Black Holes and Cosmic Catastrophes
Fall 2020 - I took this class P/NP online, which I recommend doing if you are not a science major. I think like 30+ people dropped this class in the first 2 weeks because it is really not for you if you are bad at physics. Malkan often operates on the assumption that you know some physics already so he doesn't explain basic principles. The workload isn't bad. You have a weekly quiz along with homework questions and some textbook readings and two midterms and a final. The homework and textbook readings often seem unrelated to the lecture and quiz content. The first midterm was very hard but he curved a lot. The second midterm and the final were much easier because he kind of tells you what is going to be on them. DO THE PRACTICE SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS HE GIVES YOU. The grades for this class seemed all over the place so I would definitely take it P/NP. Malkan is incredibly enthusiastic about astronomy so it makes his lectures interesting (he also sometimes mentions his wife which is cute). He is the kind of passionate that makes him go one a lot of little tangents so remember to read the slides instead of just listening to him talk. Overall, an interesting but semi-stressful class.
Amazing! I took him for Astro 4, and the class was amazing. You learn a lot of interesting information. He is a really good lecturer, even though he just says exactly what's in the book, so you don't actually have to go to class. He is really nice and helpful, and he did everything he could to make sure that you got an A if you wanted it. Plus, it was an easy class!
*This review is actually for Physics 1B Sakai was a good professor to take, her review scores are unfairly deflated. You should attend lecture, because she likes to write solutions to selected problems on the board, and these problems are similar to the ones used on her exams. She's not the best at controlling the powerpoints, but she does post slides and the content on these slides is both relevant to the course and the midterms. Attend lecture, she's personable and is really good at answering specific questions you have at the halfway point in one on ones. Don't be afraid to point out errata, she isn't always right and she sends out and makes corrections if you do. Attend office hours, she knows what she's talking about and is better at explaining concepts in small settings. Exams are half computational, but you're going to want to really understand the mechanics of what you're working with; since the other half the problems could be described as curveballs or "concepts with a twist". You get a notecard of equations and notes if you want one, but if you need it for anything but double checking, you're not going to do well; her exams are timed aggressively. Her exams sometimes are occasionally poorly worded, ask for clarifications before beginning work if you're not sure exactly what's desired. All in all, good professor, put the time in and you'll enjoy it too.
Professor Shapley was awesome! She's an incredibly kind and passionate teacher, and I really learned a lot from her class. She made the subject interesting, and it was clear that she put significant effort in her organization. Her office hours every week were extremely helpful too! Lastly, when I e-mailed Professor Shapley with a simple units question, she responded with a very detailed and helpful explanation that must have taken her a good 15 minutes to write. She cares a lot about her students, and is probably one of the best professors here at UCLA. The class itself: The homework is math based and challenging, but the midterm and final were conceptual. Pay attention in lecture, and the class will be no problem. Highly recommended!
Turner is very friendly, smart, and intelligent, but I didn't enjoy this class as much as I hoped I would. (I highly recommend taking astronomy 3 with McLean prior to taking this course, by the way.) She goes a lot into calculations which can go over the heads of the not-so-mathematically inclined, and though calculations are important for the subject matter, we were tested on very little of these. I think she may be a lot better for students in the astronomy major or those who are genuinely interested in math and physics.