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The Senior Wrangler Chat Thread

Thread for discussing who may or may not have become Senior Wrangler, what the hell is wrong with new colleges that they can't even produce a single Senior Wrangler, Senior Wrangler candidates of the future, and various details of the Senior Wranglers' lives, such as their wives, who they'd slept with, their favourite records and what they would eat for breakfast.

Note: you don't need to have been a Senior Wrangler to post in this thread.

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What's so good about being a senior wrangler?

G.H Hardy was one and he wrote that the exam itself made him depressed and he would have quite Maths because of the exam.
Reply 2
The Tripos exams were overhauled. Hardy was a main figure wanting to change them. But they could have changed more. After the changes, he got his friend George Polya to sit the exams. He thought that since they were now less problem-oriented, the great problemist Polya wouldn't do that well. But Polya got a higher mark than everyone else, and would have been SW had he been a student.

Quite interesting that Jacob Bronowski - best-known as a historian of science - was SW in 1930. I wonder how many SWs nowadays make a name in fields other than maths or physics.

Hardy wasn't SW. He was 4th Wrangler in 1898. Littlewood was joint SW in 1905.
(edited 12 years ago)
Reply 3
They discourage you at rubbish colleges - you're a pain in the neck for asking for 'extra' supervisions, etc. Who do you think you are? Most colleges couldn't give a damn. They know their place, and even if they did get a SW, the kudos wouldn't last long. So being encouraging isn't worth their while. And oh! Supervisions! They're so expensive! Plus, factor in that the DOS has probably got a chip on his shoulder. About a month into the first year, the students who still seriously want to try to be SW include 5-10 at Trinity and 5-10 elsewhere. At least half of those will have had quite a bit of university-level instruction (perhaps involving mentoring with Trinity involvement) already. After about a term, numbers will have fallen to about 5 at Trinity and about 0-3 elsewhere. At Trinity, those outside the 5 or so will be let to fall by the wayside. In a good year, there may be someone who's adopted as the great hope of a college such as Caius, Christ's, or Trinity Hall, or exceptionally, somewhere else, such as Emma, and including, extremely rarely, a new college such as Hughes Hall. Churchill to some extent is neither fish nor fowl here, being by far the strongest mathematically of the new colleges (albeit leaning towards the applied, and the assumption is usually that most top students will favour pure) - but still, the culture is such that they've never been able to get it together to support someone to be SW - not 20 years ago, not recently either. Ask dfranklin.
(edited 12 years ago)
Here's a question, how many SWs are there on TSR? I only know of d Franklin
(edited 12 years ago)
Reply 5
Original post by hassi94
Here's a question, how many SWs are there on TSR? I only know of d Franklin


DFranklin wasn't senior wrangler.

As far as I am aware, there is only one person who's come even close, and he's not been around for a long while. (He came 2nd).
Reply 6
Original post by SimonM
As far as I am aware, there is only one person who's come even close, and he's not been around for a long while. (He came 2nd).

TL?

What a big thing the University made of the SW 200 years ago! At graduation, he got presented to the Vice-Chancellor before all the other graduands. The hat-tipping suggests the PTB must still want some drama. A lot of fellows still go to the reading-out ceremony to find out who he is.

The Faculty have decided in principle to return to naming the top dog publicly, or at least the top very few.
Reply 7
Original post by marers
TL?

No.
Who's going to get Senior Wrangler this year? Are they very clever?
Original post by SimonM
DFranklin wasn't senior wrangler.

As far as I am aware, there is only one person who's come even close, and he's not been around for a long while. (He came 2nd).


I had a suspicion someone was going to correct me on that - I thought he wasn't but I was told otherwise..
Original post by hassi94
I had a suspicion someone was going to correct me on that - I thought he wasn't but I was told otherwise..


He came 12th or 13th in 1990. Kevin Buzzard was that year's SW. Previous SWs named after birds:

1791 Daniel Mitford Peacock
1857 Gerard Brown Finch

And another after a mythical winged creature:

1837 William Nathaniel Griffin

:biggrin:
lol....i had to google this to see what was going on.....
Original post by problemsolver
Who's going to get Senior Wrangler this year? Are they very clever?


I don't know who are candidates for it but I think whoever it is being amazingly clever is a safe bet!
If you prefer adjectives:

[INDENT]Airy, Best, Brown, Cross, Dicey, Green, Lax, Main, Moody, Savage, Welsh, White[/INDENT]

or homophones of adjectives:

[INDENT]Greene, Manley, Massey, Stirling, Wright[/INDENT]

or surnames that have appeared more than once, perhaps as homophones:

[INDENT]Austin, Austin, Austen
Ellis, Ellice
Green, Greene
Hobson, Hobson
Hudson, Hudson
Parkinson, Parkinson[/INDENT]

You're up against the odds if your surname is double-barrelled:

[INDENT]Nash-Williams, Shaw-Lefevre[/INDENT]

Short surnames:

[INDENT]Gee, Law, Lax, Liu, Mee, Orr[/INDENT]

[INDENT]Adie, Airy, Beck, Bell, Best, Budd, Flux, Hung, Iles, Lord, Kaye, King, Main, Owen, Pell, Tait, Ward, Webb, Wood[/INDENT]

Natural features:

[INDENT]Beck, Berry, Budd, Heath, Littlewood[/INDENT]
Original post by hassi94
I don't know who are candidates for it but I think whoever it is being amazingly clever is a safe bet!


I disagree. How many Senior wrangler got a field medal? or any decent award in Mathematics? Or actually done anything good? Probably like 2.
Original post by Simplicity
I disagree. How many Senior wrangler got a field medal? or any decent award in Mathematics? Or actually done anything good? Probably like 2.


That's not a measure of intelligence though - that's success in mathematical research. I'm sure whoever gets senior wrangler is very clever - whether they go on to do mathematical research and be successful in research is another matter. :smile:


EDIT: Also: Senior Wranglers include John Herschel, Arthur Cayley, James Inman, George Stokes, Lord Rayleigh, Arthur Eddington, J. E. Littlewood, Jacob Bronowski and Ben Green.

Found on wikipedia - looking through their pages they are all quite successful in maths.
(edited 12 years ago)
Reply 16
Original post by hassi94
That's not a measure of intelligence though - that's success in mathematical research. I'm sure whoever gets senior wrangler is very clever - whether they go on to do mathematical research and be successful in research is another matter. :smile:


Agreed. They are all amazingly clever. It's not at all easy to become SW, against very tough competition. Intelligence and being geared for career success are other matters, different from cleverness and from each other.
Original post by hassi94
That's not a measure of intelligence though - that's success in mathematical research. I'm sure whoever gets senior wrangler is very clever - whether they go on to do mathematical research and be successful in research is another matter. :smile:


EDIT: Also: Senior Wranglers include John Herschel, Arthur Cayley, James Inman, George Stokes, Lord Rayleigh, Arthur Eddington, J. E. Littlewood, Jacob Bronowski and Ben Green.

Found on wikipedia - looking through their pages they are all quite successful in maths.


There is only 3 decent Mathematician on that list. Even, then Littlewoods most important work was developed with Hardy so it could be just Hardy.

Personally, I it depends how you define clever. If you mean genius, then I disagree as all them Mathematician wouldn't even make the top 30 of the most important Mathematician of the last hundred and fifty years. Senior wrangler are just good at doing stupid tests. It's like a glorified IMO test. Yeah, you might get a bunch of autistics kids good at IMO patting themselves on the back, but at the end of the day about 0.1% will actually do any good Maths.

ambience
Agreed. They are all amazingly clever. It's not at all easy to become SW, against very tough competition. Intelligence and being geared for career success are other matters, different from cleverness and from each other.

It's just a stupid test. It's like a stupid IQ test for Maths. Does scoring high on an IQ test mean you are clever, I doubt it.
Original post by Simplicity
There is only 3 decent Mathematician on that list. Even, then Littlewoods most important work was developed with Hardy so it could be just Hardy.

Personally, I it depends how you define clever. If you mean genius, then I disagree as all them Mathematician wouldn't even make the top 30 of the most important Mathematician of the last hundred and fifty years. Senior wrangler are just good at doing stupid tests. It's like a glorified IMO test. Yeah, you might get a bunch of autistics kids good at IMO patting themselves on the back, but at the end of the day about 0.1% will actually do any good Maths.


It's just a stupid test. It's like a stupid IQ test for Maths. Does scoring high on an IQ test mean you are clever, I doubt it.


PRSOM :p:
Reply 19
Original post by Simplicity
There is only 3 decent Mathematician on that list. Even, then Littlewoods most important work was developed with Hardy so it could be just Hardy.

Hardy said he thought Littlewood was the stronger mathematician of the two of them.

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