Opening Remarks: Science vs. Not Science

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Occasionally, Columbia professors break the monotony of Honesty Policy regurgitation to add a little spice to the first lecture of the semester.  Here are this term’s quips:

Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Intermediate Macroeconomics

“Empirical evidence suggests that people die.”

“There is one big difference between Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, and that is that Macroeconomics is useful.”

“Let me start out with the most important lesson of the year – how to pronounce my name. It’s Xavier. Pronounced shah-bee-ay. I know some of you are Americans and will be tempted to pronounce it zay-vee-air. That would be a mistake.”

Jonathan Gross, Discrete Mathematics

“When you don’t know what I’m doing [in lecture] you can be pretty sure it’s self-parody.  I’m not quite sure when this happened but it was so long ago that I can’t turn it off.”

Patricia Lindemann, Science of Psychology

“No question is too stupid, especially if you ask it out of class.”

Marco Castaldi, Thermodynamics

“This is what separates engineers from the rest of the poor souls who are not engineers”  (Bwog can only imagine what “this” is).

Dusa McDuff, Introduction to Higher Math

“All mathematics is imaginary.”

James Applegate, Earth, Moon, and Planets

“[The textbook is] no French beach sex novel, but it’s a good read.”

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  1. Applegate  

    is applegreat.

  2. Applegate  

    said that last year, too.

  3. David McKenna  

    had some gold in Script Analysis:

    "They don't let me have you till your 20 these days. I used to have to kidnap 11 year olds in LA and put them in tents...but I'm cured now...through cocaine!"

    "Nobody has ever killed themselves over an assignment in my class, which is a 100% success rate. Also, if you plan on coming here with an automatic and shooting up the class, please come to talk me."

    "I don't get the internet but I've discovered two great uses—first I can follow the San Antonio Spurs from anywhere, and secondly there is a bottomless amount of pornography!"

  4. Patricia Lindemann  

    "Lefties tend to die younger. I know, I hate to tell you this right in the beginning of the semester. Just be careful out there!"

  5. Erik Leavin  

    U Writing

    "Composing a good essay is kind of like running a cadillac into a tree."

  6. In Economics  

    from musatti principles of econ "Lets follow where the hell all the ducks go, now the oceanographers are happy like puppets!"

  7. Maggie  

    "It's Xavier. Pronounced shah-bee-ay."

    No, it's not.

  8. Jimmy

    When I took Sala-i-Martin in 2004, he went into more detail:

    "Those of you who are Catholic might be tempted to Ex-ay-vee-ur. Do not do this. It is wrong. Those of you that are Mexican may be tempted to call me Ha-vee-ay. Do not do this either. It is wrong. And those of you that are comic book readers may be tempted to call me, Professor X. This is not as funny as you think it is."

    "Shah, like the leader of Iran. Bee, the second letter of the Alphabet. And Ai, the first letter of the Alphabet. Shah. Bee. Ai."

    Then later, the money quote:

    "The reason I have this funny accent, is because I come from Barcelona......temporarily ruled by Spain."

  9. Engineer  

    Prof Weinig in Manufacturing Enterprise:

    "I have no prejudices. I hate everyone."

    "What form is the midterm?"
    "I ask questions and you answer them."

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