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# Odd interview questions... watch

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1. (Original post by theone)
Not me, if i proved Riemann in my interview, i'd be saying 'Take that' to the interviewer, and not really caring if they let me in or not. I've just proved Riemann for god's sake
Pardon my idiocy, but what is Riemann?
2. (Original post by bono)
Pardon my idiocy, but what is Riemann?
The Riemann Hypothesis, a great unsolved problem in maths, the solution of which would solve many other problems in itself. It states all the complex solutions of zeta(x) = 0 lie on a straight line (I think). zeta(x) is the Riemann zeta function.
3. (Original post by theone)
Not me, if i proved Riemann in my interview, i'd be saying 'Take that' to the interviewer, and not really caring if they let me in or not. I've just proved Riemann for god's sake
Haha that's the most absurd situation I've managed to imagine in a while.
4. (Original post by fishpaste)
Haha that's the most absurd situation I've managed to imagine in a while.
So, has anyone come close to solving this problem?
5. (Original post by bono)
So, has anyone come close to solving this problem?
Hm, I don't know much about it to be honest. It's the nearest thing to fermat's last theorem, apparently, in terms of fame, and allure. And as you probably know, Wiles was working on Fermat's theorem for years in private before he finally released his proof. So somebody could have been working on Riemann for the past decade and be planning to release their proof next week, and we wouldn't know. I doubt it though. I'm under the impression though that an awful lot of proofs in this world start with "Assuming Riemann..." and so there is a real incentive to get the thing out.
6. (Original post by JayJay)
You are likely to struggle at some point - they take you to a point where you have to think on your feet, and thinking on your feet is never comfortable in that kind of pressure. My worst one(s) were:

"Defend Machiavelli"

"Where did Arab nationalism come from"

"What do you think of the Revisionist Zionist perspective, (and heres the killer) like that held of my friend here at Oxford..."

I came out of that interview absolutely convinced I had blown it. I ended up with an offer though.
What did you say for each one?

What subject did you apply for?
7. (Original post by ThornsnRoses)
I know this 6th former who got asked to throw a brick out of a window, in a cambridge interview. She refused to, which kind of sucks, because she got rejected.

I would have done it, because you really have nothing to lose. If you throw it and thats what they want, you have a place, and if you get rejected atleast you left your mark!

Well not really - you just open the window before you throw it out. No mark left (unless someone was walking underneath at the time in which case that's more of mark left than anyone had anticipated...)

Nothing really unexpected in mine, although a friend applying for Philosophy had the opposite problem in that the interviewer didn't ask him anything at all - mate just started talking in the end!
8. My interviewer asked me about the definition of beauty and whether artists have an obligation to educate...

which I wasn't really expecting in a Classics interview. But hey! I got an offer anyway
9. I didn't really get any odd questions as such, although the phrasing of a few initially threw me somewhat-

'why is cystic fibrosis a good thing?..what about diabetes? HIV?'

*in almost accusing voice* 'so, why did you do so well in English Lit. GCSE?'

(i suppose because my referee had mentioned a top 5 thing & it's not directly relevant to applying for medicine! lol)

& we did digress to talking about totalitarian regimes at some point i think..

had to argue some slightly odd political things & why people in different social situations are more or less likely to be obese - but that was for the interview based on a Lancet article.

so i didn't really have anything that odd i suppose. some other colleges had questions about chickens in magnetic fields i think.. (!)
10. I applied for PPE at St. Peters, and got an AAA offer.

"Defend Machiavelli"

He can only be defended in terms of Homeric virtu (i.e. you are virtuous in proportion to how well you fullfill your role). He is virtuous in the sense that, if his role is to instantiate order, he does it very well. However, the Prince is an explicit rejection of classical Christian virtu, and ends with an exhortation that, in order to instantiate order, one needs to separate ethics from politics. In the classical Christian sense it is inconcievable that he can be considered virtuous, however, in the sense of Homeric virtu (which, being a pragmatist, he would have subscribed to), he can be considered virtuous.

"Where did Arab nationalism come from"

I sad that Arab nationalism came as a development to the middle east of the nascent nationalist movements in Europe in the mid 19th/early 20th century, and, in part, due to being oppressed by the Ottoman Empire. He disagreed, believing it was only when the Jewish settlers started arriving that the concept of an Arab nation arose. He said though - wherever you go, someone has a different opinion on that one.

"What do you think of the Revisionist Zionist perspective, (and heres the killer) like that held of my friend here at Oxford..."

I kind of fudged this one. Was only clear that Revisionist Zionist was a particularly militant form of Zionism. Said that its impact on the creation of the State of Israel was limited compared to the Holocaust, which was the predominant cause because it brought about the support of the American Jewish lobby.

Oh yeah, and in another question, one about miracles, I took an almighty risk by using an argument from a paper the tutor had written on Miracles as a rejoinder.
11. My interview was pretty standard however one of my friends who was going for medicine got a really bad interview:

He went in and 3/4 interviewers were standing around reading newspapers or books, the 4th told him he had to get their attention!

He shouted out "breasts" (they were all men) and then they proceeded to grill him on breasts and medical aspects.

They also had him drumming on the table with his fingers as they asked simple questions; they then asked "What is the meaning of life?", he stopped drumming - being surprised and they all laughed!

They then brought in an inflatable sheep (no not that) and asked him medical qustions based on it.

Thankfully I did not get any of these as I think I would have screwed it up!
12. (Original post by Golden Maverick)

They then brought in an inflatable sheep (no not that) and asked him medical qustions based on it.
Inflatable sheep.... ??? Like a blow up one... I want one of those...
13. I wonder what the people they bought the inflatable sheep from would have said if they'd heard it was for an interview. Do you think that they'd think that the uni was more insular than they thought? The only other use I've heard of for an inflatable sheep was in a Testimonial Rugby match I went to where they used it instead of a ball, because the players whose testimonial it was came from traditional farming areas.
14. I just think that an inflatable sheep would be a cool thing to have... God knows what you could do with it.
15. (Original post by Louise_1988)
I just think that an inflatable sheep would be a cool thing to have... God knows what you could do with it.
My mate bought a blow-up doll in Soho yesterday. He slept with it.
16. (Original post by Golden Maverick)
They then brought in an inflatable sheep (no not that) and asked him medical qustions based on it.
Oo, was this at Hertford? My friend too had an inflatable sheep (physically thrown at her ) and was asked to sing twinkle twinkle little star. Infront of 5 grown men
17. (Original post by hornblower)
My mate bought a blow-up doll in Soho yesterday. He slept with it.
How much did he spend?
18. (Original post by 2776)
How much did he spend?
£8.99 or £11.99. Can't remember which one he bought.
19. (Original post by Lucy)
Oo, was this at Hertford? My friend too had an inflatable sheep (physically thrown at her ) and was asked to sing twinkle twinkle little star. Infront of 5 grown men
omg Lucy, 1000th post!
High five! lol
20. (Original post by Lucy)
Oo, was this at Hertford? My friend too had an inflatable sheep (physically thrown at her ) and was asked to sing twinkle twinkle little star. Infront of 5 grown men

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