Talk:Senior Wrangler (University of Cambridge)

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Proxime Accessit[edit]

The table seems to be in contention with Cambridge usage, as in Venn's listing of graduates of the University, in that in numbering of the Wranglers the size of a bracketed group was taken into account; thus, in 1887, when four candidates were bracketed Senior Wrangler, the next was Fifth Wrangler, not Second Wrangler. There is, of course, a term that covers the Wrangler(s) coming next after the Senior Wrangler(s) that would certainly be used in other circumstances: Proxime Accessit. Why not use it?

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This Henry Goulburn is the father of the 2nd Wrangler of 1835 - [1]. Can someone fix this? Occuli (talk) 19:54, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Hallifax in 1754[edit]

s:Hallifax, Samuel (DNB00) actually says he was third Wrangler. Charles Matthews (talk) 18:27, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

I just checked Venn and it says he graduated BA in 1754, but doesn't list him as a wrangler at all. Very strange. -- Nicholas Jackson (talk) 23:00, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The natural source to check would be the Historical Register, which the article already uses as a reference. On page 446 of the book (page 470 of the 43MB PDF linked from the article) there is an explanatory footnote: "Moved up to 2nd; he was 3rd on the list as it stood before the 'honorary optimes' were added.". The honorary optimes are further discussed on pages 350-351 (374-375 of the PDF); Christopher Wordsworth's Scholae Academicae has an appendix on them. Joseph Myers (talk) 00:49, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Fawcett in 1890[edit]

Should we put that Phillipa Fawcett ranked "ahead of the Senior Wrangler" within the 1890 entry instead of the easily-overlooked footnote? (talk) 02:49, 17 January 2010 (UTC) Maureen Craig

--Okay, I just added it.

FA Review[edit]

This doe not look like a featured list. It has tags, and is not complete. I appreciate the difficulties in finding the more recent ones, but perhaps it would be better to omit those than cannot be properly sourced. It has lost some of the compact appeal of the version that was promoted. Jamesx12345 (talk) 21:08, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. The older version you linked to was well-written and compact, whereas the current version has since acquired lots of extraneous stuff that probably shouldn't be here. I have particular misgivings about the list of post-1909 Senior Wranglers - it's incomplete and in many cases unsourced. Picking one example at random, that of Brian Molony (1914), we find the following remark:
According to the Wikipedia article Senior Wrangler (University of Cambridge) accessed 21 Oct 2012, Brian Molony was the Senior Wrangler (i.e. top mathematical scholar of the University) in 1914. The only source quoted by Wikipedia is this Saxon Lodge website. The claim is difficult to verify, because the University ceased publishing the rankings of the Mathematical Tripos in 1910.
The Molony reference goes to 'CBM' - what does that stand for?Budapesthappy (talk) 10:58, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I think this is entirely salvageable, though, so let's discuss how. I'm tempted to suggest the deletion of that entire post-1909 section, or at the very least splitting it off into a separate article of some sort. -- Nicholas Jackson (talk) 22:20, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
One idea might be to remove the featured list tag, given the non-completeness. The Senior Wrangler meme continues to thrive, so the post-1909 section should remain, albeit to contain names that are well sourced, and perhaps an occasional tagged one where reasonable hope exists of finding a better source. Inevitably the post-1909 list will be incomplete. That aside, the present version stands up well in terms of writing quality and organisation.Budapesthappy (talk) 10:58, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I think this is an excellent article, which deserves to contain all of its current contents, but that it is not properly categorisable as a 'list' article.Caiuswizard (talk) 11:12, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
Agreed; superb article. One idea might be to extract the 1748-1909 list and make it into a separate list page (with featured status), entitled something like List of Senior Wranglers (Cambridge), 1748-1909. Leave the 'since 1910' list in the section it's in at the moment. Might that satisfy everyone? The lede already mentions a good number of pre-1910 Senior Wranglers. I'd also be okay with Budapesthappy's suggestion.Mhairis (talk) 18:04, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
At the time this article got featured list status, it was called something like List of Wranglers (University of Cambridge) and only consisted of a relatively short introductory section followed by the 1748-1909 list. Then the introductory section got expanded and people started adding in post-1910 wranglers, and at some point it got renamed to Senior Wrangler (University of Cambridge) because it had turned into an article by that stage.
So, following on from Mhairis' suggestion, given that the 1748-1909 list was a featured list, and given that there's still a well-sourced, complete list in here (if we discount the rather patchy and poorly-sourced post-1910 section), how about we take out almost all of the (well-sourced) historical material and combine it with the Wrangler (University of Cambridge) article (there's a lot of overlap anyway), keep the well-sourced pre-1910 list and rename it to List of Senior Wranglers (University of Cambridge), 1748-1909, and either put the incomplete post-1910 list into a separate article (List of Senior Wranglers (University of Cambridge) since 1910), or dump it entirely (the lack of official recognition of post-1910 Senior Wranglers by the University could put us close to WP:OR territory if we're not careful). -- Nicholas Jackson (talk) 06:44, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
OR could feasibly be invoked with regard to the 1748-1909 list too (verifiability does not preclude it), but I think we should be lenient on this for both periods. I also think that if there's a case for a list of Senior Wranglers, there's also a case for an article on them. It's a good article as it stands, with sufficient well-sourced content outside of the list sections, and sufficient importance of topic, to justify its existence; it's just in need of a tweak because it's trying to do two jobs and there's a justified question mark over its 'featured list' status. The Wrangler article could certainly do with an overhaul. I'm sure some readers wonder why on earth the word 'wrangler' is used.Caiuswizard (talk) 22:42, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
I think the 1748-1909 list is safe from WP:OR, as it's all taken from John Venn's Alumni Cantabrigienses, which surely counts as a "reliable, published source". The citations for many of the post-1909 Senior Wranglers are things like self-published websites, individual academics' CVs and so forth, which aren't really on the same level.
I certainly agree that we should have an article on Wranglers, but there already is one (Wrangler (University of Cambridge)) and it contains pretty much all of the non-list content of this article. So I guess we could either merge everything into a single article, or keep them separate. If we're going to do the latter (which at the moment is my preferred option, although I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise) then I think we should delete most of the duplicated content from this article (leaving just a short introductory section), and rename it back to something like List of Senior Wranglers (University of Cambridge). I'm also slightly in favour of splitting the (complete, well-cited) pre-1910 list and the (incomplete, less well-cited) post-1909 list into separate articles, but again am open to being convinced otherwise. -- Nicholas Jackson (talk) 06:26, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I propose that we have three articles: a list of 1748-1909 SWs and 2Ws, an article on Ws, and an article on SWs. Specifically SW material should be removed from the W article, which in any case needs an overhaul. If one of W and SW is not up to scratch at the moment, it's W. The category of SW is sufficiently notable to have its own (non-list) article. The incompleteness and lower cite quality of the post-1909 list makes it ineligible for featured list status, but I think it's fine to leave it in SW, improved where possible and pruned where appropriate.Elephantwood (talk) 10:45, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I think three articles is the way to go, with the long list called List of Senior Wranglers and Second Wranglers (University of Cambridge). Some of the material in Warwick looks very suitable for the W article, including on the history of the use of Newton's Principia at Cambridge.Mhairis (talk) 07:45, 24 April 2013 (UTC)


How about some more details on the history? Today's 9am balcony ritual started in the 1860s. Before then, the results were put up on a pillar. Can someone help with this?Mhairis (talk) 18:04, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

My best estimate of when the lists started to be read is 1863, but citing such a date in a proper way is another matter. Warwick (page 202, footnote 57) gives evidence of the lists being posted in 1861 but read by 1865, while Everett (available from Google Books, and quoted in the History of the University, volume 3, pages 179-181) gives an account of the lists being read in a year that may be deduced to be 1863 (and the History of the University makes that deduction). In further support of the 1863 date, Romilly's diary (MS Add 6841) for Fri 30 Jan 1863 says "Walk to Sen. H. to hear the Honors published at 9 o'cl. Profusions of lists were showered from the galleries & there was great pushing & hustling." while for Fri 24 Jan 1862 (MS Add 6840.2) it does not mention how published but says "the publishg of the List is now at 9 (not as of old at 8)". (I haven't checked if either or both of those entries is included in the published extracts from Romilly's diary; the quotes there are from my notes from examining the manuscript diaries when investigating this question a few years ago.) Joseph Myers (talk) 19:21, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks - great stuff. Do you know when the hat-tipping started? One of the 1970s SWs heard the news on a postcard from his tutor. Mhairis (talk) 07:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I've checked my notes for each year I've been to the reading (1998 onwards) but when I noted the identity of the Senior Wrangler I didn't generally note anything about whether / how this was indicated in the ceremony. So I don't have anything to give information about earlier dates than those (2004, 2005) in the discussion at Talk:Wrangler (University of Cambridge)#Doffing Caps - and in any case, nothing that could be cited as a published reliable source at all. (I do remember the 1999 reading of the Part III list announcing Ben Green's result along the lines of "with distinction magna cum laude".) Joseph Myers (talk) 10:15, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Women, and Old and New Colleges[edit]

A few years ago a woman came second, but since 1909 has a woman ever been Senior Wrangler? And has a Senior Wrangler ever come from a 'new' college, or have they all been at 'old' colleges, or, in the case of at least one person (maybe exactly one), non-collegiate? Wellybootsole (talk) 18:50, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

A woman at Churchill, which is a new college, was Second Wrangler in 2010. The two people I know who are mines of information about Senior Wranglers say they are unaware of any woman who came first, other than Philippa Fawcett, but that's as far as they will go. If a woman ever did, she and everyone who knew must have kept the news remarkably quiet. Budapesthappy (talk) 07:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Answering my own question here - Ruth Hendry was Senior Wrangler in 1992. She may be the only woman Senior Wrangler ever.Wellybootsole (talk) 16:36, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Better sources for these Senior Wranglers since 1909?[edit]

The following people have been Senior Wranglers since 1909, but sufficiently reliable sources have not yet been found to justify their inclusion in the main article. Anyone who finds such sources, please tell us here and edit the main article accordingly. Thanks!

Year Senior Wrangler College
194? Hobson, DavidDavid Hobson[1] Christ's
194? Peter Swinnerton-Dyer[2] Trinity
1952 Polkinghorne, JohnJohn Polkinghorne Trinity
195? Hall, MichaelMichael Hall[3] Trinity
196? Myerscough, ColinColin Myerscough[4] Churchill
1977 Moody, GlynGlyn Moody[5][6] Trinity
1982 Christopher Budd[7] St John's
1990 Buzzard, KevinKevin Buzzard[8] Trinity
1992 Ruth Hendry [9] Queens'
1993 Dowker, IanIan Dowker Trinity
1996 Essex, David W.David W. Essex[10] Trinity
1997 Barnard, Alexander G.Alexander G. Barnard Trinity
1998 Green, Ben JosephBen Joseph Green[11] Trinity
1999 Paul Russell Peterhouse
2002 Jeremy Young Trinity
2003 Barnet-Lamb, ThomasThomas Barnet-Lamb[12] Trinity
2004 David Loeffler[13] Trinity
2005 Timothy Austin[14] Trinity
2010 Zihan Hans Liu[15] Trinity
  1. ^ "David Hobson: senior partner of Coopers & Lybrand (obituary)". The Times. Retrieved 2011-01-06. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Sir Peter is Unhorsed". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2011-12-11. 
  3. ^ "F M Hall (1935–2005) (obituary)". Shrewsbury School. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  4. ^ "University Awards as listed on the Honours Boards in the Queen's Hall". Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Seven things people didn't know about me". Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  6. ^ "(correction by author)". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  7. ^ "Chris Budd". Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  8. ^ "The Senior Wrangler Chat Thread". Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  9. ^ "Ruth Hendry". Retrieved 2013-25-08. 
  10. ^ "The Cambridge IA Mathematical Tripos". Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  11. ^ "Mathematical biography of Ben Green". Clay Mathematics Institute. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  12. ^ "The 46th International Mathematical Olympiad in Mexico". Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  13. ^ "David Loeffler". Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  14. ^ "Getting a First...". Retrieved 2011-02-013. 
  15. ^ "Zihan Hans Liu". Institute of International Education. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 

Other names which have been suggested (with sufficient probability of correctness to justify mention here) include:

Caiuswizard (talk) 21:01, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Added Colin Myerscough. Deftlymagdalene (talk) 15:36, 14 December 2013 (UTC)