Brown, Nicholas  

Physics

1.40/4.00

49 evaluations


MATH 118


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
I feel that this class was made more difficult than neccessary because of the professors simple mistakes he would constantly make during presenations. These mistakes would cause me to become confused at how he arose at an answer. Despite this, he was very resonable in grading policies and proved to be a very entertaining teacher. P.S.- He has some great magic tricks.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
This guy is awesome!! He makes many mistakes during lecture, but he usually makes them on puropse-to clarify a point, (it's his way of making sure you're paying attention and trying to understand the material throughout the whole lecture). He not only teaches from the book, but he always tells us tricks or rhymes to make the material easier to memorize. He's very helpful in class and during Office Hours. He's really funny sometimes and he does magic tricks and sings. I enjoyed his class so much, I went out of my way to work his math 119 class into my schedule this qtr=)

MATH 119


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2000
Dr. Brown was the kind of proffessor that made you want to go to class. He was definately into magic and jokes. He wore some of the most colorful clothing I've seen a proffessor wear yet. You can catch him downtown during Farmers Market making balloon animals for kids every once in awhile. Overall the class was designed fairly. I had a good background in trig so this class wasn't all new material and I was taking it because of a stupid reguirement about S.A.T's before going into Calculus. I am now in Math 241, but I remember Dr. Brown as being a good teacher.

PHYS 121


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2001
I believe that homework should not have as much weight in college as it did in high school. Even if it was important, there were times when I felt it completely unecessary because I knew the material and because he would purposely pick multiple step problems that most people in the class could not figure out. The professor was always behind in lecture, he wrote semi-ambiguous questions that needed more specification. I liked the drop one quiz idea.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Apr 2001
If you want a teacher to be entertaining take Nick, but as a teacher he is quite unorganized. He sends assignments via email, doesn't follow his sylabis, and is difficult to follow in class. However, his tests [I beleive test the material well] they aren't tricky and if you know the book you will do OK in this class.


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Nov 2004
Although Dr. Brown's Lab was not difficult, he is a very difficult and trying man. His pre-lab lectures are absolutely ridiculous, he causes confusion when explaining, and talks to the class as though he is a tour guide on a Disney Land adventure ride. He is a magic/balloon/Disney freak and his class reflects that. Not once did we ever leave lab before the 3 hours was over. The material is not difficult, the quizzes are a breeze, but honestly I would settle for a more difficult instructor than have to painstakingly sit through another of this man's completely time-wasting, uninformative lectures.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2005
I loved having Nick Brown as my Phys121 instructor, but only because I had taken physics in highschool and didn't need him to teach me. I seriously only went to class when he was giving a quiz or a midterm. He was SOOOOOOOOOO boring when I would go to class that I would walk-out halfway through. He'd get caught up in these drawn-out anectdotes about Disneyland or magictricks or how many robbins he saw on the drive to school that morning. He's the biggest dork I have ever met in my life. I'm sure he must have gotten the shit kicked out of him when he was a kid. In order to even this out, I suppose that I should give him some credit on his communication skills outside the classroom. He e-mailed us constantly, which was awesome. He'd breakdown problems, send out grades for quizes and midterms, and I really appreciated that, especially since I didn't go to that many classes. So if you know your stuff and want the easy walk-though A, take him. Otherwise, be warned...

PHYS 122


Junior
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2001
I feel that Mr brown was one of the worst teachers I have ever had. I only passed the class because I taught myself the material from the text book. His explanations are muddeled and confusing and he seems to spend more time trying to be clever or funny (he is neither) than he does teaching Physics. While lecturing he makes confusing errors and skips steps that leave you totally in the dark. His only good side is that his test questions are very similar to the questions he assigns from the book. If you need good instruction to do well in physics I would reccomend taking somone else because you will not learn anything from Nick Brown.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Apr 2009
I HATE THIS PROFESSOR WITH A BURNING PASSION... enough to take time out of my day to rant about him on polyratings... so YES he is THAT bad. Everyone is so right about him not letting you out early... 3 hours, every lab (even when the actual lab part took 30 minutes). So what does he do for the remaining time you might ask? Oh well lets see... he will sing for you, do magic tricks that are completely lame, ramble on about nonsense that has nothing to do with physics (for example disneyland), or he will give you EXTRA hwk problems to work on. And dont even get me started on the actual lab reports... i spent 4+ hours working on a lab report for this class and he takes off points if you dont have correct significant figures (keep in mind that each lab report is only worth 20 pts). Oh yes and i almost forgot, you have quizzes too. SO in summary, Nick Brown is the WORST professor for physics lab... AVOID HIM AT ALL COSTS. ok so you've been warned. my job is done.


Senior
A
General Ed
Jun 2009
I would have to agree with most people that he does waste a lot of time by telling jokes and doing magic tricks, but this lab isn't hard. He pretty much tells you the answers to the lab in the pre-lab lecture. Just take notes on that and you'll be sure to know exactly what to write for your report. If you still don't know, ask him. He was very willing to help with any questions. He's not a bad professor when it comes to the actual material and teaching it. He was much better than my lecture instructor.

PHYS 131


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Apr 2002
From the very first day when he came in and gave us his syllabus and class expectations in song to the tune of Sinatra's "I did it my way", I knew this class would be interesting to say the least. Dr Brown is one of the most interesting and kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Sure you can come in on occasion and sleep through class. What are you gonna do? It's physics! But he presents the material very clearly and leads you through the labs very well. He begins each seesion with a homework question forum so he helps out in lecture too. I definitely reccomend this teacher without the slightest reservation.


Freshman
Credit
Required (Support)
Jun 2003
I am warning you do not take this guy. Lab is ment to be a three hour class which is fine. But when he comes in and presents magic tricks for an hour and then starts explaning the lab. And your lab class gose over the alloted time it is really annoying. Also when ever our group would ask for help he would make a point to belittle us. Then we would ask him a question about what he required in the lab report he would give us guied lines and then when we would get the graded labs back the points that we asked him about he would mark wrong. The only highlights of taking lab with Prof Brown is the magic tricks and year old candy he hands out, oh and the fact that the lab quizes really do not affect your grade. I would avoid this grumpy old man!


Freshman
D
Required (Support)
Apr 2004
First off, if you have a choice on teachers, take the other one. I was there for all his lectures and it didn't help with understanding the material. If you're stuck in his class, here's a hint, stay at home and teach yourself fyziks cuz he's not going to help you. He seems to be a nice guy but a horrible lecturer. You sit in your hour and a half long class and then forty minutes into the lecture, ask yourself, what the hell is this guy teaching? When he's behind, instead of covering the materials, he gives you notes on the chapters and he expects you to fully understand that homework. Plus, the notes are so disorganized that you don't know where to locate the material that you need. Sorry to say that he is by far the worst teacher I have had. Sorry Mr. Brown =(


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Jul 2004
Okay, let's start off with lame magic tricks, balloon animals, old fogie music, and disneyland obsessions. If you are into these things and like staying for the full three hour lab or even longer, then Brown is the teacher for you. I have never wasted so much time in my life for any class except Brown's class. He is not helpful, doesn't teach very well, and wastes 90% of your time taking about which rides he rode at Disneyland! I have never been so bored, so annoyed, and so utterly frustrated to finish a class in my life. Overall i did not learn anything new and wasted over three hours of my life a week for this guy.

PHYS 132


Junior
A
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
You may think this guy is off in the deep end, but he is good. hey if I can get an A then anyone can.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2000
Dr. Brown's physics 132 class is very fun in the beginning, but very hard in the end. His love of magic and Disney characters is OK when he teaches easy material, but they become a great distraction when you are covering the second and third sections of the class (thermo and optics). His lectures are sleepers, but you are not really missing much because people who stay awake are more confused than are learning. Sometimes, I would find it better to skip lecture and actually read the book (for me, that is a big step). His homework consists of 5-7 problems and he has 3 question quizzes about every 2 weeks. His second and third exams were plagued with confusing questions and a great quantity of questions, but his curve made up for those mistakes. Dr. Brown is not a teacher to be avoided, though you should definitely be cautious about what comes ahead.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Jan 2001
Not the best teacher, but if you can teach yourself, you are certain to get at least a C. I am not good in physics, never payed attention in class, but did my homework and got a C. All Brown does is prove formulas, which is completley useless to the class. Not a good teacher, but if you study, you can pass.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Feb 2001
This teacher kept the class moving. He would always do crazy things to intrest the class. His tests weren't to bad and he was always avaible for help. He is a good teacher and I would recomend him to anyone


5th Year Senior
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2002
I felt his environment for teaching was fairly relaxed and easy-going. The material wasn't terribly demanding, but then again I was taking 132 as a senior. He didn't take things too seriously and wasn't a hardass. The thing I didn't like about him was the religious undertones he put in a lot of things. Brown is a shining example of how Christianity can choke free thought into submission. It's amazing a physicist can believe in that nonsense, but such is beside the point. Overall a pretty good professor, just expect some Bible drops.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
May 2003
This guy is fuckin horrible. He kept us for the entire 3 hours every time, and many times I had to stay 3.5 hours to finish my lab. He also gives lab quizzes that are about as hard as your lecture midterms. His grading policy on labs is ridiculous, as he once took 20% off of my lab report for not having the correct sifnificant digits. Since he is semi-retired and only teaches lab, he likes to lecture us for up to 2 hours about random crap, leaving us only 1 hour to do the lab. I thought labs were supposed to be supplemental and for the students to have a chance to experiment and learn, guess not.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2003
This guy is a douche. Seriously, unless you're into balloon animals and corny jokes, you're going to hate him. Do yourself a favor and get a different teacher.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Jan 2004
Professor Brown dresses up and does magic tricks. But he is still very boring. If you can stay awake, and you actually keep up with the homework you will do better than I did. I found the quizzes to be very easy, and the 2 midterms and final to be very difficult. He drops half of the lowest midterm or final, and one quiz. He also enforces a lenient curve.


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2004
ohhh man this guy is horrible! if you like crazy disneyland paraphernalia, magic tricks, and balloon animals, this class is for you anyone else avoid at all costs. its seriously not worth your time. i didn't learn anything in lecture and he always kept us late even though it was a hour and a half class. in office hours he makes you feel like you're stupid for not knowing. isn't the whole point of office hours to understand things? its too late for me, but just save your self and DON'T take him!


Sophomore
Credit
Required (Support)
Jun 2006
Dr. Brown is the BEST lab professor I've ever had! The lab runs anywhere from an hour to two hours - not bad. He's kind of wacky - but at least it isn't a ton of work. There are weekly quizes which are not bad and keep you on your toes for the lecture. He often shortens the required lab material or makes the hard parts easier by doing them as a class. He rocks!


Junior
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
I hate this guy. He blows almost half the class period talking about random shit like disneyland and farmers market and balloon animals. When you ask him for help or to clarify something he ridicules you and pretty much looks at you as if you were the biggest idiot on the planet. The labs would take less then an hour if you take it with ANY other professor.And don't trust his office hours because more often then not he isn't there.


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
Dr. Brown is one of the very best professors I have ever had. He gives you his home phone number so you can call him. I called him as late as 11 pm and he answered and helped me for a half an hour. The guy really cares. If you do poorly in his class, it is your own fault.


Sophomore
Credit
General Ed
Mar 2008
To start off with DON'T TAKE NICK BROWN AS YOUR LAB INSTRUCTOR. I went into the lab thinking it would be a small addition to my 132 class and ended up doing more work for the lab than I did for the class. His labs are ridiculous and have nothing to do with the material presented in class or in the labs. Every lab is revised so that he can add on irrelevant questions about what would happen if the circumference of the death star changed by .009% or how much the period of a pendulum would change if the earths radius was 2 feet bigger. It's a joke. He spends the first 2 hours of the lab going over random crap and talking about disneyland then squeezes the labs in at the end. He throws 3 quizzes into the curriculum but they're just as pointless as his revised labs. More than half of the questions are on things like sig figs and misspelled words on the syllabus (seriously, that was a real question). Trust me, this lab is not worth it...


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Apr 2008
Basically the person who wrote before me nailed it. I don't know how one of the best schools in california can let him teach. The lab is seriously a joke, most of what he says is irrelevent to the lab. He does not help students with questions, only answering them with another question. He is a nice guy and means well, but he really should not be a professor.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2008
It has already been said. There is a reason he was laid off in the past...he shouldn't be at Poly


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Oct 2008
Do not take Nick Brown for lab!!! He managed to make the easiest 132 labs that should take 30 minutes into 3 whole hours. His justification was that because you were suppose to be there for 3 hours, he would keep you for 3 hours. All of my friends who had different instructors would get out in 30 minutes tops. The material nor the labs were hard, he would just make it last forever. He would spend the first hour of lab going over what we all did wrong the lab before, then have 30-45 minutes for if we had any homework questions from our lectures, and then spend 30-45 minutes explaining this weeks lab without ever actually explaining anything about it. Then we would get to do the lab and be really confused about what to do with it. He also had a very strict lab write up you had to follow or he would dock so many points from your lab. You also had 3 lab quizzes throughout the lab. Oh yeah, Dr. Brown is the old guy you see at Farmer's every week making balloon animals...so he brought in balloons one week and made us any animal we wanted. So not worth it. It's nearly impossible to get a S+ in the class, but pretty easy to get a S.

PHYS 133


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
Aug 2001
This guy may appear to be a jokester, but sometimes it is at the students expense. I only asked two questions all quarter, and he made me feel stupid both times. I was fortunate enough to have a good background, so when he didn't fully cover a topic, I still did well. He does curve well, I will give him that.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Aug 1999
This guy was more serious about telling riddles and performing majic tricks than he was about teaching physics. He was always behind in class, so he expected the students to teach the stuff to themselves. His quizzes were taken right from the homework (which is cool if you do it). His tests are not as easy as the quizzes though. He does grade very generously and has a good curve. Basically, if you have a good background in physics, you will do fine, but if you are jumping into it fresh, you don't stand a chance with this guy.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2004
This guy will waste so much time with balloon animals, stupid outfits and boring jokes. he will talk SLOWLY and NEVER get through the material without using tons of time. he will repeat what you already learned in lecture and do it over and over again. he is a REALLY nice guy, but he belongs teaching elementary school or grandchildren. a ncie guy, but a bad teacher beacsue he will simply bore you into dissinterest in the subject matter. do not take him.


Junior
N/A
Required (Support)
Nov 2005
I had Brown for lab so I didn't really know how to grade his abilities so I just gave him a D. I felt it was appropriate considering that he sits at the desk in front of the class listening to his crap music on headphones grading other class work. In PHYS 132, the labs take like, 30-45 min max, but dude will keep you there for the full three hours. When you cover resonance, you may get lucky enough to hear his barber shop quartet crap and hear him SING ALONG TO IT for like 20 mins. ugh fuck brown...too bad he's had his 10 year standing for a looonnng time so he's here 'til he dies. oh P.S. there are weekly quizzes that he uses to determine whether or not you get a +,-, or neither.


Junior
D
Required (Support)
Mar 2006
Nice guy and really tried to make the material interesting by trying to make it more amusing with random objects he'd bring in. If only they'd help on the midterms and final, then ok, but they didn't. He gives out weekly quizzes which are pretty easy if you keep up with the homework, but his midterms and final are extremely hard so doing homework seemed like it didn't even help to prepare for tests.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2006
brown is a cool guy. he is really boring in lab and talks for a full two of the three hours you're there. i was at lab for four hours once, plan on staying all three hours. lectures were good though, he puts alot of importance on the proofs which helped me understand what was going on alot more instead of just plugging into formulas like 132. he understands the stuff like few others. a couple of the lectures are a little slow but if you can deal with it you'll learn alot. i'd try to skip the labs from him though.


Sophomore
Credit
Required (Major)
Feb 2007
I have suicidal thoughts after each and every lab with Brown. He wastes half of the time on total bullshit, whether it be jokes or balloon animals or just trying to phrase sentences. Recitation is the biggest was of time, I delearn just about everything from lecture. The actual lab should take no more than an hour but since he wastes so much time, we end up having to work on it outside of lab. Asking him questions about the lab simply makes for an akward situation and an answer along the lines of "its simple algebra". Yea...okay. This comes from the guy who jacked up his own method of rounding and spent 15 minutes looking at a simple addition problem. Albeit he is generally a nice guy...but that just doesn't cut it when its on your own dime. Sadly, I didn't even sign up for him. Most all of us tried to avoid it.


Freshman
Credit
Required (Support)
Oct 2007
hahahahahaha...had to laugh at the previous post!!


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2008
Dr. Brown does not know how to run a lab. As the guy before stated, Brown will make a simple lab last 3 or more hours (and often he would require that we take it home or complete it in another lab section). He wastes the first hour or so of class with pointless talk about his life and problems, one time he even lectured to us about suicide... After this first hour, he would try to explain the lab and talk about whatever else came to his mind. By the time the 3rd hour had started we were allowed to begin the lab and he would be confused as to why no one ever finished them. Basically, this class was just a waste of 3 hours every week


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Feb 2009
AVOID NICK BROWN AT ALL COSTS!! Not a single time this quarter did we get out early. Every single lab lasts 3 hours long while friends in other classes got out after 1 hour. He is partially retired so he grades every question on every lab incredibly meticulously and docks points like none other. The lab is harder than the class and this teacher has made me dread going to it every week!


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
May 2009
This guy was the longest lecturing physics professor that Calpoly ever had. That being said, he knows his stuff and can answer any physics question you have off the top of his head with mathematical proof to back it up. His labs were hard to finish every week, and his "quizzes" were as hard as the midterms for the lecture, but I learned more from him than from my lecturer over the course of the quarter. If you want to actually learn something take him, otherwise just go and slack off because that's the only thing you'll ever be good at.

PHYS 141


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Jul 2005
I had Nick Brown for PHYS-x141 (131 without the lab). On POWER, he was listed as STAFF besides Hoellwarth (1.94) and Farris (1.03). Hoping for a better teacher (wishfully for Echols--3.64), I chose staff. When it turned up as Brown (1.50), I knew I had lost the gamble, but as the class went on I realized Brown isn't as bad as Polyratings makes him out to be. Sure, he does have an obsession with Disneyland. He names his homework assignments (out of the Knight textbook) after Disney characters. We also have MasteringPhysics homework. MP is poorly thought of around here, but I didn't think it was too bad once I got the hang of it. My roommate had Hoellwarth and constantly had much longer MP assignments than Brown's. Brown would do each assignment before assigning it to us, and make helpful comments about ambiguous or misleading questions. My advice to those who have MasteringPhysics: 1) if the odd question is in the book, check your answer against the book's answer key, _off the web site_, not in the back of the book, because the book's answers sometimes contain errors. Plug in the book's values into your equation and verify it matches, then if it does, plug MP's values into your equation and submit it to MP. This can help avoid a lot of mistakes. 2) check the other questions against the book as well (conceptual, or for evens choose similar problems). 3) Brown will also help you if you have any trouble with MasteringPhysics. 4) Lastly, MP *does* contain errors. Never accept its mistakes. Brown will give you credit if you deserve it. Overall, I wasn't too disappointed with Brown, and felt he was a very fair teacher. Looking back, he was the better of the three teachers available for PHYS-x141 this quarter. I'd recommend him again unless a better teacher is available.


Junior
C
Required (Support)
Oct 2005
Brown is degrading if you go to office hours or ask for help. I suggest the phys tutoring lab.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Nov 2005
Alright, first off, do not consider taking this guy. He is the most degrading teacher I have EVER had. Don't go into his office hours because he degrades you and makes you feel stupid. Don't ask a question in class unless you want to be ridiculed in from of the class. His class is a waste of time. He spends more time talking about disney and explaining his retarded hats that he wears to class everyday. He doesnt teach, he simply stands at the chalkboard and manipulates equations all day. He does know his stuff, ill give that to him, but unless you can teach yourself physics from the book, do not even consider him. He assigns so much homework its ridiculous. Usually 2 written assignments and 2 Mastering Physics (online) assignments every week. This is an average of 2-3 hours of homework everyday during the week. He does curve a lot, but its not worth suffering through his class. He thinks he is funny but every joke or thing he does is intended for a 2nd grade audience. This is the first time I have been dissappointed that I am paying a lot of money to attend cal poly and i get stuck with a teacher of this level.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2005
Professor Brown is not that great of a teacher in class. He is much more helpful during his lab hours. He even allows you to call his home phone for help on assignments. That being said, he does "manipulate formulas on the blackboard" for an hour during lecture. Unless you have read the section's material prior to the course, attending lecture is not exactly helpful. The class begins really slow, it took about two weeks to cover one chapter, the pace increased, but as we neared the second half of the quarter, it was almost like we played catch-up. His lectures almost seemed rushed so that he could "cover" all the material before we could move on. His quizes and tests are fairly simple, the problems he selects for them are easier than ones he assigns for the homework and Mastering Physics. The final is TOUGH though, I think it's meant to separate the men from the boys. Yes, Professor Brown does have an obsession with Disney. He names all of his assignments after Disney characters and makes quite a few references to Disney. He almost always comes in with a different "funny" hat, which he takes 5 minutes to explain. He does Balloon Animals on the side and tells jokes that are meant for elementary students. Professor Brown seems like he is easier than other Physics professors, but I also felt I didn't learn as much. I learned most of the material from the book than I think I did from lecture. The book isn't that great, I bought a copy of the Physics book I used in highschool for better explanations of certain situations. I wouldn't say he is as bad as the previous evaluations make him out to be, but unless you are able to learn out of a book and understand the reasoning behind seemingly abstract equations, I'd recommend taking another physics professor, such as Echols.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2005
where to start, dr nick is the worst teacher u will ever experience at cal poly! DO NOT TAKE HIM. he is obsessed with disney to the point that it really is distracting. he wears studid ass hats everyday and has some stupid story of how he got it. during class all he does is manipulate equations instead of teaching u things. he does curve pretty good, and if you take your test into office hours (already a big mistake, he is the most degrading man youll ever meet in office hours!) then he'll usually hook u up with a few points. your best bet is to not take him, ever, and you will be better off!


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Feb 2006
I did just fine in the class. He moves quickly and does spend more time deriving equations then teaching things you need to know for the test. The mastering physics stuff is really annoying, and the whole disney thing is cute and its pretty easy to just ignore it. There is a lot of time to put in, but its not difficult, you just have to do some work.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
May 2006
Brown is one of the best physics profs on campus, that is if you like his style of teaching. His homeworks and test questions are hard, but not unreasonable because they don't come out of no where and he is pretty good at making sure to go over problems like them. Overall, given the opportunity I would choose him over any other phys prof here.

ASTR 224


Senior
A
Required (Support)
Nov 2016
Prof cried today.... What a weirdo hahahah get a grip of your life.