What do you get when you combine ninjas, Misfits artwork, images of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin laden, Hitler and a little bit of Snoop Dog? A Columbia University class on quantum Physics that has taken the web by storm, according to a Feb. 18, 2013 Gawker report.
Professor Emlyn Hughes started his unique lecture by stripping down in an auditorium full of students and throwing on all black clothing as he sat huddled on the side of the stage. A short time later, two people dressed as ninja’s brought out stuffed animals which they in turn blindfolded and proceed to stab with a sword.
This occurred as images of North Korea, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Hitler and other graphic images of war were projected to a giant screen on stage.
Hughes then proceeded to lecture the students with the following statement:
In order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain, and start over again.
Hughes unusual style of teaching has not been well received, even by Columbia University officials who responded to reports of Hughes lecture on the universities undergraduate blog:
Universities are committed to maintaining a climate of academic freedom, in which the faculty members are given the widest possible latitude in their teaching and scholarship. However, the freedoms traditionally accorded the faculty carry corresponding responsibilities. Columbia’s Faculty Handbook states that “In conducting their classes, faculty should promote an atmosphere of mutual tolerance, respect, and civility [and] should confine their classes to the subject matter covered by their courses.” While one must exercise caution in judging excerpts from a lecture or short presentations from an entire course outside of their full context, the appropriate academic administrators are currently reviewing the facts of this particular presentation in quantum mechanics.
Hughes bio on the school website claims that his research interests are directed at the study of particles using an ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.