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Welcome to Physics, Class; Now, I Strip

Columbia professor's bizarre stunt gets his students' attention

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2013 3:25 PM CST
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(Newser) – Turns out, it is possible for a video of a quantum mechanics professor welcoming his freshman students to go viral. But as the Columbia Spectator explains, it requires said professor to strip to his skivvies to the backbeat of a Lil Wayne song while a montage of images of 9/11, Hitler, Saddam and the like plays on a giant screen in the background. Then the professor has to don black clothes and assume a fetal position as two ninja-ish figures come on stage and execute a stuffed animal.

That's how Columbia professor Emlyn Hughes got his students' attention on the first day of class, much to their bewilderment. "I didn’t know if it was the professor or some crazy person,” says one student in a typical comment. Why the theatrics? The Daily News quotes Hughes telling the class, “In order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain, and start over again." He added, "Nothing you've learned up til now is in any way going to help prepare you for this."

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