Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Mechanics

Joshua Samani

Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Mechanics

Physics department

Joshua Samani

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from 23 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 4.4
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 2.1
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.9
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.7
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.7
Helpful
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Tags

  • Engaging Lectures
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Tough Tests
  • Would Take Again
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Uses Slides
  • Needs Textbook

Grades

Fall 2016
18.4%
15.3%
12.3%
9.2%
6.1%
3.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Winter 2016
25.1%
20.9%
16.7%
12.5%
8.4%
4.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2016
16.0%
13.3%
10.7%
8.0%
5.3%
2.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2015
22.8%
19.0%
15.2%
11.4%
7.6%
3.8%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2015
28.1%
23.4%
18.8%
14.1%
9.4%
4.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2014
14.5%
12.0%
9.6%
7.2%
4.8%
2.4%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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2 of 2

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted June 2, 2016 Grade Received: A+

I took Professor Samani in my Winter Quarter for my freshman year. I absolutely loved him. I have never seen a professor who's so considerate of his students. He wants everyone to understand the concepts behind the equations and formulas in Physics. He tries to recreate a picture of everything so it is easier for students to understand what he's trying to say. I feel that his midterms and finals were fair. If you had actually worked during the quarter and did all the homework by yourself (which could be a bit challenging) then you should be well prepared for the exams. His lectures are really thoughtful and interactive. You never realize how the time passes by. Even his office hours are very interesting and usually full. Overall, in my 3 quarters at UCLA so far, Professor Samani has been the best instructor by far. I highly recommend taking him.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2015 Submitted May 25, 2016 Grade Received: A-

Samani is the best! He really gets his student engaged with the lecture and has you think about physics conceptually, as well as mathematically. He really does his best to ensure his students understand his material. I'm so grateful that my first physics class at UCLA was with him.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted April 13, 2016 Grade Received: A

I would FULLY RECOMMEND TAKING PHYSICS 1A WITH SAMANI.

This guy is SO PASSIONATE about not only physics, but teaching it to students. I had previously no AP Physics experience and ran into a steep learning curve. However, I could tell that Josh really CARED about understanding the physical concepts and applying them to problems. Yes, the exams are difficult (but the averages were quite higher than the other instructors, the overrated Corbin and Professor Campbell, each at ~35%). Josh does make it easy to stay on track in the class with his clicker participation questions and biweekly problems sets. I am NOT A FAN of MasteringPhysics but whatever.

I would say you're DEFINITELY MISSING OUT if you don't take this guy at least once in your UCLA Physics undergraduate career.

Quarter Taken: Summer 2015 Submitted April 9, 2016 Grade Received: A-

Professor Samani is the physics guy you want. He is extremely passionate about the subject and willing to devote 100% of his effort in teaching. His use of clickers really gets me involved in the class instead of falling asleep.

In summer the class was much smaller and we did not use mastering physics. He gave a problem set every week. The first midterm was fine but the second one was really hard, and I think I only did 3 out of 6 problems on the final...

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted March 23, 2016 Grade Received: N/A

Homework: There are problem sets and MasteringPhysics assignments due every other week. The problem sets are fairly difficult, but with the help of peers there is no reason why you shouldn't get a very high homework average.

Tests: Pretty difficult. The first one wasn't too bad and if you took AP Physics, you should do fine. The second one was tough and the grading was merciless. The average was around 45%. The final was really hard, probably harder than both midterms.

Lectures: Four times a week is kindof a pain, but Samani is an enthusiastic guy who does plenty of demonstrations to keep students interested. This is a clicker class, which is good because I feel like a lot of students would skip lectures otherwise. Definitely go to lecture, it is helpful.

Discussions: Not helpful, I went the first two times and then never again. My TA just wasn't very good so I can't really speak for other discussions.

Overall: Samani is really a great guy who cares a lot about the students. He seemed legimitately hurt when he heard students were crying after his final exam. Besides the second midterm, he is very fair with grading. Take Samani if you can, I learned a lot and the workload is easily manageable.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted March 21, 2016 Grade Received: N/A

Samani surprised me this quarter and after getting a feel for the class, I am grateful I enrolled in his class after not getting Corbin.

Josh is highly organized, which reflects in his lectures. He engages the class and makes it interactive by using clickers.

He also uses Piazza, which proved to be a useful discussion platform to ask general questions and discuss physics concepts on problem sets and exams anonymously.

He opens his office 7 hours a week to students and on the morning of midterms. Josh makes himself available and does a good job of helping students get to the answer themselves without making them feel embarrassed.

I recommend following his advice and reading prior to lecture because lectures aren't summaries of the book and they are interactive, so not knowing what's going on can limit your participation and understanding.

The midterms are doable if you read, do the problem sets honestly, and pay attention in lecture consistently.

The final was more difficult than midterms because most of the problems were unlike the challenge problems and lecture examples- however, the final was fair in that it was testing our knowledge by asking us to apply what we knew to situations we'd never seen before.

TLDR: Samani is passionate and cares about his students learning physics and if you work hard and make an effort to ask questions about confusing topics, you can succeed in the class. If you think you can't learn physics, take Samani and let him prove you wrong.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted March 19, 2016 Grade Received: N/A

I took Samani for W16 Physics 1A, and I really struggled. I would say about 95% of the class has taken some form of physics before (usually AP Physics B or C). I took AP Physics C (which included Mechanics) and I still had a really hard time in this class. The challenge problems were really hard, and even though they weren't graded, you could expect the exams to be even harder. I bombed the 2 midterms (the averages were 61% and 53% respectively) and the final was beyond difficult. Seriously. People were crying in the bathrooms after.

Besides that, I think Samani is a pretty good lecturer. His examples are interesting, his handwriting is great, his voice is clear and coherent. He's funny, and clicker scores are participation only. The TA's are somewhat okay, but the discussions are just some basic problems. We used the website Piazza for class questions and concerns and I thought that was the most helpful; Samani usually took the time to answer many questions and if he didn't the other students were very helpful!

Overall, I don't think I would take him again, but thats probably because his exams were so hard. His grading is lenient though, which is helpful.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted Feb. 14, 2016 Grade Received: NR

I've only taken this class for 6-7 weeks so I can't say anything about the second midterm or final yet. They'll probably be brutal so pray for me :D. From what I've seen so far, Samani is a pretty passionate teacher about physics. We generally go over main concepts, correct common misconceptions, prove formulas, and go over practice problems in lecture. In discussion, the TAs give us practice problems which we do in groups and then go over. There is generally a little time to ask the TAs questions afterwards because there aren't that many problems.

Since Samani is still a pretty new teacher, he mentioned in the beginning that he revises his class every time he's taught it. This quarter he's teaching it with a scale set from grades from previous years. He also has this "improvement score" thing that takes into account any improvement over midterms/finals to help him calculate final grades (so if you're like a bit away from a higher letter grade he'll probably bump you up).

I've only been to his office hours a couple times, but they seem to go over homework or practice problems or any questions students ask him. They're pretty chill. Participation is enforced in his lectures because he uses clickers. Overall clickers are like 5% of total grade with most going towards participation and the rest going towards correctness. The lowest 3 clicker grades are dropped, I believe.

He has recommended reading from the textbook for every lecture. It's probably a good supplement if you need it that goes over more example problems and sometimes more in-depth on a topic. If you haven't taken a physics class before, it's kind of hard since this is a pretty fast-paced class. I last took a physics class 3 years ago so I did have a fundamental understanding of key topics; it was just hard to apply them to the practice problems.

His first midterm was 3 problems with 2-5 parts each. The time crunch wasn't too bad. The first problem was pretty much conceptual, the second the same, and the third was basically one of the challenge problems from homework. If you understood the homework, all of the problems would have been very doable if you didn't make stupid mistakes. The average was pretty low, around 61%, but I felt like the problems just had little things you had to do and people missed points on that. Feeling around a lot of people just said the midterm was death so I don't really know if you can really get an understanding of its difficulty from reviews. I do believe that if the time limit was greater than one 50 minute class period many people would have done much better.

Samani is a fan of Piazza, an online forum/discussion site where people can ask questions and get (anonymous or not) responses from other students or the instructors themselves. Unfortunately, it gets kinda cluttered with many questions on the same problem in different threads so maybe it could be combined or better structured somehow. It is helpful though, especially if you're one of those people that is unwilling to get help unless it's anonymous.

Now the homework is biweekly, which is really, really nice. It's not death every week, just every other week. The homework usually consists of a MasteringPhysics problem set of around 20-50 questions with multiple parts each. They're generally pretty doable and you have 5 tries each and really helpful hints. A lot of them require finding an equation that can be kinda challenging, but I found it helpful. Accompanying that online portion is a problem set of like 3-5 questions. That are death. OMG send help. They are really just... hard. It's either a math problem or finding equations and it's just hard to apply what we've learned in an appropriate way. This is turned in on paper during lecture on Fridays. The challenge problems are hard, but they are also really good ways to study the problem-solving for the tests. It also really helps ingrain the concepts into your head because you have to spend so much time on them (googling, asking around, getting help from TAs/teacher/anyone, working on them desperately).

In general, I quite enjoy the class so far. It's fun, funny at times, and pretty enlightening. Sometimes it's hard to read the chalkboards because they are already so dirty/chalked up, and it can be hard to get a seat if you arrive late, but it's not too bad. The demos are pretty snazzy too. He got on the campus story for a demo once. A lot of his examples involve an eraser and his notebook. Pray for his notebook because it goes through a lot.

Grade %s:
30% Final
20% Midterm 2
20% Midterm 1
20% Problem Sets
5% Clicker participation
(3% of clicker grade is participation, 2% is correctness)

Straight Scale Grading:
78 A-
65 B-
50 C-
35 D-
(I only did the bottom limits because tbh that's all you really wanted to know)

Side note I just thought of:
Sometimes his clicker questions give you extra credit if there's a large difference in answers so he gives you like a quarter percent EC on a test or something if the class majority votes on the right answer the second time.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2016 Submitted Feb. 12, 2016 Grade Received: NR

The homework and midterms are extremely hard. He is a nice and funny guy but the exams are really hard. Grading are pretty good though, so take him if only you are a physics person.

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Tags

  • Engaging Lectures
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Tough Tests
  • Would Take Again
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Uses Slides
  • Needs Textbook
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