The mascot of the Mathematics Society is The Natural Log. It is a 2.5 foot long (roughly) section of wooden log, with the word ‘MATHSOC’ burnt into it.
The Natural Log was originally created in late November 1980. Earlier that month, as part of Engineering Week, the engineers had paraded their Ridgid Tool around campus. Presumably this caused some mathies to discuss the possibility of MathSoc getting its own “mathscot” that could be paraded around. Apparently Prabhakar Ragde heard them and jokingly suggested a “natural log”. The mathies took him seriously and procured the log from an unknown source.
On December 1st, 1980, The Natural Log was formally unveiled to the public for the first time. The Mathies chained the log to a table (the Log Table, just a standard table that was soon forgotten) and paraded their new mascot around campus.
The First Theft
As the math students paraded the log near Engineering 1 (now Douglas Wright Engineering), they were attacked by a large group of engineers. A small brawl ensued. Paint, snowballs, and fists were thrown. The chains holding the log to the table were cut using bolt cutters, and the log was stolen. One student went to the hospital for x-rays.
We are uncertain what happened to the log during this time. Presumably, the log was returned within a few weeks. At any rate, The Natural Log was back in the hands of MathSoc by the year 2005.
The 2005 Theft
In 2005, the engineers once again stole The Natural Log. This time, the log was defaced using permanent markers and spray paint. After some time, MathSoc negotiated for the return of the log.
It then sat in a corner of the MathSoc Office, neglected and graffitied, for several years.
In 2010, a mathematics student named John Stevenson noticed the log and realised that he had the skills required to clean and restore The Natural Log. Taking it home, he carefully removed the graffiti, and added a layer of shellac to the log. Returning it to MathSoc, the log was given a new home on display in the 3rd floor landing of the Mathematics and Computer building. MathNEWS had a field day and created a whole new mythos surrounding the log’s creation.
The 2010 Theft
In late November 2010, The Natural Log was stolen once again, this time by NEAC. As always, the details are sketchy, but NEAC claims that it gave the log “as a Christmas gift” to the environment society. There was a ransom demand made of $500 dollars (later reduced to $400) for the log, but when MathSoc arrived with a [voided] cheque, the captors failed to show up to the meeting.
The log’s location was then sold to the highest bidder by a person wearing the Environment Banana costume at the Colour Me Educated dumpster event on January 26, 2010. It appears that the Faculty of Arts was the highest bidder and came into possession of the log shortly after. However, after the Arts Student Union president change, all credible leads as to the log’s location and captors seemed to disappear.
On September 21, 2011, a Facebook account by the name of “TheMath Log” appeared, with owners of the account claiming to be the current captors of the log. After actively friend-ing everyone related to the Math Faculty in January, an ultimatum was given on February 2nd. If students didn’t vote in André Magalhães for VPEDucation in the upcoming Federation of Students Election, the log would be burned. Otherwise, The Natural Log was to be returned safely. This ultimatum was rapidly removed from the account the following day. The election occurred and Adam Garcia got the position.
Now, well into March, no word has been given as to the log’s whereabouts, nor has a bag of ash been delivered to MathSoc. Indeed, the Facebook profile has apparently been deleted or banned as of today (March 11).
Who knows what will become of MathSoc’s long-time mascot, but we’ll provide updates if any happen. If you have an idea of where it is and want drop a tip to The Spirit of WTF, you can message us here.