# [APMA 3101] Applied Mathematics I

- Departments: Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
- Professors: Pierre Gentine and Marc Spiegelman

Professor Gentine is a strange professor. There's nothing consistent about him; you can't really call him good or bad, and you can't really call the class easy or hard. I'll just list facts.

He speaks English with a slight accent, which isn't a problem, but he likes to invent words. Have you ever substracted two numbers? What about multiplicate them? I can't tell if he says unicity (instead of uniqueness) because it is a real word or because he doesn't know the word uniqueness.

Class itself is fairly dull, mostly due to the slow pace of the course, but all you need is the book anyway.

The weekly homework is a joke. It usually consists of 5 basic questions from the textbook. You won't find any of that "think for yourself" mumbo jumbo. It's all arithmetic and fundamental properties. One assignment actually had an entire question that consisted of finding the lengths of two vectors and their inner product. It gets worse: there are grad students in this class! Moreover, if he puts the assignment up late he likes to push the due date back a week. While it's nice not to spend hours slaving away at homework, this isn't helpful in the slightest.

With the homework in mind, you'd expect the tests to be a piece of cake, right? Nope. The tests almost exclusively deal with problems from the most recent topics (for which there hasn't yet been homework) and are about as poorly-worded as possible. On the final he insisted that he was asking us to find the determinant of a rectangular matrix. Good luck!

#### Workload:

Homework might as well not be there. It's really just a formality to make you go to Mudd one more time every week. Tests are ridiculous - read everything in the book and do all of the problems in preparation.

Prof. Spiegelman was AWESOME! Definitely one of the best professors I've had for a math class- and a real nice guy too. He explains everything relatively slowly, answers questions very clearly, does lots of examples in class too. I always found that class was helpful, although some of my peers did not always agree. However, if you're in the once-a-week class, it really does get grueling.

On the other hand, one problem with Prof. Spiegelman is that he was out of town for many classes, which put us behind and messed up the test schedule. (I guess he's really important... try reading his CV- it's on his website.) So, for our class, we had one midterm and a final worth 60% of our grade. Yeah, needless to say, I think many of us were studying our butts off for that final...

#### Workload:

One pset/week, 2 midterms, final (usually)

Professor Spiegelman was my favorite professor this whole semester. I had lecture with him once a week for three hours. I never thought that I'd be able to sit through a whole three hour lecture and stay awake but I did because he is awesome. He makes linear algebra interesting and easy. Lecture was organized very well, he'd start by outlining the concept and then doing example problems and sometimes he'd show us some slides about the crazy ways in which linear algebra is applied. The book he used was great. He never put concepts on the tests that weren't covered in the book. The tests were always straightforward, if you can do the hw and know the concepts you'll probably do pretty well. The TAs were awesome and always willing to help with HW and questions. Professor Spiegelman was also very approachable during office hours. He really cares about how students do in his class. When he had to cancel the second midterm, he calculated each student's grade with a bunch of different algorithms and ended up giving each student the best possible score. One time he told me that he wishes he could just give everyone A's because it would make his job easier. I'm with him on that one, but going through the trouble to make up algorithms that put extra weight on each individual's best grades really shows his dedication and awesomeness.

#### Workload:

Weekly problem set (problems come from book and TAs are so willing to help out), two midterms (if all goes well), and a final (harder than the midterm but still really fair and straight forward).

He just got that teaching award this year, and I think he totally deserves it. He was actually able to make linear algebra not boring, and he danced for us when we were all falling asleep. If you have to take applied math somewhere, take his class.

#### Workload:

HW every week.

## Directory Data

Dept/Subj | Directory Course | Professor | Year | Semester | Time | Section |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E3101: Applied Mathematics I | Marc Spiegelman | 2004 | Fall | T / 4:10- 6:50 PM | 2 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E3101: Applied Mathematics I | Marc Spiegelman | 2004 | Fall | TR / 11:00-12:15 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E3101: Applied Mathematics I | Marc Spiegelman | 2003 | Fall | T / 4:10- 6:50 PM | 2 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E3101: Applied Mathematics I | Marc Spiegelman | 2003 | Fall | TR / 11:00-12:15 PM | 1 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E3101: Applied Mathematics I | Marc Spiegelman | 2001 | Fall | T / 4:10- 6:50 PM | 2 |

APAM / APMA | APAM APMA E3101: Applied Mathematics I | Marc Spiegelman | 2001 | Fall | TR / 11:00-12:15 PM | 1 |