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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

SMRT by Sam M. '07

Only at MIT could a wholesome, traditional integration bee end up like this.

DID YOU KNOW? Human females are the second-largest female primate, but Human males are only the third-largest male primate.

“Wait… you’re Course 9, and you like Dr. Phil?”

As promised, I headed over to the MIT Integration Bee this evening. It was pretty cool, but it not rule quite as thoroughly as I had hoped. For one thing, the integrals were incredibly, unbelievably, brain-screamingly difficult. I mean, it goes without saying that I’m not smrt enough to do them, but these were even too difficult for some of MIT’s best fifth-year mathematics graduate student integralists. So the #7 and #10 seeds in the tournament missed the first five integrals. Which makes for 20 minutes of just not too much fun if you ask me. But then the #8 seed was Dave Shin ’05, who is apparently like a superhero or something, and he started solving the integrals in like 30 seconds, and after that things started seriously rocking out. I had a list of my favorite integrals from the competition, but I forgot it. So, I’ll type them up for you tomorrow and you can fail to solve them for yourself (just like I did on all but two of them) and then look at the answers down below.

Really, with the advent of the Wolfram Integrator online, there’s no reason for me to learn this anymore. Plus, engineers don’t do math. Sometimes if I’m lucky I can solve like, dT/dt – 2 * T = 0.


The timer/integral display. You can’t appreciate it here, but the little CLIFTON guys next to the timer were actually like animated GIFs that did integrals as the time counted down. It was astounding. The integral shown was the “warm-up” round before the proper competition started.


Dave Shin ’05 eventually solved this particularly tricky integral. I know you think it doesn’t look that cool here, but when he got it, a whole lecture hall full of people ended up getting really excited. “How excited, Sam?”


Really excited, Chester.

You might think these are just misrepresented photos from a different event, but no–look at their cheeks.

Only at MIT.

13 responses to “SMRT”

  1. Sam T says:

    lol…only at MIT

  2. Sam T says:

    lol…only at MIT

  3. Mitra says:

    I am proud to say I know three of the four people in the last (and very awesome) photograph.

    We should write a musical about the integration bee, complete with muppets and hot Gap models.

  4. Kate says:

    That is absolutely amazing. I wish there were more than ten people in my school who would get that excited over an Integral Bee…

  5. Phil says:

    This is one of the most awesome things I have ever seen. I mean, we thought it was funny to paint our chests and cheer at the XC European tournament (cause it’s like a nerd sport here), but this blows it out of the water. Child’s play.

    Cool points have been awarded.

  6. Mike says:

    MIT Sportcast did a fully commented HDTV production of the Integration Bee grin.

    It will probably be available in MPEG format for download at somewhere at some point. In high definition you can really see the pain in the contestants’ faces.

    Again, only at MIT…

  7. Edward says:


    I must say, MIT ROCKS!!!!

  8. Edward says:


    MIT ROCKS!!!!

  9. Shannon says:

    That honestly just made my day.


  10. Mike says:

    Update: The MPEG2 video file is available at As it’s 18 Gigabytes, one can only stream it using videoLan…lower-quality versions are coming soon.

  11. Laura says:

    Wow. Kinda sad I missed it now. Hee. =D

  12. thekeri says:

    If the actual integrals were anything like the warm-up, I’d be happy…

  13. Jill says:

    Oh man, I think I just about died. <3 Calculus. That picture is absolutely fantastic. Thanks for the laugh, and the link to the Wolfram Integrator.