Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Electrodynamics, Optics, and Special Relativity
Spring 2019 - I took this class Spring '19 and it was very well organised. The tests weren't too hard (MT1 mean was ~70%, MT2 ~79%, Final TBA). He is very clear and uploads his super helpful, typed out lecture notes on CCLE. Also, shoutout to possibly the best TA in the physics department, Nathan Tung - I learnt more in his two pre-final review sessions than I did with weeks of self-studying. A couple days before the final, he emailed all the enrolled students the 150-page notes that he had written up for his discussions with elaborate explanations of all the concepts. Absolute legend.
Fall 2021 - Professor Brown really cares about the students he teaches. Even with the hiccups in technology or tests, he communicates quickly and is very fair whilst still challenging his students. Professor Brown's tests and quizzes were hard, as it was all conceptual, though many partial points are given as well as gimme questions that make sure the student has a basic understanding before going into the more complex questions. His grading was fair, with a generous curve and being able to do corrections for the midterm. Overall, this class was challenging, but Professor Brown did his best to help those who put the effort forth. I also loved every single one of his demonstrations! It was something that I did not have in previous classes due to Covid, so it was awesome to see the concepts applied to real world things.
Winter 2019 - I see that none of the reviews here are newer than 2015, so let me provide a quick update. The first lecture seemed promising and Professor Bruinsma came off as a sweet Dutch man who would make this quarter enjoyable and manageable. If only that were the case. The weekly homework assignments usually consisted of a MasteringPhysics assignment (10ish modules) and a written portion due in class. The MasteringPhysics was manageable and honestly quite helpful, but the written portions of the homework assignments (anywhere from 6-9 multipart questions) were A.) illegible, B.) more conceptual based and confusing (my excellent TA, God bless his soul, had issues understanding what was being asked sometimes), and C.) ultimately not helpful in terms of the midterms or final exam. The lectures were 1 hour 50 minutes long and were boring beyond belief. You could just chalk that up to the material at hand, but from my experience, physics doesn't have to be boring. Corbin's physics lectures are informative, engaging, and as entertaining as physics can get (seriously, take Corbin if you can). Perhaps it would've helped if I could actually read what Bruinsma was writing on the board. I kid you not, at one point Bruinsma had a student from lecture REWRITE his notes in real time and have them projected on the big screen. Where's the logic in that? He also made mistakes quite often that had to be corrected by students in lecture. Lecture attendance was "mandatory" in a pretty loose sense. Every so often, a sign-in sheet would make its rounds, but this happened so sporadically and seemingly with no rhyme or reason. Discussion section attendance was mandatory, but I'm glad it was because my TA (Patrick) did such a good job at explaining loose ends from lecture, as well as helping us figure out the homework assignments. Seriously, thank you Patrick. As for the exams, both midterms and the final had "bonus questions" that could be a blessing or a curse depending on what side of the curve you find yourself on. For example, the bonus question (worth 25 points) on the first midterm brought the average up to near perfect, with some people scoring 100/75. I personally didn't care too much about the bonus questions being included, but when you explicitly state that the second midterm WILL NOT have a bonus question, and it ends up having one, it's not the best look.. Similarly, Bruinsma stated that the final exam would not have a double-slit problem, but lo and behold question #6 I think was a double-slit problem. There also was not a single question on optics, despite putting quite a bit of emphasis on it in lecture and the homework assignments. I don't know if Bruinsma was deliberately misleading us, or if he just doesn't read his exams before making 200 copies and distributing them (typos galore as well), but come on, get it together. Overall, I can not recommend this class to anyone taking 1C. You'll likely ending up teaching yourself from the textbook and Mastering Physics. There is also the chance that by the grace of God, have a TA like Patrick who makes life so much easier, but that's not a guarantee. Take Corbin if you can.
I took both 1B and 1C with carter, and I loved them. Topics are challenging but the way he teaches really helps you to understand the concepts. His office hours were really helpful as well if you are stuck on some homework problems. because of the material taught in 1b and 1c, the math can get a bit tricky at times but there wasn't anything that I hadn't seen before. in short, if you see him teaching, take him. you won't regret it.
Fall 2019 - Bring a lot of lubricant and prepare your posterior to be intellectually violated. You might as well throw away your self-esteem because unless you're one of three people who sit in the front row, you're going to fail every single exam. And that's okay, as long as you don't fail harder than your seat partner.
Many people will think that this professor is hard. That's true. But at the same time, anyone who actually puts in the time and effort to understand the derivations he does in class and focus on the important things he says during lecture can earn an A. My track record in Physics was a C in Physics 1A and a B+ in Physics 1B. In an effort to finish off the 1 series on a high note, I decided to step up my game: I was really attentive in class, attempted the homework without ever referring the answer key, and go visit him during office hours to clarify my notes. He was very nice and was willing to answer all my questions. How does he grade? For Physics 1C in Fall 2015, it was 5% homework, 22.5% per midterm (x2), and 50% final. How hard were his exams? In the language of the earliest reviews, this is a snapshot. 1st midterm: avg 55/100, got 77 2nd midterm: avg 44/100, got 79 Final: ???/225 My final grade: A Ironically, he goes over what will appear on the exams. He says exactly how many questions will appear, the topics they will cover individually, and some practice problems relevant to the topic. Yet people still seemed to have trouble. Having understood what the professor wants from the midterms, I didn't find the final difficult at all, though I wouldn't say it was that easy either. Nothing's easy. But it felt like a good puzzle that pulled some tricks from the past midterms, but nothing really surprising. His exam questions emphasized derivations he had done in class. But as a general guideline, to succeed in any class, one needs to know that a performance on an exam is an indication of how much one understands what the professor wants one to know, or get out of the course. The exams assess whether you can actually apply the concepts from class. If you understand the concepts well enough, the exams should feel trivial. That's the ideal. Otherwise, you're doing it all wrong. In retrospect, Coroniti helped me appreciate Physics very much. He's an exceptionally smart and caring man.
Prof. Cowley is a very unpredictable teacher. He's very good at teaching the material and his midterms are relatively easy and straightforward. But the final was so out of the blue that it put a lot of us in shock. It was HARD. The good news is that with the curve it doesn't affect your grade too much, it seems worse then it really is. Overall i'd have to admit he's one of the better physics prof around
Had this guy two summers ago. He was an OK teacher. Tests were not too difficult. He offers a couple of extra credit questions throughout the quarter. I STRONGLY recommend doing them if you want an A. I regret not doing them after getting an A-. His tests were basically modified homework problems. Final was not as hard as the review beneath me made it seem, though it was very long. It did contain a couple of curveballs (i.e. questions unlike anything we saw in the homework), but they were fairly simple and if you knew the concepts well then they weren't that bad. AC circuitry is easily the hardest part of the class and constituted a bulk of the 2nd midterm. The really cool thing about him is that he didn't require us to know special relativity on the final because we "didn't have enough time to learn it well enough".
Spring 2016 - I love this professor. He has been my favorite physics professor thus far. His lectures make sense and he's not doing over complicated proofs that won't even be on the tests like other physics professors. He's a good lecturer and makes it easy to learn the material.