UC Berkeley Math Upper Division Electives, Fall 2008

Math 115, Number Theory
Chung Pang Mok (4.8 out of 5)
MWF 12-1, 71 Evans

“If I were a jerk I would rate him low just so I could hog him for myself. Jeez his classes fill up soo quickly. He is extremely helpful and and easy to approach…He is really helpful and easy to approach. His test is really easy too.”

Textbook: An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers by Ivan Niven, Herbert S. Zuckerman, and Hugh L. Montgomery

Math 121A, Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences
John Neu (2.6 out of 5)

TuTh 930-11, 85 Evans

“Go to office hours and get on his good list. One of the best professors I have ever had. Easy to stay awake…His homework is a little hard for the average student, but his office hours are essentially another lecture class, since many of your fellow students will also be there for clarifation…best professor I had at Cal. fun, interesting, helpful, and very amusing. he’s a hilarious guy, and he works hard to explain things to students. doesn’t tolerate stupidity, though–take him for an upper div class and GO TO OFFICE HOURS.”

Vera Serganova (3.7 out of 5)
MWF 10-11, 85 Evans

“Her lectures are clear and have the quality of architecture; the fact that she seems to be extemporizing is what kept my interest for the whole hour. She is very good-humored, and the way she dismisses stupidity or childish behavior with a straight face is very endearing…She is a fair (not easy) grader, but you will learn much. Also, her accent is no problem at all…her writing on the board is neat and eloquent. She should publish textbooks with her lectures and problems. Extremely recommended.”

Textbook for each class: Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences by Mary L. Boas

Math 123, Ordinary Differential Equations
Alexander Givental (1.8 out of 5)
TuTh 11-1230, 87 Evans

“If you can, avoid this professor. He mumbles a lot, and does not give enough explanations. He only hits you with theory, and there is nothing you can do with it, until you read the book. He does NOT grade the class on a curve, so good luck…Seems to prefer vague analogies to proof; homework is rarely applicable to tests; difficulty of class varies from day to day; bad board etiquette… He’s a nice guy, but has terrible handwriting and rambles on about… supposedly relevant topics.”

Text: Ordinary Differential Equations by V. I. Arnold

Math 125A, Mathematical Logic
Jan Reimann (3.9 out of 5)
TuTh 1230-2, 3 Evans

“New teacher, didin’t know how hard to teach class, eventually he made it easier. However, he is not very clear and does not explain in depth about how to formulate proofs…Reimann is an awesome instructor, lively and clear; really manages to convey concepts well. I looked forward to attending this class…His explanation is good can clear. you can learn a lot and know how to think about math if you pay attention in his class.”

Text: Notes online baby. Notes.

Math 127, Mathematical and Computational Methods in Molecular Biology
Lior Pachter (3.1 out of 5)
TuTh 930-11, 75 Evans

“Cancels class at whim for reasons such as “I left my projector upstairs”. Lectures are largely unfocused and involves the professor surfing webpages in class and the students just watching him do that… Avoid this professor if possible. This is the single worst teacher I have encountered in 4 years at Berkeley… Incredible instructor. His exams are very difficult but he is a vary easy grader, so it evens out. His biomathematical class is incredible! He does really interesting and important research, it’s totally worth looking at.”

Text: Biological Sequence Analysis: Probabilistic Models of Proteins and Nucleic Acids by Richard Durbin, Sean R. Eddy, Anders Krogh, and Graeme Mitchison

Math 128A, Numerical Analysis
Ming Gu (2 out of 5)
MWF 2-3, 60 Evans

“Heavy-accented asian guy who wears sneakers and appears as if he hasn’t had his hair cut in months. Hard to understand because his grammar and pronunciation are handicapped. On the other hand, I got an A, but I don’t understand why…1/3-1/2 of his class didn’t attend lecture for good reason. Insists on using horrible text. Not very encouraging in OH either. But easy test. Avoid if possible…The class in general was horribly, horribly organized (I cannot emphasize this enough!). Beware!”

Textbook: Numerical Analysis by Richard L. Burden and J. Douglas Faires

Math 135, Theory of Sets
John Krueger (3.6 out of 5)
MWF 3-4, 85 Evans

“He is very clear, although his handwriting is sloppy (he’s a math teacher), and gives terrific examples. His exams are very fair–pay attention and you’ll do well…Unresponsive, unhelpful most of the time. I think this is mainly becuase he is a new professor, he seemed extremeley tense/nervous while lecturing. Midsemester he reprimanded students for not ‘participating’ yet he seemed annoyed when anyone asked a question…He talks to the chalkboard from the second you walk in, until after the class is over, never changing his plan if students are struggling.”

Textbook: Notes on Set Theory (Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics) by Yiannis Moschovakis

Math 142, Elementary Algebraic Topology
Mauricio Velasco (only two ratings)
MWF 9-10, 71 Evans

“Velasco is friendly and really does want the students to learn. Occasionally he’ll stumble on a proof; also, he’ll stop and wait for people to answer questions about the proofs, and will allow quiet for an awkwardly long period of time (no one wants to answer, of course). Other than that, class is fine, and he is very patient…His lectures are clear; he’s very patient (especially in office hours); he wants his students to succeed. In other words, he’s a great professor.”

Textbook: Basic Topology (Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics) by M.A. Armstrong

Math 143, Elementary Algebraic Geometry
David Eisenbud
TuTh 11-1230, 3102 Etcheverry

Textbook: Introduction to Algebraic Geometry by Brendan Hassett

Math 160, History of Math
Hun-Hsing Wu
TuTh 1230-2, 85 Evans

“His accent makes him very difficult to understand, and as he is already hard to follow it makes lecture almost useless… I love Professor Wu’s teaching style. His lectures are very organized and engaging. He makes sure the students understand before moving onto next subject. Homework is related to the test, and with reasonable amount…Take this prof if you want to fail.”

A History of Mathematics by Carl B. Boyer, Uta C. Merzbach, Isaac Asimov
(All ratings from Ratemyprofessors.com)

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