Martin's Blog


Posted by Martin Orr on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 at 22:42

I got my BA last week, and suddenly my time in Cambridge is at an end. The best bit of the graduation was when all the graduands process in academical dress (including hoods) from the college to the Senate House where the ceremony takes place. Many people, including all the bedders and no doubt a lot of unsuspecting tourists, came out to watch. I don't know if colleges which are not as central as Trinity have such a procession; and while we got lovely weather, it wouldn't be so fun in the rain (e.g. Magdalene got rained on).

A week before that, the Part II and Part III Maths results were read out in the Senate House (as last year - the results and graduation make the only three times I have been in the building). It is likely that this will be the last year that this is the first place where people hear their results. CUSU has been campaigning for them to be sent out by email before publication, on the grounds that getting your results in public is distressing for people who did badly. This has some truth, but I think that there is a significant advantage in learning your results along with your friends, as they will be in a better position to offer support than if you learned them privately (and maybe were then embarrassed about sharing them). This advantage applies to a much greater extent to the reading out of the Maths results, which everyone really does hear simultaneously, than to publication on the Senate House noticeboards as happens for other subjects.

1 comment Tags cambridge, exams, partiii, tripos


Posted by Martin Orr on Thursday, 19 June 2008 at 14:56

I am now officially a Wrangler (someone who gets a first in Part II of the Cambridge Maths Tripos). The results were announced this morning in the University Senate House - the chairman of the examiners stands in the balcony and reads out the lists of people awarded each class (another peculiarity of Maths Parts II and III; usually the list is just posted on a notice board outside the Senate House).

I will not however be graduating this year because I will be doing Part III Maths next year. This is not a proper postgraduate course - you don't get a degree at the end of it - and not eligible for postgraduate funding; until recently there has been an exception allowing you to continue to get undergraduate funding despite already having a degree. The government have noticed this year that this is no longer allowed, so now we have to not graduate until next year in order to continue to get funding.

no comments Tags cambridge, exams, partiii, tripos

Exams 2008

Posted by Martin Orr on Saturday, 07 June 2008 at 13:11

I had exams for the past week. For the past few weeks, I was doing not much but revising, although I went to Oundle two weeks ago for an IMO training camp and the final team selection. I did another geometry problem session, which was not as good as my one at Trinity because I had less time to prepare due to exam revision and because I had already used lots of my favourite questions on the first sheet.

I had four exams this week. All are essentially the same, and you are free to choose from 38 questions on all the different courses in the year. Of course noone has taken anywhere near all the courses - I took 12 and revised 9. In the end I did an average of five questions on each exam; I might have liked to do a bit more, but that is more than adequate for a first.

With exams over, I have a couple of weeks until the results with nothing in particular to do.

no comments Tags cambridge, exams, imo, teaching, trinity, tripos

End of term

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 13:55

Term has finished now, and I am going home to Belfast tomorrow. I took fewer courses this term than last term, in order to have more time. Together with stepping down as TCMS President, this seems to have worked, although in the past few weeks the maths we have been doing has got much harder.

In the past week (plus a few days), I have been to three very different musicals: Kiss Me Kate by Clare College Music Society (with Mary-Ellen in the leading role), Me and My Girl in Magdalene (directed by Maria, a maths friend) and Into the Woods at the ADC. They were all pretty good. Last night there was a TCMS concert in Chapel, featuring the chapel choir singing English choral music, and then the chapel choir joined with the Trinity Singers (TCMS' big non-audition chorus) to sing Stanfords' Te Deum and Parry's I was Glad, all directed by Stephen Layton. It was a great success, and the Singers enjoyed working with Stephen and the chapel choir.

I have also been to three formal dinners: last Sunday in Trinity for someone's birthday, on Monday in Pembroke with a group of people who bought Trinity Ball tickets for Pembroke mathmos, and on Friday it was the commemoration dinner in Trinity (a grand dinner to which Scholars are invited, at which all the people who have given money to the college are remembered, starting with Edward II in 1317).

2 comments Tags cambridge, musicals, tcms

Eating in College

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 19 November 2006 at 09:19

Just to continue a little on the food theme, I thought I would clarify to you how I normally eat. The College Hall does three meals every day, except for Sunday breakfast. Lunch and dinner are cheap - £2.30 for a main course and dessert. Breakfast is pretty expensive. I usually go to Hall for dinner, or sometimes for lunch if I prefer the menu. Normally I have a simple lunch in my room, and a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

I am too lazy to cook for myself - going to Hall is much quicker, more friendly and probably cheaper. In any case, the hobs have been removed from our kitchens last month, because they do not meet recently-introduced safety regulations. The College are looking at what can be done to bring the kitchens up to standard, but say that it does not look likely that this can be done - I think because the kitchens are too small. Such are the difficulties of living in an old building - it turns out it was built in the 1820s, although I would have imagined it was older than that (hence the name "New Court" I suppose).

-- Martin

no comments Tags accommodation, cambridge, food, trinity

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