Friday, 16 December 2011

NOCS Christmas Quiz 2011

NOCS Christmas Quiz 2011 by Dr Yool
NOCS Christmas Quiz 2011, a photo by Dr Yool on Flickr.

One of the traditions that's grown up in NOCS in the past few years is the annual Christmas Quiz. And it's one that I've grudgingly commented on previously (here and here) when we've almost won but have fallen at the final hurdle.

Anyway, today was Christmas Quiz 2011, and while it didn't really feel like it during the quiz - in fact, we had a couple of pretty dodgy rounds - change was a-coming.

Despite what should have been a pretty middling score, 43 out of a possible 60, our team, Duncan Who [*], found itself in a three-way tie-break with last year's winners and a team captained by my student, HC.

And, bizarrely, the result depended on a question about, of all things, the radius of the planet Neptune Uranus. Ordinarily, this should have been a walk-over for me, but my pitch, 12,000 km, was much lower than that settled upon by my astronomically-minded team-mates (Simon and Joel), 30,000 km.

Fortunately (or was it destiny?), our rivals shot way too high, both guessing a radius 10 times that of the Earth, when the actual answer is a little less than 25,000 km. So, at last, long-denied triumph was ours to savour. And a prize of £100 - though we donated that straight back to the charity supported by the quiz (in a move subsequently questioned by the most tight-fisted members of our team!).

What a great start to my birthday weekend. But have I perhaps started a little too high? :-)

[*] Our team name, which may yet earn us unwelcome attention, refers to the recent appointment of a distinguished scientist - whose name may, or may not, be Duncan - to the head of our funding agency. An appointment that involved a bit of leap-frogging over our centre's director ... and usual quiz MC. Alas, a conflict of schedules meant that our friend, and former team member, RMA, got the job of hosting.

No comments: