You exist not

You exist not

in thin wisps of dreams
like fraying shoelaces, the aglets
                     fallen out a year ago.

My greatest lament is your projection
                            the contours along your waist
                            the warmth of your lips
                            the chemical in your hair
                                                                                    to the senseless plane.

Spacetime is a four-dimensional topological manifold with a Lorentzian metric and a time orientation satisfying the Einstein equations.

And so I claim the paradox.
We stand still but seasons
change, the sun and moon
share the sky’s watch, and
the Earth fails to escape
the time continuum.

That is why
I latch on to your photons and electrons,
                      your inorganic representations,
                      your notion of existence.

Someday, I’ll meet you again.


Onwards from Super Tuesday

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 8.46.34 PM

I think it’s a no brainer who won and who lost yesterday. Ben Carson seems to have finally woken up after a six-week coma and told himself in a daze, “Wait, I can suspend my campaign? I can actually do that?” Rubio is running out of opportunities, and it seems that Cruz is the only candidate able to overtake Trump as the face of the Republican ticket. The only question is how much Clinton and Trump won.

Politics aside, let’s bring a little mathematics into the picture. According to Politico, Clinton has 1052 delegates and Sanders has 427 (including superdelegates). Regardless of the optimism flowing out of /r/sandersforpresident, the situation for the Vermont senator is grim. He has little working for him, primarily due to the proportional nature of the delegate allocation. As long as Clinton continues to win states or lose by small margins, it’ll quickly become impossible to catch up. What states does he need to win?

Clinton needs only 1331 delegates to secure nomination while Sanders needs 1956. With 3286 delegates currently up for grabs, Sanders from here on out needs to globally secure at least 1956/3286 or 59.5% of the remaining delegate pool. This is actually quite the high percentage. Although 59.5% of the delegate pool doesn’t mean that he needs 59.5% of a popular vote, it’s pretty close due to proportional allocation.


Clinton’s victories are in dark blue, Sanders’ victories are in cyan, and upcoming contests through March 8 are in green. Clinton has the overwhelming support from the minority, especially the black demographic, which explains the sweeping victories in the South. Still surprising was the fact that Clinton was able to win Massachusetts even though Sanders should have technically had the edge there in terms of Sanders’ target audience. It’s clear that Sanders needs decisive victories across the midwest and west, along with the northeast region. In the distant future looms California with a whopping 542 delegates at stake, which can help Sanders immensely with a decisive victory. Is Clinton running out of “firewall” states? Only time will tell; let’s look at the derivative of the delegate accumulation function over time and see if Sanders overtakes Clinton there. But for now, it seems that Clinton isn’t running out of steam any time soon.

As for Trump, he’s poised to take the GOP nomination, but the margins are much closer than you would expect. Cruz only trails by 96 delegates, and the situational winner-take-all system in the Republican primaries could turn the tables quickly any time soon. It’s pretty clear that Trump only gains from the divisive establishment. Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio are splitting their votes when combined they could be in a position to beat Trump. This is why Cruz is calling for Rubio to suspend his campaign along with others and rally behind him. Quite possibly the most important winner-take-all Republican primary is Florida, with 99 delegates up for grabs. Even a narrow Cruz victory here could help him catch up very quickly. Of course, that’s still two weeks from now: we still have a Super Saturday and a mini-Super Tuesday (the sequel) to look towards before making further conclusions. It could very well be that by the time Florida rolls around, it will already be too late.

In conclusion: any sane person doesn’t have to be a wizard to project that the presidential ballot come November will have Clinton and Trump’s names on it. But this isn’t your normal presidential election. We could have the first Jewish president, the first female president, the first Hispanic president, or Donald goddamn Trump for president. In an election cycle this diverse and this chaotic, pretty much anything can happen. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for some drama.




I applied to eight colleges: Caltech, Case Western, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Princeton, and Stanford. Four offered me an interview. One was different in that the interview wasn’t really optional but an essential part of the application.

Although the interviews all had a general script of questions in common (such as tell me a little bit about yourself), the dynamic of each interview was subtly different.

MIT was my first experience back in December in a Starbucks at the Whitman mall. My interviewer was a mathematics professor well into his years, although his personality didn’t show it. He still embodied what I considered “the MIT spirit.” I had a little trouble getting going as I didn’t know where to start. Usually my general outline starts with talking about math and my conflict between math or engineering; I then move on to something like music and tennis or some of the more personal projects that I’ve been working on. Somewhere in there I talk about growing up in Astoria, Queens and my childhood and my turbulent family dynamics. It seems fairly strewn but my monologues are fairly consistent from interview to interview.

MIT’s interview was also the only time I brought my laptop to show my interviewer some of the projects I hyperlinked above. He seemed genuinely impressed but not blown away. If anything, I’m sure I proved to him that I had a passion for something and I’d gotten far with it. This was also the only time I had an extremely academic discussion with my interviewer about his research, which was symplectic geometry. Although I had trouble understanding much of what he said, I was fairly intrigued and very interested. It was fun to see him try to explain it to me, anyway.

Next was much later, in the middle of January. Princeton was downtown in the village at a Panera. The man speaking with me was middle-aged, old but not nearly as old as my previous interviewer. His presence gave off a sense that he had a firm grasp on how the world works, and that he was well-read. I also feel like this was my weakest interview, which was strange because he said that I made his day at the end.

The other three happened in the span of a single week. Harvard was at a different Panera in town and Columbia was at another Starbucks twenty minutes away. Not sure why, but Paneras and Starbucks seem like staple locales for college interviews.

I set up Stanford’s interview to be this Sunday, the day after Columbia’s at a cute coffee shop in the city. The reason I arranged for Sunday instead of Saturday was because I go to Columbia’s SHP in the morning, which runs past noon which was the time my interviewer wanted. (Psst: if you’re not a senior yet but live ~1 hour from Columbia and like science or math, apply for SHP. It’s free and awesome.) Much to my confusion, I unlocked my phone after class on Saturday to see three text messages and two missed calls. I had apparently stood up my Stanford interviewer for a half hour and counting.

I didn’t know if I had genuinely made a mistake or had a brain fart or it was something on his end, but of course I apologized profusely. I felt really bad for not responding to my interviewer for a half hour while he was slowly accruing salt at a table for two in a far-off LPQ. Eventually, the conflict was resolved. I had indeed scheduled the interview for Sunday and it was “his bad.” Whew. A sigh of relief. In immediate retrospect I thought that I could have called the interview off as I had some right to do so. After all, it wasn’t my fault. And he had backtracked his words and immediately shifted his tone of voice from annoyance to apologetic. Before, he said, I believe I cannot give Stanford a constructive interview of you any longer. It seems that I have put more effort into making this happen than you have. Now, he says, I’ll see you Sunday at noon, man, okay? 

In a not-so-immediate retrospect, calling off the interview would have been a very bad idea. I had a great interview- probably the best out of all that I’d had so far. The man I thought was slightly tense and stuck-up was in fact extremely laid-back and easygoing. He sipped his cup of tea+milk as he heard me talk about engineering, what my dad did for a living, and how I’d spent two months at Stanford’s summer school this year.

So what’s the point of writing all this down? Not much. But here are a few suggestions/some advice: the interview will very, very rarely make or break you. It’s not the end of the world if you have a bad interview, nor should you be complacent because you had an extremely strong interview. It doesn’t hold too much weight with regards to the rest of your application. In fact, the interview will probably reflect your application fairly closely; if you’re a strong candidate, a strong interview will confirm that. If you’re leaning towards the reject pile, a subpar interview also serves as confirmation. Interviews matter most when you find yourself in the middle, i.e. admissions purgatory. And even then interviews don’t really matter. So just take a deep breath and be yourself, and don’t be afraid to let your passions show, whether that be mathematics or field hockey or video games.



Integration by parts for multiple functions (n>2)

Let me preface this by saying that the things I’ll get into aren’t even remotely useful from a practical standpoint. This is basically for shits and giggles. They might be useful if you don’t have a calculator/computer and want to rip your hair out, however.

If you take/took BC Calculus or Calc II you’ve probably heard of the integration by parts technique. You can look at it as an inverse product rule that lets you take the integral of a product of two functions f(x)=u and g(x)=v. An example would be

\displaystyle \int x^2\sin{x}\ dx.

In the above case you would apply IBP twice to decrement the power of x^2 to a constant. If you continue on I’m just going to assume that you’ve seen this already and know how to do these kinds of problems.

What if we wanted to find the integral of a product of three functions, or four, or n? Sometimes such an integral might not be expressed in terms of elementary functions, but there’s probably an approximation out there using a computer. Sometimes the solution exists, however.

For two functions, the solution to integration by parts is

\displaystyle \int u\ dv = uv-\int v\ du.

This is derived by taking the integral on both sides of the product rule. So to find the n-function integration by parts formula, it makes sense to first derive the general n-function product rule.

Let’s start small with the product of three functions, uvw. Taking (uvw)' is equivalent to (uv)'w+(uv)w' by treating uv like a single function. Now we use the product rule again on uv to get

\displaystyle (uvw)'=u'vw+uv'w+uvw'.

This seems to make sense; for a product rule of three functions, there are three terms with each function having one and only one derivative for each term. Let’s see if this trend continues for four functions f_1 f_2 f_3 f_4. We can consider f_1 f_2 f_3 as an entire function and apply the product rule to get (f_1 f_2 f_3 f_4)' = (f_1 f_2 f_3)'f_4+(f_1 f_2 f_3)f_4'. But we already found what (f_1 f_2 f_3)' is! We just used different letters. So we now know that

\displaystyle (f_1 f_2 f_3 f_4)'=f_1'f_2f_3f_4+f_1f_2'f_3f_4+f_1f_2f_3'f_4+f_1f_2f_3f_4'.

Our pattern is now confirmed! We can continue like this on towards infinity, since if we do it this way we have a formula for an (n-1)-function product rule that we can apply towards the n-function product rule. The only small challenge is formulating this pattern concisely. Using a combination of pi and sigma notation, we can state the following proposition.

Proposition 1 (General product rule). Let f_1, f_2, \cdots, f_n be n different differentiable functions of x. Then

\displaystyle \frac{d}{dx}\prod_{i=1}^{n}f_i = \sum_{i=1}^{n}\frac{f_i'}{f_i}\prod_{j=1}^{n}f_j.

Now that we have the general product rule, we just have to take the integral of both sides with respect to x to get the general integration by parts formula. Doing so, we get

\displaystyle \int\prod_{i=1}^{n}f_i = \int\sum_{i=1}^{n}\frac{f_i'}{f_i}\prod_{j=1}^{n}f_j\ dx.

Although this is technically a valid formulation of the general IBP formula, I claim that integral signs are interchangeable, that is,

\displaystyle \int\sum_{i=1}^{n}f_i\ dx = \sum_{i=1}^{n}\int f_i\ dx.

This is due to the sum rule of integration: \int(f+g)\ dx=\int f\ dx + \int g\ dx.

Proposition 2 (General integration by parts). Let f_1, f_2, \cdots, f_n be n different continuous and differentiable functions of x. Then integration by parts is given by

\displaystyle \prod_{i=1}^{n}f_i = \sum_{i=1}^{n}\int\frac{f_i'}{f_i}\prod_{j=1}^{n}f_j\ dx.

This isn’t in a ‘useable’ form per se yet since we need to expand that sum and product notation to actually apply it in an integration, but this is as clean as the theorem is going to get. To see IBP in its familiar form, we make the substitutions u_1=f_1(x), u_2=f_2(x),\cdots,u_n=f_n(x) to get

\displaystyle \prod_{i=1}^{n}u_i = \sum_{i=1}^{n}\int\frac{du_i}{u_i}\prod_{j=1}^{n}u_j.

Let’s see what this form looks like when n=3.

\displaystyle \prod_{i=1}^{3}u_i = \sum_{i=1}^{3}\int\frac{du_i}{u_i}\prod_{j=1}^{3}u_j

\displaystyle u_1 u_2 u_3 = \int\frac{du_1}{u_1}(u_1u_2u_3)+\int\frac{du_2}{u_2}(u_1u_2u_3)+\int\frac{du_3}{u_3}(u_1u_2u_3)

\displaystyle \int u_1 u_2\ du_3 = u_1u_2u_3 -\int u_2u_3\ du_1 - \int u_1u_3\ du_2.

This last form is finally something we can work with when trying to find, say, the fiendish integral

\displaystyle \int xe^x\cos{x}\ dx.

I’ll leave the work up to you if you so choose, but using the n=3 IBP formula I got a solution of

\displaystyle \int xe^x\cos{x}\ dx = \frac{e^x(x\cos{x}+(x-1)\sin{x})}{2}.

That’s all for now.

An Optimal Buildpath

Fair warning: if you don’t play League of Legends this post may not be interesting to you. Or it still might. Who knows. Oh, and for people who actually want to use relevant versions of these statistics, this post was made in the middle of Patch 6.2.

Armor is a statistic that reduces incoming physical damage taken. It’s similar to magic resist, which is another defensive stat that reduces incoming magic damage taken. The Wikia article I linked does a good job of explaining how armor is calculated, but i’ll restate it here: all incoming physical damage to your champion is multiplied by a factor of \frac{100}{100+A} where A stands for armor. For example, if you have 100 armor, you’ll receive \frac{100}{100+100} or 0.5 times all incoming physical damage.

It sounds like you can theoretically stack armor forever and reduce your incoming physical damage to a multiplier so low that you’d take close to zero damage at all times. This graph of the multiplier function shows you why that’s not possible:


Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.46.29 AM

The horizontal axis is armor, while the vertical axis is the multiplier. Even at 400 armor, which is an absurdly high amount, you would still receive 20% of incoming physical damage which is relatively high compared to what you invested.

Another reason why stacking solely on armor is a bad idea is because of the notion of effective health. Effective health is the amount of damage required to kill you, taking resistances into account. If you build resistances, your EH will always be higher than your HP. If you have a lot of armor but not that much base HP, it won’t matter how much armor you have since it doesn’t take a lot to kill you. In addition, physical damage isn’t the only source of damage: magic damage and true damage (damage that is dealt directly to your HP without exception) is also prevalent. Here’s a simple example: if you have 3000 HP and 100 armor, you have an EH of 6000, which is equivalent to having 1500 HP and 300 armor. The downside to having 300 armor is when the opposing team has a good source of magic damage as well, making your armor useless.

Since every point of armor requires you to take 1% more of your maximum health in physical damage to be killed, armor doesn’t have diminishing returns per se, but it’s a much better idea to find an optimal balance between HP and armor to have the optimal EH from a frontline tank’s perspective.

It’s apparent that investing in straight health is useful because it raises EH regardless of magic or physical damage. In contrast, armor will only raise EH if physical damage is concerned, and magic resist will only raise EH is magic damage is concerned. Health is a universal defense for physical, magic, and true damage. Of course, there is also a point where simply buying HP gives diminishing returns with respect to EH. Simply put, the more well-rounded the enemy team composition is in terms of physical/magic damage, the more highly you should invest in health. If the enemy composition is almost entirely AD (physical) or AP (magical), then they made a giant mistake as long as you can abuse it: stacking the appropriate resistances here are much more helpful than raw health due to the percentage nature of how armor and magic resist works.

There’s another advantage to armor: it makes healing EH easier. Most healing abilities on champions heal a flat amount of HP. If you only buy health, it makes heals weaker in terms of effective health (it’s just a 1:1 healing to effective health increase ratio), but investing in resistances forces enemies to go through your HP bar more slowly, making the healing:EH ratio greater than one.

So the question that remains is: how do you know what to invest in at a given stage of the game? Should you prioritize flat health or resistances? To answer that, we need to optimize our EH function given a set amount of money c. How do we do that?

We first need some unit of account to gauge how much armor, magic resist, or HP is really worth. Fortunately, there are three “basic” items that grant solely armor, MR, or health. These items are Cloth Armor (300g, +15 armor), Null-Magic Mantle (450g, +25 magic resist), and Ruby Crystal (400g, +150 HP) respectively. Dividing through, we get unit costs of 20g/+1 armor, 18g/+1 MR, and 2.67g/+1 HP. Note that armor actually costs a bit higher than MR.

The tricky thing is that given constant resistance r, investing in +1 hp raises effective health by \frac{100+r}{100}. For example, if I have 200 armor, each point of health I invest in raises EH by 3. Taking it the other way around, every point of armor I invest in given constant health h raises EH by \frac{h}{100}. For example, investing in +1 magic resist with 2000 health gives 20 additional EH. (This is all assuming single-type damage, and not split.)

Since 2.67g gives +1 HP and 20g gives +1 armor, 1g of HP will give you \frac{100+r}{2.67(100)}=\frac{100+r}{267} EH, and 1g of armor will give you \frac{h}{20(100)}=\frac{h}{2000} EH. We now know the value (in terms of effective health) of both armor and health: the key here is to recognize that setting these values equal to each other means that our buildpath is optimized. Doing so and solving for h, we get roughly h=750+7.5r. This equation is what we’ve been looking for.


The horizontal axis is armor, the vertical axis is HP. If you find yourself above the line (aka to the left), invest in armor to shift right and get yourself back on the equilibrium line. If you’re below the line, invest in health to shift up.

Magic resist is pretty much the same thing. Repeating the calculations done above gives a graph of h=670+6.7r.

I won’t get into specifics, but the equilibrium line will shift upwards if the incoming damage is hybrid instead of just one type. This is because mixed damage favors building flat health. You should still build resistances, but not as much as if the enemy composition is mostly one type of damage.

The exact defensive items that you should buy I won’t get into, as this post is already getting a bit long. But if you can multiply your resistances by seven and add 700 to that total in your head, you should be in good shape to make some better item choices on the Rift.



National Science Bowl 2016: Long Island Regionals

The National Science Bowl is a science and math trivia competition run by the U.S. Department of Energy. More than 9,000 high school students and thousands of teams from all over the nation compete first in a regional competition to clinch an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the national finals.

The competition format is very similar to University Challenge, a British trivia show in which many universities and colleges in England compete. Teams are comprised of four players, one of whom serves as the captain. Starter or “toss-up” questions are asked by moderators in subject areas including mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, earth science, astronomy, and energy. Questions can be either multiple choice or short answer. Buzzing in and getting a starter right earns you points. You can interrupt the moderator as he asks the question to give an answer quicker, but if you’re incorrect, the other team gets points and gets a chance to answer the starter for themselves for another 4 points. If you get the starter question correct, you get an additional bonus question in the same category as the starter for 10 points. Unlike the starter, you can confer with your teammates, but only the captain is allowed to deliver the final answer.

Personally, I think this scoring system is slightly absurd. The value of a bonus is 2.5 times greater than a starter, which means that even if a team is thirty points ahead, the other team only has to string together two lucky starters and bonus questions to put themselves back in the game. (A team can potentially earn 18 points from a single question!) Some very interesting comebacks happened today because of this exact scoring system. The truth is that the name of the game is to secure starter questions for your team, as starter questions are a gateway to the high-scoring bonus questions. For exceptionally competitive teams, most of the meta revolves around interrupting the toss-ups in an optimal way so that you buzz before the other team and have a high probability of getting the toss-up correct. Here’s an example: in the final, an energy multiple-choice question was read. (There are four possible choices; w, x, y, or z.) The Farmingdale captain buzzed as soon as the second choice was beginning to be read, knowing well that the reader would finish reading the second choice due to suboptimal reflexes. Knowing that the first two choices were incorrect, the captain guessed choice z correctly without even hearing choice y. For him, the 50/50 chance was well worth the chance to answer the bonus.

But enough of the minute details in strategy. I want to talk about how the actual event played out for my team, Walt Whitman High School, as well as the other teams from Long Island.

This year’s regional competition was held in Brookhaven National Labs in Upton, New York. It’s quite an impressive campus. Thousands of employees work there annually, while thousands more scientists come here as guests for their research. The most well-known building is probably the National Synchotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a $912 million project that allows scientists to image fundamental particles and materials with extreme intensity, among other things. Our competition was held in Berkner Hall, a more modest convention center.


My team’s day started around 8 AM in the auditorium where we were welcomed to the NSB and briefed on the competition rules.



After that, everyone split for their first round-robin match. There were twenty high school teams that were divided into groups of five: Group A, B, C, and D. We found ourselves in Group B with Farmingdale, Stony Brook, Jericho, and Huntington. It turns out our first match of the day was in the auditorium itself against Stony Brook.

setting up 1

Here’s a perspective with me at the table. “Seat three” was a position I would assume for the rest of the competition. I like edge seats.

table 1

Round 1: (0-1) Stony Brook 28 – 66 Whitman (1-0)

Another note on how matches are scored: matches are broken up into eight-minute halves with a two-minute break in between. During this break, coaches are allowed to talk with their team and substitute players are allowed to replace teammates. We had a relatively small lead at the half due to some first-time nerves and interrupting too many starters. We calmed down in the second half and extended our lead enough to finish with a comfortable win.

“The separation of fingers and toes in a human embryo is due to what highly controlled-interrupt-B three.”
“That is correct.”

room d

Our second match was held in a less dramatic venue called “Room D.” It was quite small and required no microphones. This was Huntington’s first match, which was unfortunate since they forfeited their first match to Farmingdale since they came late.

setup 2

Round 2: (0-2) Huntington 28 – 54 Whitman (2-0)

To be honest, this match was pretty much a repeat of the first round, except we were able to keep our composure a bit more and gave away fewer free points due to interrupts.

“The citric acid cycle is a series of chemical reactions that takes place in which biological process? w. aerobic respiration, y. lactic acid fermentation-interrupt-B captain.”
“Aerobic respiration.”
“That is correct.”

We have a fairly well-rounded team. Mark specializes in biology, Zenab is an all-rounder, Alex is very talented in math, physics, and some esoteric general science, Shelbi does chemistry, and I specialize in math, physics, and some biology.


Mark Theodore Meneses, a junior, in the flesh.


Our coach Scardapane gives me a thumbs up.

hunt vs jeri

Round 3 was a bye for us, which meant we got to sit out and watch the other four teams in our group duke it out. Farmingdale, the favorite to win the whole thing, was sitting rather comfortably at two wins and no losses, and they would improve it to three this round. We decided to watch Jericho (left) vs. Huntington (right) in the auditorium. Surprisingly, Huntington destroyed Jericho by about 50 points, something I surely didn’t expect as Jericho is a pretty well-respected high school.

The back of the Jericho squad’s matching Science Bowl shirts say, “National Science Bowl: when your personal best isn’t good enough.”

Back to Room D for the fourth round.

setup 3

Round 4: (1-2) Jericho 7276 Whitman (3-0)

This was the closest match we had by far. We were trailing 22-44 at the half. Scardapane told us to calm down and play smart. And play smart we did: we gave away no free points in the second half and strung three bonuses together in a row to surge to an 18 point lead. With thirty seconds remaining, Jericho got a starter and took the remaining time to answer the bonus correctly. Thankfully, the time ran out before the moderator could start another question; if Jericho had secured one more starter they could have triumphed in a buzzer beater. Lots of handshakes and “good games” were exchanged afterwards.

“In a three-dimensional coordinate axis system, the z axis is oriented with respect to the x and y axis by-interrupt-A three.”
“The right hand rule.”

But now we faced the real challenge. Only the top team in the group from the round robin would advance to the double elimination playoff stage. Both Whitman and Farmingdale were undefeated. Whoever won the next round would move on. Could we prevail?

Round 5: (3-1) Whitman 18 – 122 Farmingdale (4-0)

I managed to squeak out 18 points for the team by answering a physics starter and a math toss-up/bonus. Otherwise, all we could really do was throw our hands up and watch in awe as the Farmingdale Harvard-bound captain made us bend over backwards ass up as he destroyed our rectums singlehandedly. That dude was on another level. The physics starter I did answer, however, I’m pretty proud of. It went something like this:

“Consider an infinite parallel circuit in which the first branch has one resistor, the second branch has two resistors, the third has three, and so on to infinity. Given that the resistors all have a resistance of 1 ohm, find the total resistance of the circuit… B three?”

In case you needed an explanation: \frac{1}{R_{t}}=\frac{1}{R_1}+\frac{1}{R_2}+\cdots+\frac{1}{R_n} given n branches. The sum turns out to be the harmonic series 1+\frac{1}{2}+\frac{1}{3}+\cdots to infinity, which by definition approaches infinity. The reciprocal of infinity is (informally) zero.

And so ended our National Science Bowl run. We consoled ourselves with some prepackaged lunch and cookies.

lunch 2

Mark and I decided to stay and watch the rest of the Bowl. Mt. Sinai, the winner of Group D, gave a surprising decisive 84-38 victory over Farmingdale in the first double elimination round. Sinai’s captain, Alex, was an absolute beast at chemistry. It was almost unnerving how good he was. He’d answer chemistry multiple choice questions as if they were short answer. In fact, he answered 100 percent of every. single. chemistry question leading up to the finals. That’s insane. It felt like he was some shady hidden-OP anime character.

Farmingdale’s loss meant they had to win three matches in a row to win the whole thing, therefore sweeping the losers’ bracket. In the meantime Mt. Sinai edged out the regional winners two years ago, Great Neck, in the semifinals.

gn vs sinai

Great Neck lost to Farmingdale 20-126 in the loser’s finals, so it was time for a rematch: Farmingdale v. Sinai on the main stage.



This time, the questions just didn’t fall in Alex’s favor. The few chemistry questions that got asked were gamed perfectly by Farmingdale’s captain Suraj. Farmingdale took the whole thing with subsequent 118-30 and 102-50 wins.


GGWP to Farmingdale! We lost to the eventual winners, which makes me feel a little better. This was my first and last time participating in NSB, and I had a lot of fun. Hopefully Whitman can go all the way next year. If you’re in high school and not a senior, I highly recommend making a team and participating!


From left to right: Shelbi, Mark, Zenab, me, Alex