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February 19, 2013

Late Night: The Cosmos Is Unstable, Professor Over-Proves

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Guess what? The cosmos, like Victoria Jackson and life itself, is probably inherently unstable. Most of us probably already know that instinctively without needing the Large Hadron Collider to prove it.

I once had a teacher in high school, Jim Hosney, who wanted to teach a course in existentialism where there would be no rhyme or reason as to why people got the which grades that day. That concept might not have gone over real well at an all-girl prep school where eating disorders and substance abuse seemed to be part of the curriculum.

Hosney was a brilliant and challenging social history teacher who showed us films like The Beguiled, Weekend, and The Devils. Hosney’s methods thankfully had nothing on this professor of quantum mechanics, apparently a frustrated (and very bad) performance artist, who began his lecture by saying:

in order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain and start over again. … Everything you do in your everyday life is totally opposite of what you are going to learn in quantum mechanics.

 

 

A science professor at Columbia University on Monday began a quantum mechanics lecture by stripping into his boxers and eating a banana while rap music played in the background….The professor, Emlyn Hughes, proceeded to redress himself in black, complete with sunglasses, and hug himself on stage at the front of the classroom, a large theater.

As Hughes sat in the fetal position, two “actors” dressed in ninja costumes walked onstage and placed white stuffed animals – lambs – on stools before the audience, according to a student-recorded video of the incident posted on Vimeo.com by “Bwog,” a campus news website run by Columbia students.

The ninjas blindfolded the lambs, then a ninja impaled one of the stuffed animals with a long sword and banged it against the stool – right as an image of a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers on 9/11 started rolling on a large screen behind the performance…

After the lamb’s grisly “death” and the images of 9/11, the footage turned into a montage that included clips of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Hitler – as well as numerous shots of war images – tanks rolling, bombs exploding, people hanging upside-down, troops marching, and the like.

 
Weekend, Jean-Luc Goddard:

The Beguiled:

The Devils:


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