What courses youv'e enjoyed the most?

  • #1
MathematicalPhysicist
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Im still at my first year, but in this semester im learning mathematical logic, which is kind of more advanced than the other courses, ill be covering goedel's theorems which is already an exciting thing.
perhaps in summer ill be learning calculus 3 and algebra b1, which is essentially an UG course on group theory, if my school will offer these courses in the summer.

another course which is interesting is 'introduction to modern physics' which is mainly a course on special relativity and a little bit introduction to quantum theory.

anyway, what about you?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Classical mechanics in the first and second year, and twenty years later.
Strength of materials because I found that incredibly easy in practice (you know from time to time this impression is funny).
Quantum mechanics, third year.

But most of all I hated thermodynamics, and that's why I studied statistical physics more than requested. Now thermodynamics is my strongest point and I am working with it very often professionally.
 
  • #3
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One of the most worthwhile (and I also enjoyed..) was a pre-calc course I took when I first began college. We went into more depth than what I did in high school of course. We also learned what all of the different functions looked like when graphed, and what would happen to the plot when you do something like x - 2, etc. Anyway, it was a good preparation for future math courses.

My favorite physics course was probably an optics course with lab. Lasers are fun.

I also think I hate thermodynamics the most. I'm not a fan of the Kittel book.
 
  • #4
JasonRox
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Topology, Analysis, Abstract Linear Algebra, Ethics (Philosophy), and the PoliSci Seminars. All because the professors were awesome.

I have other awesome professors, but they ended up teaching lame subjects, so no points on that.
 
  • #5
radou
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My favourite courses were Statics I & II, and every math course I took. Fluid mechanics was interesting, too.
 
  • #6
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CS/MATH: Theory of Computation(Computability theory), Graphics(rendering), Dynamical Systems, ODEs, Graph Theory

PHYS: Astrophysics(Stellar & Cosmo) & Analytical Mech

PSYCH: Vision, Reading Course in NeuralNets, Project course in Neural Nets
(missed out on the childdev and Audition/music theory)
 
  • #7
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oh yeah... I'm loving Classical Mechanics... though the professor could've skiped some tedious algebra and give us more theories...
 
  • #8
cristo
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My favorite class was Special relativity. Partly due to the fact that it's an interesting subject anyway, but also because the professor who was teaching it was brilliant. He taught us the history behind the theory, which helped bring the topic more to life. He had the class enthralled for most of the lectures to an extent I've never seen before.
 
  • #9
mathwonk
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1st year calc from john tate, maybe advanced calc from lynn loomis, and diff eq from hermann gluck, a course on foundations of analysis from george mackey, and 1st year grad algebra from maurice auslander, and algebraic geometry from alan mayer, some algebraic topology from ed brown junior, raoul bott and ron stern, several complex variables from hugo rossi, and riemann surfaces from herb clemens, then some post grad courses from phillip griffiths on hodge theory and david mumford on moduli, some beuatiful lectures by rob lazarsfeld on vector bundles, ......, and many wonderful conference lectures.

i guess i liked a lot of them.
 
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  • #10
Physics III and Thermal Physics so far. I've not had E&M, Optics, or QM yet.
 
  • #11
quasar987
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Mathwise, I liked complex analysis the most and Physicswise E&M III (waves in matter + covariant formulation + intro to classical field theory)
 
  • #12
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humanities, speech, complex analysis, algebra, human nutrition, topology, differential equations, pre-algebra, technical writing
 
  • #13
Physics-Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics
Engineering-Signal Processing, Biomedical Imaging
Math-Complex Analysis, Statistics
 
  • #14
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Digital design course using VHDL to implement digital circuits on FPGA's, very cool stuff :cool: .
 
  • #15
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1st year calc from john tate, maybe advanced calc from lynn loomis, and diff eq from hermann gluck, a course on foundations of analysis from george mackey, and 1st year grad algebra from maurice auslander, and algebraic geometry from alan mayer, some algebraic topology from ed brown junior, raoul bott and ron stern, several complex variables from hugo rossi, and riemann surfaces from herb clemens, then some post grad courses from phillip griffiths on hodge theory and david mumford on moduli, some beuatiful lectures by rob lazarsfeld on vector bundles, ......, and many wonderful conference lectures.

i guess i liked a lot of them.

easy on the name dropping dude
 
  • #16
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Physics: As an undergraduate, I enjoyed freshman mechanics. As a graduate student, I have enjoyed solid-state physics.
Engineering: As an undergraduate, I enjoyed Fourier optics. As a graduate student, I have enjoyed holography & optical information processing (taught by Emmett Leith, a pioneer in the field) and image processing.
Mathematics: As a graduate student, I enjoyed advanced calculus (at the level of baby Rudin).
 
  • #17
mathwonk
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stud, im sorry if it offends you to know who the good teachers were, but i thought that was the question.

i see other responders are just naming the topic they liked, but in my opinion, they are missing the point, that it is not the subject, but the prof that makes the course good.

there are many courses i thought i disliked until i learned that a good prof makes a course good.

i disliked physics until i got a good prof, but then it was almost too late for me.

i would enjoy a little more name dropping of good profs from others here. this would serve as a sort of antidote to the anonymous "rate the professor" site, if some of us would praise our own good profs.

when i was in college, some students liked calc or physics and others did not, but apparently everyone liked any course they took from bott, or gluck, or tate, or joseph kitchen (I never had him).

loomis was not my favorite prof, and he had some unpleasant qualities as a teacher, but i still learned some basic useful advanced calc from him, so i somewhat grudgingly listed him.

i did not list birkhoff whose algebra course was unstimulating, but I listed the less famous auslander whose algebra course was wonderful, nor did i list loomis for his measure theory and real analysis course which was not particularly useful, but i listed the perhaps less famous hugo rossi whose analysis course was superb.

Joseph Kitchen was a teaching legend in college. i still remember roughly the review i read of his advanced calc course in 1960: "A large minority of the students in Kitchen's course thought that he was God."

He was the author of a great (introductory) calculus book, now long out of print, but still worth searching out. unfortunately he did not receive tenure, and the advanced calc course was never again taught with the same flair, as long as i was there.


I should perhaps admit I was not a very good student in most of these wonderful courses, and hence did not deserve to be in them, but I did enjoy and appreciate their excellence.
 
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  • #18
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As an undergraduate, the physics courses I most enjoyed were analytical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and the experimental course in which I got to perform my own research project (which was probably my most favorite class). I also really liked space plasma physics.

As for math...well, I don't really enjoy math in general; seems more like a necessary evil than something that anyone would do for fun (no offense to the mathematicians, just personal preference). Having said that, I liked multivariable calc, complex analysis, and algebraic geometry. I remember being overly fascinated with Groebner bases.
 
  • #19
mathwonk
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do you mind sharing the names of those teachers who made it interesting? e.g. in algebraic geometry? or perhaps what books they used that were enjoyable?

i am considering teaching algorithmic algebriac geometry and am assuming the book of cox little and oshea would serve well.
 
  • #20
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do you mind sharing the names of those teachers who made it interesting? e.g. in algebraic geometry? or perhaps what books they used that were enjoyable?

i am considering teaching algorithmic algebriac geometry and am assuming the book of cox little and oshea would serve well.


No problem...sadly I don't remember either my professor's name or the book we used (which is pretty sad, since it was only last Fall). I'll look that up and get back to you.
 
  • #21
mathwonk
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that seems odd to me, i recall the following from 40 + years ago:

freshman year: philosophy: rogers albritton, republic of plato, nicomachean ethics, oedipus rex, platos symposium; calc: john tate and tom lehrer, courants dif and integ calc; french: ???, la voie royale, malraux; physics: ???, resnick and halliday; logic: willard van orman quine, his own books-methods of logic, mathematical logic.

sophomore year: algebra: birkhoff, birkhoff and maclane; calc 2: john tate, calc book by taylor; french lit: frohock and schroeder, antigone, la chanson de roland, baudelaire; russian: frederick? blum, mr. caslon, pikovaya dama (queen of spades by pushkin), statsione smotrityel (the stationmaster by ???)

junior year: advanced calc: loomis, foundations of modern analysis by jean dieudonne'; diff eq: gluck, book by earl coddington; russian lit in translation: vsevolod setchkarev, war and peace, brothers karamazov, idiot, various stories ; psychology: jerome bruner, language and thought of the child -jean piaget, thought and language-lev vigotsky, a book on linguistics by roger brown, bruner's own works; behaviorism: b.f. skinner, brave new world-aldous huxley, walden 2-skinner;

i aldo audited real analysis intro by george mackey, no book, wonderful lecture notes.

senior year: real analysis: loomis-no book but i read m.e. munroe, halmos, and riesz - nagy; bildungsroman: ???, portrait of the artist-joyce, great expectations-dickens, mill on the floss-george eliot, ...; shakespeare: harry levin, henry the fifth, much ado about nothing,...; banach algebras: bernard glickfeld, spectral theory- edgar lorch.
 
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  • #22
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Just to be different my favorite classes so far have been organic chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology. Not only did I love the subject matter but my profs were all absolutely amazing.
 
  • #23
Pyrrhus
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My favourite courses were Statics I & II, and every math course I took. Fluid mechanics was interesting, too.


Hey, i enjoyed Statics and it is my favourite, too. It is a course i understand very well, but i only took one static, what were you taught on statics II?

The next course i enjoyed was Differential Equations.
 
  • #24
radou
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Hey, i enjoyed Statics and it is my favourite, too. It is a course i understand very well, but i only took one static, what were you taught on statics II?

The next course i enjoyed was Differential Equations.

Statics I was about determinate systems, while II dealt with indeterminate ones.
 
  • #25
Pyrrhus
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Cool, i was taught inderterminate in structural analysis II and strength of materials I.
 
  • #26
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Modern control systems was the best in my opinion.
 
  • #27
Math-wise, I thought abstract algebra, advance calculus, and mathematical statistics were interesting. I especially appreciated my abstract algebra course, because the prof (I think his name was Lazarsfeld) was an exceptional teacher.

Philosophy wise, I'd go with logic and ethics. Logic was great just because it was so helpful with all the math courses I took later, and ethics was kind of an interesting segment of philosophy that incorporated so much from other areas. Lots of philosophy of language, metaphysics, and logic were tied together in that course. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that course was how deeply it covered Kant's arguments in his Groundwork. For the longest time, I failed to understand where he was coming from.

Business wise, I really liked intro to corporate finance, managerial accounting, and intermediate microeconomics. I felt these three subjects really tie together nicely, and form a nice foundation for knowledge of business and money. Finance is especially cool when they start to cover capital markets.
 
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  • #28
Honors Cosmology perhaps my favorite, definitely because of the lecturers. I've never really enjoyed optics, and because of that I (stupidly..) spend less time studying it than I should. I'm catching up now though since alot of the wave techniques covered in optics courses come up plenty in quantum mechanics - be warned!

Must say I haven't really enjoyed quantum mechanics so far, I don't mind doing it I just don't find it the subject that....great. Very good lecturer though, he put some focus in the last lecture on sci-fi appearances of QM and the Gravity Gun in Half Life.

Also, I'd say through no result of the lecturers (They aren't bad per-se just not very good...) I've always thoroughly enjoyed math courses - I just find immense satisfaction from working through a difficult math problem. Specifically any Calculus variant, coming to the end of my physics undergrad next year I'm thinking about taking a math course afterwards.
 
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  • #29
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i forgot to list the grad school courses I enjoyed: Computational Geometry and all the HPC courses i've taken.

mathwonk: I'd have to disagree with the "[prof making the course statement]" .
A good prof could teach a crappy course, and a bad prof could teach a good course.
As long as the prof provides good references (ie textbook, courseware,onlinestuff), the student is able to also enjoy the class if they are a selflearner.

For example my senior graph theory class was taught by a grad student in the math dept, but because of the textbook he chose I was able to enjoy the class. https://www.physicsforums.com/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=1293520 [Broken]

On the other hand my neuralnet class should have been exciting, because the textbook was great but the postdoc prof was rather monotone and i fell a sleep most of the time.

The difference between the two examples is that based on my mathematical background at the time i was able to immerse my self in graph theory(4th year) and understanding the proofs but I was not prepared to take NNETs(forced to take in 2nd year) because i did not have the foundations for it...stupid statistics ARGH.

An example of a good prof teaching a crappy course Dr. Sprung teaching Quantum. =]

An example of a good prof teaching a good course, but i didn't pay attention in class and rather chose to read the book would be Dynamical systems by Perko. Also ODE(3yr) was a good class with good textbooks, but i didn't much like the prof...granted the course was at 8am and i could never get up for it and she yelled at me cuz she said if she at to get up at 6am to get to the class then anyone should be able to. I still got my 85-90% in the class cuz of the textbooks.
 
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  • #30
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i see other responders are just naming the topic they liked, but in my opinion, they are missing the point, that it is not the subject, but the prof that makes the course good.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Unfortunately, I have had many mediocre teachers in college/graduate school and only a few good/great ones.
 

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