professor
Chee-Wei Wong

Jul 2011

In this class, you'll generally have to go figure out how to use some arcane, poorly-labeled, and outdated machinery to take data. You'll then have to perform some time-consuming operations on that data, and repeat many times. No one will tell you what those operations are, nor will they explain the goal of your analysis. Make good, good friends with the TA's. It's not very clear what your lab reports are graded on (as in most labs at columbia), and no one has any clue at all what constitutes a good lab notebook. Some of my most thrown-together labs got 97's while our exhaustively-labored products received 80's. Before the hands-on sessions begin, Wong gives a few days of packed, high-intensity lectures. These are completely useless until the final exam. He also prints a tremendous amount of material and hands it out; you will only read a tiny, tiny fraction of it. The practice exam is significantly easier than the final. If you ask Chee Wei questions during lab session or (god forbid) outside of class, he mostly tells you to ask a TA. He is also never, ever in his office. Only one of the TA's speaks English at an intelligible volume. The other has a medium thick accent but can be understood with some effort.