Class Review


PHYS 5C Introduction to Physics III with Sergey Syzranov: Class Review

By: Jacob Dennon    March 25th, 2023

Although Sergey was primarily a research professor, taking 5C with him was a pretty enjoyable experience. The class was well organized, the exams were fair, and although the homework was more difficult than what we learned on the exam- it helped reinforce what we learned in class. As an electrical engineer, this class is fundamental to my major and I really appreciate Sergey consistently relating theoretical concepts to real-world applications. If you are apprehensive about taking this class, you shouldn't worry if you were able to pass 5A. As the third installment of the Physics series, E&M is still an introductory course and is treated that way. The class is only about 17% harder than Phys 5A with Barun Dhar. The class takes about 8 hours a week (including your own time). If you had to choose between this class and another class, I would recommend taking this one as the applications are broad.

The class covers concepts like Gauss’s law, circuit analysis, capacitors, inductance, magnetic fields, electrical fields, and magnetic inductance. This is the foundation for all electrical concepts. It's important to stay focused in the first few weeks of class as the applications of Gauss’s laws and electric fields are more complex than you'd think / the class average for the midterm was 54%. After week four, the class gets a lot easier as we begin circuit analysis. We only cover DC circuits up to an RC circuit. The class average for the midterm on circuit analysis was 92%. After week six, we start to cover the topics of magnetism, this is when the class is at its hardest. Although not much harder than electric fields, the topics of magnetism include more laws and confusingly similar applications. And although it is harder than the first few weeks that covered electric fields, by now your brain would be a little bit bigger and able to handle the nuances of magnetism.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how much effort Sergey put into the class. Since he was a research professor and this was his first quarter teaching, I thought he was going to be neglectful and his lectures insufficient. Instead, he proved to be passionate about the class, even stopping during every lecture to make sure students weren't confused about the topic. Sergey was active in the ED discussion, posting punctual and comprehensive answers to students' questions. He encouraged collaboration and class participation by awarding bonus points to students who took the initiative when working with others. Although Sergey can be a bit awkward, his expertise and effort more than makeup for it. I think Sergey is a shining example of what an instructor should be like.

That's about all I have to say about this class. I don't think you should be afraid of this class just because it says physics. In fact, my favorite classes at Santa Cruz so far have been the introductory physics courses. This class isn't easy but your classes shouldn't all be easy. I implore my fellow electrical engineers to pay close attention during this class.