As the son of an eccentric college teacher myself, there are few things I like better than a crazy professor story. In the past, we’ve covered everything from Northwestern’s infamous f*cksaw demonstration to the guy suing James Franco for being a bully. Today, we have a story out of Columbia (me and Franco’s grad school alma mater, in case I haven’t mentioned that 12 thousand times already), where physics teacher Emlyn Hughes “stripped down to his underwear in front of images of 9/11 and Hitler,” during his class for first-year undergrads (with video, below). Your move, Professor Franco.
As first-year students filed into the lecture hall for their Frontiers of Science class, all of the lights were off, except for two spotlights on stage where Hughes was sitting. With Lil Wayne’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” playing in the background, Hughes stripped down to his underwear, then proceeded to change into a black T-shirt and pants. Afterwards, he sat down on the chair, hugging his knees in a fetal position.
Then, as a jumbled video that included footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11 continued to play on the screen, two figures dressed in black came on stage with long swords. One of them proceeded to chop a stuffed animal in half on a stool.
The video on screen also showed footage of Osama Bin Laden and battles from World War II.
After the episode, students said that Hughes began teaching the rest of the lecture on quantum mechanics as though nothing had happened. He did, however, wear dark sunglasses and keep his hood up for the entire lecture. [ColumbiaSpectator]
I like to imagine that Professor Hughes came up with this lesson plan only after a long soul-searching session in front of the bathroom mirror, in which he repeatedly slammed his palms on the counter, screaming “HOW CAN I REACH THESE KEEDS!”
After the music stopped, Hughes told the students, “In order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain, and start over again.” [HuffPo]
Ooohhh, I get it now. And who better to “erase all the garbage” than Hitler, right? Wait, let me start over…