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Semifinals, Week 13: Sideshow Mel vs. Ellie Arroway

Round three has begun! Note the new question you must respond to in order to vote.

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, would make the best professor or guest lecturer—and why?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Sideshow Mel and Ellie Arroway.

As before, judges will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining they find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at noon ET.

Leave a comment


  1. Ellie Arroway, no contest!

  2. the alchemist

     /  January 23, 2012

    Let’s see, we’re looking for a professor, or at least a guest lecturer and the choices are a sideshow clown and a woman who knows her way around a radio telescope and has explored the universe. That’s easy, Ellie Arroway. You’ll learn a lot more.

  3. Alan Wu

     /  January 24, 2012

    Arroway really knows her stuff, isn’t afraid to admit when she’s at the frontiers of the unknown, is articulate in discussing her ideas, but open to new possibilities. An entertaining and effective public speaker and educator.

  4. Trynka

     /  January 24, 2012

    While Sideshow Mel would be entertaining for a short spell, he is, after all, only a sideshow. A whole course would be a stretch for him. Ellie, on the other hand, would rival Carl Sagan when it comes to interesting lectures on the cosmos. Thus, I think MIT must advance for, interestingly enough, lecturing like a famous Cornellian.

  5. Dave H.

     /  January 24, 2012

    Ellie Arroway would be a great professor. She knows her stuff and has passion about the subject. Sideshow Mel would be at best, a TA.

  6. Cat

     /  January 24, 2012

    While Sideshow Mel is apparently supposed to be quite intelligent “off-screen”, Ellie Arroway has real-world experience to expand her knowledge, and that’s always been the most valuable thing to me when attending classes or guest lectures. I expect a lecture from her would have more depth and a better grounds for interaction with an academic audience.

  7. Kelly McDonald

     /  January 24, 2012

    Well Dr. Arroway did say that they should have sent a poet. So Ellie herself would recommend Mel.

  8. Kevin

     /  January 25, 2012

    If I want to learn how to throw pies, then I would sign up for Side Show Mel’s class. If I actually want a job after graduation, then Dr. Arroway’s class is the obvious one.

  9. Div

     /  January 25, 2012

    If RateMyProfessors.com is anything to go by, Sideshow Mel is clearly the kind of professor university students would love. Also, his easy course would soon become the most popular one on campus, be it in Cornell or MIT.

  10. Eric

     /  January 26, 2012

    Have you /seen/ Contact? Ellie Arroway.

  11. DeanC

     /  January 26, 2012

    Even if Sideshow Mel were the most entertaining lecturer ever, at the end of the day, MIT would deny him tenure for having an insufficient track record in research, and he would be forced to leave for a faulty position at Harvard. Ellie Arroway, on the other hand, landed a multi-billion-dollar research grant, and at typical university overhead charges, any university would be desperate for someone like her.

  12. Joe

     /  January 26, 2012

    Let us posit that college kids are like aliens (they are), then Arroway has the lead as she’s already demonstrated the ability to decipher alien messages. This key communication capability would put her at the head of the class (hah!) even if she didn’t already have the points for, wait for it, her ability to handle complex electronics and computer equipment. Yeah, I mean the AV. Put that in your flute, Mel.

  13. Janice M. Eisen

     /  January 26, 2012

    Ellie Arroway, of course! Absolutely no contest.

  14. TH

     /  January 26, 2012

    Ellie Arroway. Come on… A lecture on SETI by a prof that looks like Jodie Foster?


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