Understanding God’s Particle, The Z Score And The 3 R-s
I was in my ‘Hansi putuwa’ giving vent to my serendipitous thoughts – the Higgs-Boson (God Particle theory) over which Prof. Carlo Fonseka and Nalin de Silva are splitting hairs, on what, we don’t know. De Silva is a PhD in theoretical physics from the Sussex University although he now tends to ignore all such ‘Judeo-Christian’ qualifications. Fonseka needs no introduction. Very many people confess their ignorance on what on earth they are talking about but say it is quite interesting and consider them great intellectuals and thinkers.
This is one wonderful aspect about science. If you become an authority on what no one would ever understand, then you become a great thinker, perhaps a genius. More than five decades ago when we were dissecting beautiful flowers and ugly frogs at University of Ceylon’s Thurstan Road labs for no apparent purpose, I was told by a colleague that Bertrand Russell’s Principia Mathematica has been read only by about 30 mathematicians and only 6 were able to understand it. Naturally everyone thought Russell was a great mathematician and a genius at that. Certainly we concede that Russell deserved all such encomiums (Who were we to contest Bertrand Russell?) although we did not have the foggiest idea what it was all about.
All these abstruse thoughts came to our mind when we were thinking about the Z Score which most of you would consider a mundane matter. Permit us to correct you. The Z Score may be a matter of life and death to poor AL students but from a scientific point of view it is as complex a problem as the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle, Stephen Hawkins’s radiation from Black Holes or Richard Dawkins evolutionary mutations. Consider the procedure of formulating the Z Score.
First the paper is marked in the way it has been done over centuries and then come the formulation of the Z Score which the whiz Tuition Master, Bandula Goonewardene himself admitted that he knows nothing about. Forget the other minister Sooty Banda D, he studied not statistics at P’deniya and instead was playing pucks with student union politics. These raw marks are, we are told, is then put into a computer and formulated. Now something else has to be done because there are also the Z Scores from the revised syllabus to be considered. Obviously these too are computerised and as spiritualists say God only knows what happens. Others like me will say there is a computer ‘jillmart’. The Supreme Court ordered recalculation of the Z Score according to its directions and out comes the New Z Score. But lo and behold! Students say their marks were better on the previous count and reject the new Z Score.
Serendipitous has been thinking and drinking with other fellow drinkers and thinkers at a renowned intellectual Water Hole and come to the conclusion that there is no solution to the Z Score problem. Mathematicians and even scientists will tell you that there is no solution to every problem. You can’t square a circle. Even Richard Dawkins of God Delusion fame can’t tell you why a bean seed is kidney shaped and a kidney is bean seed shaped. (If I may be permitted a personal note) I was working on this problem half century ago when that redoubtable Iron Vice Chancellor Sir Nicholas Attygalle told me: Pass out or get out and I was unceremoniously dumped onto Thurstan Road.
Enter the Maha Brahma
Readers will recall that quite recently in these columns I wrote a way out of the Z Score problem. I pointed out that success through the Z Score was an exercise in futility. Even if you obtain a good score and enter university, then what? Physical training by army boys and girls, rag, re-indoctrination on the Wijeweera path and with much luck after three to four years passing out to be once again on the streets to join the union of unemployed graduates and get your heads split by batons of cops.
My suggestion was the Z Score was not the solution. Learn the 3R-s not that old hat of 3R-s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic but Rajapaksa, Rajapaksa and Rajapaksa. I even suggested that the two Simple R-s be also cultivated.
Students of Hambantota have probably taken my advice and sought the help of the bigger of the Simple Rs – Namal. And he has assured that he will speak to the biggest R – his father who he has said will give all a fair deal.
The simple big R has understood the power structure of the RR (Rajapaksa Regime) very well. The biggest R is like Brahma in the Upanishads of the Hindus. ‘I am the Creator and the Destroyer’…
So, if the Big R wants he can do anything with this Z Score. The best that can be done we think with this insoluble Z Score is to dump it into the WPB of the Examinations Department. Hang all the examinations results and admit all students desiring to enter the universities.
It was done before in the 1960s to admit favourite sons and daughters who hadn’t qualified and the Horse Faculty of the Colombo Campus was created. Set in motion many more Horse Faculties to resolve the insoluble Z Score.
It will create more chaos in campuses. But who cares?