Frontiers of Science

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Frontiers of Science (or more accurately, "Science Humanities") is a core curriculum requirement created by Professors Darcy Kelly and David Helfand. The course was introduced in 2004 and has been an official part of the Core since 2005. The class consists of a weekly lecture and a small weekly discussion section. The course is divided up into four units, with a different professor teaching each unit.

At the end of every semester, student input is requested in making the course better. You'll probably still complain about it four years from now. It is one of the most hated courses on campus.

The Emlyn Hughes Incident

See also: Froscanity

In the Spring of 2013, the tedium of the course finally got to the head of Professor Emlyn Hughes. At the start of his lecture on Quantum Physics, he stripped to his boxers and changed into all black. Simultaneously, a video showing images from 9/11 and Nazi Germany played on the screen. A student videotaped the event and sent it to Bwog.[1] National media picked up the story and it became a minor scandal, requiring a terse statement from Robert Hornsby.

In Spring of 2016, Hughes again attempted to make Frontiers interesting. In a dramatic multi-media performance, Hughes left his imessages tab up alongside his presentation on nuclear physics. A student named 'Lily' sent Hughes increasingly sensual messages expressing her attachment to Hughes, promising not to reveal their relationship to the world. Hughes continued the lecture unbothered until the performance's climax, in which 'Lily' came on stage, throwing her books and coffee cup at Hughes, after which Hughes exited with her in dramatic fashion[2].

Hughes was replaced by Brian Greene as the Frontiers of Science physics lecturer beginning in Fall of 2016.

The 2013 EPPC Report

In June of 2013, the Spec obtained the EPPC's confidential report on Frontiers[3].

Frontiers chair Nicholas Christie-Blick then got mad about leaks and sent emails to the Columbia Lion that betrayed his anger[4].



The syllabus is determined by which Columbia professors have nothing better to do in any given term than lecture a bunch of half-asleep freshmen. Past topics have included:

  • Origins of the Universe/Earth
  • The End of the Dinosaurs
  • African Climate Change
  • Human Evolution
  • The Earth and Us: the Global Forecast
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • The Nanoworld
  • Is it Alive Down There?
  • Brownian Motion and Life
  • Physics and biology
  • Quantal neurotransmission
  • How Brains Work
  • How Brains Communicate
  • The Evolution of Human Languages
  • How the Brain Produces and Decodes Languages


External links