WPI: School For Nerds

Yesterday on his blog,  Jason Boyett pointed out that Tuesday was a Nerd Holiday:

What makes today Square Root Day? Well, math-is-hard Barbie, it’s because today’s date is 3.3.09. And three is the square root of nine. Square Root Day — a day in which the month and day are the square roots of the last two digits of the year — only occurs nine times each century. That means it’s a big deal. That means if you don’t celebrate properly today, you’ll have to wait until April 4, 2016, to do this day right.

He also brought up some other Nerd Holidays, like Pi Day:

If so, then you’re certainly looking forward to Pi Day on March 14 (3.14). The best time to celebrate it is at 1:59, because true math nerds know the mathematical constant ? can be rounded to 3.14159 at five decimal places.

I had to laugh because I know all too well that Pi is 3.14159 when rounded out to 5 places. How do I know this? Because I received my Chemical Engineering degree from one of the nerdiest schools on the planet: Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA.

Don’t get me wrong, WPI is a great school. They are ranked in U.S. News Top 100 Universities in the country (currently #71). Dean Kamen, the guy who created the Segway, went to school there (but quit before graduating). Heck, John Geils formed the J Geils Band while attending WPI (you know, “my blood runs cold, my memory has just been sold, my angel is a centerfold”).

I love that I went to WPI. It was where I met a few of my best friends and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the education I received. But, we were (are) nerds. Consider the following:

1. The mascot for our sports team is an engineer. Yup. Our football team is the WPI Engineers. I tried to find it on an athletic uniform, but it looks like they have removed all traces of the mascot name from jerseys. They all just say “WPI” now. Probably a good move. Even the football field, which used to have “Engineers” written in the endzones, is now devoid of the ‘e’ word. But if you read a newspaper write-up, you’ll still see the sports teams referred to as the engineers. (Before you ask, the actual furry mascot was not a nerd running around with a slide rule. It was a Ram named Gompei – pictured on right. Go figure.)

2. While I was there, the guy/girl ratio was about 4:1. And a large majority of the girls there were, ummm, (watch as I tiptoe around this one) let’s say they weren’t torn between engineering school and a modeling contract.  There were some pretty girls, of course (especially you, female WPI alumni reader!), but if I had to generalize – and I do – for the most part the girls were not attractive. Which is fine – we all can’t look like my wife. But still, when you’re a guy in college and there’s 1 girl for every 4 guys on campus, and that girl is probably not great looking, it makes for some interesting scenarios. You’ve heard of “beer goggles” before? Well, we had “WPI goggles”. Anyway, I better stop before I start to sound shallow and mean (too late). Not sure why that made us more nerdy, but trust me, it did.

and last, but certainly not least…

3. THIS is our fight song (which you can hear here):

E to the x
D-Y, D-X
E to the x
Cosine, Secant, Tangent, Sine
E-I, Radical, Pi
Fight ’em, Fight ’em, WPI!

“Cosine, Secant, Tangent, Sine”? YUP.

I rest my case.