Two terms down, one to go!
Hey, long time no see! I’ve been pretty busy recently, so haven’t had time to write as often as I would like. Term ended yesterday, so I’ll catch you up on what’s been going on.
On the 20 February, I went to my third quizbowl tournament with Quiz Society. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the other two on here, but they were both more difficult tournaments. The tournament on the 20 was specifically a novice tournament, so was a lot easier than the ones I’d played in before. It was also the first one that I’ve been off-campus for – which meant an early night, an even earlier morning, and jumping on a train to London. The Warwick team was made up of Student Blogs’ own Bhargav, plus Oliver, Lewis and myself, and our president, Ben, also came along to moderate. Overall, it was a good day – we won a few matches, and lost a few matches, and it was nice to play other people with a similar level of experience. I’d been meaning to take some sort of photo of the day for the blog, but the opportunity didn’t come up. After a little bit of digging, I found a video from the first tournament I went to in November on Youtube, which illustrates the format quite well – it was the final between Oxford and Cambridge, held in Warwick’s Humanities block (note, there is some swearing between competitors). If you’re interested in quizbowl and this looks intimidating – please don’t be put off! The teams playing are both very strong, so questions were going pretty quickly, and you do end up learning the stock clues after a while.
The following Wednesday, Quiz Society had its AGM. The new exec was elected in, including me as Competitions Convenor. Basically, I organise the fortnightly Quiz Society pub quiz (<shameless plug>Currently only £1 per player, or free if you’re a member </shameless plug>), and when the time rolls around, I’ll be involved in running various quiz-related tournaments at Warwick. It also means that I have a toolbox full of University Challenge-style buzzers to look after now. Here’s the printouts from the first pub quiz I organised this term, and I’m looking forward to doing more in the future!
When I’m not quizzing, I’m doing a maths degree (who’d-a-thunk-it?). One of the things I’m enjoying most about my course is how flexible module choice is – it can be tailored to include all sorts of weird and wonderful options. As well as the core options, I took a module of Discrete Mathematics (which was a bit more computer science-y than maths-y, but was fun nonetheless – I especially liked Formal Power Series) and a module called Programming for Scientists. I had some programming experience before Warwick – I did A-Level Computing – but I’d never programmed in Java before, and never really used a command-line interface, so there was still new stuff to learn. Balancing assignments and such has been a bit more hectic this term, but I’ve enjoyed it.
My core modules this term were Analysis II, Linear Algebra, Geometry and Motion, Probability A and Maths by Computer. I especially enjoyed Linear Algebra, and am interested in taking more algebra-based courses in later years. I’ve also warmed up to Analysis this term – I found it tricky to wrap my head around last term, but I think I’ve hit my stride now, more or less.
I handed in my final assignment for a while yesterday, and so I’ve now got the Easter break for revision in the run-up to exams. Today was a day for a well-earned rest and a bit of nostalgia, though. Like a lot of maths-y kids, I always did the UKMT challenges at school, and about this time last year, I heard about a film about the International Maths Olympiad, called X + Y (or A Brilliant Young Mind). I’ve been meaning to watch it ever since, and finally parted with some of my Google Play credit to rent it. It’s a cute little story about a boy named Nathan Ellis, who ends up competing on the British team by the skin of his teeth, and it stirred up a lot of memories of competitive maths. Can’t say I ever went as far as Taipei to compete, though – our local was always held in another school in Norwich. It’s worth a watch, and so is the documentary that inspired it, called Beautiful Young Minds.