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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.
I took Carter when it was his first quarter teaching 1C. He usually teaches the life science version. I had mixed feelings about the course. As a person Carter is amazing, he makes sure that his students truly understand the material with concept tests and by interacting with the students.
The only problem with his lectures is that you have to read the book before attending lecture or else the material wont make any sense.
His exams were fairly easy because they were concept heavy and his lectures were primarily focused on learning concepts rather than detail.
Special relativity was a pain because it was hard to understand in general and there was a question on the final about it.
Although the index card cheat sheets were nice and they helped because the material is very difficult.
Overall, I would recommend this professor. As advice: always read the book before lecture or just read the book on your own time and watch the podcasts later. Also, do the homework and reading quizzes because they help your grade.
Carter was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.
I never really considered myself a physics guy; physics was never a class I looked forward to. That all changed when I took 1C with Carter. His explanations are great because he talks to you like a real human being, so you won't just be scribbling down big scientific words when you have no idea what any of it means. He dots his lectures with real-life applications for everything, and surely he'll touch on something (cameras, radio antennas, funhouse mirrors, etc) that you find cool/interesting.
He's also really approachable - I felt more comfortable asking questions in his class than just about any other I've taken at UCLA. He expects a lot from his students, but he realizes that this means you can expect a lot from him; he'll hold lots of office hours, feedback opportunities on homework assignments, and DOESN'T make you feel like an idiot for asking a question.
One minor deterrent: He didn't write too much on the board, and often he doesn't label the diagrams he draws - so make sure you're attentive so you can catch it all as he says it. (Our class was videotaped, too, so you could always hear things a second time whenever you needed to.)
Others have mentioned this, but his ConcepTests are brilliant. Basically, at the beginning of the quarter he passes out a packet of cards numbered 1-8. Several times during each lecture, he'll put a multiple choice question on the projector screen, and everyone holds up the number corresponding to their answer. Then he gives you a minute to talk to your neighbors about it, and asks you to hold up your new answer. It takes the idea of clickers - instant feedback to the professor - and removes all their annoyances of being expensive and forcing you to always be in class.
That said, you'll probably come to his lectures because you WANT to - he's not only a good lecture and super cool guy, but he's actually pretty hilarious. His jokes were like an 8 out of 10 :)
Tests were perfectly fair, too - very nice to have several of the more conceptual-type questions to discourage memorizing. Make sure you can answer all the ConcepTests and discussion problems he gives (yes, you should actually go to discussion because he weaves that into the class, too!) and you will be totally fine. :)
Don't get me wrong, this class ISN'T a joke. You WILL have to work. But you'll do it because you're actually motivated to, because Carter actually makes it interesting and applicable.
Because of all the shining reviews here, his classes tend to fill fast, but without a doubt you should be gunning for a spot in his class - NOT because it won't TAKE any of your time - but because it is absolutely WORTH your time.
Professor Carter is one of the best professors I've had at UCLA, if not the best. You will understand physics if you listen to him, he explains the concepts so well and clearly. He's actually pretty funny also, which made coming to class less of a chore. The Conceptests that he does in class are very very helpful, ESPECIALLY when reviewing for tests. Be able to answer all of them and you are good for 1/3 of the test. If I had one criticism about him, it would probably be that when he is deriving formulas he goes very fast and it is extremely difficult to follow. However, his tests are not heavy on math at all which I was thankful for.
All in all great class, would recommend to anyone.