Ratings for Bell, A T
Based on 15 ratings for this instructor.
Comment: Oh man. I think I'm probably the only person who actually liked the subject material of this class. The first third of the course deals with mass transfer, which is basically the same exact thing as heat transfer from 150A, but with different variables. The second part is distillation separations, while the final third of the course deals with membrane separations and adsorption. The book for separations is pretty damn terrible, and Bell drones on and on without much purpose, so it's a struggle bus for the last third of the class. Rely on office hours to learn the material, and just make Google your teacher. I'd advise reading Welty, Wicks, Wilson, and Rohrer to really grasp mass transfer though - fantastic book for that application.
Submitted July 18th, 2014
Comment: Oh boy, this was one shitty class. Bell was pretty decent in the beginning, but he was just a standard lecturer. The pain came in the problem sets, which were written by the GSIs. Never have I had a worse team of GSIs. They absolutely did not care about the class, until complaints were brought about. Bell was a pretty absentee professor: he was gone to Russia for like 3 weeks, and the terrible GSIs filled in. The first midterm was very hard, the second one much easier, and the final pretty difficult too. The homeworks were absolutely atrocious and did not help learn the material at all. One of the homeworks required drawing and approximating many McCabe-Thiele diagrams, that took so long. Many of the pset questions were recycled from previous years or from some source, and starting in the middle of the year, students were penalized for using the solutions manuals to aid them. It's the GSIs fault for not re-writing questions, well-knowing of the fact that the students are pretty resourceful. Afterwards, the GSI Amber Janda used to go through each hw by hand and check how similar it was to other students and solutions, and this resulted in very arbitrary hw grades for those who worked on the pset together and had similar answers, but very vastly different hw scores. Having Velencia Witherspoon as a teaching assistant was a nightmare, and she should never be allowed near an undergraduate class ever again. Overall, this was a terrible experience of a ChemE class, and much can be done to improve it, and 142 dominated this class in every aspect possible. The material is extremely boring as well, especially compared to 142, but is important for 154; however the teaching staff makes no effort to make the class interesting
Submitted June 26th, 2013
Comment: Hoooo boy. Alright, where to begin. I wasn't a big fan of 150A, Muller was a great professor and all but the material wasn't my favorite. While the material in the first third of the class was more of the same (concentration differences, boundary conditions, ODEs, tons of assumptions), the 2nd and 3rd were... not much better. The concepts in the course are integral for a ChemE to understand but the way it was taught seemed very poor, most of the homeworks ended up being giant busywork sessions late into the night, plugging in numbers into Excel, drawing tie lines, estimating step counts, and not really being all that rewarding in the end. Problem sets were almost impossible to complete in one night, towards the end we would do about 30% of the homework and be forced to call it a night, either because we were never taught the material being asked about, or because so much effort was necessary for each problem that it was unfeasible to finish without being completely destroyed the following day. Yes, we are expected to work hard, there's a reason this major is called the hardest major at Cal, but part of that difficulty shouldn't have to come from teaching yourself the material to complete the homework sets, or having to completely adjust your problem-solving strategy because the problems were sent out with improper numbers or something. Bell's lectures were unhelpful in solving the problems, there was very little problem-solving at all in them, so we were forced to consult the books to start anything, and it made us wonder why we came to lecture at all if we weren't going to be able to learn anything from them. We had GSI horror stories and they do change from year to year so I doubt anything I say here about them could be relevant to future ChemEs, although I will note that they did pick up the slack towards the later half of the class, when the complaints started rolling in. Exams don't really ask you about anything on the homework, since you don't have access to Excel, so homeworks are unrelated to exams which are unrelated to lectures. It's a mess, hopefully by next year the system will be fixed, but until then brace yourselves.
Submitted Dec. 20th, 2012
Comment: This was one of the worst classes I've ever had the displeasure of taking at Berkeley. Like all classes I come into the class open-minded given all the teaching staff a fair chance to show their stuff and my goodness did they disappoint. Bell started off decent with the early mass transfer stuff but the quality of the lectures slowly declined over the semester to the point where I had to question myself whether I wanted to wake up for the class or not. I shouldnt ever have to do that in Berkeley. I dont know if its just Bell getting old or if he just doesnt really care that much about teaching anymore, but that happy-go-lucky attitude was a bit disconcerting. Bell wasnt really the problem though. The GSI's took the cake for this class. I'm not one to call out a GSI by name but god have mercy on the poor souls that are subjected to Velencia Witherspoon's GSI'ing. I'd rather not explain how awful she was. HW was a bit ridiculous sometimes but thats to be expected from a chemE class. Midterms and final were really tough. I wish I could have had a better experience in this class but it was really miserable. Long live the DeadChemE's!!!
Submitted Dec. 18th, 2012
Comment: Pretty good class. At first it seemed like a bit more work than a 2 unit seminar should be in terms of homework, but the spring 2012 semester was a "test class" of sorts as the professors wanted to make a class on energy conservation and conversion based on the seminar. Learned about a variety of different types of energy including nuclear, geothermal, biomass, wind, coal, natural gas, shale, tar sands, solar, and wave. Some economic and political factors were also discussed involving energy. The difference between the freshman seminar and this one is that there were a lot more calculations involved, often involving heavy use of dimensional analysis which proved to be most useful. Different faculty members gave presentations of their research and what they thought was important for their respective fields of research each week. Particular focus was on mass and energy balances on different types processes. There were problems sets just about every week other than the last few weeks of class which were used to do a final project on any of the topics discussed in class. I enjoyed doing the research project as we could choose any area of the energy spectrum and I could choose something related to what I wanted to research outside of the class as well. Highly recommended for ChemE's as there is heavy use of stoichiometry and principles learned in Chem 4B, ChemE 141, as well as other classes only a majority of ChemE majors would have learned by their sophomore year. Bell did a few lectures at the beginning focusing on the fundamentals of mass and energy balances (basically a review of chemE 140 concepts) and then each week the professors gave their talks.
Submitted May 20th, 2012
Comment: Assignments can be extremely easy or very hard. Midterm 1 was very hard, but midterm 2 was very easy. Final was pretty hard. The professor teaches fairly well, but it helps to go through the text since some of the concepts are hard to grasp the first time around.
Submitted Dec. 19th, 2011