Wednesday, May 25, 2011

UC Berkeley: Italian R5B

Taking an english class my last semester at Berkeley... have I already ranted about jumping through hoops? Oh, yes I have.
I got a B in the course, when I got A's in my physics courses. How? Well, there was no turning in hard copies of essays for the course, it was all online submission. Sure enough, I thought my submission went through but apparently not, which resulted in a 0 for that essay. Ole Sarah Rusell refused granting an exception -- it was either in-on-time or zero. I got A's on the last two essays even though I was too insulted by her to have any motivation, but I can't really blame her, its the system's fault. The system is quite skewed: a grade for an english course is supposed to represent the student's ability at thinking critically about the readings, which manifests itself in essays. Instead, the system measures the student's ability to do busy work: points were given for various tasks that had to be completed daily, ranging from "peer-edits" to "reading responses," which were always rewarded with full points if completed, even if you gave the dullest, lowest level thinking, generic response imaginable. My first essay was my best.

1st Essay:

2nd Essay:

3rd Essay:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

UC Berkeley Physics 137B: Quantum Mechanics II

I took 137B with Stamper-Kurn and really enjoyed the course.
His homework was very interesting as he gave us papers to read and homework problems regarding quantum computing/information, but it was a lot of work. I squeaked by with an A-.
He never posted the final exam solution, but it was so hard. Here are the homework problems + solutions, "quiz" solutions, and lecture materials that he posted:

Here is a preview of the midterm solution and a homework solution:


Monday, May 23, 2011

UC Berkeley Physics 105: Classical Mechanics

I had Knobloch for 105, and he's an impressive professor; he does long derivations on the board entirely without notes, and is mathematically rigorous. He is a very classically-minded professor, traditional, formal.
He's a big recycler of old homework and exam problems, so here are the hw and exam solutions that he gave us:


Sunday, May 22, 2011

UC Berkeley Physics 112: Statistical Mechanics

I remember looking at the list of courses that I would have to take for the physics major, and Statistical Mechanics was the main course that I thought would be an absolutely dry and painful experience. It turned out to be completely the opposite: I had Holtzapfel and he explains the concepts extremely clearly, and brings the material to life.

I guess he assigns the same homework every semester, and he recycles a lot of problems from past exams. 
Here are all the 11 homeworks and solutions that he posted, as well as some old exams:
A preview of the first homework and hw solution:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

UC Berkeley 111 ADV lab resources

I didn't know how to use Latex before 111 lab and was intimidated by it, but I actually found it very intuitive to learn. I wrote this blog post explaining how I learned to use it.
Download the Lyons Error Analysis Book and give it a skim.
I ended up getting an A- in the course, but the grading was quite stochastic.

Error Analysis Lab:
Contains an interpretation of the below PDF in Tex format, along with associated graphs, etc.

Optical Pumping Lab: - 85/100
Contains all the files to make the below PDF

CO2 Laser Lab: - 100/100
Contains all the files to make the below PDF

Magneto-Optical Atom Trapping - 60/100
Contains all the files to make the below PDF

Oral Presentation: NMR 85/100 ---> DATA

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tribal Sounds

I've come up with two beats that have three layers:
Layer 1: Four-on-the-floor quarter note bass drum pattern
Layer 2: Rhythm that has a 5 sixteenth-note phrase
Layer 3: Rhythm that has a 7 sixteenth-note phrase (The first track's pattern is a 7 eighth-note phrase)

When you put it all together you end up looping every 35th quarter note which sounds crazy!
Below are two examples (if you get lost, just focus on one hand and the kick):

These rhythms may just sound to you like a bunch of random hits, not very musical. I made them up and spent time training myself to play those rhythms because conceptually I find them interesting, and I find learning challenging beats pleasurable - its like learning to ride a bike - at first I can only go a few notes before I mess up, but after a while of intense practice I can play the whole pattern as long as I'd like, and I can even start exploring different aspects, for example a shuffle feel or adding ghost notes. The consequence is that I'm now comfortable with phrases of 5 and 7 over 4 (note that I'm not playing in 5/4 or 7/8, I'm just playing phrases, repeated patterns of eighth or sixteenth notes over 4/4 time), so time to time I find myself naturally tapping rhythms that have this odd feel; for example, I think it does sound musical to put this phrase of 7 eighth notes over a 4/4 baiao pattern with my feet (both videos are the same, just from different angles):

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mac OSX Tips and Tricks

Aero for Mac
I missed the Windows 7 feature that allows you to snap two documents or programs side by side, or to maximize/minimize a document when I switched over to a Mac, but I found a great replacement in ShifIt - it's free, tiny, and efficient.

With the press of a button it puts windows exactly side by side:

Alternatively, it lets you put one on top and one on bottom:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How to make a hamburger-making machine from bicycle parts

Video taken at 111 BSC lab: 

Lab report:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Latex Tips and Tricks

Latex format for a lab report

Want to make a lab report look really good using Latex?
Step 1) Download either TexMaker or TexWorks, or my new favorite compiler is Lyx
Step 2) Download this zipped folder and open Sample.tex using your program: Sample Latex Documents (see PDFs below).
Step 3) Press the "typeset" button, and voila! The document is written so that you can see how tables, equations, images, etc. are expressed in Latex, by comparing the PDF to the .tex file.
Note that the magic formatting is done by having the aastex.cls file in the same directory as the sample.tex file.

                        This document                                                         is made by this code

Creating Subfigures: Figure 1a, figure 1b
Step 1) In the preamble add to \usepackage the term "subfigure"
example: \usepackage{amsmath, amsfonts, amssymb, url, subfigure}

Step 2) Write:

\subfigure[caption for figure 1a]{\includegraphics[width=.5\textwidth] {}} \label{ImageA}
\subfigure[caption for figure 1b]{\includegraphics[width=.5\textwidth] {}}\label{ImageB}
\caption{blah blah}\label{Image A+B}

To make:
(A) Caption for figure 1A
(B) Caption for figure 1B
Figure 1 -- blah blah

If instead you want the images to be side by side, you must make the images smaller so that they can fit (try .25\textwidth), and then they are placed side-by-side automatically.