Punk Rock Professor

Last fall, my department managed to woo some high profile professors to UCLA. The recently married professors brought with them lots of funding, prestige and the Harvard Civil Rights project. My peers were excited. These professors were “rock stars” in the field of educational research. They may have the status in academia, but outside of the “ivy-covered walls”, few know their names.

That’s not the case with Greg Graffin currently teaching Life Sciences 1 (evolution, ecology & biodiversity) to a few hundred freshman and sophomores at UCLA this quarter. Graffin fronts Bad Religion and has been balancing science and music for many years. The Daily Bruin profiled him today:

Listen in on one of Greg Graffin’s lectures and you’ll encounter an eloquent, soft-spoken man. The life science professor might even crack a joke here or there, keeping his audience captivated as he delves into the mysteries of evolution, ecology and the diversity of life.

It’s hard to believe that this same man fronts Bad Religion, the band widely known as the “Godfathers of Punk.”

“I get a lot less sleep than most people,” Graffin said. “Of course, there are a lot of people – researchers on campus, who are living in their labs and accomplishing a great deal, and doctors who are always on call – these are people just as productive as me, except my other half of productivity goes into music and songwriting.”

The UCLA graduate decided to return to his alma mater to teach Life Science 1 while recording the as-yet-untitled 14th album with his band. (link)

Photo by Dead End Girl.

6 Replies to “Punk Rock Professor”

  1. Wow, that’s pretty awesome. I knew he was a pretty smart guy, having attained a Ph.D. and all, but I never realized he would teach. I wish I could have had him as a prof., but my major doesn’t require the course.

    Another famous person, by mainstream standards, that taught at UCLA was Kevin Smith. He was there last quarter.

  2. Yes…the alphabet soup at the end is impressive its what they do with it in the end to better us all that counts. Wish them well and that rot.

  3. Robocop actor Peter Weller teaches @ Syracuse: “Last year, Weller taught a course called ‘Hollywood and the Roman Empire.’ ‘It’s a classics course posing as a film course,’ he says. ‘Eighty kids signed up thinking they’d get an easy A from RoboCop. When they saw the reader was 450 pages, including Homer and Suetonius, a quarter of the class dropped out. Those that stayed had a blast reading a portion of the reader, taking a quiz to be sure they’d read it.'” More @ Wired as well.

  4. Graffin’s newest solo album, Cold as the Clay, is also worth a listen and even better to hear performed live. It’s folk music, not punk, but the tone of the original lyrics will sound familiar to fans of Bad Religion or Greg Graffin.

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