Tuesday, September 13, 2011

15 Fictional Professors We Wish Were Real

Professors make for great characters in fictional works. Whether they play the part of protagonists, or as supportive guidance for students in key roles, their intellect and authority seem to keep stories moving along and interesting. Nearly everyone has a favorite fictional professor, but not everyone has considered what it might be like if that professor was real. That’s exactly what we’re examining here, and we’ve shared 15 professors that we think should exist in the real world.

  1. The Professor

    Typically simply known as The Professor, Roy Hinkley MA, BS, Ph.D is a character played on the TV show Gilligan’s Island. Easily one of the most beloved characters on the show, The Professor always seemed to have the answer, whether you needed logic or a level head. His knowledge was put to work on the island, creating inventions out of coconuts, bamboo, and other rustic supplies. But perhaps the best quality from The Professor was his ability to be patient and settle disputes, definitely something we could use more of here in reality. He often served as a leader and a reasonable voice on the island, which helped all of the castaways live a better life together.

  2. Professor Minerva McGonagall

    Minerva McGonagall is just one of many Harry Potter professors we’d like to see in real life, but she takes our top honors for being incredibly, but not overtly supportive. After all, she is the one who recommended that Harry join Quidditch as a Seeker, even as a first year. And beneath her stern exterior is an old softie who will bend the rules for Harry and his friends when it makes sense to do so. McGonagall really showed her true colors in the final book of the series, in which she defended Harry and the students of Hogwarts against the evil forces of Snape and Voldemort and went on to become the Headmistress of Hogwarts.

  3. Indiana Jones

    We’re pretty sure that someone like Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr., Ph.D actually does exist, but he (or she) is too busy recovering ancient artifacts and being awesome to stop for an interview. As a professor of Archaeology, Indiana doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time in the library or class, preferring field work instead, and we’re okay with that. He’s the Robin Hood of rare artifacts, snatching up pieces that belong in a museum out of the grasp of ne’er do wells so they can be shared with the world. And although Indiana would be a great lecturer, we’d like to think most college students today would greatly enjoy stepping out of the classroom for an Indiana Jones archaeological adventure instead.

  4. Abraham Van Helsing

    Abraham Van Helsing is a “philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day,” with several degrees and an “MD, D.Ph, D.Litt, etc.” to follow his name. But he is best known for his work as a vampire hunter, and we think our world would be a little bit safer with a real life Van Helsing to defend us. Although Professor Van Helsing was introduced in the novel Dracula and has been depicted in several different film adaptations and appearances, he was at his best in the original novel, in which he used his academic knowledge of obscure diseases to take down Count Dracula with the help of his band of vampire hunters.

  5. Professor X

    We think that the iconic X-Men’s Professor X would be pretty great in real life. He’s a man who recognizes and cultivates talent among special young people, and is willing to put a lot on the line to do so, including his mansion, fortune, and personal safety. Although he is a stern teacher, the hard work his students endure is worth it in the end, as he is responsible for teaching them the skills that define their lives. Of course, we have to say that an extremely powerful telepathic professor might be a little unnerving.

  6. Senor Chang

    Senor Chang is perhaps the craziest Spanish professor in fictional history. As a character on the TV show Community, he is super theatrical, with an over the top personality including anger management issues and a giant ego. If you’re thinking that he doesn’t sound like a great professor, you’re right — but Greendale Community College is better for having him around. His seemingly insane character provides the students with a common enemy to unite against, especially when the students enter a paintball war, and Senor Chang, also known as “El Tigre Chino” puts his incredible skills to work against them. But his stint as a professor doesn’t last long-at the end of the first season, it was revealed that Senor Chang didn’t have any teaching qualifications and was forced to enter Greendale Community College as a student.

  7. Dick Solomon

    Although most of the professors on this list are in some way inspirational or high achieving, Dick Solomon is neither of those things. But somehow, we still want to live in a world where Dr. Richard Solomon of Third Rock From the Sun really exists. As an alien visiting to study Earth, Dick Solomon exists almost entirely as a joke on culture shock, and he can be found proclaiming things such as, “Guns don’t kill people, physics kills people!” and “OH MY GOD! I’M GORGEOUS!” His alien knowledge, although laugh inducing, is actually quite useful to physics students, as he believes he is “smarter than Einstein,” and might actually be. Of course, he doesn’t understand how to be appropriate, and his quirks, although sometimes extremely uncomfortable, would be quite entertaining to see in real life and definitely a welcome break from more serious professors.

  8. Professor Calculus

    Professor Calculus from The Adventures of Tintin is the classic absentminded professor. Although we can’t say we think he’d be great in the classroom, his accomplishments make him an impressive scientist that we’d like to see in the real world. Throughout the comic book series, his ingenious inventions often predate real world technological inventions, such as the Moon rocket and color TV set. His developments are also a great benefit to mankind, including his pill that cures alcoholism. We’d love to see a real life version of Professor Calculus, and find out what amazing inventions he could create.

  9. Professor Hank Landry

    Hank Landry is a criminology professor at Hearst College on the TV show Veronica Mars. Although he is not without moments of scandal, Landry nonetheless proves himself to be a supportive and encouraging ally for Veronica. Professor Landry is quick to identify Veronica’s obvious talents in criminal investigations, and encourages her to pursue the FBI as a career choice. Other students may not have appreciated this favoritism, but he served as a great advisor to Veronica, and an incredibly supportive figure in her studies and career path, which any student can appreciate.

  10. Ted Mosby

    Ted Mosby is a character on How I Met Your Mother. He aspires to be a great architecture professor, but mostly exists for students as comic relief, making mistakes like showing up to lecture in an economics class, and mixing up slides, once accidentally including a photo of a girl on a toilet. Despite his slip ups, his work is appreciated by students, and real life Columbia students even went to the trouble of reviewing his teaching abilities. They report that he’s a good professor who really cares about his students — although maybe a little too much. Despite his arrogance and strange desire to fit in with the students, he’s an enjoyable professor, but “he does go off on tangents a lot, sometimes with stories that are not appropriate to tell a group of students.” But beyond his quirks, Ted’s students do seem to enjoy his oddly personal teaching style.

  11. Sheldon Cooper

    Know-it-all Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is a theoretical physicist at Caltech. He’s highly intellectual, and may even have Asperger’s or OCD. Although Sheldon can grate on the nerves of those around him, fans of the show tend to enjoy his character, and we think he’d be a great professor in real life. He’s a predictable, straightforward, and very organized person with a lot of knowledge to share. As a professor, we think he would be the kind of clean cut instructor that lots of students enjoy, learning with great purpose, but at the same time, some intellectual creativity. And with his apparent stage fright (he can’t speak to more than 36 adults at a time — a crowd large enough to trample him), students are practically guaranteed to get quality, small class instruction from an apparent genius.

  12. Daniel Faraday

    We love LOST‘s Daniel Faraday not necessarily for his personality as a professor, but for the subject he works on. Although unauthorized, Faraday’s experiments at Oxford University centered on time travel, with a time travel machine that allowed people, rats, and other living things’ consciousness to move through time. However, we’d prefer to simply study under Faraday, and not necessarily participate in research experiments, as Faraday’s brand of time travel seems to result in health and mental problems, most notably including death. But nonetheless, the idea of studying time travel on a university level is certainly appealing.

  13. Peter Venkman

    Ideally, all of the paranormal research professors in Ghostbusters would be real, but if we had to pick just one, Peter Venkman would beat out Drs. Spengler and Stanz. Not because of his incredible intellect or teaching style, but because as the most humorous of the Ghostbusters, he would almost certainly put on a good show during class. Of course, if hard pressed, we’d take any of the ghost fighting intellectuals. Who wouldn’t want to learn about paranormal research from a scientist who has personally been in the ghost-filled trenches?

  14. Charlie Eppes

    Charlie Eppes makes our list as an awesome professor because he not only teaches classes on several subjects, he also manages to solve FBI cases and consult for the NSA on the side. Studying with him means learning from a professor who has real life experience working on solving crimes mathematically — a subject that plenty of math fans would surely be excited to study. And of course, an added perk of having a class with Professor Eppes is that he occasionally misses classes when he’s working on important cases, so you can score some free days off during the semester.

  15. Dr. Mohinder Suresh

    On the TV show Heroes, Dr. Mohinder Suresh studies the existence of evolved humans, also known as people with super abilities. That alone makes him a professor we’d like to know in real life, but it gets better. Dr. Suresh not only studies super abilities, he has also discovered how to become an artificially evolved human himself. We’d like to imagine that becoming a star student in his class might lead to the gift of flight or something equally amazing.

Taken From Online PhD Programs

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