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Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:30 PM

Half-Naked Ivy League Prof Opens Quantum Physics Course with 9/11 Footage, Hitler


Max Read
There is no (definitive) manual on How to Teach Quantum Physics, obviously, but one imagines that if such a manual existed it would likely recommend against opening your first lecture half-naked, curled into a fetal position while footage of Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and 9/11 play on the projector. And yet! Columbia professor Emlyn Hughes opened his Frontiers of Science—one of the Ivy League university's core classes—with just such a show. Here's how Columbia gossip blog Bwog describes it:

According to our reports, the first class of the physics unit was running a bit late when the lights went out. When they came back on, professor Emlyn Hughes was in the spotlight.

Then Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" started playing in some sort of weird combination with deadmau5, Billy Joel, and Die Antwoord and he started to undress and put on a hoodie and sunglasses. After that, he curled up into a fetal position in his chair as images of 9/11, Nazi Germany, and North Korea started playing on the projector.

Finally, the show was interrupted by ninjas who appeared and smashed puppets onstage.


Tuition at Columbia is $22,000 a semester.

http://gawker.com/5985130/half+naked-ivy-league-prof-opens-quantum-physics-course-with-911-footage-hitler-puppet+smashing-ninja

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Reply Half-Naked Ivy League Prof Opens Quantum Physics Course with 9/11 Footage, Hitler (Original post)
n2doc Feb 2013 OP
TrogL Feb 2013 #1
mn9driver Feb 2013 #2
caraher Feb 2013 #8
BainsBane Feb 2013 #3
hedgehog Feb 2013 #4
lastlib Feb 2013 #5
dlwickham Feb 2013 #6
Glassunion Feb 2013 #7
Jim__ Feb 2013 #9

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:32 PM

1. Gee my physics prof just blew up a couple of things and filled the place with blue smoke

I want want a refund.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:38 PM

2. Well, reality on the quantum level IS pretty weird.

Maybe that was the point he was trying to make...

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Response to mn9driver (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 06:39 AM

8. I think that was his point

I'm not sure it was the best way to go about making it, though.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:54 PM

3. Looks more interesting than my science classes

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:00 PM

4. That's one way to get out of teaching freshmen!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:19 PM

5. %$&*#!! The high point of my science education was

my high school Chemistry teacher's "Flouride-propyl-people-Ether"!

It went downhill from there, so I took up political science.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:33 PM

6. Ninjas and puppets?

sign me up!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:18 PM

7. It's all lies.

If there really were Ninjas, no one would have seen them.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:18 AM

9. "The biggest challenge in teaching a ... physics course at Columbia is reaching students ..."

From a very brief interview with Emlyn Hughes

What are the challenges of teaching an introductory course?

The biggest challenge in teaching a large introductory physics course at Columbia is reaching students with enormously varied backgrounds, especially in terms of their training in math. A typical exam score in my class is 65 percent, and the range of grades extends from 15 percent to 95 percent. As a teacher, I aim for the middle. Given the spread of talents and backgrounds, this makes a large fraction of the class unhappy. On the positive side, the diversity of the class and the broad range of interests make the course much more interesting to a teacher. I truly enjoy the variety of questions that I receive from my students, both in and outside of class.


I'd say he reached his students on the day of the video.

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