"Professors" is the nickname given to a sapient insectoid race which manages a galactic university bent on educating entire cultures, rather than individuals.
Physically, members of this species somewhat resemble a man-sized moth. Instead of wings, however, they appear to wear a sort of cloak which is actually part of their bodies. They also have an insectile face, claw-shaped hands, and a ruff-like head crest.
Culture and societyEdit
The Professors are a peaceful species which delights at the idea of finding new students and spreading knowledge.
Their academic institution takes the form of a humongous building on their homeworld, with several different floors. Of these, some, such as the first one, appear to be completely devoid of people and are dedicated solely to the storage of knowledge units.
The Professors have spent millions of years in their mission of visiting and studying countless worlds and civilizations throughout the galaxy. Their knowledge units record the experiences and sensations of the researcher, so that the person taking the lecture can be fully immersed in them, experiencing them like a simulated reality. These immersive lectures are also administered to the student's brain in such a way that the student may live through an entire year of experiences in no more than six hours or so.
The courses are offered for free under the condition that they are to be taken, not by individuals, but by cultures as a whole. It is an incredibly long-term venture, which takes a vast number of generations to complete, and the tests are administered about every thousand years to see how the students are doing.
The lectures and academic supplies of the Professors are recorded in structures shaped like a dynamite stick, which are incredibly resistant to acid, friction, and can withstand attempts to damage them with chisels and saws while remaining completely intact.
Once inserted into a special helmet, which is adjustable to the physical specifications of various races, these records allow the student to live through the recorded experiences in simulated time (an entire year can be experienced in about six hours). As they link directly to the mind of the user, the helmets also allow for communication between different species.
- "Jackpot", by Clifford D. Simak (1956)