Student Feedback

Princeton University GEO422 : Data, Models and Uncertainty in the Natural Sciences

These comments have not been edited (not even for spelling, except where my name was misspelled), although only a selection appears.


Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "How would you describe the overall quality of the lectures?".

He is an excellent teacher.
Professor Simons lectures very differently from most instructors. I was thrown off initially by his humorous comments and seeming lack of interest in carrying out the derivations, but lo and behold, there was a method to his madness. I started to appreciate Professor Simons' lecture style when I started working on the first set of MATLAB exercises. A fundamental understanding and appreciation for the applications of the topics from class are stressed rather than a rigorous line by line understanding of how to get to the results. I have learned a large amount of information during the course of the semester and look forward to delving deeper and building upon the foundation that was laid out during this class.
Good lectures. Professor has an entertaining lecture style and is thorough with the material but not too thorough as to be tedious.
Frederik is very smart and has a very specific plan for how to present each topic
The lectures, in general, were very helpful and presented in a logical orderly fashion.
Professor Simons is very engaging and hilarious
Lectures explained clearly, lecturer really funny! :)
Frederik is very funny and very smart
I thought they were very engaging and clear. If you don't like applied math you might find the material difficult to get through, but Frederik explains things pretty well. Frederik also has a dry sense of humor which is very entertaining. If you took careful notes, you could probably get away with not having to consult any outside sources to do the work.
very intellectually stimulating, went into enlightening levels of depth without overburdening with mathematical minutiae
Lectures are very interesting and Frederik is awesome. He is extremely smart and good at making abstract concepts accessible. While he sometimes gets bogged down in long math, I was almost always able to follow him through the lecture. The course material is all extremely interesting and Frederik makes it engaging.
Lectures were clearly very well thought out, with Frederik's use of colored chalk, board schemes and ordering of concepts. He made a valiant effort to make the theory understandable
Lectures were fantastic if you were able to understand every step. Frederik likes to skip steps and you have to be constantly aware of when he does so you can understand gaps in reasoning on the blackboard.

Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "Please comment on the overall quality of the course."

The course was taught well with a surprisingly well-organized emphasis on applications of the material.
If this course helped me with anything, it was to self-educate on extremely difficult subject matter that I thought to be previously inaccessible. The nature of the assignments also tremendously improved my coding abilities as they relate to algorithms.
I really felt like I finally understood some basic statistical ideas. I would say it's very useful for any science major
Good course for those looking for experience modeling with Matlab. Good intro to statistics and signal processing.
The course is an excellent introduction to method of data analysis and modeling. It is a good way to get some practice with Matlab (I learned how to use Matlab in the course). I also appreciate that Frederik gives us some flexibility that allows us to spend needed time with the material.
I think I have a much better grip on basic statistics after taking this course. Frederik and Ben make a very good team.
This course was great, I wish there was a second part offered next semester!
as an upper-level course with grad students, it was good in catering to a very diverse crowd of people and their experience. It helped novice MATLAB-ers like me while still challenging some people conceptually who had been programming for much longer. Concepts were hard but very explained.
Fun class, learned a ton, wish there was a second part.


Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "How would you describe the overall quality of the lectures?".

Frederik is an amazing teacher. I like his instructional method and the lectures. His special way of presenting using blackboard simulated my engagement and independent thinking.
Professor Simons is an enthusiastic lecturer who was able to present difficult material in a funny and interested manner. He kept students engaged in the material by asking questions and repeating himself whenever necessary.
Professor Simons clearly knew what he was talking about and was a humorous, energetic instructor although the material was often very difficult considering the prerequisites for this course.
Great teaching.
Excellent. Frederik would adjust his lectures based on real-time feedback from the students---if we wanted him to go into more detail into something, he would. That kind of flexibility is rare and I greatly appreciated it.
Frederik Simons is very enthusiastic. He loves his students and is willing to go to great lengths to help them.
Frederik's lectures are exceedingly well organized, engaging, and informative.
Lectures were great. The material was presented quickly, but well. The best part was Professor Simons' passion. It was clear he found the information interesting, which made me interested too. Frederik was honestly the most engaged lecturer I have ever had!
Lectures were organized, well-explained, and the professor made every effort to make the subject comprehensible and clear to the students.
Frederik does a terrific job at walking through and explaining the steps of a derivation and how they are relevant to the resulting formula. The few times that I didn't understand something the first time, it only took one more (thorough) explanation for me to understand, and when Frederik would explain something for one of my classmates I would also gain a better understanding of the topic. He has a dry humor that is refreshingly entertaining and appropriate given the potential dryness of the subject he's teaching.
Prof. Simons was a fantastic lecturer and did a great job of explaining some pretty complex material.

Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "Please comment on the overall quality of the course."

The course is pretty good. I gained a lot from it.
I really enjoyed this course.
This course provides a very hands-on introduction to Matlab and Professor Simons is definitely an interesting lecturer.
Very well-taught.
Possibly one of the best classes I have taken in terms of how much I learned in one semester.
The class was focused on "doing" more than just remembering formulas and it definitely achieved its goal. I took 5 classes this semester, this might be the only one which material I will use soon for my research.
Frederik is the best professor I have ever had.
Course was extremely useful for understanding statistics and developing the skills to use these statistical tools for any scientific project.
The course comprehensively covered the statistical techniques that are most relevant to scientific study, and I feel extremely well prepared to conduct my own research now and to support my arguments with a deep statistical summary.
Overall, this is a fantastic course. I learned a great deal and am much better off for it.


Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "How would you describe the overall quality of the lectures?".

Frederik is engaging to the students, and has very well-planned lectures. Lecture attendance key to understanding enough to complete assignments.
I would rate the quality of the lectures as excellent. The professor is marked by an entertaining, engaging style. All presented information was presented in an application-focused context, and no time was exhausted in the completion or presentation of "busy work". The classes both stimulated my interest in the subject of data analysis and contributed significantly to my knowledge of the subject.
Frederik's lectures are performance art.
Frederik is very mathematically precise and clear with his notation, something for which I will be eternally grateful [...] and his explanation of fourier time series analysis is the best explanation I've ever seen anywhere.

Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "Please comment on the guidance of the instructor(s) in preparing you to do [...] problem sets to the course."

lab experiments and reports helped our understanding very much.
One homework and 4 labs. All were very useful toward building on understanding of material, and helped students gain a working knowledge of MATLAB along the way. Workload not overbearing.
Every assignment was ingeniously developed and melded well with the information currently being discussed in lectures. Comments and advice were helpful and informative. The assignments contributed greatly to a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the subject matter at hand.
I learned a ton from these well organized and constructed problem sets. They were challenging, but Prof. Simons was ALWAYS available to discuss the problem sets.
Frederik did a fantastic job of taking many students who had never even worked with MATLAB and showing them how to do quite complicated things with the language. He always had a trick up his sleeve to help everyone improve and do things naturally, and his comments were written with care and were very helpful.

Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "Please comment on the overall quality of the course."

Overall, I rate the course as excellent --- it was certainly the best statistics/data analysis course I have ever taken. No improvements necessary.
Interesting and challenging.
Problem sets were excellent and instructive; I loved learning to be more proficient at MATLAB; the lectures were well organized, though often fast and very challenging conceptually


Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "How would you describe the overall quality of the lectures?".

knew what he was talking about, would help you with matlab programming
Frederik's lectures were very well presented. Subject matter was presented from a variety of view points, and often left trails for independent learning outside of the class.
Professor Simons is a great teacher. He taught everything clearly. I learned a lot from him. Thank you Frederik.
Frederik is talented in teaching, and he can always demonstrate in a comfortable way for the student to understand, without going into some abstract concepts
Prof. Simons was also very nice and approachable.
This course was of top teaching quality. The subject matter was very well presented and illustrated in the problem sets.
One of the most great class I ever took!

Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "What advice would you give to another student considering taking this course?".

This course is not just recommended for Geo students but for anyone studying any science. The applications of the theory were engaging and the material highly relevant. (...) I would say this class would be suitable and important for anyone who is a sophomore or higher.
I strongly recommend you to take it!
It's a great course if you want to learn to use MATLAB or some basics of inverse modeling. The workload is very reasonable. Allows you to work on your own research as a final project, which is nice.


Every paragraph below is an individual student's answer to the question: "Please comment on the strengths of the course".

It's strongest point was the rigurously applied nature of the teaching style and the lab work. I've taken statistics and stuff before, but there was never any context. The lectures, as is all but required in a mathematical course, were dry and formulaic in structure. They were not dry in delivery, though! Classes were still fun. Furthermore, each spate of formulas fed into a quality, well thought out lab exercise.
The assignments/labs were excellent. They were well designed to illustrate the important concepts and show practically how to implement them.
Covered a lot of materiel. Lab exercises were very helpful for understanding. Very receptive to input about course.
The lab exercises were well designed and significantly contributed to my understanding of the material. The MATLAB skills gained were invaluble.
The techniques from this course were useful in writing my JP. Also, the professor was very flexible to tailoring the course to the student's needs, although this worked against me somewhat in that the course went in a more technical direction.
P. Simons is very good at explaining information clearly!

Frederik Simons
Last modified: Fri Apr 8 16:04:00 EDT 2016