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I took 1A and 1B with Gekelman. Since then, I have taken several uper div physics classes with other professors, all of which had easier tests than Gekelman's. He doesn't really test you on the stuff he teaches you, he tests you on your ability to apply the material you learn to situations you have not learned about. That style of testing is probably way better than most tests because it forces you to really learn and understand the material...so make sure you really learn and understand it.
Gekelman's lectures are worthless, so go to Corbin's lectures if you can. Otherwise, get good at teaching yourself. In any case, physics is all about working out problems, so do all the homework and come up with some of your own problems to work out. Study hard. Good luck!
Take a look at his grading scheme. Look at the percentage of A's, B's, and C's. If your a point whore, stay away. Else, if your really like challenges and are here to actually learn, he's not that bad. His tests are very difficult (at least the first one I pretty much got 33/110 failed). Ended with a B- in the class after amazing comebacks on the 2nd midterm and final. Oh, and i also did pretty bad on the hw too... but that's cause I was somewhat lazy. Look at his lecture notes, not the book. His tests are more off than that (the book doesn't help much).
I had a 3.6 before this class, so no I'm not stupid or lazy. I swear put me in a class with any other professor I would sh*t on the other kids for physics, especially after this guy.
Point is, I know theres a lot of point whores out there, so if your one of them, do yourself a favor and stay away. If you like challenges, step up to the plate. I switched into EE after this class, so yes this guy somewhat had an impact on me (even though i only went to like one office hour and half the lectures). It honestly is somewhat interesting stuff, and I feel like these kind of classes do make you smarter.
Regardless its your choice. Corbin's hard, yea, but almost 30% of the class gets A's. So in the end, I'd say Gekelman is hands down the hardest professor from the 1 series. But hey, this is college, this is UCLA. Get use to it, especially if you're studying EE like me
Very confusing professor and does not teach. Like someone else said, he is a researher and not a teacher. He says he follows the book, which was true for the frst week of class, then decides to not follow the book or the book's methods. I heard other Physics 1b professors solve prolems, or at least show examples, in class and this professor does not.
Do not take his class. I think it would be better to skp him , if you can, even if it means stayng for another quarter.
Professor Gekelman is one of the best professors I've had at UCLA. Seriously, Physics with him is an experience in itself. He plunges deep into concepts and makes sure that students understand not only how to do questions, but the concept as a whole. Unlike other Physics professors who go into concepts, his tests are straightforward and fair. He has a very generous curve and despite not working too hard, I received an A in the class. Most other people I know also received As and A-s. He is very helpful during office hours even though he is very research-focused. Being a great researcher, his recommendation letters are also regarded highly by other colleges and companies. Definitely take him if you can. (He made me decide to switch to Physics from Chemical Engineering)!
It is true that Gekelman is more concerned about research then teaching, but hes not bad. He explains concepts well, the only problem is the math part you will have to figure out for yourself, hopefully you have taken double or triple integrals, because that is very necessary(math 32b). So when we started 1b with oscilations, it was all math natrually no one understood, electiricty was explained well he also does a lot of research into it(visit his lab it is cool). Take him if you dont have another option. You can survive.
Professor Gekelman is a researcher, not a teacher.
His method of approaching physics is the result of a life of calculations and complex simulations. He thinks on a whole different level than undergraduate students, believing that things like exponential functions dealing with imaginary numbers should immediately come to us after a normal high school education. He does not seem to understand that he has spent his whole life studying physics, whereas the majority of students taking his waves and electromagnetism class have only had roughly two years of experience. This gap between the professor's and student's knowledge base and the disregard of this gap by the teacher highly detracts from the learning experience of us students.
On the other hand, Professor Gekelman is a very friendly man. He does care about his students, even if he doesn't know how to teach them. You could almost call him the nice grandfather type (btw the bruinwalk picture of him is waaay old). I'm sure if you go to his office hours he will definitely be willing to help you to understand the material from the textbook and his supplemental equations for the textbook.
To sum it all up: Walter Gekelman does not know how to teach undergraduate students, but he will definitely be willing to help you if you go to his office hours.
Other things: He has weekly quizzes, his Physics 1B class is curved, the midterms occasionally deal with his "supplementary" material, he teaches through slides, and he sometimes tries to derive equations on the blackboard (with lots of mistakes).