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Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Vasili may not be the best lecturer, but he is one of the most caring professor out there. He wants you to learn thermo properly. Nevertheless, his handouts are amazing. Don't bother studying the book except for the cycles.
Since all his exams are open book, you must have a very clear understanding of the concepts, and you don't need to memorize anything, which is good.
He grades pretty generously too. Average is put on a B+.
This is literally one of the only few professors whose lectures are worth attending. Seriously, he's the best ChemE Professor hands down, if not the only good ChemE professor at UCLA(which is a shame).
I've taken 102A and 100 with him, both great experiences. He even taught fluid flow material better than the 101A course did, (whats up with that?)
He is the best because:
1. Knows his stuff, doesnt have fancy/wimpy lecture notes to look off of
2. Extremely concerned if the class is understanding the material
3.Although he can be very scary looking sometimes, he is EXTREMELY APPROACHABLE, and definitely urges students to do so.
4. Explains the concepts of whats going on using good analogies; not just writing equations and saying, okay and then dee-you divided by dee-tee equals dee-pee times vee"
5. I actually took the time to create and account to rate him positively just to show how great he is. He really puts other professors to shame.
At first he may seem hard because he introduces all the math background, and as you know, the greek letters get thrown around every where in math and science, meaning anything from course to course, So dont be intimidated, you'll get it eventually.
One more thing, READ HIS PAMPLHETS AND NEVER THROW THEM AWAY!!!!
LECTURE: Horrible lecturer. Just awful. He makes things that are supposed to be relatively easy insanely hard due to his enormous mathematical background. It takes a ton of time to even understand what he is talking about. He doesn't mention what sections of the book he is using and he just says the book is terrible, when really it is much clearer than he is.
Don't get me wrong though, Vasili is a super smart guy, I don't think anyone will tell you otherwise. He can give a lecture with no lecture notes - he knows his stuff back and forth. He is just really, really bad at explaining things.
HOMEWORK: Lots. Actually very useful, but can be tedious and time consuming.
HANDOUTS: Good lord, the pamphlets! They're actually pretty useful too, but they're basically a reflection of his lectures: super long, complicated, and hard to understand beneath all the math jargon. For one of them you get "The Axiomatic Approach to Thermodynamics", a 30 some page handout of straight math BS from first principles. The key points in this pamphlet could probably be summed up in a page, tops - But instead, Vasili compiles them into a nearly 100 axiom long ultra-tedious and brutal math exercise, for example deriving and comparing arcane things such as Pfaffian differentials in abstract variable spaces.
TESTS: He typically has three problems on each test with lots of parts to each problem. One "gimme", one "tedious", and one "that separates the A+ from the A-". In my experience with this class, the difficulty of the problems are not so clear cut, but are about the same as the homework. Grading is generous though.
PERSONALITY: Vasili is an approachable and very nice person who is very interested in the material. He'll always help you out.
OVERALL: Hard, tedious, time consuming class. You'll need to teach yourself A LOT, unless you're a genius and can actually follow any of the garbage Vasili writes on the board or tries to explain from the pamphlet. This is more like a class that a graduate student would take after taking several introductory Thermo Classes - literally everything is derived from first principles, and you don't need to do that for an undergraduate, entry level Thermo class. I do not recommend Vasili as a professor, but since you're a ChemE, you'll probably have no choice.
I must say I have to disagree with some of the reviews in the post below:
Lectures: Professor Vasili has a tremendous mathematical background. So expect a lot of mathematics in this class. Having said that, it is up to you to decide whether an engineering class should or should not be math-heavy. My personal view (shared by many) is that while this class might seem to be too much math, it is essentially making you dig down to the very fundamentals of thermodynamics and from there on, build theorems and come to conclusions that the textbook has merely stated.
Homework: Homework assignments are huge (35% of grade). However, Prof Vasili is accommodating with due dates - that makes it better. Most of your learning in this class will come from doing homework. You are made to combine thermodynamics with mathematics- not just take equations from textbooks, plug numbers in and print results.
Exams: Fair, graded generously. Mostly based on homework.
All in all, this is a great class. It seems a little too much in the beginning, but as the quarter progresses, it gets better. Don't let the homework overwhelm you.
His pamphlets are rich with information. You don't need to memorize anything for this class. (Except maybe "GENERATION = IN + OUT - ACCUMULATION").
There is absolutely no question that this is a very different class - it is something you would expect in an engineering-heavy school. And that, I believe, is good.
Again, for all the hard work you do, grading is very generous.
At the end of the class, you will appreciate the fact that you took a class that was in so many ways different than most classes taught here at UCLA. Take it.
Vasili's thermo class was very demanding but you will learn a lot and that is what matters in the long run. Understanding the material and completing the homework may take you quite awhile, especially if you need to do some math review or are not very familiar with Matlab or Excel. However, that process of reviewing all your past math skills and then incorporating them to solve a problem is precisely what makes this class so rewarding and useful. After all, isn't this what the learning process is all about? Problem solving and understanding new concepts will never be easy, but the skills and confidence you gain in the process is definitely worth it. Vasili does a great job of making you think, putting all your calculus classes to great practical use, and enhancing your computer/problem solving abilities (ie. using tools in Excel you never knew about before that are actually really great to get to know). Bottom line: work hard and good luck- this class is an amazing learning experience and you will learn tons from Vasili if you put in the effort!
Vasilios Manousiouthakis is an incredibly intelligent professor. While his homework sets were full of the hardest problems I've ever done in my life, I truly feel like I learned something in this class. Even though each homework set would take well over a week (with some problems takings well over a full day to complete), he was fair with extending each set based on students' needs as well as fair grading on exams. The one huge downside of this class is if you hate spending hours of your time on a single line of equations. In the end, however, if you put in the work and time, you will absolutely learn something and be rewarded for it.
Lectures are important to go to because even though he does like to ramble on about random stuff, there is important information you'll receive at some point.
Vasilios is a very nice man who seems to know a ton about Thermodynamics. The problem is he is not able to relay his knowledge to his students well. The homework sets take forever and tend to be very difficult and long. I did well grade-wise in the class, but I feel as if I did not learn a single new thing. I feel that anything I could do in that class was from prior knowledge (i.e. integration, ideal gas law, etc.). He seems like he really wants us to succeed, but everything started off as confusing and never reached a point where it made a great deal of sense. I liked him as a person and he would probably be a great mentor, but I would not take him again as a professor.
Vasili is an awesome professor. You don't have to take notes, he posts handouts of the lecture, so you can just focus on listening and understanding the materials. He is a very intelligent person, and he's the only Chem-E professor who actually cares about his student's learning. His homeworks are tough and take forever, but you learn a lot while doing them. Definitely form study groups to do the homework together. They are all typed, so you type all the proofs on mathtype, but this is good because you can copy and paste them. Also either invest in a good printer or know where the ones on the hill are, you will be printing probably 2-3 inches of paper for the final. Tests are open note, open book, basically bring anything you want, including homework solutions. You can't get less than a C on the midterm, they made 30% and lower a C. He curves to the lowest student so make sure you help each other out!
Look, Vasilios is a nice guy. He's pretty funny, and his lectures are entertaining, but most of the time you're just copying down needless notation. I like his sass. The class is curved well, and the midterm averaged a 60 (even though it's open book open note and 40 points of it were basically copy paste from the HW, so it was pretty chill). However, I don't recommend him at all. We were saved by our TA Kelly, who made things semi-understandable. Otherwise, go to Vasilios for help on HW and you're out of luck. He just makes everything way too mathematical and confusing. We're chemical engineers, not mathematicians! No need to make things so complex. Often, he pulls problems form the book, and I look at his solutions and compare them to book solutions. There's just no need for so much math notation.
Also, Homeworks are absolutely brutal. 150+ pages throughout the quarter of typed equations and formulas for this class. Also, the final was destructive. You don't need to study for the final because it won't help you anyway. He gives an "easy", a "thinking" and a "tedious" problem on each exam. The easy and thinking problem on the final were fine, but that tedious problem was soooooo long. I used 15 pages on that final (only front side but still - it took forever).
Overall, you can't avoid him, so just enjoy the ride! He's funny, I always enjoyed lecture, the homework sucks and is infinitely confusing and tedious, and the exams will leave you feeling empty inside. But then you get an A+ and it's all okay :)
Also, he took two extra weeks past the deadline to put in grades, so just a heads up. Overall, I'll give him a 3 rating. Not very clear, very difficult class, not very helpful, but at least it was fun. I also feel pretty solid on the material I learned from his class (solely because I had to teach myself a lot of it, and the material is pretty fun and interesting).
I'll try to split my review into an objective part and subjective part.
Objectively, Vasili does not have the time for this course. He's a pretty prominent UCLA figure, so I can imagine that trying to teach such a demanding course is next to impossible without the time to do it. 90% of the course material is recycled from past years, some stuff is over a decade old. The other 10% is half completely new stuff, half old-stuff with a small revision or twist. Objectively, the homework is brutal. Even if you truly understand most of it, it is very tedious. One problem, as mentioned, was literally about 10 pages of equations. The tests are a bit strange themselves. The layout has been mentioned (the gimme problem, the tedious, the thinking)... to go into more depth--the gimme is a rehash of something done in class, typically a homework problem. Bring the right pages (you can use any piece of info on the tests, except for the internet) and it is a freebie. The tedious it just that--tedious. The thinking problem has some trick to it--some manipulation of old equations in the course.
Subjectively, this is leaps and bounds the worst class I have taken in my life. I have had professors with heavy accents, professors who put minimal effort, professors who make things unnecessarily hard. Vasili's class is a sick beast of its own. The man CANNOT teach. He showed up about 15 minutes late the first lecture. Not punctual. He simply told us to google how to perform a Laplace Transformation when it came up in the course. Not patient (LT is actually something you possibly haven't seen before this course due to the lack of course requirements for it). His mind is scattered, and he will not devote any time into the course outside of the 4 hours per week for the lectures. It truly is a skeleton of a demanding and tough class. You can see I have pretty strong feelings about the course-- mainly because I passed with a grade I didn't deserve because I didn't learn ANYTHING in the class. I answered a *piece* of 1/3 questions of the final exam, and get by with my grade? That's bull. Vasili is a smart veteran engineer with raw experience, but teaching what you know is a different beast than knowing it. He will not walk you through his thought process for a problem, more like just do the problem while narrating what he's doing. "Take this, perform Laplace Transform. Google if you don't know how to do it. Use Axiom 56 from my handout. This cancels. *writes on part of the board no one can see*. And there is your answer. *scrolls to next problem* Start with Axiom 34..."
Obviously, others had a better time in this class than I did. Maybe he was funny during lectures, but I stopped going after the first 5 or so. Those 4 hours are a precious resource for completing the homework. If you're an absolute genius, maybe you'll learn a lot from this course--you could impress people by deriving some fundamental equations using math alone (which, by the way, is the focus of the class. I felt that seldom we would actually show how the stuff we're learning applied in the real world--we would just derive an equation graph it, and be done). Me, as an average joe, did not gain anything from this class, save for some coding experience in Excel. If possible, do not take this course.
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