James Barnabey, 20, a third year English major completing his science requirement, experienced severe mental over-stimulation during a lecture covering too many demanding topics one after the other, including the wave/particle duality and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, when the incident occurred.
Classmate Jeff Hubert, who was sitting two rows in front of Barnabey and managed to turn around quickly enough to snap a photograph on his iPhone, described the incident as horrifying.
"I was dosing off, and I heard these strange noises coming from behind me. It sounded kind of like those TIE ﬁghters from Star Wars. It was bone-chilling man, like really fucking demonic. I look behind me and there’s this dude’s face breaking open. The teacher said he’d blow us away with cool info, but this is awesome.”
Added Hubert: "Dude, holy shit, dude. Richard Feynman rocks!"
Barnabey was unprepared for Astronomy, according to his friends, many of whom cited examples where science had caused him to tense up.
"You’d always hear his teeth grinding and ﬁsts clenching really hard," explained classmate Martin Judd. "I’d ask him if he was okay and he’d say something like, ‘Yeah, it’s just hard to swallow all this info,’ but I could tell something was really wrong."
Continued Judd: "The lecture on the vastness of the universe kind of fucked him up a little. So did the lecture on the formation of stars. But the one on light was too much for him; clearly too much. The whole thing is his fault, though. I mean, this is the guy who still doesn’t understand how a 3D television works. What business does he have in an astronomy class?"
Barnabey’s roomate, Todd Kosemetsky, feels Barnabey “had it coming.”
“The guy was a real science virgin,” Kosemetsky said. “I tried to give him a few Scientific Americans so he could get warmed-up for this course, but he’d always develop a deep sweat halfway through the articles and give up. What made him think he could handle stars and galaxies in lecture format with PowerPoint slides?”
“You should have seen him this one time, when we were watching a video on the James Webb space telescope. The narrator’s going on about how this thing is going to operate a million miles from earth and can see 13.4 billion years into the past. James just had this stoned look, and he kept repeating ‘13.4’. After a while we realized that his grip on the couch had pierced through the material, and his hands were bleeding bad enough we had to take him to the hospital.”
Following the incident, UBC administration is asking all of its lecturers handling science electives to use special judgement when delivering information that may overstimulate students from the Humanities.
Reporters were able to obtain a quote from Barnabey’s AST100 professor, Neil Rutherford, who believes Barnabey deserved what he got, and said that if there are any other "fucking science amateurs in the class, they should stick to poetry.”
with files by Leah Edwards