Fracas Over Frontiers

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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!

Five minutes into the fight, Student One attempted to open things up with a defensive right hook, heavy with trepidation but precise in its placement:

The concept behind FroSci is a good one, however I feel that the lectures are very far separated from the seminars. The lectures seem like the real Frontiers of Science, with interesting and thought-provoking information presented by a very capable staff. However, the seminars seem like a statistics class.


In response to the sluggish punch, Student Two went for the jugular with reckless abandon, stating:

People who are interested in science find it boring and tedious, while people who are not interested in science have trouble caring about the class and learn nothing.


But Student Three was able to block the savage attack by channeling the power of The Man:

I agree with Student one. The lectures were really interesting, and it’s a testament to the intellectual strength of our school to be able to hear lectures from such accomplished and knowledgable professors.


And finally, student four tried to bite off the ear of his adversary with the epigrammatic:

dumbest class


Maybe everyone should be made to take University Writing during his first semester instead. Hegel would have been proud.

With about six days left to post one’s thoughts, the outcome of the match is still in doubt, though a knockout blow to Frontiers seems outside the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, debate is good for the community, even if nobody that matters pays attention to you. Pontificators of the CC class of 2010 (whose last names fall between L and Z), opine! You have nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time.

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  1. I'm in SEAS  

    so my opinion matters more than everyone else's. People who are science majors should stop being whiny freshmen and get the easiest A they can hope for in their major, instead of bitching about how it's boring. And for all the hippie art history and comp lit majors, they should make the class more difficult so they don't stick their noses QUITE as high in the air when they see the rest of us walking into Mudd, Pupin and Havemeyer. Oh, and learning some basic science isn't going to ruin your life.

    • majors  

      Don't be assuming that just because people aren't majoring in science they aren't good at it. I am majoring in history, but I got an 800 on both my Physics and Math IIC SAT IIs (which, no, doesn't mean that much, but at least it's something), and I know lots of other humanities majors with similar science skills. Similarly, there are people who major in science who can write well, read critically, understand philosophical concepts, etc. So I suggest a meal consisting of nuts in a sack for all these "major" assholes.

    • hey seas kid  

      Frontiers sucks because people like me who get A's in IEOR classes get a B+ in Frontiers. Why, you ask? Because I refused to go to office hours like all the other weenies in my class and kiss my section leader's ass. Frontiers was a royal waste of my time and a pain in my GPA's ass. I would have fared better in Data Structures.

      • yeah  

        I second that. On DAR where it shows the science courses I've taken, it shows an A in a graduate statistics course and a B+ in FOS. And yeah, it was mostly a statistics class...trust me, taking material you already know makes for the hardest A's, not the easiest, because you won't want to suck up to your underqualified Earth Science postdoc section leader.

  2. Hey

    uh, can we protest Gateway Lab instead? Frontiers isn't much of a waste of time by comparison, suckers -- we built a fake community center and spent three hours listening to the ravings of a madman that they KEEP GIVING MORE POWER!

    Down with McGourty.

    • Unfortunate

      I agree with #3, that Frontiers isn't nearly as bad as Gateway. I had the unfortunate privilege of taking both (because Urban Studies majors get to help with those stupid fake "community centers"). Jack McGourty is an egotistical poser. He introduced himself by saying, "I left a plush consulting job to teach here - but at least I still get to drive my Porsche to work." Ugh, and what a terrible dye-job.

  3. Hahaha  

    Oh, Bwog. Columbia's fandom_wank.

  4. Pfft

    I took the easy 4 credit A and ran with it to the bank.

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