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The class was amazing. I was blown away by the concepts that we covered in the class, and changed from being a life science major to a more mathematics-intensive, computation-based major. His term paper is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. Make sure to plan ahead. Dr. Garfinkel is an amazing lecturer as mentioned below, but may be intimidating to approach to a newbie due to overflowing charisma. Also make sure you have a good TA.
the person below is actually incorrect- Dr. Garfinkel is in fact, a Woodrow Wilson fellow, not a Truman Scholar. Nonetheless, everything that has been said about him is true. His charisma is undeniable, and his passion for teaching resonates amongst all students inside the room. He breaks down difficult concepts into easily understandable words- Albert Einstein once said that a true genius is capable of breaking down difficult concepts to a layman. According to Einstein, Dr. Garfinkel is a true genius. Take his courses! (I took PS 138)
Okay there has been a recent surge of reviews for this professor because for some reason, Bruinwalk wouldn't let us add reviews for him a couple of months ago and it's finally working. Thank GOD. I finally get to write a review for this amazing man.
For my four years at UCLA, I have not once volunteered to write an evaluation for my professors. This professor, who I genuinely admire and respect, was an exception. It was at least what I can do to show some respect for the person who truly deserve it.
First, you may or may not know, depending on your familiarity in the field of dynamical modeling. But he is an alumnus of Harvard University. He is also a Truman Scholar, and has an episode of NOVA on his research. With that said, you can assume that he is one of the best in his field, and you will definitely notice that once you take his class.
Besides his being an exceptional researcher, he is an absolutely amazing human being. He is humble, but the first time you meet him, he is very intimidating due to his sheer genius and your obvious lacking in his presence. Not only is he friendly, but he genuinely cares about students and their learning. He would help you by any means if you tell him or if you appear to struggle with the course. He may not change your grades as some others would have hoped, but instead, he will make sure you are ready for the next exam. I would cease commenting on his personality, because my poorly attempting to describe it would do injustice to who he really is. At least once, go to his office hour and talk to him in person, and you would immediately know what I mean.
I recommend this class to all majors. You will most likely find the class so engaging and interesting because of his enthusiasm for mathematical modeling. His lectures are easy to follow, and his style of teaching is absolutely brilliant. Exams are very straight forward, and there are NO trick questions--rather, questions solely based on how well you mastered the material.
At the end of the course, you will end up with interest in chaos theory, admiration for this professor, a decent grade, and gratitude for having taken the course during your undergraduate career at UCLA.
It's difficult to find a class that is challenging, and at the same time, engaging as this class. Professor Garfinkel is an amazing genius who also has the ability to teach with craft and mastery. Take his classes.
Professor Garfinkel is an absolute genius. He is compassionate, understanding, and absolutely phenomenal at what he does. Take whatever course you can with him, because you're about to be taken on a journey of a lifetime.