Imperial College win University Challenge final

Imperial College are the champions! The Scowler scoops up University Challenge win in BRUTAL defeat with almost triple the points after going head-to-head with Wang – as fans question the Grandmaster’s ‘shock’ performance

  • Imperial College won tonight’s final against Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
  • Finished with an impressive 275 points while Cambridge fell short with just 105 
  • Fans were eager to see contestants Brandon and Wang go head to head in final
  • Left shocked by Wang’s performance, asking ‘Where’s Wang’ and ‘What happened to Wang’
  • In contrast they hailed Brandon’s appearance, joking ‘Brandon for president’ 

Imperial College London have won the final of University Challenge against Corpus Christi of Cambridge, scoring 275 points while their opponents managed just 105.  

Both impressive teams had come to the show with no defeats, but fans were eager to see two of the contestants – Brandon Blackwell, of Imperial College , and Ian Wang, of Corpus Christi – battle it out after both being hailed by fans as the ‘best ever’ contestants go head-to-head. 

Brandon Blackwell, 26, known as the ‘The Scowler’ was joined by team members Richard Brooks, Conor McMeel, and team captain Caleb Rich in Imperial’s all-male team.  

Meanwhile team captain Ian Wang, 21, known as the ‘bouncy’ ‘Grandmaster Wang’ was joined by Alexander Russell, Will Stewart and Alex Gunasekera.   

Ahead of the final, Blackwell, a computing student from Queens, New York, had scored 482 of his team’s 1,170 points so far this series. 

On tonight’s finale he led his team’s win, taking control of the answers despite not being the captain and giving an oustanding performance, with many of his correct answers guesses. 

Meanwhile Wang, an English student from Sale, Greater Manchester, had been responsible for 319 of Corpus Christi’s 1,190. On tonight’s episode he fell notably silent, with his team falling shockingly behind.

But it turned out that Brandon and his team had the advantage this evening, thrashing the other contenders by over 100 points. 

Brandon, who has been branded The Scowler by fans, put in a great performance tonight, answering several of the teams questions, while Wang’s fell short -offering up only a few correct answers.

Fans were shocked by Wang’s performance, with one asking: ‘Wang’s gone all Ronaldo in 98!’, while others asked ‘What’s happened to Wang?’ and ‘Where’s Wang’. 

Imperial College London have won the final of University Challenge against Corpus Christi of Cambridge, scoring 275 points while their opponents managed just 105. The win was led by Brandon Blackwell, 26, known as the ‘The Scowler’, who viewers hailed ‘for president’

Meanwhile ‘Grandmaster’ Wang, an English student from Sale, Greater Manchester, had been responsible for 319 of Corpus Christi’s 1,190. On tonight’s episode he fell notably silent, with his team falling shockingly behind.

Fans were shocked by Wang’s performance, with one asking: ‘Wang’s gone all Ronaldo in 98!’, while others asked ‘What’s happened to Wang?’ and ‘Where’s Wang’.

The programme has come under fire for featuring mainly white, middle class contestants, but the main contestants who have stolen the limelight on this series are both from ethnic minorities.

On Imperial College’s team, with an average age of 23, Richard Brooks from Stockton on Teese studies Mechanical Engineering, Caleb Rich from Lewisham is studying Quantum Dynamics, and Conor McMeel from Dublin is studying Computer Science. 

With an average age of 21 on the losing team, Alexander Russell from Bristol is undergoing studies in Japanese, while Will Stewart from Peterborough is studying the history of art and Alex Gunasekera from Oxford studying chemistry.

Kicking off the first question was Caleb Rich, who correctly answered ‘tea’ when asked what the Tang Dynasty author had correctly written a preparation on the cultivation of, describing it ‘ its liquor is like the sweetest?’. 

Brandon then guessed Rome correctly on the second question, when asked to name the city described by Lord Byron in his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

With the remaining questions in that round going to the Imperial College team, they guessed one correctly and one incorrectly.

Kicking off the second round with Imperial College already 20 points ahead, Corpus Christi of Cambridge jumped in with an incorrect answer, losing 5 points.

On Imperial College’s team, (bottom left to right) with an average age of 23, Richard Brooks from Stockton on Teese studies Mechanical Engineering, Caleb Rich from Lewisham is studying Quantum Dynamics, and Conor McMeel from Dublin is studying Computer Science. With an average age of 21 on the losing team, (top left to right) Alexander Russell from Bristol is undergoing studies in Japanese, while Will Stewart from Peterborough is studying the history of art and Alex Gunasekera from Oxford studying chemistry.

Elsewhere another viewer one added a GIF, adding: ‘Me looking for Wang’. In stark contrast viewers hailed Brandon’s appearance, with many tweeting: ‘Brandon for president!’.

Continuing to fly ahead, Imperial College answered another 7 out of 9 correctly – mainly guessed right by Blackwell – as the losing team looked on, not fast enough to answer the the questions correctly.

Blackwell was seen punching the air, while the usually chirpy Wang gave a frustrated gasp as his team had yet to speak up. 

Moving onto the picture section, both teams – with the scores now  65 to minus 5 – being shown maps.

Imperial College garnered one out of three correct answers while the losing team stayed silent.

Continuing their winning streak, now at 80 to minus 5, Imperial got 4 out of 6 answers correct, while, surprisingly, Corpus Christi didn’t answer one.

Christi finally got one answer correct a third of the way in, getting 3 bonus questions in which racked up their score to 20, while Imperial were on 100.

Continuing their winning streak, now at 80 to minus 5, Imperial (seen) got 4 out of 6 answers correct, while, surprisingly, Corpus Christi didn’t answer one

Blackwell was seen punching the air, while the usually chirpy Wang (seen centre) gave a frustrated gasp as his team had yet to speak up

Imperial continued by getting four correct answers, with Christi catching up by answering four music related questions correctly boosting them to 45.  

Moving onto the next round, Imperial racked up 12 out of 15 answers, while Christi scored just 4, leaving them 70 to 110 after questions on movie stills.

The next round, saw Corpus Christi catch up, scoring fur correct answers while Imperial scored just three, leaving them at 85 to 240 after a bonus round.  

The final round saw Imperial score 5 right, while Christi managed 3, before the gong sounded.  

The gong sounded at 275 to 105, sounding Imperial college into a clear win.

Corpus Christi of Cambridge took the loss in good humour, smiling as Jeremy Paxman acknowledged they made it to the final.

Meanwhile a calm and collected Imperial College hardly broke a sweat as they gave a cool nod to celebrate their win. 

Corpus Christi of Cambridge took the loss in good humour, smiling as Jeremy Paxman (seen) acknowledged they made it to the final

Meanwhile a calm and collected Imperial College hardly broke a sweat as they gave a cool nod to celebrate their win

Sir Andrew John Wiles, right, an English mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, best known for proving Fermat’s Last Theorem, presented the award

Sir Andrew John Wiles, an English mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, best known for proving Fermat’s Last Theorem,  presented the award. 

‘I was really impressed with them, they were really brilliant’, he said.

‘There was a lot of mathematics in there and one question intrigued me “who said Maths is a young man’s game?”‘.

He quipped: ‘I’d say University Challenge is a young man’s game!’, presenting team captain Caleb Rich with the coveted prize.

Fans were shocked by Wang’s performance, with one asking: ‘Wang’s gone all Ronaldo in 98!’ 

Another said: ‘What’s happened to Wang”‘, while another said: ‘Where’s Wang?’.

Elsewhere another one added a GIF, adding: ‘Me looking for Wang’.

In stark contrast viewers hailed Brandon’s appearance, with many tweeting: ‘Brandon for president!’. 

Sir Andrew quipped: ‘I’d say University Challenge is a young man’s game!’, presenting team captain Caleb Rich with the coveted prize.

The winning team are seen admiring their prize after winning the prestigious award

Pictured: The two teams made it to the final round

Brandon combines his studies with being a career quiz show contestant, which he started aged 14, when he won £8,000 ($9, 950) on a teen version of the US quiz show Jeopardy.

The brainbox, who breaks the show’s convention by using only his first name , gained his epithet because of his exaggerated facial expressions. 

Four years later, the ‘grimacing’ and ‘brash’ American bagged £34,600 ($43, 033) on the US version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? and 12 months later, he scooped £272,700 ($219, 255) on Million Second Quiz – bringing his grand total to a whopping £315, 300 ($468,652).   

English graduate Wang had been given the nickname ‘Grandmaster Wang’ by fans after correctly identifying a song by hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. 

Wang has posted songs on YouTube under the name Ghost In A Sundress and now works for the National Audit Office, is self-effacing, but some viewers have called him a ‘twerp’ for boasting about the thought process behind his answers.

At university, he was regarded as a firebrand ‘post-colonial warrior’ who led protests to ‘decolonise’ the English faculty. He has also spoken of the ‘anguish’ of his British-Chinese identity, saying: ‘To be ChineseBritish is to be alienated at some point in your life, especially in a society that prioritises whiteness.’

Despite his success, Mr Wang has railed against University Challenge, saying it rewards ‘the same forms of old, white male hierarchies’. 

Imperial College’s correct questions and answers   

As described by Lord Byron in his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage name each city described (answers in bold):

‘Firstly for five The Niobe of nations! there she stands, Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe, An empty urn within her wither’d hands, Whose holy dust was scattered long ago’. 

Rome 

‘Her palaces are crumbling to the shore, And music meets not always now the ear: Those days are gone, but beauty still is here’.

Venice 

In the 1990s which Italian designer created several pieces using a print based on Warhol’s silkscreens of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean? His sister revised the print as a tribute to him in 2018

Versace 

Which British designer’s works include a corset painted by François Boucher, she has called the 18th century a high point of art and culture 

Vivienne Westwood

The name of which country appears within the name of the following the nobel laureate who wrote six characters in search of an author 

Iran  

The STPH5EHD experiment tested a cooling system in which cooling fluid is pumped without the need for fragile mechanical parts for what subfield of physics do the letters EHD stand here?

Electrohydrodynamics

The ISS-CREAM experiment used a balloon mounted instrument to measure the level of high speed particles travelling through space, what do the letters CR stand for 

Cosmic rays 

What do the letters AR stand?

Augmented reality 

The map showed routes travelled by major leaders and army’s in a particular military campaign

Third Crusade

Similar maps show the major routes travelled by the main leaders and armies during the crusade, what is the number by which the crusade is most commonly known 

Fourth Crusade   

Named after a french mathematician which special case of the mean value theorem states that if a function is differentiable 

Rolle’s theorem 

Give the term from the definition, a military term meaning a junior officer used in this context to refer to groups excluded from structures of power 

 Subaltern

A term referring to reductive and romanticized versions of asian art or culture 

Orientalism 

What letter links these place names? The county town of Tyrone and Rutland?

‘No mathematician should allow himself to forget that mathematics more than any other art or science is a young man’s game’, who wrote these words? 

GH Hardy

A close collaborator of Hardy, which indian mathematician wrote the title character of the man who knew infinity

Ramanujan

A fundamental equation in 1908 describes the fundamental distribution of a population whose members reproduce at random, this was formulated by Hardy and which German scientist? 

Weinberg 

In physics which greek letter is used for Pauli matrice 

Sigma 

Name each country; one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, it’s two neighbours both have populations of over one million

Mongolia 

A landlocked countries with one of Africa’s highest literacy levels?

Zimbabwe

The world’s largest producer of copper?

 Chile 

The 1960s and 80s saw military coups in which country? The former resulting in the execution of the Prime Minister

Turkey 

What term denotes the central component o the three parts of a classical tablature 

 Frieze

What general six letter term refers to sculpture designed to stand out from a flat surface?

Relief 

Often known by a single word title what word does the Oxford companion philosophy describe as a meer 75 pages long?  It was first published in german in 1921 

Tractatus 

 Name the language from the description; A Chadic language which is one of the major of Africa, it has at least 40 million speakers, many of them in Nigeria

Hausa

On road signs in France what seven letter word is used to indicate a cul de sac or blind alley? 

In Passe

Using a commercial aircraft the 1971 Hafele Keating experiment was a test of which effect?

Time Dilation

Created by cosmic rays which second generation layons gave evidence for time dilation when they were detected in large numbers at ground level?

Muon

Who was the first stewart king of Scotland? The grandfather of James I

Robert II 

A shortened term for an insect of the order lepidoptera regarded as a household pest?  

Roach  

What term denotes a non newtonian fluid made of water and cornflour 

Oobleck 

Kapuscinski’s book the The Soccer War contains analysis of conflict between El Salvador and which country?

The 1954 winner The Mandarins concerned with the political climate of post-war France? 

Simone de Beauvoir 

 Which ruler is noted for his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324

What is the two word common name of the name Toxicodendron radicans?

Poison Ivy

Kapuscinski book The Soccer War concerns conflict between El Salvador and which country? 

Honduras 

First performed in St Petersburg in 1888 which orchestral suite is named after the young wife of a sultan?

Scheherazade

Meaning way of the elders which major branch of Buddhism is prevalent in Sri Lanka?

Theravada 

The scriptural canon of theravada is often referred to by the name of which Middle Indo-Aryan language

Pali  

Imperial London incorrect answers

Which city is this poem referring to?

‘See how dearly earn’d Torquato’s fame, And where Alfonso bade his poet dwell’

Incorrect answer – Florence

Correct answer – Ferrara

Middle pointed curvy and linear are alternative names for which type of architecture?

Incorrect: Perpendicular

Cambridge incorrect – Gothic

Which Italian designer made several collaborations with Salvador Dalí, including her 1937 lobster dress worn by Wallis Simpson

Imperial – Ferragamo (Brandon’s first incorrect answer)

Correct – Elsa Schiaparelli

Give the term from the definition, a two word term coined by D.E de Bouve to refer to an internal conflict experienced by colonised people

Imperial – Incorrect answer – Internal racism

Correct – double consciousness

Name of a novel about a man who has sold his soul to the devil, it gave Oscar Wild a synonymous sir name after release from prison

Imperial – incorrect – Life of Faust

Correct – Melmoth the Wanderer

A language with at least three million speakers one of the working languages of Eritrea

Incorrect Amharic

Correct Tigrinya

Imperial A Cushitic language, written using the roman alphabet

Incorrect Amharic

Correct Somali

The Lawrence factor gives the strength of this effect for different relative speed, what fraction does this take for 60% of light speed?

Incorrect – 2.5

Correct 5/4

An adjective meaning cold windswept or devoid of vegetation?

Incorrect Bare

Correct Obelic

A metal socket or pivot attached to the end of a beam or a spindle

Incorrect Pike

Correct Gudgeon

Who wrote the lullaby published in 2016 in the name The Perfect Nanny?

Pass

Correct Leïla Slimani

Who wrote The Lover’ based in pre-war China

Incorrect – Newan

Marguerite Duras

Who was the polish news agency only correspondent in Africa during its emergence from colonial rule

Imperial – incorrect

Ryszard Kapuscinski

 

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge’s correct questions and answers

How many human figures appear in the following two paintings, Henri Matisse 1910 version of The Dance and the Young Ladies of Avignon?

Ten

Released by Peter Gabriel in 1977 as his solo debut which single takes it’s name from an Iron Age Hill Fort?

Solsbury Hill 

Unsquare Dance was written in 1961 by which jazz musician?

Dave Brubeck 

Music round 2 points 

Picture round,  stills from a film + director 

Tokyo Story 

Persona, Bergman

Vertigo , Hitchcock 

Which ruler is noted for his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324?

Mansa Musa

Which philosopher discovered a distinction in primary and secondary qualities in his 1689 work an essay Concerning Human Understanding?

Lock

Who became Curator of Experiments in 1662 to the newly founded Royal Society?

Hooke

Subtitled How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, this work concerns which language known by the language PIE?

Proto-Indo-European 

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is based on a poem by which french author 

Stéphane Mallarmé   

Which Arnold Bax poem was inspired by his visit to a an eponymous castle on the cornish coast?

Tintagel  

Incorrect answers from Cambridge

Which Irish Born philosopher published new experiments about touching the spring of the air and its effect?

Incorrect -Hook

Correct – Boyle

An 1819 poem by Richard Straus concerns which legendary Spanish libertine

Incorrect -Don Quixote

Correct -Don Juan

Middle, pointed, curvy and linear are alternative names for which type of architecture?

Incorrect – Gothic

Correct – Decorated 

Picture round 

First map

 

Cambridge – Incorrect answer – First Crusade

Correct answer Third Crusade

Second map

 

Imperial – incorrect answer – eighth crusade

Correct – seventh crusade

Third map

 

Imperial – incorrect answer – Second crusade

Correct answer – First crusade

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