of me.) So which ever gives you the highest grade will be your grade in the class. His TAs or whoever grades the midterms and finals make A LOT of mistakes(If you were grading 150+ exams under time pressure, you would make mistakes too), so make sure never to pass up the opportunity to get a regrade. Even if you are unsure about it, just go to office hours and ask him about the problem. Then submit your midterm/final for regrade. I know from personal experience what a missed opportunity this regrading means. I really commend the physics department for this department-wide policy (unlike the Chemistry department, in which professors decide when to show tests and when to let regrades. i.e. placement test).

Dec 2009

I really have no complaints about him. His explanations are clear, concise, and precise. He is interesting enough as a lecturer, and his demonstrations are usually pretty enjoyable too. That said, going to class is probably optional since the textbook does a good job of explaining the same concepts too. If you have a grading problem on your midterm, it's a pain because you have to submit a form and then wait who knows how long before they tell you if your mark went up (or down). Annoying process, so I usually try to send him a quick email asking if I should bother getting it regraded.

May 2009

Prof Dodd has changed a lot since the culpa reviews were submitted for PHYS 1401. He's a lot less passionate about E&M, and it shows. His lectures are rarely useful and he tends to go around a point before actually making it, which makes me extremely impatient. His timing is awful; he always goes past class time and doesn't cover everything that's on the final. I would recommend taking Hughes instead of Dodd. At least he gave us refracting glasses on the last day!

Feb 2009

Professor Dodd is one of the best lecturers at Columbia. He has a good sense of humor which he mixes in with the dry material in order to make lecture enjoyable. However, he has a tendency to make the material seem MUCH easier than it actually is. He often (if not always) overgeneralizes ideas and he does very simple examples in class. When one looks at the homework, however, it is a totally different story. I often found myself clueless over most of the problems in the book even after attending lecture. In order to even come close to doing the problems, I had to read the chapter and follow along with the example problems in the book. I also had to often turn to online help. I think Prof. Dodd does a very good job of presenting the material in the time allotted, and in order to do well in the class, one has to put in a lot of work outside of class.

Dec 2008

AWESOME professor. clear and organized lectures, writes everything down on the board so you have great notes to refer back to at the end of every class. very fair exams (as long as you can do the homework and read the chapter you are almost guaranteed a good grade) and the mean for the class is a B+. weekly problem sets due every thursday and recitation sections that go through any homework problems you're having trouble with. i really learned a lot in this class and recommend this professor for someone who is in SEAS and not that good at physics.

Jan 2008

Dodd is a very engaging lecturer and makes the principles he's discussing relevant using examples and many demonstrations. Some of these work better than others but they are always interesting. His lectures can sometimes seem like he is reading the book out loud but it is better to go and follow along than to try to decipher his lecture notes after class - they won't make a lot of sense. He covers a lot of material in 75 minutes, averaging a chapter per class. Reading the chapter before class will help you understand the lecture, rather than struggling to grasp the concepts for the first time as he zips through them. Problem sets are time-consuming, especially if you haven't read the textbook. Try to find people to work with and definitely attend the discussion sections, where the TA goes over selected questions. Midterms and finals are difficult, requiring actual thought. The questions are often slightly-reworked version of the harder questions in the textbook, so make sure to practice them. You'll do better spending your time working out those problems than re-reading your notes and the text over and over again, unless you're totally lost.

Sep 2006

Professor Dodd is my favorite teacher I have had at Columbia to date. Just to give you an idea of my perspective, I am a post-bacc premed. Professor Dodd had a great lecture style - while teaching rather dry material, his sense of humor and lovely accent make the material easier to swallow. He explained concepts simply and clearly. I would agree that his examples in class were a little too simple to be helpful at times. However, he was available to students during office hours and after class and was more than willing to go over difficult problems. He also talked a little about his own research and other current happenings in physics that were very interesting and at times applicable (without going overboard... I didnt feel like he was wasting class time or anything).

May 2006

General physics I under professor Dodd was very enjoyable. He is clear and patient, and has a witty sense of humor. His assignments are difficult but he will poll the class and make adjustments. His first midterm was challenging but fair, while his second midterm was easier. You will be relatively successful in his class if you understand the homework problems completely, and review the difficult problems in the book. Professor Dodd gave a very fair curve, with a B+ as the mean. I really enjoyed this physics class although I started slacking towards the end. Sometimes the problems Dodd goes over in class are too simple or he generalizes it. His demonstrations are an absolute riot!!