Man These People Are Serious (Telebears VI: MCB)

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, April 16th, 2007

In the world of cutthroat, do-or-die Berkeley academics, nothing comes close to the savage ferocity with which MCB students pennypinch their points, looking for every possible opportunity to better themselves in the race for Hopkins or Michigan or whatever. We don’t even understand the joke in the picture above. Way too crazy and anal-retentive, those bio people–save our editor’s awesome roommate, who kicks all your asses.

So see what these thoroughly insane people say about their profs (actually, these are probably the cooler kids who are saying it, the real insane ones are still hiding in the shadows of the Main Stacks)

(Note: If you have any memories about professors in this department for a class or in general, please contribute them in the comments. Direct sources>Indirect sources.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Our Parents Made Us Take These (Scheduling for Telebears, Part V–Pre-Meds)

Posted by: Avinash on Friday, April 13th, 2007

We saved our last planning update of the week for the group that’s always obsessing and complaining over their GPAs/schedules/academics, the Pre-Med people. We know you people are probably going nutty trying to decide how taking these shitty requirements will make them feel. We know how’d it make us feel. Suicidal. Last time we took any bio or chem was five years ago. Good luck surviving. (Textbooks for class required/recommended are under each title)

Bio 1A

John Forte, MWF 8-9, 1 Pimentel
“He managed to keep you engaged when you were watching his lectures. His section though had twice has much material as the first two, so there was a lot of memorization…Way too concerned with minor details. Test, and class in general, is quite hard…grandfather of acid secretion enzymes.”

Bio 1B
Mary Power, MWF 8-9, 2050 VLSB
“She seems like a crazy person…her slides were sloppy. she looked sloppy…Her teaching style made ecology, normally an interesting subject, extremely boring…she talks way too fast, and her notes make no sense outside of context…Her lecture notes are excessively colorful but very unclear and constant revisions make them even more confusing…A nice and approachable professor but her lecture notes were very unclear.”

Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions and Herbcraft (Pharmako Volii)Pharmako/Poeia: Plants Powers, Poisons, and HerbcraftPharmako Gnosis: Plant Teachers And The Poison PathDrugs, Society, and Human Behavior
David E Presti, TuTh 330-5, Wheeler Auditorium
“Drugs and the Brain is all about memorizing facts. If you like to memorize facts then this class will be very easy….I went into this class hearing that presti is a god… and i was bored within 10 minutes…OVERRATED. Class material was interesting, but Presti managed to make it seem dry and boring a lot of the time.”

MCB 102
Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Fourth EditionThe Absolute, Ultimate Guide to Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry 4e
Kathleen Collins, MWF 10-11, 155 Dwinelle
“One word to describe her…DEATH! I had a 3.9 GPA before her class, and I got a D in it after studying more than ever before. Whatever you do, don’t take it…she is one of the coolest professors I have taken classes with. Her lectures are clear, plus there is not much reading from the book. The exams are ok if you study, you just have to stay up to date with the material.”

Chem 1A
Chemistry: The Molecular Science (with CD-ROM, General ChemistryNow, and InfoTrac®)i>clicker: Radio Frequency Classroom Response System
Angelica M. Stacy, MWF 9-10, MWF 11-12, MWF 1-2, all in 1 Pimentel
“This lady is crazy! She’s interesting, but had stupid methods of teaching basic chemistry – I believe it set me back…She has trouble explaining things clearly and often times answers questions with- “You wouldn’t have known that.”…Lectures were very well prepared…office hours are very helpful… She tries hard to make lectures interesting but tends to contradict herself. Likes to phrase her questions in very ambiguous ways.”
Not pictured: Student Solutions Manual for Moore Chemistry: The Molecular Science
Study Guide for Moore/Stanitski/Jurs’ Chemistry: The Molecular Science, 3rd

Chem 3A/3AL,

Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function
Steven Pedersen, TuTh 8-930 & W 5-6, 1 Pimentel
“Loved him, he’s a great professor. You can tell he wants his students to learn rather than to stress out over grades and such…You have to go to lecture because he takes the time to draw mechanisms on the board. This helps immensely…do his Exam Book over and over again, and you’ll get the A….Very clear, organized lab lecture…Hands down Best professor of chem at Berkeley.”
Not pictured: Organic Chemistry Study Guide with Solutions Manual
Chem 3B
Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function
K. Peter Vollhardt, TuTh 8-930 at 100 Lewis, TuTh 2-330 at 1 Pimentel
“Lectures were rather boring. Straight from the book (after all he wrote the book)…The tests are fair and exactly like his old exams…word of the wise, study the slides!…Extremely arrogant-avoid direct contact at all costs. However, the class was not that difficult…it just involved a TON of work… a straightforward class.”

Next week we move from meat to tofu (talk about downgrades) as we transition into the softer sciences, and the week after into humanities.

(Data taken from RateMyProfessors and Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes)

DeVon Hardin Doesn’t Want You Eating His Lucky Charms

Posted by: Avinash on Friday, April 13th, 2007

In a move that’s been widely reported and expected, DeVon Hardin, the 6’11” Cal junior center, has declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. This decision comes despite the fact he only played 11 games the past year, although the lack of an agent allows us to contemplate his return. We think that the real reason he wants to leave is that in the NBA, he doesn’t have to worry about teammates messing with his shit.

When Devon was a freshman, we used to mess with him all the time. They say picking on someone is only funny when they react, well, in Devon’s case, it was alllwayyss funny. He had a rule that nobody mess with his food (cuz we would always eat it), and nobody could use his dishes (cuz we would never wash em).

One time, I went into his dorm and grabbed his box of lucky charms. I took out about a hand full of the cereal and made a line of lucky charms from his bedroom, through the long hallway, through the dining room and living room, and into the kitchen. Then I put a little big into a bowl and put like a teaspoon worth of milk and a spoon in there. It basically was to give the impression that, not only was cereal stolen, but it was eaten in cold blood haha. When Devon got home and saw all of it I guess he went crazy and was ready to fight everyone. Good times.

The draft report from November had him detailed as “looking hesitant and tentative at best” and “lazy and uninspired at worst”; if only those teams started swiping away his Gatorade cups. Then it’s ON.

All options open: Cal’s Hardin declares for draft, but doesn’t hire agent [SF Chronicle]
Devon [Mac]
Picture from

Not as Hardcore as EECS, but Hey, at Least We Have Lives (Scheduling for Telebears, Part IV–Engineering)

Posted by: Avinash on Thursday, April 12th, 2007

We go to movies. We club it at times. We still believe in dates. We were nerds in high school and your peers made fun of you for it. Now we’ll make more money than the rest of you losers. Who’s laughing now? We are engineers, baby.

Chem 4A
Quantitative Chemical AnalysisPrinciples of Modern Chemistry
Richard Saykally, MWF 10-11, 100 Lewis
“Great demonstrations, unfortunately some got banned by the dean…he tries very hard to make his lectures interesting with demonstrations and obnoxiously bad clothes…Saykally explains fundamentals well and does a lot of example problems that are indicative of what will be on the midterms…Very animated professor, fun to watch in lecture…loves exploding things almost as much as you enjoy watching things explode.”
(Not pictured: Quantitative Chemical Analysis Student Solutions Manual, Student Solutions Manual for Principles of Modern Chemistry)

Civil Engineering 11
Introduction to Engineering and the Environment
Robert Harley, MWF 11-12, 141 McCone
“SUPER HOT… his bald head is extremely cute, other than that he makes the topic interesting…Very hard! Avoid!…final is hard too, curves bout 15% overall in class in the end, doesnt tell u that tho, but mean on midterms is c to d man, prety nice in OH, passionate bout enviro”

Civil Engineering 60
Paulo Monteiro, TuTh 11-12, 502 Davis
“Good lecturer with very good knowledge of the industry and good stories and examples given in class…not a lot of work is required just show up and pay attention during lecture…Waste your time and get nothing…favorite class of the semester as far as engineering classes go.”

Civil Engineering 70
Understanding Earth
Ken Johnson, TuTh 1230-2, 502 Davis
“Very knowlegable, there is a cool field trip…Lots of material in lecture, and can be kinda boring, but labs are quite enjoyable…all the lectures are powerpoint slides available online.”

Engineering 7
Introduction to MATLAB 7 for Engineers
Roberto Horowitz, MW 12-1, 10 Evans

“Everything was PowerPoint, and slides were printed/provided. Sometimes messed up in lecture, and examples given in class weren’t always representative of homework/test questions…The tests are a little easy so the means are always in the 80-86%.”
Andrew Packard, MW 1-2, 10 Evans
“Does give long assignments though. Lectures quite well, although he speaks a little too fast sometimes…Very engaging, but as stated earlier he flies through his material…The assignments were excessively long, but it’s an engineering class, so it’s expected.”

Engineering 28
David Dornfield, MW 8-9, 390 Hearst Mining

“Really boring lectures. Wasn’t sure what he was really talking about. Lieu is definitely a lot better at this than he is…generally clear and easy to understand… Gives poor exam questions, and lecture couldn’t be much more useless. The course material is not enjoyable….his curve screws you. hard. take it with lieu.”

Engineering 36
Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics w/CD-ROM
A(?) Astaneh, MW 9-10, 10 Evans

“Astaneh gives clear lectures, though I definitely skipped quite a few lectures and ended up alright…doesn’t reply to emails…Class is only 2 units and is very easy when taking it with this professor…My friend didn’t go to one lecture b/c he was able to follow along in the book.”

Engineering 45
Introduction to Materials Science for Engineers (6th Edition)
Ron Gronsky, MWF 12-1, 100 Lewis
“Awesome class, awesome dude…He gets you through the vast amount of information at a very nice clip, and always engages the class and makes the subject so easy and fun…Made me want to major in Mat Sci. Tests are fair, if do the homework and labs you’ll do fine…go to office hours!”

(Data taken from RateMyProfessors and Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes)

Why is Scheme so Useless? (Scheduling for Telebears, Part III–EECS)

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Programmers begin to be broken down in new ways by Lisp, then recover easily and dominate everything, leaving Cog Sci majors and people who hate programming (me) in the dust, only to be crushed by upper division projects. The EE people grow to hate the sight of computers and are ready to smash them by week ten. This is your destiny.

See what students are saying about the EECS profs…

CS 61A
Brian Harvey, MWF 2-3, 1 Pimentel
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)Simply Scheme - 2nd Edition: Introducing Computer Science
“You should have programming experience before taking this class…This class opens up lots of different perspectives about programming…you should have programming experience before taking this class….Pretty dry, but then the entire course can be so…you should have programming experience before taking this class.”
(Sorry for the repetition, we’re just angry at not following that advice.)

CS 61B
Paul Hilfinger, MWF 1-2, 120 Latimer
Pragmatic Unit Testing in Java with JUnitHead First Java, 2nd Edition
“It’s a rite of passage. People learned to program in that class…out of all my classes, this is the one that taught me the most… His style is “I’ll throw you into the middle of the ocean, and let you drown awhile, then I’ll come and get you out.”…his lectures are boring and become abstract nonsense…Takes pride in getting people to drop his class.”

CS 61C
Mike Clancy, MWF 3-4, 2050 VLSB
The  C Programming Language (2nd Edition)Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface, Third Edition (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design) (The ... Series in Computer Architecture and Design)
“Clancy is not the most organized professor out there. The whole walking barefoot thing is kinda distracting too…He’s an archetypal 70’s nerd teaching in the 21-st century…he’s a good lecturer if you can get past his Urkel voice…Projects were not too hard but for some reason he gave out online quizzes on things that he has not lectured on yet.”

Electrical Engineering 20
Babak Ayazifar, TuTh 1230-2, 105 Stanley
Structure and Interpretation of Signals and Systems
“Hardest Prof. I have ever had at Berkeley… challenged me to the limits and beyond…He is funny, helpful and unusually clear and I say unusually because EE classes are hard to understand…He’s brilliant, articulate, personable, and an excellent lecturer. Truly one of the best. BONZAI!”

Electrical Engineering 40
Connie Chang-Hasnain, MWF 1-2, 277 Cory

“Worst ever. hard to understand, goes off topic a lot…she sucks ruined my eecs expirience…horrible…Powerpoint slides which failed to teach anything at all. Teaching gradually improved and became clearer towards the end…worst teacher, if you want to call her that, I ever had.”

Electrical Engineering 42 & Electrical Engineering 100 (TuTh 8-930, 10 Evans) Bernhard Boser
Electric Circuits (8th Edition)
“Really terrible. It’s incredibly hard to extract useful information from his unorganized lectures…envelope…useless lectures. He ends up on tangents that no grad student would understand…gets angry when his class does badly on his poorly written exams.”

Wake up. Seriously, WAKE UP. (Scheduling for Telebears, Part II–Physics)

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

I used to think I wanted to be a physics major, but that was before I realized several things about college.
(1) If you want to have fun with women consistently, you need to stay up later coddling them.
(2) Physics classes are always scheduled between 8 and 11 am. (Unless you’re in one of the feeder 8A/B & 10 classes. Burn in hell.)
(3) Result: 70 percent of physics classes missed? Yeah, forget about that.

So if you’re an early riser, the physics major path is to you. And hopefully your professors are palatable. Let the students give you some insight to them.

Physics 7A
Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Volume 1 (Chaps 1-20) (4th Edition)
Alex Zettl, MWF 8-9, 1 LeConte
“Best handwriting out of any professor I’ve had…His demos are pretty cool. You don’t need to read the book too much if you go to lecture… he goes over material nice and slow and has one of the most presentable drawings and handwriting i’ve seen in years…Midterms were ok but the final was pretty hard…just work, and you’ll do fine.”
R Ramesh, TuTh 2-330, 1 LeConte
“Although he’s a really nice guy when you talk to him in person, his lectures are not too useful…Cool teacher, but does not go into details…He lets his GSIs make up the exams, so some of the questions are quite random and unpredictable…Great personality, terrible teacher.”
Physics H7A
Richard Marrus, TuTh 930-11, 2 LeConte
An Introduction To MechanicsVibrations and Waves (M.I.T. Introductory Physics Series)
“He was a decent teacher, but if you asked a good question, his response during class was usually “you don’t want to ask that”…He wants to teach the class, but he has difficulty coming down to the students level…the materials are simply too difficult and too much to handle in short amount of time.”

Physics 7B
Physics for Scientists and Engineers (3rd Edition)
Jan Liphardt, MWF 11-12, 1 LeConte
“Stopped going to lecture pretty quickly, since long derivations in class are somewhat pointless…This is one prof who can’t stop talking, then leaves right after class is over… is very smart and people like me have a hard time keeping up with what he is saying…I don’t know why people have problems with his quirks, I’ve had far worse professors.”
Adrian Lee, TuTh 8-930, 1 LeConte

“He made a potentially difficult class very reasonable and very interesting…reading the book is very important to follow him through some of the harder materials…challenging but fair tests, sometimes not great at explaining more difficult material…Like a big, warm, cuddly, physics teaching teddy bear.”
Xiaosheng Huang, TuTh 11-1230, 1 LeConte (No data available)

H7B: Irfan Siddiqi, MWF 9-10, 2 LeConte
Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. II
“Good professor. Follows the material in the book and explains it very well.”

Physics 7C
Physics for Scientists and Engineers (3rd Edition)Modern Physics
Mina Aganagic, TuTh 2-330, 4 LeConte
“Not the best lecturer, but it is worth going to class because Mina is pretty hot…She is very helpful in office hours…She seems to be new to lecturing and stutters a lot tho. Prolly needs more practice and/or confidence….Lectures can get a bit wordy but still interesting and cover the material well…the best part, though, is that she is totally cute. I’m in love.”
H7C: Yury Kolomensky, TuTh 930-11, 3 LeConte
Optics (4th Edition)Modern Physics
“Definitely a nice guy, but his teaching, especially lectures, are totally unclear, disorganized, and confusing…His accent is thick and he mumbles…he may be the most helpful prof I’ve had at Cal…Yury is badass. If you don’t believe me, you suck.”

Physics 8A
Michael Deweese, MWF 3-4 , 1 Pimentel (post-doc, no information available)
Robert Jacobsen, TuTh 11-1230, 1 Pimentel
Essential University Physics (MasteringPhysics Series)
“First midterm was pretty easy, second was pretty easy, when i saw the final, i knew my A was flying away…fell asleep in every single lecture…Go to office hours if you have any questions at all, he’s totaly awesome…Conceptual, or at least he thinks he is. Homework completely unrelated to test, at most one problem…You might like him. Maybe. I didn’t really.”

Physics 8B
Marjorie Shapiro, MWF 3-4, 1 LeConte & TuTh 1230-2, 1 Pimentel (This teacher hasn’t taught in forever. She was department head, so I guess that’s good. No idea what her ratings are.)
Essential University Physics (MasteringPhysics Series)

Physics C10
Richard Muller, TuTh 930-11, 1 Pimentel
Physics for future Presidents, Fall 2007 edition
“I changed my major from polisci to engineering after taking Physics 10…He really loves what he does and it shows in his lectures…muller’s lectures are very entertaining, and you only need to attend on quiz days b/c the lectures are webcast…Muller is the Grandpa i always wanted…This is the best class I have had at Cal.”

Deciding on the Gun or Poision (Scheduling for Telebears, Part I–Math)

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, April 9th, 2007

We’re not very happy with the incoming freshmen right now, because all the cool math classes we would have taken (Combinatorics, Mathematical Economics, History of Math) have been flat out cancelled to make way for extra lower-div math for apathetic engineers. Grad classes of course remain intact, so that leaves most juniors and seniors like us scrambling to find cool things to take. (Looks like we’ll be dipping into DeCals or getting jobs).

Despite our bitterness, out of the goodness of our heart, we’re going to help them and the rest of you out with Telebears in the days and weeks to come. We’ll start with the basics every week and move onto the fun stuff later on.

Here’s what people are saying about the instructors for the standard math classes in fall…

Math 1A
Paul Vojta, MWF 2-3 PM, 10 Evans
Office hours consist of a student asking a question, followed by a 5-second silence, followed by at most five words spoken by Vojta, followed by more awkward silence, and finally repeat…Told us that material wouldn’t be on a test, then put it on said test.
Ole Hald, MWF 10-11 PM, 1 Pimentel**
The only bad thing about taking his class is I was so spoiled by his sheer awesomeness that all the other math professors and classes I’ve had since are such disappointments…He must have been a stud in his younger years…he did Tai-Chi during my midterm
Marius Wodzicki, TuTh 330-5P, 2050 VLSB
He spends the majority of the time in lecture complaining about the book he is “forced” to use… Tests are problems from the book. Do your homework and you’ll get an A…I can’t understand him. but he is brilliant in some way that I cannot comprehend.

Math 1B
Nicolai Reshetikhin, MWF 11-12, 2050 VLSB**

“He’s hard to understand at first but later everything makes perfect sense….A great lecturer that is very organized and provides clear explanations…[His] jokes silenced the lecture hall on more than one occasion.”
Maciej Zworski, TuTh 2-330, 2050 VLSB
Would snap at the class for no apparent reason…His tests are horrible. 56% midterm averages, probably a lot worse on the final…His exams are similar to the practice exams he posts…he’s taken to using an overhead projector, and he ALWAYS blocks it while he’s writing

Math 53
Alexandre Givental, TuTh 1230-2P, F295 Haas

“Very concise, cuts the crap when dealing with math. He teaches REAL math…Take this class if you want to be a theorist, stay away otherwise…he gave 75% of the class a zero on the theory on the second midterm..The worst professor I had at Cal.”
Michael Hutchings, MWF 3-4, 155 Dwinelle**
“Exams are challenging but fair…Don’t need to go to lecture just read the book and know how to do HW problems…good luck trying to stay awake…he talks about real life applications and cute examples about class materials…He tells some nerdy math jokes.”

Math 54
Arthur Ogus, MWF 9-10, 105 Stanley**

“Very clear lectures and fair exams, quite enthusiastic so lectures are not boring…he made so many mistakes during lectures people would laugh…midterms are not that difficult…Theorem, theorem, lemma, lemma, definition, proof, proof, proof, lemma, lemma, proof. Very hard, good professor if you like to be pointlessly challenged.”
Ming Gu, TuTh 330-5, 155 Dwinelle
“Lots of focus on proofs and theorems…MINGU!!!! horrible. absolutely horrible…Has an accent, but not impossible to understand…you can’t predict what will be on the exam…He’s not out to trick people…This class/professor was the reason I chose to no longer be a math major.”
H54: Dan Voiculescu, MWF 1-2, 70 Evans
“He was a pretty good lecturer…depend heavily on the textbook and the GSI which still only gave me a superficial understanding of the material…If you love math, he can entertain you for hours….nobody goes to lecture…”PLEASE WRITE IN INK.”…reminds me of the Pilsbury Dough Boy.”

**Our Pick
Fall 2007 Schedule of Classes [Berkeley Schedule]
UC Berkeley Professor Ratings []