Intel day 4 March 14, 2010Posted by Akhil Mathew in General.
Tags: Intel STS
I had the last day of judging today at Intel. The 40 finalists first went to the Capitol to take a bunch of pictures, then to the Einstein statue at the NAS for another one. We then went in the project exhibition hall. I met with seven judges, two of who were mathematicians. In order that future generations of Intelists may face the day of judgment without crushing uncertainty in the morning, I shall briefly describe my experience.
The first two judges I had were mathematics judges. The first one asked me what I would do if I were giving a talk about my project at a colloquium. He asked me to explain one of my results, which I initially did incorrectly (having not looked through the older proof in quite some time) but fixed along the way. He asked me how I had learned algebraic geometry (or, more precisely, that rather small subset I can claim to vaguely understand). Interestingly, he referred to a specific result in my paper by number (3.10; I didn’t remember what that was for sure)—one of the differences between Intel and ISEF is that the judges read the papers.
The second mathematician asked me to give an overview of my project in detail, so I went into my usual spiel. She asked me a few questions along the way about how the results were proved. Finally, she asked where I was going to go to college. I said that I didn’t know yet. This was a somewhat longer interview.
There were others who wanted a brief overview and then left. A computer scientist who had asked me earlier about certain algorithms and an engineer that asked about the law of atmospheres chatted with me about extensions of those problems.
The exhibits were then opened to the public. I met a few RSI 2009 alumni from the D.C. area. Most people were not mathematicians, which made explaining my project (on representation theory in complex rank) a somewhat difficult task, though there were some that knew, e.g. group theory. I wasn’t envious of my neighbor Joshua Pfeffer with mobs of people craning to hear about the super Kahler-Ricci flow though owing to me extreme hoarseness despite my consuming two bottles of fluids. Also, my parents stopped by to say hello and see the other projects.
I’m somewhat tired now, and there’s not that much more I really can say about it without going into technical details.