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Party Ideas For Math Nerds? 529

Posted by kdawson
from the three-piece-suits dept.
rbf writes "A girl I like at my university, a graduate student in mathematics, will be having a birthday next month. She had thought of throwing a nerd-themed party — show up with tape on your glasses, pants hiked up, etc. However, she decided against it because most of her friends are math nerds and wouldn't even have to dress up! So my question for the community is: What fun party ideas would appeal to a group of mostly math-major nerds?"
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Party Ideas For Math Nerds?

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  • Gambling! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PotatoHead (12771) <dougNO@SPAMopengeek.org> on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:35AM (#23212062) Homepage Journal
    Set up a mini-casino and have some games running. Be creative with the prizes, and hand everybody their chips at the door.

  • Ugly Sweater Party (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ListenToBlackSabbath (833563) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:37AM (#23212068)
    Everyone comes to the party with the ugliest sweater that they own. At the end of the night, everyone votes for the person with the ugliest sweater at the party.
  • Go futuristic! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Albert Sandberg (315235) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:42AM (#23212100) Homepage
    One of the funnier party themes I heard of (not one that I attended unfortually) was one where they had a futuristic theme. They dressed up in black and silver and stuff like that, call it "50 years from now" or something. A costume party with a theme!
    And with all you nerds, I think it'll be very creative too with smashed motherboards and diods :-)
  • Cookies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AceJohnny (253840) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eyatnegralj'> on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:43AM (#23212102) Journal
    Bring fractal cookies [evilmadscientist.com].

    Also, try asking on the XKCD forums [xkcd.com]. They're slightly higher-brow than here, judging by the comments I see for now ;)
  • Game parties. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DeadDecoy (877617) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:45AM (#23212118)
    As a self-admitted nerd, most of the fun parties I've been to were centered around games: Smash Bros, Halo, Guitar Hero, Chez Geek, Murder Mystery, Pictionary, Settlers, etc. Most of the mediocre parties I've been to involved becoming inebriated and listening to bad music. Good parties should foster social experiences that are fun. For me, games have filled that role more adequately than other things because they give me a common topic with which to start conversations and drift off into random socio-political-theoretical-conversations. Games also tend to be effective, over say an outing like hiking, because they have no physical requirements and appeal to a more general audience. But, then again, this all depends on what appeals to your friends. I've had friends, for whom playing games was childish and annoying (because they thought they sucked at it). Just try to find the appropriate something that gets people to open up to strangers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:58AM (#23212200)
    You start at 1 and continue listing off numbers, however when you reach a number with a 7 in it (7, 17, etc..), a multiple of 7 (49, 24, etc..), or a double (11, 22, 33, etc..) then you must say "Buzz", and the direction you were going in reverses. If you screw up then you must drink, and once someone screws up you restart at 1. You can go in either direction from the start, however if both people on either side say 2, both drink.

    If you get into the higher numbers and reach a number that qualifies for more than one of the above rules (70: multiple of 7 and has a 7 in it), you must say "Bizz Buzz". If you reach 77 then since it qualifies for all 3 rules, you must say "Bizz Buzz Bazz".

    Protip: If you make it above a number that meets all 3 rules, start over because you have missed the point of a drinking game.
  • Good Party (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Plautius (626357) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:07AM (#23212236)
    I was at a pretty good nerd party last weekend. It had three rooms and a porch. First room had a keg and a bar (pretty much a given). Second room had a Wii with rockband and a bunch of couches for overservers. Third room had a DJ playing loud rap music for some drunkin bump and grind. The porch was for the philosophy majors to smoke cigarettes and bitch about how boring the math majors were. YMMV. I had fun though
  • Re:Go futuristic! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:14AM (#23212264)
    Along the same lines, we once had a Superhero party using a _very_ broad definition of "superhero". I remember one person came dressed as "Unit Vector Man"--basically he wore a shirt with a large i-hat symbol drawn on it, and a triangle-shaped hat so that he was shaped like an arrow pointing upward (when standing).

    Apart from the costumes it was like any other party: dancing, drinking, talking, etc. But the silly costumes were great conversation starters.
  • Darts + CS games (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:14AM (#23212268) Homepage
    A game I played in an archery class with a fellow computer science geek might be adapted to suit...

    First player launches a projectile toward a bulls-eye target. Be it a dart, arrow, bean bag, whatever. The second player does the same, and has to closely justify the result. Things like symmetry over a vertical line, rotation, translation, etc. are valid options for justification. Be creative!

    The first player goes again, and the second player follows, this time using the same operation. It's followed by a third round, again using the same round.

    After retrieving the darts/arrows/beanbags/whatever, the players switch places, and play again. See who's the best at justifying their shots.

    A CS variation: Shoot all three projectiles BEFORE declaring an operation. Then figure out the operation that gets the targets valid using the fewest machine instructions.

    That probably doesn't make much sense, but whaddya expect for 3 AM?
  • by Chris Shannon (897827) <chris.shannon@gmail.com> on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:23AM (#23212304) Homepage

    Challenge your friends to build this self supporting structure [5min.com]. Hofstadter would call it a strange loop. Think of how this loop in concept is similar to other concepts involving loops, such as logic or consciousness.

    Work out the Birthday problem [wikipedia.org] for your group. Calculate the probability that some pair of the guests will have the same birthday, then determine if it's true.

  • Spivak Drinking game (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:23AM (#23212312)
    take a math text you all like and appreciate, then have a game where you take turns flipping to a page with a theorem and proof, and if you fail to prove the theorem (or do so incorrectly) before half of the other participants do, you have to drink.

    if you have the right mix, it works, elsewise folks just wind up doodling and drinking
  • paulcon (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paulcon (1279996) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:26AM (#23212324)
    i am a graduate student in an applied math program. we typically get enough math during the day (and night before deadlines). when we party, it's usually just a regular party with food, alcohol, and music - like "everyone else". often the conversation turns to work, because that's common ground. however, i did through a party on my 10,000th day of life, because anniversaries of birth get boring. (for those of you who don't want to count, that's about twenty-seven and a half years.)
  • -ism party (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jessiek (1279998) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @03:30AM (#23212342)
    I had good luck with a very geeky crowd by hosting an -ism party. everyone had to figure out a costume idea and/or attitude to represent an -ism. some costumes that came were plagiarism, modernism, dudeism, chauvinism, feminism, egoism, sadism, and cartesianism.
  • Halfway to the Haunt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jack Schitt (649756) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @04:44AM (#23212630)
    A friend of mine averaged two Halloween parties a year. The date of the first one in any given year was usually about half way to Halloween, usually at the end of April. The invitations always called it "Halfway to the Haunt". The idea is that finding a decent costume for a Halloween party in October is easy. Doing so in April is, in fact, quite difficult. It's unexpected, it gets people interested, and it gives nerds an uncommon challenge. The conversation describing what you're doing that particular day is always a little interesting as well: "Sorry, I'm busy on Saturday. Going to a Halloween party." "Oh ok... wait, what?" Seems to fit the bill nicely.
  • by HighPerformanceCoder (931732) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @05:03AM (#23212690)
    A popular one at Physics parties was making ice cream from liquid nitrogen.
  • by BaronVW (890900) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @05:18AM (#23212730)

    This is my first post on Slashdot. Normally I don't have anything useful to say (smarter faster posters seem abundant), but I think here I can step up.

    Comatose51 (687974) got very close.

      Aside from having thrown a lot of very successful parties in my life (even making the news papers), I formed www.HIKEtheGEEK.com a few years ago. Most of the hikers are indeed mathematicians, physicists, and other technically minded people...we also have an amazing geek-girl to geek-guy ratio, which is very cool.

    Let's ignore that they are mathematicians, and just recognize they are smart. Smart people are not impressed by shinny objects and noise makers.

    Here are some ideas:

    - Play music that people will get a kick out of, like the movie soundtrack to a well known or fun movie. Forrest Gump has a very cool sound track for example. It often surprised people when they realize how much music was in that movie. But camp movies can work also.

    - Fondue - It involves very hot liquids, and experimentation. The more pots the better. Some can be wine based, others chocolate, etc. It ain't just for the 70s any more.

    - Speaking of wine, don't bring beer. Beer is boring...ask people to bring something small, tasty, and interesting. Most geeks don't drink, but if the do, they tend to want to experience something original.

    - Invite non-geeks, and invite as many women as you can... Women are naturally social, it is simply wonderful how a well balanced party will just flow.

    - Ask everyone to dress nicely. This is rarely done now-a-days. But it is really cool to see your friends at their best, or at the very least, a great chance for black-mail material for later.

    - Ask everyone to bring a fav game. Cheap Ass Games is a good example. But don't start games until later. Apples to Apples is another great party game for smart people.

    - Show a movie later in the evening, something fun most people would not have seen. Either really old, or really new. (I'm planning on Surfwise next for example).

    - Get the invites out early, invite all people in person (on the phone is fine). Do not invite people just by email.
    - Hire someone, or get some friends to agree before hand to help clean up.

    - Lastly, host the party. This is worth a thousand words on its own, but to be brief, a host is an active job, make sure people meet each other. Introduce people by name, and by someone that others might think is interesting. Even if you don't know someone, you can still make a statement, for example "Terry, meet Pat, Pat meet Terry. Terry wears white vans to parties, while Pat knows how to make the colour red *work*"
  • Re:Three things. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qbzzt (11136) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @05:19AM (#23212742)
    Married 7.5 years, 4 kids. The simple answer is "it depends". There is a lot of individual variation.

    However, romantic attraction is not everything. For a long term relationship, it is necessary but not sufficient. Being useful and caring about her happiness are also necessary. If your goal is long term, helping her throw the party is a good thing.

    If your goal is short term only, I don't have the experience to comment. Nor do I want it.
  • Theory and Practice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msgmonkey (599753) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @06:46AM (#23213028)
    Like any discipline you have to put the theory into practice. Since we like car analogies here on /. you would n't expect to read a manual on driving and then jump into a car and ride off into the sunset.

    Guys who are awkward around women summon up the courage to make an approach, get shot down and then beat them selves up and dwell on the bad experience. If you read the material available you'ill realise why you got shot down and what makes a woman tick.

    You should read all the material you can get your hands on and improve yourself and start to feel good about yourself as women can spot low self esteem a mile off. Read DeAngelo, Mystery, etc, put the effort in, find out what works for you formulate your own style and get rid of your bad habits.

    It's not difficult but it DOES require effort, people who are lazy and then feel sorry for themselves should not expect any sympathy.
  • Re:Three things. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DudeTheMath (522264) on Sunday April 27, 2008 @02:59PM (#23216088) Homepage

    Helping her throw a party wont impress her. It will only make her less attracted to you romantically.
    Friend in HS was trying to plan a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend. Since he was also a good friend of mine, she asked me to help. Long story short, within two weeks we were dating, and, oh yeah, everybody enjoyed the party, including the guy she'd dumped.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 27, 2008 @04:59PM (#23216986)
    "Speaking of wine, don't bring beer. Beer is boring..."

    I'm a beer geek. If beer is boring, then maybe it is time to try some new beer. I highly recommend beeradvocate.com for reviews of a large number of beers.

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