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A Battle of the Buzzers
October 28, 2011
Close-knit George Washington Quiz Team prepares for a year of competition.
By Magdalena Stuehrmann, Class of 2015
Starting promptly at 7:15 p.m. in the basement of Monroe Hall, a pitched battle of wits began.
The competitors were members of the George Washington University Quiz Team, and their weapons of choice were their own minds and a lockout buzzer system.
“In this novel, after being offered a small cottage, a widow dines with two daughters and her generous cousin John Middleton…”
“Sense and Sensibility!” called out sophomore Valerie Ippolito, buzzing in and answering Christopher Lombardi’s question before he could finish asking it.
General quiz team match rules are fairly simple. Each team has four playing members, each of whom has a buzzer. There are two types of questions: toss-up and bonus. On toss-up questions, the first player to buzz in and answer the question correctly earns 10 points for his or her team.
In some matches, buzzing in before the moderator has finished reading early in the question and giving the correct answer can earn a team five extra points. Giving an incorrect answer after buzzing in early, however, results in the loss of five points, which is often gleefully termed by the opposing team “neg five!” When a team correctly answers a toss-up question, the members are given the opportunity to confer and answer three bonus questions, each of which is worth an additional 10 points.
“Quiz Team provides something that I think no other club has,” said Mr. Lombardi, a GW sophomore and the team’s co-president. “You get to show off how smart you are and not worry about losing anything. Even when you get an answer wrong, you know that everyone else does that too sometimes, and we can all laugh that off at the end of the day.”
The questions vary widely, and in a typical practice session, topics range from I Love Lucy and The Office to Jane Austen, King Gustavus Adolfus and genetic disorders. Though all quiz team members have a large amount of general knowledge, each member has a specific area of expertise, be it in English literature, Russian history or, in Mr. Lombardi’s case, classical music.
“I think we know a bit about most things, and a lot of us have our specialties too, which is helpful,” said Mr. Lombardi.
Team practices are friendly, relaxed competitions where the members take turns reading questions and participating on either of the teams. Practice is set up the way that a regular match would be, and the questions are similar to those that would be asked in a real match.
The team is small, with 10 to 12 members who regularly come to practice. But Mr. Lombardi considers this to be a bonus.
“We’re a very close team – the small size means that we’re all friendly with each other. You know everyone. It’s not like some other student organizations where, especially for freshmen, you won’t know everyone and certainly not the leadership. But with us, you sit right next to the officers in practice and see them answer questions too,” he said.
The small size, however, does have some disadvantages. The team consists mostly of underclassmen, which can be a drawback in real tournaments against more experienced teams. Despite the lack of more experienced members, the team has been doing better this year than it has in the past few years. In their last competition, GW, which participates in four competitions a year, finished eighth out of 16 schools. The team is now looking forward to its next competition on Nov. 5.
“We’re not one of those quiz teams that goes crazy if you get a question wrong. We laugh it off and have fun with it,” said Mr. Lombardi. “And it’s not that often that you get to have fun while answering questions about 16th-century history.”
Do you have what it takes to be a member of the Quiz Team?
See if you can answer these sample questions. Answers are given below the questions.
With Philip I, this king signed a treaty nicknamed the Intercursus Malus, or evil agreement, because it was so disadvantageous to the Netherlands. This man sent the Italian explorer John Cabot on his expeditions. This monarch signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Scotland. His legitimacy was threatened by a man who claimed to be the son of Edward IV named Perkin Warbeck. This ruler was supported by the Stanleys in a battle at which he put an end to the House of Plantagenet by defeating Richard III and the House of York. For 10 points, name this victor at the battle of Bosworth Field who ended the Wars of the Roses to become the first Tudor king of England.
Answer – Henry VII of England
The log of this value is the x axis of a Bode plot. In Shannon's theorem, a log term is multiplied by a number that has the same units as these and represents a width of these. For a cyclotron, this value is q b over two pi m. The set of these associated with a string under tension are multiples of a quantity that is the square root of the ratio of the product of length and tension to mass all divided by twice the length. For a pendulum, it is equal to the square root of the ratio of g to length divided by two pi. This value is inversely proportional to the wavelength. For 10 points, name this number of times a cyclical occurrence happens in a period of time which is measured in hertz.
Answer - frequency