Who We Are

Meet Viraj Mehta

Former Jeopardy! contestant reflects on the dark sides of fame and his launch into adulthood.

Stanford Magazine
Jul 6, 2018 · 4 min read
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Photo: Ryan Fong Jae, ’19

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Photo: Courtesy Jeopardy Productions Inc.

‘When I got the call from Jeopardy!, I had just turned 20. It is an extremely hard thing to study for. They don’t give you any advice or anything like that. I had seen Shakespeare and the Bible show up a lot and I didn’t know those things very well, so I studied them. And I flipped through the almanac a lot. Then I watched the show. I was trying to figure out when the fastest people hit the buzzer and trying to get that timing in my head.’

“I can completely explain what happened and where that photo of me with my hands up [appearing to lift the middle finger] came from. I was trying to show a concept in geometry called Gaussian curvature. Somebody told me afterwards that I did this. [He holds up his third finger.] I didn’t think about it until it showed up online. I thought it was funny at first. I had no idea how big a deal it was going to turn into. Some of the online quotes said Donald Trump was going to send me back to Pakistan, which is not where I’m from. I was born in Ohio.

Stanford Magazine

A Publication of the Stanford Alumni Association

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