Strange things happen in Frontiers of Science. Today, in the spirit of the Biodiversity section of the class, five avid pupils decided to dress up in animal costumes for class. Our wildlife photographer captured images of several giraffes, an owl and a dinosaur. One of the perpetrators said of their bold statement, “We’re biodiverse!” Clearly they haven’t been actually attending class: if they teach you anything in frosci, it’s the disappointing fact that dinosaurs actually had feathers. Get some more accurate costumes next time!
Yesterday, Professor Hughes began Frontiers of Science’s three-lecture physics unit by playing Lil Wayne, changing clothes on stage, and displaying 9/11 and Nazi Germany footage. Various news outlets (Slate, TIME, NY Daily News) have picked up the story, and here is some of the known coverage for today:
- Fox News’s The Five at 5 pm
- ABC Eyewitness News at 5:30 pm (Channel 7)
- Update: here’s ABC, featuring Bwog Daily Editor Sarah Thompson, CC’16!
- Fox News’s Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld at 3 am
Also, Columbia released the following statement saying that faculty members bear “corresponding responsibilities” and that they are “reviewing the facts” of the lecture.
Universities are committed to maintaining a climate of academic freedom, in which the faculty members are given the widest possible latitude in their teaching and scholarship. However, the freedoms traditionally accorded the faculty carry corresponding responsibilities. Columbia’s Faculty Handbook states that “In conducting their classes, faculty should promote an atmosphere of mutual tolerance, respect, and civility [and] should confine their classes to the subject matter covered by their courses.” While one must exercise caution in judging excerpts from a lecture or short presentations from an entire course outside of their full context, the appropriate academic administrators are currently reviewing the facts of this particular presentation in quantum mechanics.
If you think Frontiers of Science is a boring, useless class, think again—the Core’s most infamous class went wild today.
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.
Snoop Dogg’s Lil Wayne’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” started playing in some sort of weird combination with deadmau5, Billy Joel, and Die Antwoord (UPDATE: we’re pretty sure this is what was playing) 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, terrorists, and Nazi Germany started playing on the projector.
Finally, the show was interrupted by ninjas who appeared and smashed puppets onstage.
But none of this was as offensive as the fact that he proceeded to display a Big Bang Theory clip in a “Science” class.
We shit you not. And it makes no sense to us either.
Here’s the video:
Update, 2/19 4:30 pm: The University has finally released a statement saying that “appropriate academic administrators” are “reviewing the facts of this particular presentation.”
(Watch Jeffrey Sachs on last night’s Charlie Rose.)
Spec staff urges credit for club sports, and Chas Carey
says exactly the same thing (fix your link Spec) tells people to talk about their problems.
The Core has frequently inspired as much acrimony as intellectual curiosity, and no one class has borne so much controversy as the disproportionately-loathed Frontiers of Science. From amid the tepid grumblings of the meekly subjected, however, comes the roar of the freshman class, taking a stand – where else? – on Facebook. Sports, science, and general “file under S” categories correspondent Christopher Morris-Lent reports from the front lines of first-years’ quarrel over David Helfand’s brainchild.
Few topics outside the quality of food at John Jay can arouse the sort of passionate vitriol or resigned apathy amongst freshmen that Frontiers of Science does. With half of Columbia College’s Class of 2010 already subjected to the insidious doctrine of climate change, astrophysics, and other infinitely complicated concepts such as bar graphs and standard deviations, the CC ‘10 Student Council has devised another way to pretend that it does something constructive, creating under the guise of a Facebook “event” a sort of forum where the disillusioned can air their frustrations and the contented can defend the third nipple of the Core, either on the wall of the event itself, or by sending mail to Academic Affairs.
Barely four hours into the proceedings, a lively rhetorical boxing match has already began to explode on the wall, with those who thought Frontiers bit the proverbial big one comprising one side, and those who thought it was merely mediocre forming the other. The administrators, composed of the aforementioned CC ‘10 apparatchiks and a groupie or two, are collectively playing the roles of both the impartial referee and Don King.
A blow-by-blow, after the jump!
This year’s second crop of freshmen should be finishing up their Frontiers of Science exam right about now, which Bwog learned was administered on 18 single-sided pages per test taker (not including Blue Books). Those familiar with Frontiers will bear with us for a little back of the envelope calculation:
There are approximately 1,000 students in the freshman class, so figure 500 taking the exam. 18 pages apiece = 9,000 total sheets of paper. At 8,333 sheets of paper per 40-foot, 7-inch diameter tree, that exam by itself took the life of a larger-than-average lodgepole pine. Pretty great for a course that talks so much about how global warming will see us underwater in a few centuries.