Laser Laboratory


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Overall Rating 3.2
Easiness 3.2/ 5
Clarity 3.6/ 5
Workload 3.4/ 5
Helpfulness 3.4/ 5
Most Helpful Review
The previous post always seemed a bit depressing to me, so I will add a more light-hearted review of the professor. I took him for a 4 hour laser lab course, 172L, back in 2006. My whole review will be based on how 172L was back then. The course splits the students into 3 separate groups (or 2 if it is an especially small class), each doing a different lab (and the performed labs rotate each week). This is because the equipment is very expensive for everyone to do the same experiments each week (like 110L and 115AL). The lab procedures are complex. However, the TA and professor pretty much require you to wait for them before you do the lab. As I said, the equipment is expensive (especially the tunable laser) and neither the professor nor the TA wants the equipment hurt! They will pretty much tell you exactly how to do the experiment. Data acquisition is a breeze after they demonstrate the procedure. Working with the data is another thing (detailed below). The lab reports were graded fairly, but not easily like in 110L and 115AL. Try to understand the theory and go to OH if you are not sure what is expected. The previous lab write-up instructions were very vague on what the report required, so just ask the most knowledgeable TA. The current (and only from what I see) TA, Peggy, is great. The professor's OH was not too great from what I remember. Professor Stafsudd assumes you know how to work with the data, which is frequently not the case. If you ask questions concerning how to work with the data, his explanations are not that great either. Finally, after the demo, the professor likes to walk around the room and tell stories to whichever lab group he first walks to. Although 4 hours is more than enough to complete the labs (barring equipment breaking, which is not uncommon), you generally want to leave as early as possible. Once he picks your group, get on his good side and just let him tell his stories! Rest assured that they are interesting, despite your urge to leave. However, if you finish your lab and you have a class afterwards, run for the door! If he catches you, he will tell you stories. He is very nice and joyful that you may find it hard to tell him you need to leave. Other than that, just have fun with his stories! The course was originally not too hard so long as you go to the TA's OH and ask what they expected. And make sure in your lab data and derived results to only have only 1 or 2 numbers to the right of the decimal point. Professor Stafsudd expects a reasonable (not excessive) number of significant figures. Namely, do not have EXCEL to calculate from the data and report all the digits from said calculation. For example, when you calculate 76.53190413 degrees as your result, just put 76.53 degrees in your data table since the equipment is not precise up to 10 significant figures. :) Lastly, the grading is pretty chill. The lowest grade in my class was a B. Hope that is a good assessment and good luck!
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