Each student must register for one of ten biweekly lab sections (variously called "discussion" or "headbanging"), held every Wednesday and Friday starting on the hour between 9am and 3pm. As with lectures, lab attendance is strongly encouraged, and even expected, but is not mandatory.
The labs are opportunities for you to develop your problem-solving and presentation skills. Each each section, groups of 3-5 students will work together to solve two or three problems, with feedback and suggestions from the course staff (and other groups). If necessary, we may also briefly review material from past lectures or prerequisite courses, but we will not present new course material.
Lab problems are posted every Wednesday and Friday morning on the course calendar. We strongly encourage you to look at the problems beforehand and to continue working on them after your section ends. In particular, we strongly encourage discussion on Piazza after each section. The course staff also will answer questions, provide hints, and give feedback on proposed solutions in office hours.
However, we do not plan to provide detailed solutions to the lab problems. The point of the labs is not to acquire more meat (solutions), but to practice hunting (problem solving). We may even sketch high-level solutions in office hours and/or on Piazza, if there is enough demand, but not with the same level of detail as homework or exam solutions.
Please attend only the lab sections for which you are officially registered. Students who want to swap section should contact one of the TAs.
The student asks, well, what are Feynman's methods? Gell-Mann leans coyly against the blackboard and says, Dick's method is this. You write own the problem. You think very hard. (He shuts his eyes and presses his knuckles parodically to his forehead.) Then you write down the answer. |
— James Glieck, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (1992) |
When you are solving a problem, don't worry.
Now, after you have solved the problem, then that's the time to worry. |
— Richard Feynman (reportedly written on his blackboard at the time of his death in 1988) |
Student: Whenever there is any question, one's mind is confused.
What is the matter?
Master: Kill, kill! |
— 曹山本寂 / Ts‘ao-shan Pen-Chi / Sozan Honjaku (c. 900) |