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I was skeptical of taking this class after taking Professor Conley's LS30A class. I had taken AP Calculus AB and BC straight out of high school and passed out with 5s on both exams as many of my classmates have, and so the class was incredibly easy. Professor Conley was wonderful in providing amazing review sessions to discuss what was going to be on the midterm and finals, and that only made the class easier. My only issue with that particular class, was that although it was easy, it wasn't easy to understand some concepts. In fact, I would probably need a review of some of the things that I learned. The concepts are worded strangely in the textbook that we used, and lectures would frequently be worded in such a way that was difficult to understand. Nevertheless, I marched onto LS30B, and Professor Conley was coo, coo and very concerned with student learning.
Now, LS30B was VERY different. I have no words to describe this class, other than that the professor was ABSOLUTELY clear in his words, made no obscure remarks, and was incredible in every sense of the word. Professor Garfinkel is a genius, and he taught with a passion that REALLY sunk in deep. If you, like me, were skeptical about taking the next part of the LS30 series, take it. You won't regret it!
How do you like UCLA so far? Yes, the weather's great (if you came from the east coast worst coast), the people are friendly, and the school's huge! Sure, you may only be a freshman who hasn't taken many classes yet, but I'm sure that by this point, you've probably taken a few classes where you realize that the teaching assistants are horrible, and that the professors don't care about you, or you've probably heard this from upperclassmen who have slightly more experience than you. You've probably heard that once you come to UCLA, you're merely a number- a student ID that holds no relevance to the greater UCLA community. That since there's only 10 weeks to a quarter, no one will truly get to know who you are. If you feel this way, or have ever felt this way, I strongly encourage you to take LS30B with Professor Garfinkel. The teaching assistants, are marvelous. They can and should be professors themselves. In fact, most of them are far more qualified than the other professors that I've seen on campus. The professor? He's a genius. He's brilliant. He's motivating. He keeps the class size small, knitting a community of not only students, but a family. Everyone in the class feels like they belong to a larger family, and the warmth of the class is really felt when everyone laughs at Professor Garfinkel's jokes, or stares in awe at his breath-taking research and lectures. Do yourself a favor and take this class. Maybe after you're done with LS30B, you can take a class in dynamical modeling, PS135?
One word of warning though: Dr. Garfinkel is not readily available most of the time- speak with the teaching assistants for any help or questions. They're hand-picked and screened for excellency (I think).
Former president George Bush would say "Read my lips. No formulas".
Yes folks, there are no formulas involved in this exciting installment of Mathematics for Life Scientists. "What?" you say? How can there be math without formulas you say? Well, as the person below mentioned, memorization of formulas is not a present aspect of much of higher-education. At MIT, no one is expected to memorize formulas- they're expected to understand them conceptually. At a gut-feeling level. This is what you'll receive in this class. You will receive mathematics. You will *feel* mathematics running through your veins, activating each receptor of your sympathetic nervous system. Why your sympathetic nervous system? The adrenaline- the flight response, my friend. Your body will mistake excitement, with danger. There is a danger lurking in the lecture halls, and that is the danger of forgetting how to do math the old way, and relearning the way you learn. Why is your brain so afraid? It's because all your habits are going down the drain. We humans are creatures of habits, and when our habits are abruptly changed and molded into something uncomfortably new, your body won't be too happy about it. Hey, but don't you worry. The meditative spirit of the room will help kick that parasympathetic response right in, and you'll soon realize that you're actually liking what you're hearing and seeing.
This is only a portion of what you'll experience while taking this class. What other things will you see? The amazing lectures of Professor Garfinkel (who by the way, is a lot like the legendary Caltech professor Richard Feynman in his delivery and clarity of the difficult concepts), amazing teaching assistants (Jane), and I got lucky here, but possibly an amazing classmate who was willing to help me at 2AM for the final (I don't think he ever sleeps) and was further willing to provide me with additional tutoring (he was the sweetest and the absolute best!). Sorry you probably won't have the amazing classmate, but Garfinkel's lecture is just so effective, that you probably won't need much help! The professor is absolutely incredible. The best I've ever had.
Sorry if this was so long
tl;dr: Take this class!