Who gives a damn?

Prof. Donald Saari, a mathematics professor at the University of California, Irvine, has established the who-gives-a-damn principle in his lectures.

In the first lecture of a semester, he explains what he means by that. The who-gives-a-damn principle allows his students to interrupt him at any point in time, no matter what he’s currently doing or saying, to ask the question: “Who gives a damn?”

He will then immediately interrupt whatever he’s currently doing to give an elaborate answer to that question and explain why this specific detail is of the utmost importance to i) today’s lecture and ii) the overall education of the students as a mathematician.

For every detail that made it into his lecture, Prof. Saari knows exactly why it’s in there and why it matters. He’s able to do this because he has thought deeply about the struggles of a mathematician and how the concepts help his students to become a better mathematician. He doesn’t just speak about the things he cares about. He focuses entirely on the things that his students need.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

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