Hardest Class vs. Favorite Class

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Off to another great start with USC Viterbi classes for Astronautical Engineering! I’m particularly excited this semester because I just added an entrepreneurship minor, and I am currently enrolled in the first entrepreneurship class of the sequence- BAEP 450. Despite what many may think, it IS possible to take classes/minor while pursuing an engineering degree! Although it is still fairly early in the semester, I’m excited at the possibility of combining my engineering knowledge with business tools so that one day I am able to take my love of engineering to a new level by starting my own business.

While I’m very excited about the addition of my minor and the classes that will follow, this semester my favorite class and hardest class happen to be one in the same, and one of Viterbi’s most popular classes. Last semester I began my physics courses, beginning with Physics 161 (an honors physics of mechanics course), taught by Professor Gene Bickers, otherwise known as “the man” when it comes to all things physics. This semester, I am again enrolled in a physics course taught by Professor Bickers (physics 162) in which we are learning about electromagnetism and all that it entails.

Being honors courses, Professor Bickers’s classes are certainly nothing to sneeze at. The work load is definitely worthy of any college course, and a certain aura of concern haunts his classrooms before midterms and finals. Except once students get through his first class they cannot help but look back on the vast knowledge they have acquired and the excitement they had while learning it. Below is a photo example of just one of his many lectures in Physics 161 in which he bravely taught us about conservation of momentum (the experiment is the famous “lay on a bed of nails and get hit with a sledgehammer” one for those who can’t see it clearly).

It was because of lectures like this one that I decided to enroll in the second class of Professor Bickers’s honors sequence. In our current class, not only have we covered an extensive amount of material regarding electromagnetism, but we have also had a surprisingly fun time doing it. Just yesterday we were taught concepts of electric field vs. voltage and charge as Professor Bickers bravely stood next to a 400,000 volt Van de Graff generator as the corona discharge illuminated a flourescent bulb held several inches away (Professor Bickers promised he was safe the whole time as the generator was apparently “high voltage/low current”).

As the semester moves forward, I know that there will be moments when I am stressed about the workload or the difficulty of this class, but I also know that I will remember the genuine joy I get from learning physics in Professor Bickers’s class, and that when it is all over, I will be better for having taken Physics 162.

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