Norwich Professor on Jeopardy!

l-r, game show host Alex Trebek with Dr. Robert Poodiack, NU professor of mathematicsAssistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Robert Poodiack had a chance to show off his overall general knowledge to a national audience recently when he appeared on an episode of the popular game show Jeopardy! in January.

Poodiack's road to the small screen began in July, when the Jeopardy! "Brain Bus" came to Burlington to test candidates for the program.

"I heard about it and wanted to give it a try," Poodiack said. "They gave me a ten-question test on a variety of subjects which I had to ace in order to advance in the selection process."

The Norwich professor answered all questions correctly and was then invited to go the next day to the Radisson Hotel, where he was given a more extensive, 50-question test.

"They graded the second tests and announced that I would advance as a candidate," Poodiack said. After getting positive results during a subsequent, videotaped, mock show where, in addition to general knowledge, the candidates were checked for poise and personality, Poodiack's name was put in a file for future reference.

"Right before Halloween, I received a call from the people at Jeopardy!, saying that they wanted me to come out to Los Angeles to be on a show," Poodiack said.

The professor traveled to California a month later and taped an episode in front of a live audience.

"They film five games - a week's worth of programs - in one day," Poodiack said.

The professor fared well in his competition, making it to the "Final Jeopardy" round tie for the lead with $12,000.

"We both missed the 'Final Jeopardy' question, but I had bet $6,000 and the other contestant only bet $5,200, so I lost," Poodiack said. The episode aired on national TV on January 28th and will air again during the summer re-runs.

Poodiack returned to Vermont with a $2,000 consolation prize, which he said paid for his trip.

"I had a lot of fun," Poodiack said. "It was a great experience."

by Mark Albury
February 2004

What's New | 2004 News Archive