That which is studied by mathmos
; the maths
degree awarded by Cambridge University
- and supposedly the hardest degree in the world (but is believed to have been dumbed down
in recent years).
Being the most ancient degree awarded a fairly ancient university, it is of course enshrouded in all sorts of stupid traditions: after the final examinations, the list of successful candidates is (still) read out with great ceremony in Latin from the balcony inside the Senate House at nine o'clock in the morning. Those who gain first are deemed to be wranglers, and the candidate gaining the top First is the senior wrangler. Seconds are denoted optimes optimes and thirds are junior optimes. Whoever gains the worst score but still qualifies for honours is (or at least was) awarded the wooden spoon to mark their achievement.
The degree is structured into a three year undergraduate course (consisting of parts IA, IB and II), and an optional further year (part III, for masochists). The average year group consists of about 280 students: about 30% of whom seem to attend lectures, which are given at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, which is a long way out of town.