Jul

19

David Helfand Leaves Columbia to Seek Truth

Written by

Blame Canada

Almost as famous for the epic proportions of his beard as for his pedagogy, the chair of the Astronomy department and Frontiers of Science mastermind Professor David Helfand will be relocating to Canada. It was reported Monday in a local newspaper in a remarkably hand-wavey way that “Helfand is now on a long term leave of absence from Columbia, with zero responsibilities for the foreseeable future.” He’s given up the Big Apple for the town of Squamish, just north of Vancouver, home of the newly-founded Quest University. Helfand was one of the University’s Founding Tutors and has been acting as interim president since 2008.

Helfand will now be acting as the full-time head of Quest, which graduated its first class this April. According to The Chief, Squamish’s news website, Helfand feels more at home there then he ever did during his 33 years at Columbia. “I have been lecturing at Columbia for a third of a century,” said Helfand. “But I feel I only began truly teaching when I came to Quest.”

We’ll especially miss his killer moves.

Homecoming via Quest

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34 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    come on bwog. add http:// before links if they're for external pages.

  2. Anonymous

    well obviously, very few tenured professors actually 'teach' at columbia. if you want great teachers you go to a liberal arts college

    • Anonymous

      According to Wikipedia, Helfand was opposed to the tenure system at universities for just that reason.

      Anyway, I think a lot of us will agree that it is a loss for the Columbia community, but godspeed in his future endeavors.

  3. well

    “But I feel I only began truly teaching when I came to Quest.”

    Thanks for letting us know you've been mailing it in for 30 years.

    -Your Students

  4. Frontiers Lover

    “I have been lecturing at Columbia for a third of a century,” said Helfand. “But I feel I only began truly teaching when I came to Quest.”

    Perhaps that's because you taught Frontiers. Just a thought.

  5. Anonymous

    not gonna lie, Quest (http://questu.ca/) sounds like a pretty awesome university.

    also, bwog, in writing the title, were you trying to refer to helfand's debate in the Veritas Forum, "Truth Beyond Science?" (http://youtu.be/jq_iougyc3E)

  6. Twitch  

    Can we get rid of FroSci now, please?

  7. Methuseleh  

    Actually, I've had a lot of tenured professors, especially in the Astrophysics department. Seriously though... Frontiers is a travesty, and you teach as well as you want to. Long live Father Frits!

  8. Goodbye

    repeated offender of Socks and Sandals

  9. Goodbye

    Repeat offender of Socks and Sandals

  10. Goodbye

    offender of repeat comments

  11. Anonymous

    He basically implied half of his students in frontiers discussions were stupid. I'm glad he's leaving if that's his version of motivating his students to learn.

  12. Anonymous

    what an incredible beard

  13. Anonymous

    santa claus is going back to northpole? well it is summer...

  14. Anonymous

    he probably just wants to smoke more reefer

  15. I think

    It's really unfortunate that we can't recognize the value in teaching/learning methods different than our own. Have a friend at Quest who is more passionate and interesting than many I have met at Columbia.

    • Anonymous

      if you would have payed attention in Frontiers then you would have know that is called a sample bias. I think it's a commonly accepted trait of stupid people, that they are "super passionate" and "know a ton" about a few select things. In my experience, that is usually bullshit.

  16. Please?

    Can we get rid of Frontiers now? It's an embarrassment.

  17. Nerd

    Yo, Prezbo is going to be on NPR in like an hour.

  18. Please

    Get rid of Frontiers!!!

  19. Anonymous

    I actually liked my Frontiers sections with Helfand. Don't know why everybody flips their shit over that class. Sit back, phone it in, bask in the easy A. You might even learn some cool shit.

  20. that picture

    makes it look like his brain hath farted.

  21. Anonymous

    I think you guys might like this http://frontiersofscience.ytmnd.com/. Love, me.

  22. Alum

    I must be getting old. I remember Helfand when he had bright red hair and a ponytail, not the white mane he has now. But moving to a colder climate makes evolutionary sense, since he'll blend in with the snow.

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