PEERS Collaborative Learning Workshops for Physical Sciences and Engineering Majors
Physics: 98XB - Spring 2010
Pass: 27 ~ No Pass: 2 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
PEERS Collaborative Learning Workshops for Life Sciences Majors
Physics: 98XA - Spring 2010
Pass: 9 ~ No Pass: 1 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Oscillations, Waves, Electric and Magnetic Fields
Physics: 1B - Spring 2010
Pass: 1 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Electrodynamics, Optics, and Special Relativity
Physics: 1C - Winter 2010
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Physics for Life Sciences Majors: Light, Fluids, Thermodynamics, Modern Physics
Physics: 6C - Fall 2009
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Physics: 91A - Spring 2006
Pass: 30 ~ No Pass: 1 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 0
Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Mechanics
Physics: 1A - Spring 2006
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 1
Seriously one of the best professors I've ever had. Genuinely interested in student learning and very approachable. Make sure you go to his office hours.
This man is the best physics professor I ever met, and I am glad to see every review on this page so far agrees with me.
I took Corbin after having inadvertently sat through his 1B lecture by mistake during Winter (when I was still in 1A), and realizing he was the man I wanted for 1B. Why? Well, for a start, his lectures are phenomenal. That's a bland qualifier, though, so let me be more specific: this man is not afraid of using his head. He does not shy away from mathematics proper (something I have seen far too many otherwise well-meaning professors do, not realizing just how detrimental it is in the long run), and does not believe that a physicist is a human calculator (something I gladly welcome; physics is not arithmetic or ridiculous computation, and anybody who thinks it is is severely mistaken).
In that vein, you will rarely, if ever, see him perform a calculation. What Corbin specializes in, and what makes him superior to many other professors, are derivations. Nor will these be ordinary derivations. For his final lecture in Spring, Corbin went so far as to derive the exact rate of precession for a charged sphere oscillating at an angular velocity around its axis in a magnetic field (which sounds complicated at first, but Corbin roots it completely in everything you've learnt over the quarter, so that when you see it, you'll kick yourself for not having thought of it sooner.)
Here's a list of what makes his classes unique:
1) He knows more than the book. He is not one of those professors who copies things wholesale from the text and proceeds to do exactly what's in it. Corbin teaches upper divs as well as graduate classes, and in his younger days worked at FermiLab, only the world's premier particle physics institute after CERN, and he brings all that knowledge to bear on the 1 series. He will correct the book on several occasions, teach you advanced stuff, and he will - I promise you this - make you like it, in part because he can actually make you understand and use it by yourself without too much help.
2) Corbin advocates self-sufficiency. He is one of those teachers who will go well and beyond the call of duty to make sure you understand what you're doing (he once let a struggling student actually bunk in his office in the days before the final to avoid distractions from studying), but his main intent and goal is to get you to the point where you could surpass even him. When discussing how to prepare for his midterms, he will ask you to go over your notes, and derive the equations firsthand for yourself. (I went even further, and came up with my own problems - it's really good practice, and will help you loads). He believes in this so much he even made the homework strictly optional: a lot of hard questions, and they're all upto you to do them - Corbin will grade you on the finals and the midterms only. Corbin also believes mathematics was invented for physics, and so it's physical intuition you need to hone - understand what's going on, and the math will work itself out, is what he always says.
3) Corbin is not, contrary to what everybody on this page claims, hard. If you actually go through his old midterms, you will be a little surprised to find they are all actually pretty straightforward - a standard Corbin problem merits no more than three lines of a solution (and if you think I'm joking, the solutions he hands out actually are just that long - that they also make complete sense simultaneously is simply proof that the difficulty of Corbin's problems are exaggerated).
What makes Corbin legendary for his midterms are a combination of factors: the time limit (fifty minutes is just not enough to solve three Corbin questions), the fact that they test more than one concept (including quite a bit of your math - Corbin is particularly fond of Taylor series, and will have you employ them where you can), that he likes pushing you into unfamiliar ground (on his final, he asked us about semiconductor devices, something which we had never covered) while making you realise just how much of it is actually familiar (on the same question, he asked us nothing about semiconductors, but only gave us certain properties and asked us to work out directly from these properties the effect it would have on the rest of the circuit), and finally, that they're just completely new. It takes skill to solve a completely new problem, one you couldn't have imagined in your wildest dreams, in just fifty minutes. By way of comparison, if all you've ever learned is Euclidean geometry and trigonometry, you're going to have no clue what to do when you have to solve for things on the surface of a sphere, even though everything about such a problem can be solved using Euclidean geometry and trigonometry (no joke, that's how Carl Gauss, the greatest mathematician who ever lived, did it at the tender age of sixteen). Simply put, Corbin is different, not hard, and won't have you go through the material you've already covered and memorized and could do in your sleep if he can help it.
4) Corbin is awesome at teaching. There simply is no other way to put it. Corbin is a man who likes stories, and for his part is an incredibly talented raconteur: no class goes by without him at least once bursting into some episode from his life that will make you laugh, and simultaneously cherish what he's teaching you. He makes those equations come to life, mainly because he is quite literally deriving them right there (no notes, occasionally from memory, but mostly just making things up as he goes along), and by telling you these amazing stories about the objects his equations describe that will make you in parts gasp, flinch and simply be left spellbound. There is magic to these objects, not rote - a certain splendor and sheer grandeur that many other professors seem to leave out. For this one ability alone, I rank Corbin above every teacher you might possibly meet in the Physics department.
5) He cares about his students. He is one of the few professors who holds office hours four out of five days of the week, responds to every email promptly and with incredible detail, tries to get to know them all, will never short-serve you on information, and will always, always, respond to your questions. Speak up in his classes; it's good for you.
6) His demo days are epic. Do not miss a single one: he showcases really cool stuff, and will do things you thought they only did in Hollywood.
7) Office hours are special. You can ask for help on homework problems if you want, but he likes using them to go beyond the stuff in the classroom. Expect to see problems beyond the standard of the textbook, and sometimes several days ahead of his own lectures. Also, pipe up with good questions.
And that's really all you need to know. Your only problem may be that Corbin is immensely popular - lines stretch from his office to the entrance of the building sometimes, and his office hours are packed with people, making it hard to get a one-on-one session with him. He also knows when he has a really good TA with him. This TA will be your lifeline. Also, he - rarely, but still there - makes statements that sound confusing and mystical ('Energy is conserved, except when it's not!'), and - still more rarely, but nevertheless - this can get in the way of seeing what he means, for a short while. Lastly, Corbin is a ribald man: don't be put off if he curses or describes how he comes to create midterm problems in a haze of drunken bleariness. That's just the way he is: a man of personality.
I took Physics 1A, 1B, and 1C with Professor Corbin. If I hadn't, my first two years at UCLA would have been much worse. Not only is Professor Corbin an excellent lecturer, he has a way of making 200-person lower-div physics classes seem very small (this is especially due to his tight-knit office hours groups). In short, take Corbin. He actually is not that hard (that is, if you do problems in multiple books and go to office hours frequently) and you will leave his class a better thinker (and I got A's in 1A and 1B and am expecting an A in 1C, so it definitely is possible!)
I had Corbin for 1A, 1B, and 1C. He's easily one of the best instructors I've ever had at UCLA.
Take Corbin if you REALLY want to learn physics. If you're looking for an easy A that can be obtained by memorizing a ton of equations and spitting them out on a test, then you should look elsewhere.
His tests tend to have low averages, but they really test if you know the material well or not. They tend to test deeper concepts, instead of just facts or simplistic examples. For instance, his lecture might discuss a simple mass on a spring for oscillations. The homework might ask about two springs attached to a mass. While his exam will go the next step, and ask about the movement of charge in an RLC circuit. While initially one would think that a circuit has nothing to do with mass and springs, upon further analysis the charge is oscillating in the circuit.
His lectures are pretty good. He's reasonably entertaining; he makes a few puns here and there with varying humor rating. He introduces the material in a pretty logical fashion and he's pretty enthusiastic about the material. But most importantly he actually does the derivations on the spot. (Although occasionally he refers to his notes). He'll describe his thought processes out loud which makes it easier to understand what an equation actually means. Other instructors I've had do some textbook-like derivation with some lame examples that don't really give a good taste what an equation means, and what it can do.
He's got OH 4 times a week if you are confused. They're pretty helpful, as he'll try and sort out misconceptions you may have, and he'll also give out some other cool examples that are actually pretty interesting/pragmatic. Corbin is also pretty chill by nature, so it shouldn't be too difficult to ask him questions. Even if it's really really stupid (read: trivial), because I've asked him a boatload of "stupid" questions.
If you're an EE, you should really take this guy's 1B course. It'll actually teach you electrostatics pretty damn well if you put the time and effort into it. So much so, that EE1 becomes a "joke" compared to 1B.
As far as grades go, Corbin is one of the more difficult instructors at UCLA, but he's also not draconic in his grading policy. He's pretty fair, and understands that sometimes people have crappy testing days. He does give a reasonable amount of As/Bs out (and not too many Cs and lower). As long as you're doing 1 standard deviation+ on all the exams, you should be in the range for an A. (Don't quote me on that). The Final Exam counts the most for the class- if you haven't been doing well on the midterms, then you should be prepping yourself to murder the Final as even with poor midterm scores you can still get an A.
For reference, I managed to get an A in 1A,B,C and I can assure you that I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed haha. (Although I think I was lucky in 1C) So it IS possible!
Classic dilemma that a college student faces: do I want an easy A, or do I actually want to learn the material? If you really want to learn, but still want a decent chance at an A (it's not really free) then take Corbin.
Also, for entertainment purposes, you should ask him about the Color Conspiracy of Muppets.
Take him, take him, take him. I had Corbin for 1A and 1B, and he's easily one of the best teachers I've ever had. Yes, his class is hard. Yes, his tests regularly have averages in the ballpark of 30/90. But you should still take his class. Why? You'll learn. Corbin forces you to actually learn physics, so memorizing formulas and plug-and-chugging won't get you anywhere. He'll help you figure out how to approach problems, and how to really think about the concepts behind what you're doing.
Choosing whether or not to enroll in Corbin's class really boils down to why you're in college. Are you here to take easy classes and get straight A's, or are you here to challenge yourself to the point where you can get the most out of your time here? That was a shamelessly condescending question, but that's how I see it. I don't have the greatest grades, but I've made sure to take some of the best teachers I can at UCLA. And honestly, if you put the time into this class, you can definitely get an A. I didn't study as much as I should have because I focused on other classes, and I got a B in 1A, and a B+ in 1B.
On a completely unrelated-to-grades note, Corbin is super chill and nice, looks like Jeff Bridges, and would be a great person to drink whiskey with if the legal drinking age was 18.
Professor Corbin is easily the best professor that I have had thus far at UCLA. I have taken Physics 1A and 1B with him, and I will be taking Physics 1C with him in the Fall. I will be entering my Sophomore, and from what I have heard about my future professors, Corbin will eclipse all of them.
DO NOT listen to the people who say that he is intentionally trying to screw people over in terms of grades. Those people obviously never went to his office hours (which he has nearly every day). He genuinely cares about our education, and I find that to be the best quality a professor can ever have.
I'm not saying this because I have gotten an A in both of the first two classes with him. I am a C and B student, trust me. I just think that the value of the education I receive from Corbin is better than what I would get from anybody else.
I'm not going to lie to you, his tests are really hard. And when I say hard, I mean the average is usually around 30-40%. But don't think of that as a reason not to take him. He is making sure that you understand the material more than just merely memorizing the equations. He wants you to be "fluent", not "familiar".
Definitely take Corbin. It will make your education experience better here. And everyone can take a slight hit to their GPA, even though it is definitely possible to get a B or maybe an A in his class.
Brent corbin YT review
Took 1B and 1C.
Corbin is easily the best professor I had so far as a sophomore. Paces his lectures extremely well. Enlightening lectures, to the point that the book is not necessary apart from getting homework problems.
Sure he might make harder exams than other professors do, but you will never encounter anything we didn't talk about at class. And you learn more anyway. And also, look at the grade distribution. FREAKING 30% A's. What more do you want? I was so scared coming into his class, but Corbin gave me my only A in UCLA so far..
He has office hours everyday = win.
He's a cool guy too. Keeps me entertained in class; cusses, makes dirty jokes, etc etc. His class in one class that I never fall asleep in.
IGNORE THOSE COMMENTS THAT SCARE YOU OFF. TAKE CORBIN.
My brother is a freshman and he just told me that corbin's class was the first physics 1A class to be completely filled. I couldn't believe that it wasn't Holczer's class ... his class is so easy . Its open book, and his midterms and finale is from his homework. You do the homework and you're almost guaranteed an A. I took 91A with corbin and it was the worst class I ever took in UCLA, his lectures are way too difficult.
Sounds like Jeff Bridges
Corbin is an amazing professor who actually teaches you the material and makes you think about how to solve a problem, as opposed to other professors who give you problems straight out of the textbook. Yes, his tests will make you feel like you failed miserably, but don't worry, he gives A LOT of partial credit and curves massively. I scored 1 standard deviation above average on every test and ended up with an A.
this class isnt hard if youve taken ap physics b (or ap physics c mechanics i would imagine but i guess you would have passed out of it). basically its mechanics so moving stuff but with a little calculus involved and some rotational stuff. i can say that i learned very little because i already knew most of it. lecture is 4 times a week and theres a discussion so this class will get very boring over time. midterms and final are all conceptual so not numbers involved. on each of his midterm there is one homework problem on it. i got burned out over the homework so i recommend just looking at the answers
This class is nowhere near as hard as I expected it to be. I went to probably a quarter of the lectures and one discussion section and managed to get an A in the class. If you have a solid physics background (5 in an AP Physics class) you should be fine, especially since he curves the class at the end. The tests were hard, but once again he curves the grades at the end so your raw score isn't important. Based on the classes I did go to, he was a pretty good professor although to be honest my high school physics teacher was a bit better, but I guess that's an unfair comparison. Overall I'd say take his class if you have a strong physics background or like the subject, avoid if physics is a weak spot for you.
Okay to be honest this guy was NOT AS HARD as the people on here make him out to be. Actually, his tests are difficult (the most difficult physics exams I've seen so far) but he gives you partial credit if you show that you have an idea of how to approach a problem. If you take Corbin, here's what you should do:
Do the homework!
Do all of it! I'm serious! For our class he would put a homework question word-for-word on each of the midterms for all or no credit (no partial credit... evil!)
Get a COMPLETE solutions manual to the textbook... it helps you out with the homework problems, and if you don't understand a homework problem go to Corbin's or the TA's office hours.
For this course it is important to know the concepts rather than the mathematical tricks thrown at you by the book. If you know what is going on in a problem, can explain it to another person, and solve it (and can explain to another person how to solve it as well), you will do fine.
Go over his notes with classmates (form a study group), and go over the examples he gives in class. He goes over difficult examples so if you understand them, chances are you will understand what will be on the tests.
I got an A doing this so you know that A's ARE possible in this class. Oh I seem to have forgotten to mention that Corbin is an awesome guy... seriously! He's the best professor at UCLA I've had so far and I hope to have him again for another course. Go to his office hours and have a chat with him he is hilarious and talks about interesting stuff. This was the only class that I had near-perfect attendance. His lectures are amazing and he devotes time to help students struggling with the course. (He had office hours like everyday almost). I definitely recommend Corbin.
His grading is pretty harsh, even after the curve. Mostly C's. You'll learn a lot of physics, but is the grade worth it.
I'm posting this on my way to the mental trauma center at Ronald Reagan after getting absolutely ravaged in the ass by his midterm. I thought i was good at math and physics(5s on both parts of physics C, 5th highest grade in my 32A class) but this was unlike anything ive ever experienced in my life. Completely blanked out and maybe got one of 3 problems. If I'm lucky. Jesus ****ing Christ in heaven, this was a gang rape. I even saw a couple of chicks bursting into tears afterward. To those considering taking this guy, think about whether a brilliant lecturer is worth the crushing blows to your morale and GPA that comes with getting blown out after studying 6 hours. Holy ****. If you want an A or even a B, reconsider now!
Corbin is probably the best professor I ever met at UCLA. He is effective, interesting and helpful. He's been holding office hour every single day the past quarter and replies emails in time. His lectures are so much fun that I always feel excited to go to his class. His tests are hard, but interesting. In short, I really enjoyed this quarter with him.
Corbin was easily the best professor I have ever had at UCLA. I was at first very nervous about taking his class, given his reputation for being hard.
By the end of his first lecture, I completely changed my mind. He is VERY knowledgeable about the material, but even more than that, he is a fantastic educator. Having stopped research, he can devote all of his time to teaching and it shows: he can keep you engaged, he knows what is essential and what is not, and he knows how to explain concepts.
I liked that his exams had no numbers, they really forced you to learn the concepts, to learn how to take the basic ideas behind the different topics and to be able to apply them no matter what comes at you. The most important thing you learn in his class is how to learn: understand the concepts, and you can answer any question
I have mixed opinions about Corbin. His lectures are entertaining (especially the physics puns) but he has a bit of an inflated ego. His tests are crazy... if you're scoring 60% you're doing "well". At first, this kinda hurts your sense of progress. You could study all night and still score in the 50-60% range: it's discouraging. After the first test, I learned really quickly how to take his midterms successfully. Don't start at the beginning of the test; flip through all of the problems. Don't attempt to start the difficult problems until later. Pick a problem you KNOW you can do well, then move onto other ones, because the time limit (50 minutes) is the biggest issue, and you want to rack up all the points you can get. Write something down for every part of every question, because even when I pulled answers out of my ass that made no sense, the TA would give me 1-2 points out of 5. Partial credit is the key! I basically didn't study more than 1 hour for each midterm, and 2 hours for the final, but I got an A because I understood the concepts and I could explain myself through sentences on the exams, even when I couldn't recall the correct equations. Attend lecture! and when I attended office hours once, I realized that the OH regulars probably got a TON of hints about exam problems. This class is intimidating, but doable. Sean is an amazing TA, so attend his review sessions and discussions when you can. (Also, I never even did one problem from the book, but they probably help you become more familiar with the equations.)
Corbin is an amazing teacher and person. You'd be silly to pass up this opportunity to learn physics from him.
He is helpful, kind and generous in every way, and goes above and beyond to help anyone and everyone who is willing to learn. As his past physics workshops and teaching methods have shown, this includes people who may not be enrolled in his specific class, but simply those who want to develop their understanding of physics in a way that is more than just memorizing formulas..
@ the guy who "is wondering what to learn from Corbin,"
maybe you should learn to chill. ;) haha.. 8)