Based on 43 Users
Simply put, take this class for easy upper division credit in what is possibly the easiest chemistry course you will ever take at UCLA.
Professor Gimzewski is a really nice professor, however, the hardest part of his class was actually showing up. The lectures are dry and boring. Gimzewski reads off 100-page powerpoints about the most simple topics like the water cycle or rock formation. Toward the end of the class I would literally set a timer to see how long I could go before picking up my phone and at best I could last around 10 minutes before giving up. The sad news is that participation is about 10% of your grade and a sign-in sheet is passed around to take attendance.
Aside from the class atmosphere the grade breakdown is pretty simple. There are weekly blogs, 4 quizzes, a midterm, final, and a "special" blog. The weekly blogs only take a couple hours to complete on the high end, and the majority of the grade is based off correct formatting. All the testing (quizzes, midterm, and final) are all super easy short answer style questions. The TA's tell you exactly what to study for so there are no surprises and there is usually extra credit that you can get for each test. I am by no means an A-student, but I was frequently able to pull off a 50+/50 on the quizzes. I studied for the midterm the day of the exam for about two hours and was able to get 192/200. Lastly, the special blog is assigned during Week 7 and you are given until the end of the class to complete it. It is the equivalent of 3 blog posts in length and requires 10 references, 6 of which must come from scientific journals. It is graded in a very similar style to the blog posts. If you format correctly and follow the directions you should get full credit. All if all, if I can do well in this class, anyone can!
*One last note: This profile picture is not of Professor Gimzewski. He is a bald older gentleman with glasses, a white goatee, and a lovely Scottish accent :).
This dude is a rad Chad meets eccentric, brilliant Scottish scientist. You'll understand if you take the class.
The topic is lovely - nanotechnology is relevant in many respects (medicine, energy/environment, food, economy, electronics) and Professor Gimzewski is more than willing to engage and try to make room for north campus students, although mechanistic details for many complex topics went over my head even as a physical sciences major.
But it's okay - you're not rigorously tested on the material. The way we engage in the 3-hour seminar is as follows: 2-hour "lectures" (more casual, with occasional discussion and questions), then 50 minutes to go through everyone's blogs. These blogs can be written on ANY topic broadly (or specifically, of course) relating to the lecture topic from the week prior. In essence, he encourages you to dive deeper into the topics that interest you on your own time, then share that knowledge with the class.
If it's not blogs, then it's presentations that encourage us to think creatively about using nanotechnology in the future. There's a midterm presentation as well as a final presentation, both about 3-4 minutes long, again completely on the topic of your choice. For the final presentation, we also expand upon the ideas in the presentation in a 10-15 page paper (12-15 page paper? The length requirement was inconsistent between the syllabus and the assignment page... I ended up doing 14 so it didn't matter for me). This is also a creative work, where every year he collects everyone's papers and puts it together into a book. We come up with a theme for the book together, but what tends to stay the same as that you'll write a first-person narrative describing a person's experience with nanotechnology as well as an explanation of the science behind the nanotechnology (with the opportunity to expand on social/ethical consequences if you like but this isn't required). The 2020 topic was "A Day in the Life" so we really followed a person as they went about their daily life from waking up to going to bed, and we set the date as 2050.
I had a great time with Prof. Gimzewski. He can mumble sometimes, and it isn't always easy to follow his train of thought. His train of thought also killed me sometimes, because one moment you'll see the true genius, and the next moment he'll be on to saying something completely irrelevant/random. But it was also absolutely hilarious, and he has a very good sense of humor, with good intentions. Definitely a professor who means well and attempts to be accommodating, and wants the best for everyone. Despite being a more flexible class, I still feel like a learned a massive amount and had fun.
Midterm Presentation: 20% due week 5
Final: 40% (composed of 20% presentation due week 10, 20% paper due finals week)
*Note: he was nice about telling students to reach out to him for accommodations in light of the coronavirus. Also he became a lot more communicative around this time, which I think increased my respect for him adapting as a professor. He's definitely a busy man, and prior to this he was the type of professor that definitely acknowledged emails internally, but often did not reply. He would even note to us "oh I saw that some students sent in emails to me that they were sick!" yet a guy in my class saw me later and was like "omg idk what's going on bc he never replied back to me?" But yeah, in the last weeks, he has sent frequent updates, showing that he comes through when it matters! Cool guy. Rad Chad. Haha.
Correction: 36 pages of free-response. Yea...if the TA did make the final that would make sense because he is the worst TA I've ever had (which is half the problem of the class). You can tell how smart Gimzewski is and he's really into his stuff, but it doesn't come across well in lecture. He'll emphasize things in class they are very important strictly regarding chemistry, but the exams would have nothing to do with it. Get your hands on any of the optional books for the class. They explain much better what the textbook tries to do. And for those of you looking for someone funny during lecture, don't come here...except for when he makes a mistake and starts swearing in another languauge.
Dr Gimzewski is THE MOST GENUINE AND KIND professor I have encountered in my life. I am taking this class during the most unprecedented times and he's one of the few professors willing to show understanding of the situation. You can also feel comfortable to email him, talk to him, ask questions during lecture. He was very open to make necessary adjustments to allow students succeed in this class and not worry too much about their grades. Seriously if you do your weekly blogs and quizzes you're set for the course. The course covers a very wide range of topics, so it's interesting to learn a little bit of everything. My recommendation: take this class.
I took this class online during Spring 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Gimzewski was very accommodating in the midst of this pandemic; he and the TA (Chris) really cared about the students, and he constantly empathized with the difficulties we were facing. At the end of the quarter, he even made both the final and the special blog optional because of all the protests going on in/events in the country. I really appreciated how much he took the time to address these social issues and not be ignorant of them.
In terms of the class itself, it was pretty easy, especially in the online format. We were given a lot of time to do the quizzes/midterm (and final if you took it). Questions were pretty straightforward, and since it was open notes/book/etc, you didn't have to study too much.
The material of the class itself was alright. I honestly got kind of bored of the material towards the middle of the class, but the topics that Prof. Gimzewski covers are pretty relevant - things like climate change, fossil fuels, etc.
Overall, I would recommend this class, but just prepared that lectures can be kind of tiring at times.
Disclaimer: Took during COVID
I paid $100 to get into this class. Absolutely worth every penny. For staters, this guy has been knighted in Scotland for his academic contributions, so you know he's the real deal. Class is as easy as everyone says it is, especially cause this was online, open note. Literally no reason not be getting 100% on everything.
Take this class, though, because he is the sweetest human being in all of human existence. Sweeter than all the grandpas out there, if he needs a grandson I'll come running. Day 1 of Covid his concern and his passion for our wellbeing as students literally almost brought me to tears. And then with the George Floyd tragedy he almost made an impassioned lecture(? idk was really more of him just talking about it) that again showed that this man deserves everything good in this world.
I never write reviews, but he deserves it. I will also be writing an amazing course review for him as well. Even if I got a shitty grade, I would still recommend this class to anyone even considering taking it. You get real woke too about the environment so some real world learning out here taking class too.
I didn't attend many lectures because his powerpoints were pretty much directly from the book. You're probably better off reading the book if you plan on learning something. I suppose he's a decent professor but I didn't go to many lectures to know anyway. The midterms were fair and his final was ridiculously hard. I walked out wanting to cry. But I ended up with an A- in the class so I suppose the curve was pretty high. If you had to choose between Gimzewski and Baugh, take Gimzewski!
Not sure why I’m writing a review, the other ones are pretty accurate. Just want to reiterate again that Jim is an absolute delight. Just a truly delightful human being. I genuinely looked forward to lecture and I smiled every time I heard him speak. He is definitely a famous galaxy-brained scientist, but you can also tell he’s a genuinely nice human, too. I took this during COVID; my sanity was hanging on by a thread, and this class was that thread.
The only con of this class was that lectures were kind of a snooze, I suppose. But that’s what the 2x button is for. The slides are pretty dense. Discussions were unrelated to lecture so sometimes it felt like a lot of information thrown at you in a short amount of time. Also, I personally hate writing so the blogs took a lot of energy out of me, but you really don’t have to put that much effort into them to get full credit. Honestly, kinda wondering why they made this class so easy, but I’m certainly not complaining...
If you ever have the opportunity and privilege of having Jim as your professor and Chris as your TA, count your blessings. Another reviewer said they paid $100 for this class...at first I laughed, but honestly, these two are worth it. They genuinely cared about our well-being and making things less stressful. They constantly asked for feedback and made adjustments after listening to student concerns. They really just wanted to educate us about environmental issues and make sure that we actually left the class having learned something. And I have never seen a TA put so much time and effort into teaching and running a class...I mean, wow. He practically took the place of the professor at times. Truly bummed that I didn’t get to experience this class in-person and I would take it again if I could.
He's basically the epitome of the nutty professor. He doesn't do a good job at explaining concepts and its obvious teaching really isn't his first priority. This man is a giant in his field and if you ask him about STMs during office hours I'm sure he'll come to like you. On the other hand, all the midterms and finals were multiple choice so it wasn't very hard to get a good grade.
The review below mine is very accurate. This is an easy class and you can learn a lot. It is very fair and clear and all you have to do is show up and do the work. Although the class is very easy, I do really like how you learn a lot about the environment as well in a chill mature setting. Get someone to sign in for you and take the quiz before you and tell you the answers if you are really short on time.