January 31 saw the University of Edinburgh succeed into the second round of University Challenge quarter finals after beating Trinity College, Cambridge with a lead of 135 points.
The Edinburgh team’s first round of quarter finals was poised to be an exciting and closely fought affair against the Trinity team, who have so far defeated Durham University and St Hilda’s Oxford, gaining an impressive 425 points whilst doing so.
However, Edinburgh have scored a total of 455 points in their first two rounds, one of the highest in the competition.
The University of Edinburgh team achieved the highest score of the first round when they saw off Peterhouse, Cambridge, and then successfully defeated Bristol University in the second round.
Team captain Rishi Sundar, a computational physicist, won the first question on the topic of literature for ten points, promptly placing Edinburgh in the lead.
Karunaratne maintained this by correctly answering the second question, in identifying the chemical element in thin wafers which is used to manufacture semiconducting materials, the answer being silicone.
The University of Edinburgh team gained a total of 115 points before Trinity College, Cambridge answered their first question correctly. Upon their first correct answer, host Jeremy Paxman proceeded to joke, ‘You’re awake?’.
Spurred on by their first points, the Trinity team continued to provide correct answers, closing the gap between Edinburgh and Trinity to just under 100 points.
The Edinburgh team soon bounced back after Thomas correctly identified the definition of a nuclear family, pushing the difference in points back to over 100.
However, the Edinburgh team ironically made one significant mistake on a question about Scotland.
Paxman began the question by saying,
“Sharing its name with a university founded in 1967…”
At this point, Thomas confidently interrupted him, answering “Strathclyde”.
Unfortunately, this was not the correct answer, as the University of Strathclyde was founded in 1964.
Then, Brekke from Trinity buzzed in with the correct answer, Stirling.
The University of Edinburgh team only needs one more win to qualify for the semi-finals. With the alumni team winning the Christmas competition, this team has the potential to follow suit and bring the trophy home? University Challenge airs every Monday on BBC2 at 8:30pm.
Image courtesy of BBC iPlayer