Fall 2013

From my last post you may have surmised that I haven’t spent much of my vacation time dwelling on anything academic related that didn’t come up on Jeopardy!.  While that is partially true (I have not solved one variation of the Schrodinger equation since setting foot in my house) I have had to prepare somewhat for next semester (three words: very expensive textbooks).  Also, I’ve been meaning to write this post.

Last semester I took a fairly standard ChemE schedule, as evidenced by the fact that I spent a vast majority of my time with other ChemEs.  I didn’t have much choice, but here are my opinions of my third semester schedule.

Disclaimer: Please note that if I say anything remotely negative about any of my classes, it does not mean that I thought the professor didn’t have any idea what he/she was talking about, the TAs were all useless, or that the material was irrelevant.  It just means that personally, I didn’t like something or I felt something wasn’t working for me.  For example, I don’t like celery, mushrooms, or the New York Giants, Knicks, Rangers, Yankees, or Red Bulls.  But that’s all just my opinion.

Physical Chemistry I: Good class overall.  Time consuming, but as with most of my classes, I had to get through it to graduate.  The first semester of p-chem covers variations on the Schrodinger equation with the goal of correctly modeling what electrons in atoms and molecules are doing.  The short answer: it’s complicated.

Mass and Energy Balances: This class can be summed up in two rules: energy cannot be created or destroyed; mass cannot be created or destroyed.  No E = mc2 in here.  While Intro to ChemE, which I took fall semester of my freshman year, had us design processes given certain parameters, Mass and Energy focused more on the math – calculating reactant and product streams with or without chemical reactions occurring at some point in the process.

Linear Algebra: Probably my most “under the radar” class of the semester.  I went to lecture, attended discussion, did my homework, took the exams, and passed.  No six hour long weekly homework sessions (p-chem, every single Thursday night).  No eight hour long project marathons (mass and energy).  No writing essays at one in the morning (history of science).  With everything else going on during the semester, it was kind of nice to get a break with linear algebra.

History of Science in Europe I: Most surprising class.  I will freely admit that I enrolled in this class because 1) I needed a liberal studies class, 2) it fit in my schedule, and 3) the word science was in the title.  It turns out I was actually interested in the material, which covered the development of science from Aristotle to Newton.

Day Hiking: Just for fun, I enrolled in a PE class.  We went hiking around Ithaca, on the Finger Lakes Trail, and in some of the state parks nearby.  I enjoyed it and the class got me off campus for a few hours on the weekends before everything froze over.

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