Surface and Interface Engineering23>
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Most Helpful Review
This is a fun, improvised sort of class that isn't too stressful. As Lu mentions, his goal is not to give you a hard time but instead to get you to learn a thing or two and this is exactly what he accomplishes.
Lectures are essentially mandatory. There's nothing posted online, no powerpoints, no real way to know what he went over unless you know someone in class. Homeworks are verbally given during class but they're honestly *really* open-ended. "How much energy do you need to turn 1 kg of gold ore into nano-sized particles 5 nm in diameter?" was an entire homework. Any method is fair game and so long as you make an attempt, the TA gives you a check. It's honestly refreshing to simply do some online research for a homework--you actually learn things this way. I simply did some research for the surface energy of gold, wrote down my sources, made some calculation assumptions and crunched numbers.
Another was to calculate how far water will crawl up a partially submerged piece of toilet paper. Explain it, actually do the experiment, research it, whatever. Just show some effort. Surprisingly, if I had the time, this prompted me to put more effort than I would have normally.
For how impromptu and improvised Lu's teaching style for this course is, the exams are surprisingly formal. Study for them. It's hard to say how to study since they aren't extremely difficult, but you definitely need to have attended lecture and paid attention to do well. Albeit, that isn't difficult to do. Some questions are easy plug and chug of fundamental equations Lu goes over in class. Others are essay-like where so long as you show you understood the basics in class, you'll get full marks. Some (especially the multiple choice) will leave you torn over how to answer.
Lectures are pretty cool. Minimal powerpoint and mostly Lu just teaching random topics within the subject. I don't even think we covered the stuff on the syllabus lol. Lu does have a heavy accent, but I found myself used to it pretty quickly. He'd ask open ended questions, wait for answers, draw diagrams on the board, derive equations, etc. Nothing too fast, crazy, or complicated, but that's honestly more than you can hope for at UCLA.
Overall, a very chill class. I wish all my classes were like this--not very dense, but enough there to keep you occupied.