What about last month?!

OK so that last update didn’t say a whole lot. I know, I know. Well here is an update on what's been going on in Grantland since I talked to you last.

I took the Mathematical Contest in Modeling with Kathy. The MCM is a mathematical modeling competition in which you get a few days more than a weekend to research, create a mathematical model, and write a paper about some system. This year we did Problem A, in which a motorcycle stuntman jumps over an elephant for a movie and lands in cardboard boxes. Our mission was to describe how cardboard would cushion his fall, although I would say our paper's strength was less in answering that question and more in considering a lot of different external factors that other groups may not have considered. Like, for instance, how to set up the shot so that it looks interesting in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio frame.

A week later was St. Valentine's Day and I started it off right by losing the ability to run Windows. I then ran off to Hillside Elementary and taught some fourth-graders about electricity and shocked them with a Van de Graaff generator. Sometime I might go visit the world's largest Van de Graaff at the Boston Museum of Science.

Speaking of Van de Graaff generators, my current project for my Project class is to build one. Que Anh, Sharon, Sutee, and I have almost finished making a clear handheld Van de Graaff that aims to make it more apparent to kids what is going on inside. It looks really swanky. We ordered our sphere from a backyard/pool decoration company, of all places, so ours looks the best in my opinion.

Well anyway after all that mess it was time to go to the Valentine dance. Beforehand my two dates, Clara and Janet, and I went with Dan and Frances to a pretty good Italian restaurant, Appetito, in Newton Center. From there we returned to Olin and the dining hall where a multiple-story cardboard Eiffel Tower had been constructed. The dance was somewhat fun and now Clara is my girlfriend. You might be asking, “What about poor Janet, your other date?” Well it turns out that now she is Dan’s girlfriend, creating the odd situation where one pair of roommates is dating another pair of roommates. Strange.

As if that wasn't enough, the next weekend I went to the 2003 Stanford Graduate School of Business Entrepreneurship Conference in Palo Alto, CA. We made some good connections and hopefully I’ll be emailing one of the graduate students I met that was helping to run the show so that Stanford and Olin can have some sort of officalized relationship. This is the strange stuff that goes on when you attend a brand new college.

Fast forward another weekend, and it’s once again time for an Olin College Candidates Weekend. This year we held two weekends, each with about seventy-five students. I must admit I wasn’t so involved this time around. Candidate weekends are quite impressive. The concept is that you apply to Olin, and then a certain number of students are invited to interview and interact with the students, faculty, staff, and administration of Olin. Out of those who attend, the entire class is selected with no regard given to the test scores, essays, or anything in the submitted applications. In other words, the admission staff wants to meet everyone and make sure they are Olin material and also that Olin is the right place for them. Candidate Weekend I ended with the Franklin W. Olin Players performing “The Foreigner”, which received a standing ovation. I wonder how much easier it is to get a standing ovation when your audience is filled with candidates who really want to get in? The second weekend ended yesterday with ExpressO, which was an open-mic talent show event culminating in a little mini-dance-party involving us, the faculty, prospective students, their parents, and the staff and adminstration. I don't know of any other school where this might happen.

Grant Hutchins @nertzy