UC Berkeley Letters and Science Discovery Courses, Fall 2008

Arts and Literature

L&S 20D Ang Lee, James Schamus and American Film Genres

Kathy Moran, 4.3 out of 5
MW 4-530, 180 Tan

“Very engaging, funny, remembers students. However, be warned: she talks very quickly so you need to pick and choose the most important things that she says…my favourite professor at Cal. Smart, nurturing, and incredibly helpful. She opens your eyes to arguments you would have never thought of yourself. Shows films that are relevant and interesting…Good enjoyable class, very enthusiastic teacher. The material was interesting and compelling and most of the reading was enjoyable…pretty easy professor who seems to genuinely care for her students. My only beef with her is that she wrote me a letter of recommendation that was riddled with grammatical errors!”

L&S 120B American Film Genres: The Woman’s Film
Kristen Whissel, 4.8 out of 5
MW 12-130, 142 Dwinelle

“Amazing class and prof.Is very nice and approachable.Great lectures.Great movies. Readings were useful.Grading was a little inconsistent due to use of GSIs. Very organized class.Wants you to do well on tests…Helpful when it came to papers and tests, and easy study guides that will prepare you for the final and midterm. She was a great professor whose class was incredibly structured, which I like better than all over the place…

Biological Sciences

L&S C30T Drugs and the Brain
David Presti, 4.4 out of 5
TuTh 330-5, Wheeler Auditorium

“He has such extended knowledge about SO MANY THINGS, and he is the best lecturer I’ve had yet at Berkeley. He’s interesting, and his tests are easy if you study for them…The class was too hyped up by a lot of people. Professor wasn’t a very interesting speaker, but the course material was fun…loved the interdisciplinary approach, esp. b/c I was/am not a science major. learned about everyday drugs, including caffeine…Love this guy!! The class was so interesting. He made every lecture worth while. Tests are very detailed oriented. TAKE DRUGS AND THE BRAIN!”

Texts: Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft by Dale Pendell, Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, & Herbcraft (Pharmako Volii) by Dale Pendell, Pharmako/Gnosis: Plant Teachers and the Poison Path by Dale Pendell & Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, 12th Edition by Charles J. Ksir, Carl L Hart, and Oakley S Ray

L&S C30U Americans and the Global Forest
Lynn Huntsinger, 4 out of 5
MWF 3-4, 159 Mulford

“ALthough she rarely lectured, I loved her personality. I did no reading, but I did study for the midterm and final and did very well…Sympathetic of students,eg no expensive textbooks.Only need to skim readings and get main pt.Mostly guest lectures;class is broad…she’s a great lecturer;that being said, this isn’t an easy “A” class.Be careful.Exams are open ended,and require mastery of material…Lots of interesting guest lecturers. This class has a lot of assigned reading but it isn’t necessary to read carefully.”

Text: I>clicker: Radio Frequency Classroom Response System by iclicker

Historical Studies

L&S 140C The Soviet Experience
Irina Paperno, 4.2 out of 5
TuTh 11-1230, 180 Tan

“Really wants you to learn and love the material. Has a good sense of humor. Lectures are clear and interesting. Midterms are no surprise but grading is a bit tough…she is brilliant- incredibly knowledgeable and communicates information in an extremely effective manner. She is friendly & easy to approach- intimidating because she appears to be strict but she is not at all…She is brilliant, very friendly. She may seem a bit intimidating at first, but once you get to know her, she is awesome and extremely charismatic…Very passionate about what she teaches and wants to infect you with the same passion. Seems unapproachable, but once you get up the nerve, she’s very warm.”

Texts: Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia by Martin Malia, Sofia Petrovna (European Classics) by Lydia Chukovskaya and Aline Werth, Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick,  Intimacy and Terror by Veronique Garros, Natalia Korenevskaya, Thomas Lahusen, and Carol A. Flath, Time, Forward! (European Classics) by Valentin Kataev, Edward J. Brown, and Charles Malamuth, Envy (New York Review Books Classics) by Yuri Olesha, Ken Kalfus, and Marian Schwartz

Philosophy and Values

L&S C160T Philosophy of Mind
John Searle, 3.6 out of 5
TuTh 930-11, 50 Birge

“You really have to just be amused by how right he thinks he is! Academic philosophy is like fight of the gladiators. Just be entertained and try not to get too upset if he wants to challenge you to make a good point…I wasn’t in his class 30 years ago, so I can’t say if he’s recycling jokes & material from back then. I can say that he’s a fun & funny guy, very smart, very self-confident…Not one-sided as people say. Orders lectures by concepts not thinkers. Kids don’t know they’ve got the thinkers since they skip readings but get concepts in lecture…He uses the SAME jokes and examples he used thirty years ago, multiple times per class. He is uber dismissive of opinions not his, whether from students or other philosophers, and gives a highly biased account of them…”

Texts: Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind (Cambridge Paperback Library) by John R. Searle,  Rediscovery of the Mind (Representation and Mind) by John R. Searle, Mind: A Brief Introduction (Fundamentals of Philosophy) by John R. Searle, Minds, Brains and Science (1984 Reith Lectures) by John Searle, Mystery of Consciousness by John R. Searle, Matters of the Mind by William Lyons

Physical Sciences

L&S C70U Introduction to General Astronomy
Alex Filippenko, 4.5 out of 5
MWF 3-4, Wheeler Auditorium

“The subject matter was breathtaking and eye-opening and very interesting. You will really appreciate what the class teaches if you do the work…It was NOT AN EASY A, but it was easy to get interested in the subject and motivate myself to do the work because Alex is one of the few inspirational professors I’ve had. Do the work, go to class or watch the webcasts, and you’ll pass…GO to the last lecture – incredible. & definitely write the essay to go on the research trip. We got to learn about the research he does & on the way back he took us to in’n’out. Plus he’s funny…I wasn’t sure if this class would live up to my high expectations, and I was right… it surpassed them. If you take one “discovery” class here, take this one… the work is worth it!!!”

Text: Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium (with AceAstronomy, Virtual Astronomy Labs Printed Access Card) by Jay M. Pasachoff and Alex Filippenko

L&S C70V Physics for Future Presidents
Richard Muller, 4.4 out of 5
TuTh 930-11, 1 Pimentel

“Physics for future presidents is one of the greatest classes offered here, and Muller is the reason why. His lectures are wonderful, his demos are awesome, and he makes abstract concepts understandable and relevant… For the book, skim through the boring science and focus on the applications cause that’s what he tests you on…His textbook is not good, it’s full of spelling and formatting errors and is repetitive. His ego is as big as his classes, he said this: “It’s possible that I’ve analyzed more climate data than anybody else in the world!” He brings up how wealthy he is…his textbook is written as he speaks. learned a lot of useful information in his class. a bit cocky, but in a funny, not annoying, way.”

Text: Physics for Future Presidents, Fall 2008: Supreme Court Justices, Congressmen, Ceo’s, Doplomats, Journalists, and Other World Leaders by Richard A. Muller

L&S 170AC Crossroads of Earth Resources and Society
George Brimhall
TuTh 1230-2, A1 Hearst

“Sometimes the powerpoints are a bit scattered, but George is pretty cool. And the field trip is amazing…the class was boring, but he has some interesting ideas. his voice is sleep inducing. The readings were interesting though. powerpoints were scattered…He’s rather useless – he just took culture and science, and taught both with mediocrity. Teaches at such a basic level, and has a very naive perspective on history…The lectures tend to be rather boring and he is often unprepared for hard question. Nevertheless, he gives you enough freedom to develop your final project as you see it fit.”

Texts: The Weather Makers : How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery, The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler

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