2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

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2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:18 pm

Starting this here and now since this category can tend to dominate discussion in other threads/venues.

Editorial breakdown:
Biology - Tommy
Chemistry and Other Science - Sriram
Physics - Stephen
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Re: thread for all things science

Post by Vainamoinen » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:45 pm

I'm not sure if there's a reasonable limit to how many questions I should ask to see, but I'd like to see as many of these tossups as possible:
closed, ubiquitin, cosmic inflation, and luminosity. I don't have any specific thing to discuss regarding these questions, I just wanted to see them because I felt they were ones I should have done better on personally. I retract the request if this isn't the place for that. Thanks!
Last edited by Vainamoinen on Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: thread for all things science

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:58 pm

Vainamoinen wrote:I'm not sure if there's a reasonable limit to how many questions I should ask to see, but I'd like to see as many of these tossups as possible:
silicon, density, permutations, freezing point, closed, ubiquitin, cosmic inflation, anemias, and luminosity. Thanks!
I think I'll set a limit of the same sort that Rob Carson set in the 2014 PACE NSC discussion thread: namely, I won't set a mathematical upper limit, but I'd like to see up-front the issue you have or the reason you'd like to have the particular wording of a question on hand, in addition to just the request to see it. This will help me understand what tack the discussion is going to take and why I'm getting that particular question out. Sorry not to specify that up-front; I'll add that to the opening specific-question-discussion post now. In the meantime, can you edit that info in for each of your requests?
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:47 pm

The tossup on "mixing" had an "antiprompt" instruction on the answer line that essentially boiled down to "if the person buzzes in with the correct answer in line 1, "antiprompt" them and hope they magically know what larger class of things the correct answer they just said is going to be put into by clues they haven't heard yet." I think this is a perfect example of why "antiprompts" should never be used -- either write "accept N until "X" is read" or write a question where the clues are all actually about the listed answer and not about something sort of related to it.

Other than that weird decision and a few eye-popping third bonus parts, I thought this was a very good, very carefully edited set that portends well for future tournaments from the same people.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by samus149 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:54 pm

Could I see that tossup on hyperconjugation? That first line about oxymercuration seems really obvious, and I and someone on the other team were staring at each other in incredulity when that came up first line.

Other than that, and the generally unforgiving nature of the chemistry bonuses, this science was great, particularly the physics, which had the perfect mix of classroom stuff and outside stuff.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:16 pm

Aaaaaaaaaaas yoooooooooou wiiiiiiiiiiiiish....
VCUA+Dorman wrote:10. In the oxymercuration-demercuration reaction, this phenomenon accelerates the reaction by stabilizing the
mercurinium intermediate which is reduced in subsequent steps. This phenomenon is the most widely-accepted
explanation for a higher-than-expected prevalence of the alpha epimeric form of glucose in solution which
exemplifies the anomeric effect. The "negative" type of this effect causes an elongation of the C-F bond in the betafluoroethyl
anion. This interaction is the reason why the addition of alkyl substituents to carbocations [carbo-"cat"
"ions"] is accompanied by an increase in stability. For 10 points, name this effect which usually involves the
delocalization of bonding carbon-hydrogen sigma-electrons to neighboring nonbonding p-orbitals.
ANSWER: hyperconjugation
I defer to Sriram re: any claims about obviousness of the leadin; I know zero things about this answer and all I did on it was a quick grammar-check. (Though I guess the presence of the word "stability" as the pre-giveaway word implies to me that "stabilizing" was maybe not the best choice of verb for that part of the leadin? Is that the substance of the issue or the specific oxymercuric example also problematically early?)
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by samus149 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:36 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:Aaaaaaaaaaas yoooooooooou wiiiiiiiiiiiiish....
VCUA+Dorman wrote:10. In the oxymercuration-demercuration reaction, this phenomenon accelerates the reaction by stabilizing the
mercurinium intermediate which is reduced in subsequent steps. This phenomenon is the most widely-accepted
explanation for a higher-than-expected prevalence of the alpha epimeric form of glucose in solution which
exemplifies the anomeric effect. The "negative" type of this effect causes an elongation of the C-F bond in the betafluoroethyl
anion. This interaction is the reason why the addition of alkyl substituents to carbocations [carbo-"cat"
"ions"] is accompanied by an increase in stability. For 10 points, name this effect which usually involves the
delocalization of bonding carbon-hydrogen sigma-electrons to neighboring nonbonding p-orbitals.
ANSWER: hyperconjugation
I defer to Sriram re: any claims about obviousness of the leadin; I know zero things about this answer and all I did on it was a quick grammar-check. (Though I guess the presence of the word "stability" as the pre-giveaway word implies to me that "stabilizing" was maybe not the best choice of verb for that part of the leadin? Is that the substance of the issue or the specific oxymercuric example also problematically early?)
Both. The word "stabilizing" definitely points to a very limited number of answerlines (I can't really think of anything besides this, the inductive effect, and maybe resonance), and the oxymercuration reaction is one of the classic alkene -> alcohol reactions, which are certainly easier and taught earlier than the following two clues.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:40 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
To take a little detour from the subjects I know best: The chemistry seemed very difficult, especially compared with the physics and biology, a sentiment that was shared with several other players at the site. My non-high school background in physics consists of a two-course honors intro sequence in mechanics/special relativity/electricity/magnetism and a small amount of reading of fluid dynamics, which was enough for our team to get mostly 20s on physics bonuses. Charles, my biology major teammate, was able to do well on the bio bonuses as well. I would contrast this with the chemistry; Charles has taken intro chemistry, two honors organic chem courses, and biochem, but I think we only 20d one or two chemistry bonuses on the day.
The chemistry/physics was well received by my team's chemistry/physics player because it matched the subfield of chemistry he studies. He ended up with a higher score than anyone on our team had expected because of this. I don't think it was a difficulty problem as much as it was a subdistribution that was not nice to organic chemists or biologists.

Also, I noticed a lot of biology questions with emphasis on diseases.. I like disease questions because it can integrate different aspects of biology into one question, for example the cholera bonus. However, there were a lot of questions on diseases, leading to the shortage of other more standard biology tossups. I guess this may just be a subdistribution quirk that bothers me because I haven't learned that much about diseases.
Corner Grocery Store wrote: The oxymercuration reaction is one of the classic alkene -> alcohol reactions, which are certainly easier and taught earlier than the following two clues.

I agree with this statement.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:46 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:The tossup on "mixing" had an "antiprompt" instruction on the answer line that essentially boiled down to "if the person buzzes in with the correct answer in line 1, "antiprompt" them and hope they magically know what larger class of things the correct answer they just said is going to be put into by clues they haven't heard yet." I think this is a perfect example of why "antiprompts" should never be used -- either write "accept N until "X" is read" or write a question where the clues are all actually about the listed answer and not about something sort of related to it.
Matt's right about this particular instance, but I think there are times the antiprompt is useful. In the case of this question, I'd have just accepted solvation outright (since that was the Flory-Huggins clue in the leadin was referring to).
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Alejandro » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:46 pm

Could I see the max-flow question? I believe that "network flow" or "flow networks" should be promptable or acceptable for much of it since the question asks about a group of problems and max-flow problems are generally classified under network flow/flow network problems (see here for an example). I'm curious about the question on stacks as well.

Thanks.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:55 pm

Alejandro wrote:Could I see the max-flow question? I believe that "network flow" or "flow networks" should be promptable or acceptable for much of it since the question asks about a group of problems and max-flow problems are generally classified under network flow/flow network problems (see here for an example). I'm curious about the question on stacks as well.

Thanks.
You may be right. At some point Sriram might get here to comment on his stuff, but until then:
WUStL+Harvard wrote:18. A useful application of algorithms that solve this problem is in finding which sport teams in a league are still in
the running to make the playoffs. In the solution to that baseball elimination problem, a maximum cardinality
bipartite matching is conducted between teams and games. One algorithm solves it by building a layered graph at
each iteration using breadth-first search on a residual graph; that approach was developed by Dinic. Another method
used to solve this problem only works for integer edge weights; in that algorithm, augmenting paths are constructed
until no paths exist from source to sink with residual capacity. That method was developed by Ford and Fulkerson.
For 10 points, name this problem equivalent to finding the min cut, which involves calculating the maximum
capacity of a network.
ANSWER: maximum-flow problem [prompt on "min cut" before mention]
on a block hustlin' countin' my stacks:
UCSD+Michigan wrote:19. In the Nivasch probabilistic algorithm for cycle detection, pairs of function output and iteration number are
stored in strictly increasing sequences in these data structures. x87 floating point architectures organize registers into
a type of these structures that allow for individual access to its constituents. An algorithm that stores intermediate
vertices in this data structure is used for topological sorting and for finding connected components; that algorithm is
the depth-first search. The "call" one of these structures stores information about the return addresses to which each
subroutine in a computer program should return control once it finishes executing. Infinite recursion of these entities
may lead to their "overflow." Push and pop are operations on, for 10 points, what last-in first-out data structures?
ANSWER: stacks
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Victor Prieto » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:32 am

I'd like to know if Racah B parameter got converted by more than three teams out of the entire national field.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:38 am

I believe the tossup on momentum had a clue about c being raised to the three-halves power in the Planck momentum. I can't think of an actual importance of knowing that fact, and it just seems like rote memorization to me.
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Re: 2015 Regionals: thread for all things science

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:03 pm

I'll comment on this when the packets are actually released.
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