What do physicists mean by not disturbing

Teaching neglects research

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Physics (B.Sc.) teaching degree

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The University of Heidelberg puts a lot of emphasis on its good reputation. It is no different for the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy. However, as a student one gets the impression that the teaching is neglected by the lecturers and distracted from the qualitative deficiencies by simply always referring to the good reputation of the faculty.
Overall, the faculty is theoretically oriented. Since there are not that many Experimental Physics Profs in the respective areas, the lecturers are sometimes forced to take on compulsory courses without wanting to do so. Unfortunately, this is also noticeable in the quality of the lectures. Often there is also no response to complaints or questions sent by email to lecturers.

In general, the workload in the first three semesters is enormous. A weekly effort of 65-70 hours is not uncommon. This neither promotes mental health nor personal growth in the course of study. Most of the time is spent solving the exercise sheets, through which you first get admission to the exam. In doing so, you either learn to tolerate frustration or sooner or later you get broken on the print and break off. This already happens to some, especially at the beginning. In Heidelberg, the first two years of the Bachelor's program are vigorously screened out. You get the impression that most lecturers don't care how many people fail the exams and how many drop out. The number of dropouts could certainly be reduced by less stress when processing the exercise sheets.

The course of study is generally well thought out.
What is annoying, however, is the strict separation between theoretical physics and experimental physics. Topics such as electrodynamics, quantum mechanics etc. are dealt with in two separate lectures in different semesters, which in my opinion does not help to develop the best possible understanding of the topic.
Another minus point that I see are the many compulsory internships, which are not really instructive and are totally underpinned for the high workload. They also take up a large part of the lecture-free time.

From the 3rd semester onwards, you can attend elective / compulsory elective lectures in various areas of physics. These include astronomy, bio and medical physics, environmental physics, particle physics, solid state physics and special lectures in theoretical physics. As a student, you can certainly benefit from the wide range of research at the University of Heidelberg. In my experience, especially in the elective area, the content of the lectures corresponds to randomly selected topics that are often unrelated to one another. In order to gain a general overview, one would have to work with a broad textbook, for which, however, there is simply not enough time (unless one completely renounces sleep or needs at least 1 year longer).

Seminars are usually only taken from the 5th semester. This leads to the fact that you actually only come into closer contact with lecturers when you are already looking for a place for the bachelor thesis (if you manage to do it in the standard study period ...) Before attending lectures, you are completely anonymous as one of around 400 students.

All in all, I would not decide to study physics at the University of Heidelberg again. The only really positive point is the broad field of research, which is not yet decisive in the Bachelor's degree. What bothers me most is that too often the good reputation of the university and research is referred to, but nothing tangible emerges from it. The quality of the lecturers and the courses is definitely in need of improvement. Then there is the strong pressure and the feeling that the faculty is out to only select the best (or most stress-resistant) of the students simply because they can.
  • Wide range of options
  • poor quality of teaching, poor contact with lecturers (large lectures, ignoring emails)

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About Laura

  • Age: 21-23
  • Gender Female
  • Start of studies: 2017
  • Type of study: full-time study
  • Location: Heidelberg location
  • School leaving certificate: Abitur
  • Recommendation: No.
  • Written on: 03/25/2020