… I would join SeekingArrangement.com.” A Columbia University student, fresh out of a physics class where the professor took off his clothes in front of a film about 9/11, wonders why her required class requires her to watch things like this.

There are of course precedents. Denis Rancourt didn’t strip, but he did other crazy political shit in what were ostensibly courses about physics.

What is it about physics? I guess you take the big picture, and then it becomes imperative that you WAKE UP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! your captive audience.

It’s always possible, of course, that Emlyn Hughes is having a mental breakdown in front of his class.  Plenty of precedent for that too, sadly.

And, finally, it’s possible Hughes is just a mad attention slut.

***************
UD thanks Jon.

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6 Responses to ““[I]f I wanted to see elderly men get naked before I’ve had my morning coffee…”

  1. Tenured Radical Says:

    In a lower register of weirdo-isms, I wonder about those professors who end up on teevee for doing, say, calculus lectures in hip-hop. What is up with that?

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    TR: I’ve never forgotten the hic/haec/hoc declensions, because Mrs Washer, my high school Latin teacher, did it as a cheer.

  3. JKW Says:

    I taught at Columbia during my graduate program there and then for a few years afterward, teaching a night section of a humanities course as a hobby, and I can attest that students hate this science course. Those of a scientific bent are indignant that they have to take a survey course that’s designed for general consumption, whilst those who aren’t so minded resent having to do a required science course at all. I can imagine that such faculty as this guy–who spends much of his time working at a particle accelerator in Switzerland (http://www.college.columbia.edu/cct/sep_oct10/around_the_quads7)–like teaching this intro course just about as much as the students like to sit through it. Indeed, his reviews (http://culpa.info/professors/3242) suggest that he frequently let his students out early and canceled classes. My guess is that he was dragooned into teaching a section of this by his department or that everyone in Physics is compelled to teach a section every few years. I feel sorry for his students.

  4. Pete Copeland Says:

    @JKW: Nothing can excuse the behavior of this professor but you make me feel less sympathetic towards his students if they really resent having to take a course in science. I would have imagined that Columbia, as much as any university, is where broad learning is celebrated, not resented. What a pity if I was wrong.

  5. JKW Says:

    @Pete: I agree with you. I can’t speak to the course itself, never having taken it, but I have always perceived a sort of irritation on the part of the students that they have to sit through it. Mind you, they’re careful to couch their irritation in language of specific complaint about aspects of the course (too general, not general enough, hops around too much, etc.). They say much the same thing about the composition course, though, naturally, in very polite language.

  6. david foster Says:

    JKW…”Those of a scientific bent are indignant that they have to take a survey course that’s designed for general consumption, whilst those who aren’t so minded resent having to do a required science course at all.”

    I’d say that anyone who is so little interested in the world around him that he resents having to take a single science course doesn’t belong in a university at all. And I’d think that someone who *is* a science major could take an opportunity to learn something about scientific fields other than the one he’s specializing in.

    Depressing.

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