pupin Archive



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img March 10, 20165:26 pmimg 2 Comments


What would Descartes have thought?

You may have read, and enjoyed, last week’s post about going high to First Year English. This week, one of our writers went to First Year English on a different kind of high: pill form. Less smoke, and legal. Bwog would like to note that the writer has a Xanax prescription, and took the medicine as directed for test anxiety.

It’s two hours before my astronomy exam, and in anxious anticipation/thoughtful preparation, I pop a Xan. I figure this will give me the perfect mixture of anxiety and tranquility to be able calculate the distances to stars, but, coincidentally, the pill’s peak mellowing effects will happen in First Year English, my class right before Astronomy.

I walk out of the fourth floor Barnard Hall bathroom and into my English class, humming along to Mitski’s “I Don’t Smoke” (that’s right, readers—smoking is bad!). I’m hyped to discuss Descartes’ Discourses and Meditations, having already read the text for my philosophy course last semester.

What happened to this misled soul?



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img December 05, 20155:06 pmimg 0 Comments

Witchy black hole

Last night in Pupin, the Astronomy Department opened its doors to both the Columbia community and the public for its regular Stargazing and Lecture series event. Bwog has sent writers to cover the last few starry Friday night programs, and this week staffer and Friday Night Lights fan Amara Banks was lucky enough to check it out.

Although Friday nights are usually reserved for EC, 1020 and later Koronets, it should be noted that Pupin, too, could be a place to spend your wild nights. Walking into a lecture room with a projector displaying the words “How to Feed and Care for Your Black Hole” confirmed this. Last night around a hundred people, of varying ages, occupied every seat in the Pupin physics classroom, eagerly eyeing a projector.

Aleksey Generozov, currently a grad student at Columbia, led the lecture. He had an adorably nerdy demeanor, complete with classic glasses and a sometimes uncomfortable laugh. However, his brilliance shined through.

The lesson for the night was on black holes–a difficult concept to truly understand without deep astronomical background knowledge. Generozov was able to break down the concepts and explain them so simply that both the five-year-old in front of me and the 50-year-old behind me could confidently reiterate the information. In fact, when Generozov asked the audience to what size the earth needed to be compressed in order to become a black hole, both of their hands shot up. The little girl answered, “to the size of a peanut,” earning laughs, while the elderly man’s more scientific answer brought impressed brow raises. The correct answer was simply “by a few millimeters.”

Generozov’s PowerPoint was refreshingly basic, its slides comprised of solid black backgrounds with single graphics. On his slide about Tidal Disruption Events, he included the Top Dawg Entertainment XXL magazine cover, because the two share an identical acronym: TDE. This slide merited laughs, as Generozov’s dad pun reminded the audience that they weren’t in a 4000 level class preparing for finals, but instead enjoying the fruits of the Astronomy Department’s Friday-night generosity.

Although the night was about science, my favorite aspect of the event was the diversity of the audience. People of completely different races, ages, and interests had all come together to learn more about a puzzling space phenomenon. As I mentioned, the five- and 50-year olds in front of and behind me were two people in opposite stages of their lives, but to my left and right were two people in nearly identical stages: CU students. This was about their only similarity. The eyes to my left were on his Instagram profile more than they were on the projector, and the ones to my right were closed the majority of the time while he passionately “hmmm”ed throughout the lecture.

At the lecture’s conclusion, a woman from the Astronomy department announced the locations of the post-lecture stargazing and the 3D wall. Find more information about the astronomy department’s next outreach event, on December 18th.

Wintry black hole via Shutterstock.



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img March 11, 201511:05 amimg 5 Comments

Poopin' in Pupin

Poopin’ in Pupin

Midterms got you going to the bathroom out of anxiety? We’re continuing our series on bathrooms around campus with our third installment, and this time, we’re taking you to the second floor of Pupin (for when you’re SEAS-ed with cramps and gas).

Privacy (is this a poop or pee bathroom?)

The most private bathroom you could ever hope for. You could have the most explosive, sonorous diarrhea and not even feel a speck of shame. You feel like you’re in another dimension, free from the judgments of other bathroom-goers.

The View (windows? scribbles on the walls?)

Not one of its highlights. There’s a window that allows some soothing natural light, but you can’t really see much out of it.

Convenience (is it easy to find, or out of your way?)

It’s in Pupin on the second floor, so not super convenient. It’s worth the trek, though, if you fear offending/desecrating any other bathrooms on campus.

Traffic (are there a lot of people using it?)

Nope.  It looks like a closet from the outside so most people do not even know it exists. Just casually walk in as if you need a mop or a lightbulb and no one will be the wiser to the grumbling below.


It’s super clean and looks like a spaceship, so that’s cool.

Overall ranking (1-5 stars)

5 stars.  A paragon of pooping perfection.



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img February 13, 20145:03 pmimg 14 Comments

Valentine’s Day approacheth! Today’s Columbians looking for love are Justin Birmingham, Brittany Portman, and Pupin. If you want to take any one of these awesome humans/ buildings on a date, email us and we’ll set it up (and give you ten whole dollars to take ‘em out). But sorry guys, we’re just toooooo popular — we’ve received enough submissions, so we won’t be accepting any new personals after this point.


Justin Birmingham

Name, Year, School, Major: Justin Birmingham, SEAS ’15, Mechanical Engineering, Music Minor

Preference: M 4 F

Hometown: Clinton, NJ, AKA Farmers and Subdevelopments

Your nightmare date in seven words or fewer: Waiting in line for some bougie nightclub

What redeems you as a human being? I can sing, I’m süper öutdoörsy, and I fix things for the greater good

 Library room of choice: 69+69+69+the 2 of us = 209 ;)

Beverage of choice: Salsa? No, Sriracha

Guilty Pleasure Song: John Mayer may be an asshole but I think he’s a great musician

Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night? Obviously Greenborough, that place rules

Historical Hottie: Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day

bring on Brittany and Pupin!



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img November 08, 201112:00 pmimg 19 Comments

Behold the marriage of modernism and nature! Or at least something green. In this urban jungle we’ll take what we can get.

The hardscrabble, weeds, and dead shrubs that littered the raised-plaza-thing outside NoCo have blossomed into perfectly manicured grass sod. Looks like a great place for the kids in the brochures to lay out and read books. No red flags here. Yet.

Goes well with: iced Joe and a sunny disposition.




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img March 24, 20114:00 pmimg 7 Comments

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

– Rene Magritte

Walkblocked in Pupin 301



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img February 16, 20111:30 pmimg 10 Comments

Deep in the bowels of Pupin, mathematical notation holds Physics students tight in its rational grip. Though confined to windowless sun-deprived cells, these scientists secretly engage in renegade artistic expression.  Note the effervescent nature of the flowers and the anthropomorphic eggplant, so fleetingly sketched in chalk.



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img July 16, 20101:56 pmimg 18 Comments

It’s summer, and it’s that magical time of year when things change and you come back next year only to think, “Hey, when did this happen?” Well, now is when!

Lerner Renovation: First and foremost, the plans and models we saw back in May for a new Lerner 4th Floor, home to the new Center for Student Advising, are finally beginning to materialize in real life. Prefrosh about to take Gateway next year, take note… this is how it’s done. The changes to Lerner have also caused the Office of Multicultural Affairs to relocate to Lerner 5.

Pupin Scaffolding: Mysterious scaffolding has shown up on Pupin; we’re assuming it’s for some sort of routine cleaning, but if you have a better idea of what’s going on, be sure to let us know in the comments.

“Premium Rush” Filming: This one stars our very own Alma Mater, folks! Well, sorta. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this film about “a bike messenger [who] picks up a package at Columbia University and subsequently catches the attention of a dirty cop.” Close enough, Alma! A tipster informed us that they are filming today at 116th and Morningside–could they possibly encroach on campus grounds soon? Let us know if you see/hear anything!

Starbucks Gets Fancier: We’ve been tipped that the Starbucks on 114th is now shinier and all-around snazzier. Now the environment you sit in can send just as bold of a message as that frap in your hand. If you have any pictures of these renovations, please send them along to tips@bwog.net.

We Getting Slang Soon: Seeing as these aren’t exactly terms we hear on campus on a daily basis, there are some big changes coming to our lexicon. Huffington Posts documents a bunch of college slang that we can only assume every other place of higher education in America uses. Remember incoming shmen, don’t skip your gut classes and blitz us with tips!

Lerner photos by HEH, Pupin photo by Daniel Sims



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img November 16, 20092:30 pmimg 13 Comments

Bwog reader and Punny Physicist Steve Ma sent in this sign found in Pupin:


Somewhere, in his non-relativistic afterlife, Newton is smiling.



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img September 23, 20099:00 amimg 2 Comments

The motorcade hanging around college walk, the red carpet paparazzi frenzy outside Low – those sly dogs at the World Leaders Forum must have booked another celeb. Bwog contributor Kate Hughes snuck past the cameras last night to hear what Serbian President Boris Tadic had to say.

Serbia and Columbia go way, way back. Turns out, Pupin was named after a Serbian physicist who taught at Columbia. Everyone’s been bosom buddies since. And last night, they got together to talk about the global economic crisis, secession, and genocide. Not cheery topics, sure, but a brief history lesson from President (formerly Professor) Tadic convinced us we must. Tadic began his serious remarks by comparing the potential for world-wide change that the economic crisis has created to the times of great change that followed major world events in 1945 and 1989. The coming changes in our world economic and political systems could rival those following the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The question to ask, says Tadic, is not only what changes will occur but how they will occur. Tadic predicts a shift in the style of international relations, but worries aloud whether the transition might be less than smooth. It could get rough, apparently: if what Tadic calls the “geopolitical tectonic plates” happen to clash, that would not be good. Tadic strongly favors all attempts to solve international problems diplomatically, with democratic principles as a basis for all negotiation (Read: he quoted Woodrow Wilson.) (more…)



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img May 11, 20095:26 pmimg 36 Comments

Whilst you sit in Butler wishing for a perfect storm to disrupt your finals, take comfort in the fact that such miracles can occur.

This morning, the final exam for Physics V1202 (the second required semester of non-engineering general physics) was interrupted by a real live fire alarm in Pupin.

 Or was it?  A prankster was responsible, reports the FDNY, and security is busy examining grainy camera footage trying to find the culprit.  According to our tipster, the plaza outside Pupin turned into a “circus of cheating,” so upon reentrance, the proctors passed out a “backup midterm” to be completed in the remaining time.

Physics department chair Andrew Millis informed the students that due to the “unusual circumstances,” the final would be weighted less heavily in the final course grades.

It all goes to show that studying doesn’t pay.  Full email after the jump.





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img October 13, 200811:20 amimg 3 Comments

Hans Hyttinen has just sent us his dispatch from the frontline. Apparently there was confusion as to whether it was a drill or not, as the alarm stopped sounding after a few rings. At this very moment, “a mix of pleased and peeved physics students are standing around the lesser-known sundial.”



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img October 04, 20089:40 amimg 7 Comments

Here are some more activities to keep Mom and Dad busy because Bwog loves you and your parents and because Bwog has secret tour guide aspirations….

Wallach Art Gallery

Columbia has its own mini-museum in Schermerhorn! Who knew? The Wallach Gallery’s classy digs will undoubtedly impress your parents. Maybe you’ll even impress them with your Art Hum skills. Except the gallery is currently exhibiting Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, which doesn’t fall into the masterpieces of Western Art category. But it’s free and that’s always a crowd pleaser.


Inwood Park 

If you’re going to the Baker Field for the football game, be sure to pass through Inwood Park on your way back.  Located just beyond the stadium, Inwood Park is a lovely copse-filled plot of land on the very tip of Manhattan island.  The northern edge of the park offers views of both the Hudson and Harlem Rivers and makes a great place for a picnic.  For additional fun, try to spot the Columbia boathouse and the big ‘C’ rock.




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img December 13, 20072:05 pmimg 8 Comments

A Bwog daily editor reports on a distressing development in the world of tunneling:

A year ago, your correspondent made a bid for tunneling immortality. With sharpie in hand, I went in search of the Columbia tunnel system’s holy grail–a Manhattan Project-era cyclotron rumored to be somewhere in the upper campus tunnel system.

It turns out that while the ‘tron was in fact accessible from the tunnels (by way of an unnecessarily complicated although perhaps more adventurous process where you have to follow a tunnel under Mudd and hop over a wall…there was a great description on the old CU tunnels Wiki, which has mysteriously been taken offline), the thing itself resided on the first floor of Pupin–which is totally locked, unless you feel like going to the Pupin 1 men’s room and negotiating the crawlspace between this heating duct and the ceiling.

So negotiate it I did. And what I found, readers, after squeezing myself between a couple of water conduits and dropping into a dank and long-abandoned janitor’s closet, was a dungeon-like hallway of empty offices and industrial apparata–interesting, but hardly worth the Mission Impossible-like maneuver it took to get there. But an early-decade cleanup of rooms that had gone virtually untouched since the Manhattan project thankfully spared the building’s main attraction (for tunnelers, at least): a single room containing a scattered mess of papers and scientific instruments, in the back left-hand corner of which sat a true piece of Columbia lore: the hulking, oblong outer shell of the cyclotron.

But this adventure is now all but impossible. On a recent visit to Pupin 1 (to use the men’s room, actually), I found that a construction company had moved into the once-abandoned hallway; painting over the generations of tunneler grafitto, and occupying an empty office adjacent to the cyclotron room. It’s hard to say if this is a short-term headquarters for the
new science building at 120th and Broadway, or if the first floor is to be completely gutted and converted into usable space. From the looks of it, Turner hasn’t moved in on the cyclotron‘s territory, but that’s likely not important to adventurous Columbians: with people now working in Pupin 1, it looks like the ‘tron is off-limits, and that a uniquely Columbian tradition will have to be put on hold.



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img September 26, 20079:48 amimg 7 Comments

Christine Simpson writes in:

Just to let you know, about 15 minutes ago my class in pupin 1332 was told to leave because of a gas leak.  I know that at least one other class above the 10th floor was told to evacuate.

Just nobody light a match…


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