24 February 2011

"You may have beaten us, but can you solve this integral?"

No time to blog today - very busy with family activities.  But after hearing about Caltech's basketball victory, I did want to quickly repost this item from a year and a half ago:
A couple weeks ago [September 2009], when I posted an article about a victory for "Britain's worst football team" (90 consecutive losses), Mark suggested that I should see the movie "Quantum Hoops." This week I got the DVD from the library.

The movie tells the story of the basketball team at Caltech, one of the top five academic institutions in the world, noted for such nonathlete-students as Richard Feynman, Linus Pauling, and ?Frank Capra. The numbers are incredible - 21 consecutive YEARS without a victory at the time the movie was made - 243 losses in a row. The year before the movie they lost by an average of 60 points per game.

Over the years the teams have been composed of unarguably the brightest (non)athletes in the world. The team in the movie has more valedictorians (8) than students who played varsity basketball in high school (6).

The movie presents the history of the school and its athletic programs and follows the team as they approach a game which they have a chance to win. I won't give the result. You can obviously Google an answer, but that would spoil the dramatic tension. It's a delightful movie, well-suited even for those who don't give a hoot about college sport. Enjoy.
After the movie was released, the basketball team won some nonconference games, but yesterday they ended a 319-game conference losing streak, beating Occidental College 46 to 45.


  1. Glad you liked it. I went to Caltech, so this video was dear to my heart. I remember coach Vic (retired) from the movie, since I did take basketball as a PE class.

  2. With a title like that Stan, I was hoping there would actually be an integral to solve in this post! Heh heh


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