2017 WAO: Science Feedback Thread

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2017 WAO: Science Feedback Thread

Post by Fucitol » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:12 pm

This is a thread for the discussion of the Science questions for WAO.

I edited the Chemistry, Physics, and Other Science as well as the Bio tossup on transplants.

I would like to thank Jason and Jonathan for editing the Bio as well as for some comments on submissions, especially the CS.

I would also like to extend special thanks to Seth Teitler for playtesting a lot of the Physics and Math.

This was my first time being solely in charge of most of the science for a tournament without any higher Science editor, so I would appreciate any feedback about overarching thematic/distribution** issues as well as with specific factual issues.

**I am aware there was a lot of Astronomy in this tournament. This was equal parts submission distribution and editor discretion.

I tried to add more "real life application" and engineering/laboratory application questions (cf. elasticity, fuel cells, orgo lab heating bonus, resistors, other clues which I added to submissions, etc) and I am curious to know if that was noticed and how it was received.

There were some issues brought to my attention during the tournament which I have since fixed:

In the "elasticity" TU, I have a clue which describes the derivation of Euler and Kirchoff elastic curve, but the derivation also considers the torsion that the curves are under to derive the elasticity. I have mentioned the torsion as part of the derivation to prevent future confusion.

In the bonus on Hartree-Fock methods, the third part's description of photoelectron spectroscopy lies somewhere between "technically correct, but useless" and "absolutely false." That definition has been fixed.

I flipped the temporal relationship between the Arrhenius equation and Eyring equation.
Last edited by Fucitol on Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by Ewan MacAulay » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:31 pm

I was going to post all the things I negged and complain that they were bad clues, though upon reading through the set I'm realising that I'm just bad at listening.

This was a pretty solid set on the bits of science that I cared about - nice job finding fresh leadins for acetic acid and formaldehyde.

Couple of quibbles: the Quantum Dots bonus set is brutal. I sat through way too many lectures on QD synthesis last year and could have pulled Stranski-Krastanov growth but still sat there like an idiot and said CVD for the last part - though it was late in the day so I may be biased.

Bromine water seemed to be dropped a bit early in that tossup.

I quite enjoyed the practical chemistry bonuses - though they're hard to answer if you've never performed the exact procedures mentioned. The hydrazine workup part probs could have used another clue.

Aidan Mehigan and I both tried to neg the Born tossup with Bloch on the periodicity clue (only I succeeded) so that could maybe use a bit of rewording?

But yeah, thoroughly enjoyable set of science questions - thanks for writing
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by Fucitol » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:48 pm

Ewan MacAulay wrote:Couple of quibbles: the Quantum Dots bonus set is brutal. I sat through way too many lectures on QD synthesis last year and could have pulled Stranski-Krastanov growth but still sat there like an idiot and said CVD for the last part - though it was late in the day so I may be biased.
Interesting... That was my original hard part, but I thought epitaxy would be easier to pull that some doubly eponymous growth mode.
Ewan MacAulay wrote:Bromine water seemed to be dropped a bit early in that tossup.
I had originally removed this from the submission, but after playtesting (unrelated) questions with Seth, I realized I had been making some brutal powermarkings and removing useful clues that I thought were famous from personal experience, so I decided to add that back in. Just to clarify, you mean the part about "its namesake water" not the clue about reducing certain types of sugars, right?

Definitely agree with the rest of your comments and I'll make some changes accordingly.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by otsasonr » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:42 pm

The tossup on resistors contains a first line which also applies to a DC brushed motor. This should be fixed.

Also, the beginning of the elasticity tossup seemed to refer to a wing as something with the "aeroelastic" property, which is at best an abuse of language. "Aeroelastic" refers to a set of phenomena associated with an elastic structure interacting with a flow. This caused me to get confused and buzz in to say "the property of being a wing", which was not great. That being said, I continue to endorse any and all tossups which use the theory of aeroelasticity for clues.
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by Fucitol » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:36 pm

otsasonr wrote:The tossup on resistors contains a first line which also applies to a DC brushed motor. This should be fixed.

Also, the beginning of the elasticity tossup seemed to refer to a wing as something with the "aeroelastic" property, which is at best an abuse of language. "Aeroelastic" refers to a set of phenomena associated with an elastic structure interacting with a flow. This caused me to get confused and buzz in to say "the property of being a wing", which was not great. That being said, I continue to endorse any and all tossups which use the theory of aeroelasticity for clues.
Resistor TU has been fixed. FWIW, when googling the clue, I could only find the DC brushed motors when I added in motor to the search term. The clue itself did not turn up anything motor-related for at least a page of results.

I will rephrase the elasticity tossup again to make it more clear that I want the property of the material in an aerodynamic flow that necessitates it being analyzed in that way. Btw, It's not just wings that have aeroelastic properties. This is the kind of flutter that made me use that clue as my leadin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by George Corfield » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:49 pm

Just a few thoughts about the (mostly excellent) biology questions:

Despite being able to identify what most of the clues were referring to, the chemotherapy tossup threw me for a while because of a slightly odd choice of pronoun. Also, the clue which presumably is referring to methotrexate as the inhibitor of DHFR is confusing as methotrexate has a number of uses outside chemotherapy, most notably as a DMARD. Also there are other inhibitors of (bacterial) DHFR which function as antibiotics, such as trimethoprim.

A section of the serotonin question reads: "The enzymes TPH1 and TPH2 produce this compound in the pineal gland. This molecule, which is metabolized in the liver by monoamine oxidase A is also produced in the Raphe nuclei by hydrolyzing tryptophan". TPH1/2 produce 5-hydroxytryptophan from tryptophan, which is then converted to serotonin. This wouldn't be so much of a problem except that serotonin is subsequently used to make melatonin, which is a much more noted role of the pineal gland and therefore equally correct. MAO-A also catalyses the breakdown of a lot of the amine neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, melatonin etc...), and I'm not sure its technically correct to say that serotonin is produced by hydrolyzing tryptophan.

Also, Ivacaftor is far too well known to be the opening word of a CF tossup at this difficulty.
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by otsasonr » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:33 pm

Eared Pitta wrote:
otsasonr wrote:The tossup on resistors contains a first line which also applies to a DC brushed motor. This should be fixed.

Also, the beginning of the elasticity tossup seemed to refer to a wing as something with the "aeroelastic" property, which is at best an abuse of language. "Aeroelastic" refers to a set of phenomena associated with an elastic structure interacting with a flow. This caused me to get confused and buzz in to say "the property of being a wing", which was not great. That being said, I continue to endorse any and all tossups which use the theory of aeroelasticity for clues.
Resistor TU has been fixed. FWIW, when googling the clue, I could only find the DC brushed motors when I added in motor to the search term. The clue itself did not turn up anything motor-related for at least a page of results.

I will rephrase the elasticity tossup again to make it more clear that I want the property of the material in an aerodynamic flow that necessitates it being analyzed in that way. Btw, It's not just wings that have aeroelastic properties. This is the kind of flutter that made me use that clue as my leadin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw
Oh absolutely. I'm glad that knowledge of the true cause of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge has spread outside of the small group of people I once made suffer through a whole tossup on aeroelastic flutter.
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Re: Science Feedback Thread

Post by touchpack » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:41 am

This set was really, really good considering the circumstances surrounding its creation. I'm very impressed that James and Jonathan were able to put together a solid-quality set despite having no editing experience at this level and having limited knowledge of some of the subject matter. My only overarching complaint about the set is at times it was way too easy to "fake" from the packet archive, but that's totally to be expected considering the circumstances--when you don't know a subject well it takes a LOT of work/research to try and figure out what scientists in that field actually care about. Anyway, it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the set (except for that arsenic tossup, fuck that noise)


Now, because you asked for it and there are future mirrors, some minutiae!

-The PG for the "d-x-squared-minus-y-squared" orbital in the linear tossup is incorrect
-Saying "the 2D version of this system" and then saying a bunch of stat mech things is not ideal for an Ising model TU
-Contra Ewan, I think bromine water was ok. I had seen it before but I couldn't pull it during the game.
-The sentence in the glycosylation tossup about GPI anchors was really confusing, since it doesn't actually refer to the glycosylation itself, but the translocation of the sugar into the ER, which is a pre-requisite for glycosylation. My moderator was nice enough to recognize that I knew exactly what was going on and gave me points, but most moderators aren't going to know to do that given the current answerline instructions.
-the diacetylmorphine clue in the acetic acid tossup was quite confusing--from a structural standpoint, the right answer based on that clue is "ethanal," and from a reactivity standpoint, any acetic acid chloride derivative (like acetic anhydride) is also a correct answer. (In fact, a quick google search reveals multiple sources in the top results that list acetic anhydride, and NOT acetic acid, as the correct answer to this question.) I remember Adam and I were both sitting confused as to what to say before it went to Cativa chemistry.
-the clues in the uniqueness tossup about electrostatics were pretty confusing to me--I think it would help to explicitly mention the "uniqueness theorem" for the Poisson equation.
-the bonus part on "electrides" should also accept "solvated electrons." Also, this bonus blatantly has no easy part.
-Contra Ewan, I would have gotten the MBE bonus part (I learned about it from Aaron Rosenberg). By contrast, if you had asked for S-K growth it would have been a coin flip for me between that and Frank-van der Merwe (there's a third eponymous one too whose name I don't remember right now). If you want to make it easier though, mentioning CVD in the bonus part would probably be helpful.
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