professor
David Reichman

Jun 2014

Professor Reichman is among the most boring professors I have ever had to listen to in any subject. His lectures are a monotonous drone that completely fails to fill 309 Havemayer, but his slides are so unilluminating and sparse that if you want to get anything out of them you have to struggle to listen along. He usually does a problem or two on the board as is standard, but you would get a clearer explanation by putting the examples in the book through a text-to-voice program and pretending it's a professor. It would probably also make more effort to answer questions. A great example of Reichman's incompetence was the first day of class: he struggled to even explain the course itself. When he got to grading he said: "We drop an exam, but beyond that I can't tell you how we grade the class, it's very complicated, but it all works out in your favor." Presumably the whole department grades identically, and it's a z-score curve which is not too difficult to explain... Quizzes are written by the TA's and tests by Reichman. A couple questions each test were stricken for being wrong or nonsense, although Reichman's tests were a little more straightforward than Beer's second semester. If you want to get questions answered, you should hope you get a good TA or reach out to one of the others if you get a bad one. The textbook is also pretty clear, so you can basically replace the lectures and use recitation for questions. For all these reasons, lectures were basically empty by the end of the semester. The OWL homework system is terrible and a technical nightmare and yet you have to use it. I'm sure you could do worse, but you could probably do better than Reichman.

Jan 2014

Professor Reichman was an excellent lecturer - very engaging, addressed questions during lectures, and made sure to keep lectures focused on relevant materials. However, he has an air of nonchalance with respect to the finer details of the class, which was frustrating at times. While he favored the importance of conceptual understanding, his tests would delve into semantics, exceptions, and nitpicking in a fashion that was not consistent with the broader-picture philosophy that he continually stressed during lectures and office hours. Professor Reichman provided practice exams for all three of the midterms (not the final), and kept the format consistent with his actual tests. While these practice tests were useful, the online component of the course (OWL) was not particularly helpful, and more of a burden than a study tool when preparing for the tests. Quizzes are sort of a wild card, as they are wholly dependent on your TA. The Professor and TAs emphasized that there was no grade disadvantage to having a "harder" TA, since all grades were standardized at the end of the course. However, having a TA that was able to effectively review concepts and provide quizzes that helped prepare for the exams could really change the difficulty of the course for each student.

Jan 2013

Professor Reichman's class is a waste of time. I went into the class actually liking/feeling like I knew something about Chemistry. This class is about memorizing arbitrary facts that Professor Reichman thinks are important (he spent many lectures on Schroedinger's) that will not appear on the MCAT or come up in Chem II. His lectures are not boring - they're nonsensical! Try as I may I could never follow any of what he was saying, because he would just ramble on for an hour and fifteen minutes while showing PowerPoint slides that not only had nothing to do with what he was talking about, but were often factually incorrect and riddled with typos. The same thing goes for his tests - the questions were poorly worded and often there would be no correct answers listed, forcing the poor TAs to correct the questions in real time as you took the exam! I can't believe they let this guy teach. Chem I is a relatively straightforward subject and he really makes it frustrating.

Dec 2012

Let me preface this by saying I did take AP Chem in high school with a fantastic teacher. I took Gen Chem instead of a more advanced class because I took AP a few years ago and didn't remember much of the material. If you're in the same boat as me, this class will be A BREEZE. Reichman's lectures are pretty boring. I paid attention to the first one, but then I realized how much more fun it was to play Doodle Jump every lecture instead of listening. Reichman drones on in a ton of unnecessary detail, which might just end up confusing you about what you actually need to know for exams. (YOU BARELY NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING!!!) He'll ask the same question 5 times with slightly different wording/numbers, and if you know which equation to use, it's just plugging and chugging. (Don't worry, I had an awful TA and still had no problem with these types of questions – questions which covered material outside of the AP curriculum. They are literally just algebra.) As people have mentioned already, he provides us with practice exams that reflect the actual exams fairly well. Bottom line: you need a minimal understanding of chemistry to do well in this class. Compared to what we were expected to know for AP, this is a joke. If you have half a brain, you'll be fine. Your TA will make sure you know what will be on the exam.

Nov 2012

On the first day of class, Reichman came across to be very douchey. I believe he said something along the lines of "don't bother emailing me—I won't answer it because it's not important. Email your TAs." While that kind of pissed me off at first, he is a kind of busy guy. Still, most of the people in Gen Chem came to the consensus that Reichman is "the man." His class is fair and the grading is quite forgiving (drop two out of the seven quizzes, and drop one of the 3 midterms or all of the quizzes). Lectures are as boring or exciting as a typical lecture can be, and he goes into a lot of detail that's not in the slides—it might not explicitly appear on a quiz or exam, but it furthers understanding. He did, however, spend two full lectures deriving the Schrodinger's equation, all to say that we don't really need to know it. He puts practice midterms online and recommends practice questions from the book. Having a good TA can help you out, but the grades of different TA sections are normalized so that if you have a shitty TA you aren't at a disadvantage compared to other people in the lecture. As someone who only had honors chemistry in high school, I wouldn't say Reichman's an extremely hard professor, and I did learn a lot. Reichman's the man.

Jan 2011

Though his lectures are not always the most exciting and I often found myself shivering in the lecture hall, Professor Reichman taught a very fair class. I found this class to have many tiers of learning, with going to lecture being the base. I know people who didn't go to lecture, but read all of the book, who got similar grades to me, but it depends on the person. It definitely helps for quizzes to go to lecture, because your TA will probably tell you what will be on the next quiz based on the lectures. That said, I did not find Reichman's powerpoints very helpful, you really have to listen to him. He will stay on one slide for a very long time and just talk. He often goes into more detail and depth than you actually need to know, but by going to lecture you will get the gist of the information. Equations are not presented well in the slideshows, and though he sometimes works problems, I depended on recitation to learn such things. He will assign optional homework problems to do (no credit), which I highly recommend. I also highly recommend reading the textbook, which is actually not too hard to do. Reichman always stayed for 20 minutes after class to answer questions, and answered questions during lecture too, though there were not usually many. He provided practice exams before each midterm, but not for the final. These were helpful because the TAs always held a question to ask questions about them, which was a great way to study. I always thought that they were pretty similar to the exams in difficulty, but I usually found that the exams had fewer problems that involved math. Reichman is a fine professor, but with this class I think that having a good TA matters more.

May 2010

I dreaded taking quantum, but Reichman makes the subject really approachable. At the beginning of each class, he'd talk for a few minutes about whatever had been covered in the last class, which I found to make the class a lot easier. He always spoke clearly (which was refreshing after a semester with Cacciuto), and the lectures seemed to go in a logical order. The grading in the course seems pretty generous. Since pretty much everyone who takes it is either a chem, biochem, or chemical physics major, the class is curved to a B+ (though in cases when everyone does really well on a test, he curves those to an A-). He teaches the material from the book, but in a way that I found much easier to understand than just reading. There are weekly problem sets that are usually about 5 problems, and at some point in the semester, the problems all come directly from the book. He's also just sort of an eccentric guy. He'll tell random anecdotes from when he was in grad school, or talk about how even elephants have wave equations. It's nice, because it snaps you back to reality after your mind wanders...