CHEM 156

## Physical Biochemistry

*Description:*Lecture, four hours; discussion, one hour. Requisites: courses 110A, 153A. Biochemical kinetics; solution thermodynamics of biochemical systems; multiple equilibria; hydrodynamics; energy levels, spectroscopy, and bonding; topics from structural, statistical, and electrochemical methods of biochemistry. P/NP or letter grading.

*Units:*4.0

**Most Helpful Review**

I took Chem 156 with Dr. Bowie Winter 2005. I thought Physical Biochemistry was a very interesting course because it was the first time that all of the theories and equations taught in previous courses were applied to actual research. It was the first course I took that I felt exposed me to current techniques in biochemistry. Dr. Bowie shows you actual equipment and experimental data and then applies the numbers to what is happening on the molecular level. He doesn't necessarily expect us to understand the minute details, but I believe he wants us to be exposed to current techniques so we are well prepared for graduate school. This course jumps from topic to topic fairly rapidly, in order to expose us to a broad range of subject matter. This course is very mathematical. Dr. Bowie is a good teacher, although at times he would "hand-wave" explanations to some students' questions. Some students were frustrated by his unwillingness to argue over little details or exceptions to theories, but I assure you, he doesn't expect you to know more detail than what he teaches. I believe his exam questions are very straightforward as well. I disagree with previous reviews. I believe that Dr. Bowie's problem sets DID accurately reflect the types of things we were supposed to know for exams. Perhaps he has changed his format in response to prior criticisms. Bowie's exams are conceptual but very manageable. Most of his questions usually require you to identify an equation that describes the situation he has set up in the problem. He allows you to bring equation sheets in, so you don't need to memorize ANY equations, you simply need to know how to properly apply them (which is easy if you do the problem sets.) You may need to manipulate the equation in some simple algebraic manner and then determine what variable in the equation is affected by the experimental conditions. This seemed really difficult for some students because they didn't THINK about the equation. For example, a huge number of students in my class missed a midterm question about sedimentation because they failed to think in terms of the equation. In the problem set up he explicitly stated that two different plasmids (one supercoiled and one relaxed) have the same mass, partial specific volume, and solvent density and that the relaxed plasmid failed to sediment (don't worry, you'll learn all about this). From the equation, if all of these variables are the same, then the supercoiled plasmid should fail to sediment also. This should have been a VERY easy question, yet most people missed it (saying the supercoiled plasmid would sediment) because they didn't focus on the equation. So... be forewarned... Dr. Bowie will ask questions where perhaps your intuition leads you to one answer, but the equation points to another. IN EVERY INSTANCE FOLLOW THE EQUATIONS!!!!! If he's not asking a question that requires you to identify an equation and explain some phenomenon based on the equation, he gives very straightforward "plug-n-chug" types of questions. I think most everyone did well on these. In all cases, an equation should be written down for every single answer to get full credit. Just an explanation, without an equation, is not enough. Otherwise, I think Bowie is a great guy. He's very easy going and reasonable and approachable. My TA, Mary Jane, was amazing. Every time we had a midterm she had it graded and returned by the next class period. She was extremely knowledgeable. I'm very, very glad I took 156 with Bowie, and I was able to pull off an A with only a moderate amount of effort. Best of luck to everyone!!

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**Most Helpful Review**

Dr. Lee is what I call the typical UCLA professor. By "typical" I mean, brilliant man, horrible teacher. Let me explain... He makes a reader for chem 156 and the reader contained over 250 pages of hand-written notes. You might think that not having to take much notes in class is a good thing...WRONG! There was way too much information and not enough explanation. I'm not sure even Dr. Lee realizes how much information he overloaded on us. For each of the midterms we had to memorize 80 pages of notes...that's like buying those 3 subject UCLA notebooks and using all three sections for one class. During lecture he basically goes over what's in the reader and glances over difficult topics while wasting time on simple concepts. His attempts at creating models to explain what's going on ends up being more confusing than the concept itself. Each lecture we go over anywhere from 8 to 10 pages of his hand-written notes. And if we fall behind (i.e. go over 5 pages instead of the 10 pages he had numbered off), he'll rush the next lecture and cover 15 pages. He is very much into derivations and mathematical equations and will dance around complex formulas which ends up confusing the heck out of everyone. Worse yet, no note cards for equations for any of the exams. I'm not sure how many of you like taking physics without being given any equations, because, like physics, this class was all about equations and problem solving. Homework was assigned every week, but the homework was so poorly coordinated that we would do the homework before the material was lectured on, or the homework was due on the day it was lectured on. Most people I've talked to agree that chem 110A was a killer class, but chem 156 was supposed to be okay. WRONG again. Chem 156 w/ Lee was twice as difficult as 110A. If you can wait, take chem 156 with someone else. If you can't, then my advice to you is: rely heavily on the T.A. and study like crazy. p.s. What do looks have to do with anything when rating a professor??? (refer to comments posted on 4/22 and 4/9)

**Most Helpful Review**

Spring 2016 - I really liked Professor Quinlan! She is very concerned about student learning and she is very straightforward. She is also super approachable and takes steps to make sure students are given what they need to succeed. For example, she asks you to put your questions on CCLE forums for the other students to see. But she also allows you to email her your questions and she will post them anonymously if you are self-conscious about your question. She gives you a template for her lectures before lecture. She writes on them during lecture and then uploads those notes after class. I personally prefer this to podcasting, because she writes down all the important things in the notes. She also pauses to write things down so you aren't scribbling your notes during lecture. The tests are extremely fair; our class averages were pretty high for the midterms. You also get a cheat sheet. My only complaint about this class is that the tablet she uses doesn't work too well for handwriting notes. They can get illegible at times, but you can just ask her for clarification, Quinlan is a great professor and I wish she taught more courses because I would definitely take them with her.