Vladimir Vassiliev

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Easiness 1.5/ 5
Clarity 3.7/ 5
Workload 1.5/ 5
Helpfulness 4.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2018 - I had to go to the hospital for heart problems because of this class, no joke. I ended up having heart palpitations from the amount of anxiety and stress I had throughout the quarter. It is definitely the hardest subject I've taken so far, but I think surviving triple V is a rite of passage for many students. I am now confident that I can survive any other physics course, except perhaps another class with Vladimir. However, this class will really reveal who are the strongest and hardest working students. In my personal case I learned where my weaknesses are when it came to studying and I am confident going ahead taking future physics courses. I do not necessarily believe that you need to be super smart to survive this class, you just need to have a EXTREMELY high level of endurance and willpower for this class, especially towards the end of the quarter. His lectures are very good and clear but they are DENSE and move VERY fast. After two years of experience in UCLA, I found that silent lectures generally mean students are lost, and this occurred nearly every day in his class because he moves quickly. He covers nearly every word of the chapters he is supposed to cover and goes above and beyond that, especially when you get to special theory of relativity. The book is absolutely essential. He covered Marion/Thornton VERY closely, although he would occasionally use Taylor since it is very similar. He mentions Landau/Lifshitz in the beginning and he does utilize them here there and it is a beautiful book if you managed to learn how to work through it, although it is a graduate level text. You can find that one for free online. WHEN YOU GET TO SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY, HE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY USES LANDAU. The book is called"The Classical Theory of Fields", it is volume two in the course. Here is how to survive this man. Seriously attempt every single extra credit question on the homework. This is quintessential to survive, so much so that if you had to do only one question it should be the extra credit question. When you get to later problem sets the amount of extra credit you can get is absolutely ridiculous. On one problem set I managed to get a 21/12 on it and throughout the course there was always at least one student that managed to get 200%'s on the sets. Mathematica can be up to 5%, so in my experience I managed to get about a full 10%+ extra credit to survive and jump up an entire letter grade based on his scheme. The problem sets are fucking brutal. The first problem set is "easy" if you already know tensor calculus, but almost everyone certainly did not, so make sure to get help ASAP if you don't know summation notation yet. The next 8 problem sets are excruciatingly brutal and required significant help from the TA and classmates. We got lucky this quarter with Andrea who was a brilliant TA, but ideally you start working on them ASAP and work through the book. I would stay up till 4 AM probably twice a week working on the problem sets and then proceed to go to lecture and it did not do good things to my health. Make sure to check every book if the question is there. He pulls from Marion a lot but he also pulled a couple from Taylor and some questions were similar to Landau. His tests are wild. He does not expect you to finish, you do not have time to think and he grades heavily on the curve, so on the exams you are actively competing against the rest of your classmates to be on top. He will tell you what is on the exams but to even get ONE question you need to REALLY understand the topic. I hope you got really good at practicing Lagrangian mechanics from 105A because those were the only questions I managed to get on the first two midterms. If he tells you "it will be similar to something on the problem set" it will be extremely similar and study the shit out of it. For the love of god, make sure to go to the final review session that he gives you at the end of the quarter. Our final exam was very similar to the stuff he was doing in that review session, although it didn't stop us from getting massacred on that test. I can't even be mad at the guy because he is so nice. His grading scheme is ridiculously generous and he's always willing to try and make time to talk to you. I ended up meeting him outside of OH and class after doing extremely poorly on the first midterm and he was super helpful. I think my main problem with him is that he didn't make enough time for us outside of class and he is extremely busy. He only had 1 office hour a week and traveled frequently. Don't be discouraged, I did poorly in the beginning but still pulled through with an A+.
Easiness N/A/ 5
Clarity N/A/ 5
Workload N/A/ 5
Helpfulness N/A/ 5
Easiness 1.8/ 5
Clarity 3.0/ 5
Workload 1.3/ 5
Helpfulness 3.3/ 5
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