It’s finals week at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Luke told us about all the extra precautions that his professors are taking to prevent cheating. Ariel laughed. Apparently, the math professors don’t take any precautions. It’s nearly impossible to cheat on a proofs final. The exam has ten problems. Each problem takes about a page to “solve” and doesn’t involve numbers. Copying isn’t an issue because no one knows who might actually be getting the problem correct. Talking isn’t an issue because again—no one would know if they were doing it right. Besides if you want to finish in time there’s no time to share answers. So Ariel’s professor actually leaves the room and congregates in the hall with other profs and they chat. Students come and go from the exam room. Some walk the halls taking deep breaths, they open their backpacks and gulp from bottles of Pepto-Bismal, they talk to themselves, they track down the Prof if they have a question, and some even go to the bathroom and ritually wash their hands after every couple of problems.
The boys and I are beginning to think that math really isn’t a major, but more of a club for smart people with social issues. (Ariel’s offended, but she doesn’t necessarily disagree.)