The Russian scientist Vasili Samarsky-Bykhovets has what pioneering connection with the periodic table of elements?
First person whose name was given to a chemical element.
The rediscovery of what genus of the coniferous tree in Australia in 1994 by David Noble was a celebrated event of 20th century botany?
In both botanical and popular literature the tree has been almost universally dubbed the Wollemi Pine, although it is not a true pine nor is it a member of the pine family.
What short-named body can be called the most geologically active place of the Solar System as the tidal forces of its mother planet cause its solid surface to bulge up by as much as 100 meters?
In a study published in the journal Science in 2009, it was determined through DNA analysis that what race was the world's most ancient? Think of the most common theory of man's origin and go from there.
The obvious way to think about this is to think of Africa and go south. The project found modern Africans had the most diverse DNA of all racial groups in the world, confirming the idea that Africa is the birthplace of humanity, said Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania.
When Nixon was president, Sample 70017 was cut into fragments and distributed to all U.S. states and 135 countries around the globe as a goodwill gesture. What is it?
Lunar basalt 70017 is a moon basalt that was last collected by astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt on the last manned moon landing, Apollo 17. NASA still has about 80 percent of the original rock.
1. The A is the outermost of the large, bright ones.
2. The B is the largest, brightest, and most massive.
3. The C is wide but faint and located inward of the B.
4. The D is the innermost and is also very faint.
5. The E is the second outermost and is extremely wide.
6. The F is the outermost discrete one and very active.
7. The G is very thin and faint and is halfway between the F and the E.
What are we talking about?
Rings of Saturn
In mathematics, what object commonly seen in video games with secret getaways is used to describe a function that is easy to compute in one direction but very hard to compute the opposite way?
An example would be saying that a large number is a product of two primes. Without knowing one of the two, it would be very difficult to find the numbers.
Anna Bertha who exclaimed "I have seen my death!" after seeing her photograph taken by her husband in 1895 was married to whom?
Needless to say, concerning x-rays.
In a Oct, 2014 interview to The Guardian, Prof. Peter Piot said the following. What's the missing word?
"In 1976 I discovered ... - now I fear an unimaginable tragedy."
What striking wildlife form mostly endemic to a large island gets its name from specimens prepared by traders without wings and feet lending to a belief that they are creatures that originated in an other-worldly place?
The majority of species, known for their plumage, are found in New Guinea and its satellites, with a few in the Maluku Islands and eastern Australia. The family has forty-one species in 14 genera.
Maria, the heroine of the 1941 novel Storm by George Rippey Stewart, was the first of sorts in what practice streamlined from 1953 on?
Naming hurricanes after people
Originally, hurricanes were given the names of saints who were honored on the day they occurred, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The practice of using first names started when the usage of appending latitude-longitude positions to the names proved confusing. Now, hurricane names are determined by the World Meteorological Organization headquartered in Geneva.
Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, New York was designed by which genius who intended to showcase it for demonstrations of wireless power transmission?
Funding for the project dried up before completion and Wardenclyffe was shut down by 1905.
The longest muscle in the human body which runs down the back portion of the thigh possibly gets its name from which professional's sitting style or how measurements are taken by him?
Tailor (sartorius muscle)
There are four hypotheses as to the genesis of the name. One is that this name was chosen in reference to the cross-legged position in which tailors once sat. Another is that it refers to the location of the inferior portion of the muscle being the "inseam" or area of the inner thigh tailors commonly measure when fitting a pant. A third is that the muscle closely resembles a tailor's ribbon. Additionally, antique sewing machines required continuous cross body pedaling. This combination of lateral rotation and flexion of the hip and flexion of the knee gave tailors particularly enlarged sartorius muscles.
The Bortle scale on which areas away from human habitation unsurprisingly receive high ratings and which is of particular interest to amateur astronomers is concerned with what property?
Darkness of the night sky
The scale ranges from Class 1, the darkest skies available on Earth, through Class 9, inner-city skies.
In a letter written in 1924, who wrote "You will be interested to hear that I have found a Cepheid variable in the Andromeda Nebula" and transformed our view of the universe forever?
This paved the way for understanding that the universe is composed of innumerable galaxies spread out in space, farther than the largest telescope could see.
In 2007, Lisa Nowak drove 900 miles to attack another lady in a fit of lovers jealousy. It was initially reported that she wore a Maximum Absorbency Garment to avoid restroom stops.
What was Lisa Nowak's professional role that made the story newsworthy?
She was an astronaut
A Maximum Absorbency Garment (MAG) is a piece of clothing NASA astronauts wear during liftoff, landing, and extra-vehicular activity (EVA) to absorb body excretions. It is worn by both male and female astronauts. It is used because astronauts cannot remove their space suits during long operations, such as spacewalks that usually last for several hours.
The career of chemist Thomas Midgley, Jr. has been summed up by an environmentalist as "... had more (negative) impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history." Can you name one of his two most recognized contributions?
Leaded gasoline (or) Freon
Midgley died three decades before the ozone-depleting effects of CFCs in the atmosphere became widely known. Another adverse effect of Midgley's work was the release of large quantities of lead into the atmosphere as a result of the large-scale combustion of leaded gasoline all over the world.
What type of fish 'pack it' in an annual migration off the east coast of Africa and whose biomass is said to be comparable to the continent's annual wildebeest migration?
Every year the small, silvery fish leave the cold depths off Cape Agulhas, Africa's most southerly point, during the southern hemisphere's winter and swim north, swarming the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal.
In the fall of 2013, The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a certain 'Mississippi Baby' whose case was thought of as a landmark event in medical history. The conclusions made about her were reversed in July 2014.
She was in the news for what reason?
Cured of HIV
Most of the discoveries of exoplanets thus far are due to the work of NASA's space laboratory named appropriately for which 17th century scientific great?
As of June 2014, Kepler and its follow-up observations had found 977 confirmed exoplanets in more than 400 stellar systems, along with a further 3,277 unconfirmed planet candidates. Kepler of course is best known for his laws of planetary motion
Oklo in Gabon, Africa is the only known place in the world where what reaction occurs naturally?
A natural nuclear fission reactor is a uranium deposit where self-sustaining nuclear chain reactions have occurred. This can be examined by analysis of isotope ratios.
The Flammarion engraving that can be frequently seen on book covers sought to illustrate what belief system?
It has been used to represent a supposedly medieval cosmology, including a flat earth bounded by a solid and opaque sky, or firmament, and also as a metaphorical illustration of either the scientific or the mystical quests for knowledge.
British physicist David Deutsch is regarded as the father of what field of science which is certain to see more interest as the scale of the world's need for data processing increases?
He pioneered the field of quantum computation by formulating a description for a quantum Turing machine, as well as specifying an algorithm designed to run on a quantum computer. With a fraction of the hardware of a laptop, a quantum computer can store as many bits of information as there are particles in the universe.
The modern-day cattle breed of 'Heck' came about when it was attempted to bring back what extinct species?
Controversy revolves around methodology and success of the program.
Awarded to people in the medical field, what American awards are considered the country's equivalent of the Nobel Prize in that area?
The Lasker Awards
Eighty-six Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize, including 32 in the last two decades.
Using two copper devices called the Magdeburg hemispheres, a certain German scientist proved the concept of what in 1656?
Atmospheric pressure/ vacuum (Otto von Guericke)
When the rims were sealed with grease and the air was pumped out, the sphere contained a vacuum and could not be pulled apart by teams of horses. The hemispheres became popular in physics lectures as an illustration of the power of air pressure, and are still used in education. A pair of the original hemispheres are preserved in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
In a 1995 book, authors Charles Mann and Mark Plummer argue that we have to realize we cannot save every species and must prioritize. They called the book whose choice?
Noah (Noah's Choice)
A steel sphere filled with sodium housed at the University of Maryland seeks to register the flipping of what physical property that is of enormous significance to mariners, among others?
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field changes over time because it is generated by the motion of molten iron alloys in its outer core. In the course of the planet's history, it has flipped hundreds of times.
If the Solvay Conferences of the early 1910s set the tone for 20th century physics, the Dartmouth Conferences of 1956 have similar importance for what field of science?
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Organised by John McCarthy and formally proposed by McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester and Claude Shannon, the proposal is credited with introducing the term 'artificial intelligence'. McCarthy was very influential in the early development of AI.
The acronym EQ is the ratio of actual brain mass and predicted brain mass for an animal of a given size.
It stands for what ___ Quotient?
Recent research indicates that whole brain size is a better measure of cognitive abilities than EQ for primates at least. Other factors, like the evolution of the recent cerebral cortex and different degrees of brain folding, which increases the surface of the cortex, is positively correlated to intelligence in humans.
What is the name of the six-letter ore from which niobium and tantalum are extracted and whose mining is said to have fueled many modern day African conflicts?
It is used primarily for the production of tantalum capacitors, used in many electronic devices. Many sources mention coltan's importance in the production of cell phones, but this is an over-simplification, as tantalum capacitors are used in almost every kind of electronic device. Its mining has been cited as helping to finance serious conflict, for example the Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
What is the subject of the illustration commonly called March of Progress that was commissioned by Time-Life Books and drawn by Rudolph Zallinger in 1965?
The ape to man progress
Scientists have noted that early human evolution did not progress in any linear, sequential fashion nor did it move along a "road" toward any predetermined "ideal form"; they have faulted the image with being misleading in implying these things. Although the context of the original drawing indicates that it was not the authors' or illustrator's intent to imply a linear ancestor-descendant parade, as the popularity of the image grew and achieved iconic status, the name "March of Progress" became attached to it.
The 1610 book Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger) that contained several sketches of the moon was published by whom?
It was the first published scientific work based on observations made through a telescope, and it contains the results of Galileo's early observations of the imperfect and mountainous Moon.
St Thomas's Abbey, Brno in the Czech Republic was the scene of whose path-breaking work from 1856 to 1863?
He conducted his experiments on pea plants in the monastery garden. His experiments brought forth two generalizations which later became known as Mendel's Laws of Inheritance.
Who is the missing member of a group called as The Vanguard Six formed in 1960?
Kartashov, Nikolayev, Popovich, Titov, Varlamov, and ___ ___
By January 1959, the Soviets had begun preparations for human spaceflight. At the Gromov Flight Research Institute, a spacecraft simulator had been built, and due to the inefficiency of training all 20 cosmonauts in the simulator, it was decided they would select six men who would go through accelerated training. This group came to be known as the Vanguard Six.
According to Guinness Book, the greatest concentration of animals ever speculatively guessed concerned what scourge of crops?
(Rocky mountain) locust
It is an extinct locust species that ranged through the western half of the United States and some western portions of Canada until the end of the 19th century. Sightings often placed their swarms in numbers far larger than any other species of locust, with one famed sighting estimated at 198,000 square miles (510,000 km2) in size. Less than 30 years later, the species was apparently extinct.
In Astronomy, what is the term for a minor celestial body that shares an orbit with a larger body?
The bodies do not collide because of the way they orbit.
What famous theorem proposed in 1964 clearly delineated the areas of classical mechanics and quantum mechanics?
It states: No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.
What is the last name name of the doctor who first described a certain disease in An Essay on the Shaking Palsy written in 1817?
Dr. (James) Parkinson
The page volume describes a series of six cases, three of whom were never actually examined by Parkinson but rather observed casually.
The Nice model, named for the French city, seeks to explain the formation of what?
It proposes the migration of the giant planets from an initial compact configuration into their present positions.
Usually named for the places where they are found, what are traditionally classified into three types as stony, iron and stony-iron?
Stony meteorites are rocks, iron meteorites that are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel and stony-iron meteorites contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material.
Which scientific great's equation is seen in the field of quantum mechanics as the equivalent of Newton's Second Law?
Thomas Hunt Morgan won a Nobel Prize for his studies of inheritance and pioneered the use of which tiny organism?
It is typically used because it is an animal species that is easy to care for, has four pairs of chromosomes, breeds quickly, and lays many eggs.
The Oscillating Universe Theory combines Big Bang and what other event to make-up a cycle?
It was briefly considered by Albert Einstein in 1930 when he theorized a universe following an eternal series of oscillations, each beginning with a big bang and ending with a big crunch.
German engineer Arthur Scherbius invented the first of what machines extensively used during WWII?
Several different Enigma models were produced, but the German military models are the most commonly discussed.
English physician John Snow successfully traced the outbreak of what disease to a water pump?
It occurred near Broad Street (now renamed Broadwick Street) in Soho district of London, England in 1854. This discovery came to influence public health and the construction of improved sanitation facilities beginning in the 19th century.
The Hubble sequence that classifies galaxies is also known for being drawn in what shape?
It divides regular galaxies into 3 broad classes - ellipticals, lenticulars and spirals - based on their visual appearance (originally on photographic plates). A fourth class contains galaxies with an irregular appearance.
A scientific idea called Salter Sink that is essentially mixing hot and cold waters aims to prevent or reduce the effects of what?
Energy from the sun heats up the surface of the ocean. As that heat irradiates up and fuels storms, they can become ever more dangerous hurricanes. Reducing their destructive potential is possible if we can just cool off the surface of the ocean. The Salter Sink works as a wave powered pump. Waves push hot water into the top of the cylinder, which pumps the water inside down.
Philip Zimbardo of Stanford is best known for what experiment conducted in 1971 that highlighted the behavior of people when assigned roles?
Stanford prison experiment
The guards and prisoners adapted to their roles more than they were expected, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted, leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations.
The synthetic drug clomifene that comes in white 50 mg doses is prescribed to overcome what condition?
As seen in a scene inspiring Robin Williams in the movie Awakenings, the chemical L-DOPA is widely used in the treatment of what disease?
Which Austrian scientist's 1944 book What is Life? has been credited by both Watson and Crick as an inspiration for their initial work?
James Herrick is credited with the description of a genetic disease in which red-blood cells are in what shape instead of the normal disc shape?
He described sickle-cell anemia which occurs because of a mutation in the hemoglobin gene.
The bitter 19th century rivalry between paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh during their search for dinosaur fossils is usually described with what 2-words?
Each of the two paleontologists used underhanded methods to try to out-compete the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and destruction of bones. From 1877 to 1892, both paleontologists used their wealth and influence to finance their own expeditions and to procure services and dinosaur bones from fossil hunters.
The sieve of Eratosthenes is an ancient method used to find what in mathematics?
It does so by iteratively marking as composite (i.e. not prime) the multiples of each prime, starting with the multiples of 2.
Scientist Ernest Rutherford once said all science is just what subject while comparing the rest to stamp collection?
Ironically, he won a Nobel for chemistry!
The Kessler syndrome talks about the dangers of debris where, which was also brought to main-stream attention via a 2013 hit movie?
Space/ low Earth orbit
It was proposed by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade-each collision generating space debris which increases the likelihood of further collisions. The movie is of course Gravity.
Dr. Benjamin Rush gave what expeditionary group mercury laced laxatives which proved to be excellent tracers by which archaeologists have now been able to track their actual route?
Lewis and Clark expedition
The expedition took with them fifty dozen of Dr. Rush's Bilious Pills, laxatives containing more than 50% mercury, which the corps called "thunderclappers." Their meat-rich diet and lack of clean water during the expedition gave the men cause to use them frequently.
The kerplunk experiment, the Tyron experiment, and the Morris water maze are all experiments of behavioral psychology that involved what?
Rats in mazes
Rats have been used in experimental mazes since at least the early 20th century. Thousands of studies have examined how rats run different types of mazes, from T-mazes to radial arm mazes to water mazes. These maze studies are used to study spatial learning and memory in rats.
What 'continental' moon of the Solar System has become the focus of extra-terrestrial life studies because its smooth surface suggests the presence of an ocean underneath?
Life could exist in its under-ice ocean, perhaps subsisting in an environment similar to Earth's deep-ocean hydro-thermal vents. Life in such an ocean could possibly be similar to microbial life on Earth in the deep ocean.
In a 1999 poll conducted by the British journal Physics World, who is the only American in the list of the ten greatest physicists of all time?
Still thinking? Surely, you're joking!
The inimitable Dr. Richard Feynman (1918-88)
He won the Nobel Prize for developing QED and many think he deserved two more for his contributions to QCD and gravity.
Can you connect Darwin and his research on Galapagos Islands to the book To Kill a Mockingbird?
The central family in the book are the Finches and Darwin is known for his research on the finches of Galapagos.
What is Yersenia pestis which caused a lot of hardship to humankind?
Bacteria that caused the plagues of the Middle Ages
One of its infections caused the Black Death that accounted for the death of at least one-third of the European population between 1347 and 1353.
If Jupiter has the Great Red Spot, which planet has the Great Dark Spot?
It is a series of dark spots. Like Jupiter's spot, they are anticyclonic storms and were observed by Voyager 2.
When one hears the name of the Swedish village Ytterby, what aspect of science should come to mind?
Periodic table of elements
Ytterby has the distinction of lending its name to more elements than any other place or person. These elements are yttrium (Y), erbium (Er), terbium (Tb), and ytterbium (Yb). In addition, three other elements, holmium, thulium, and gadolinium can also trace their discovery to the same quarry of the village that was the source of the aforementioned elements.
Redshift or blueshift that help us see which stars/galaxies are approaching or receding are determined by what effect named for an Austrian physicist?
It is defined as the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to its source.
Which American chemist who discovered covalent bond and coined the term 'photon' among other things is probably the greatest scientist to never win the Nobel Prize?
He was nominated 35 times but lost out for various reasons including his enmity with members of the committee.
The Miller-Urey experiment conducted in 1953 that simulated the conditions of the early days of Earth aimed to investigate what?
Chemical origins of life
The experiment used water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen.
In genetics, who is the woman who lived approximately 190,000-200,000 years ago and who was the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend?
She was not the only living human female of her time. However, her female contemporaries failed to produce a direct unbroken female line to any living woman in the present day.
What mathematical theorem, the first major theorem to be solved using a computer, was proven in 1976 by Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken with a set of 1936 maps?
Four-color map theorem
It states that no more than four colors are required to color the regions of the map so that no two adjacent regions have the same color. Surprisingly, the theorem is not of particular interest to mapmakers.
The Cavendish experiment of 1797-98 conducted using a torsion pendulum was the first to accurately measure what physical fundamental physical constant?
Gravitational constant (the big G)
Not to be confused with 'little g' (g), which is the local gravitational field (equivalent to the free-fall acceleration).
What is the only big cat species not currently protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act?
African lion (Panthera leo)
However, lions have experienced at least a 50 percent population decline over the past three decades.
All but the outermost of this element's 55 electrons are confined to orbits in stable shells and hence the outermost electron is not disturbed by the others. This property helps in making a very accurate measurement of time.
Cesium (use in atomic clocks)
A cesium clock operates by exposing cesium atoms to microwaves until they vibrate at one of their resonant frequencies and then counting the corresponding cycles as a measure of time.
What is the more common name for 'transposons' discovered by Barbara McClintock who investigated the reason for uneven splattering of color in corn kernels?
A transposable element (TE) is a DNA sequence that can change its position within the genome, sometimes creating or reversing mutations and altering the cell's genome size. This discovery earned McClintock the Nobel Prize in 1983.
A 2012 study at the University of Granada concluded that when a person lies, there is an increase in the temperature around the nose and in the orbital muscle in the inner corner of the eye. What is this effect called?
Pinocchio effect, obviously!
A project by a group of scientists in New South Wales to revive an extinct Australian frog was named after what biblical figure?
Rheobatrachus silus was a bizarre gastric-brooding frog that swallowed its eggs, brooded its young in its stomach and gave birth through its mouth. The frog species became extinct in 1983.
Schreger lines are the unique identifiers of what valuable substance whose usage has led to the dwindling numbers of something large?
Which distinctive plant's genus is Dionaea (the mother of Aphrodite in Greek mythology) and species muscipula (Latin for 'mouse-catching device')?
It is a carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the United States.
What probability riddle originally published in American Statistician in 1975 gained popular attention after it was featured in Parade in 1990?
Monty Hall problem
It is stated as: Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice? The advantage lies in switching. The puzzle attracted academic interest because the result is surprising and the problem is simple to formulate.
What usual first step in the identification of a bacterial species is like a litmus test in that the results are identified by colors (blue/purple for positive and pink/red for negative)?
The method differentiates bacteria by the chemical and physical properties of their cell walls and is named after its German inventor.
What poison associated with indigenous people of a continent comes in the varieties of tubo, calebas and pot?
It is a common name for various arrow poisons originating from South America.
The Olbers' paradox seeks to highlight the darkness of what?
Sky or space
It is the argument that the darkness of the night sky conflicts with the assumption of an infinite and eternal static universe. The darkness of the night sky is one of the pieces of evidence for a non-static universe such as the Big Bang model.
The equation e∏i + 1 = 0, once voted the most beautiful theorem in mathematics, is called the identity of which great?
The mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss was reported to have commented that if this formula was not immediately apparent to a student upon being told it, that student would never be a first-class mathematician.
The baryon asymmetry problem in physics deals with the anomaly of why the universe has any matter at all and why it is not filled with photons only. This is because the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of what?
Matter and antimatter
The Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter and there should have been total cancellation of both. In other words, protons should have cancelled with antiprotons, electrons with antielectrons (positrons), neutrons with antineutrons, and so on for all elementary particles. This would have resulted in a sea of photons in the universe with no matter. Since this is evidently not the case, after the Big Bang, some physical laws must have acted differently for matter and antimatter. There are competing hypotheses to explain the matter-antimatter imbalance but no one consensus theory to explain the phenomenon.
What term was popularized by Nobel Prize-winning Paul Crutzen to replace 'Holocene' epoch on the Geological Time Scale as he felt that the influence of humans on Earth is significant?
To date, the term has not been adopted as part of the official nomenclature of the geological field of study.
Because all species of the manatee use fresh water in varying ways, what is the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal?
The dugong's current distribution is reduced and disjunct, and many populations are close to extinction.
Project Orion, Project Daedalus, Medusa, and Project Longshot all have in common what transportation principle based on an idea of mathematician Stanislaw Ulam?
Spacecraft propulsion using nuclear explosions (nuclear pulse propulsion)
Project Orion was the first serious attempt to design a nuclear pulse rocket. The design effort was carried out at General Atomics in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The system appeared to be entirely workable when the project was shut down in 1965, the main reason being given that the Partial Test Ban Treaty made it illegal.
In the contemporary world of cutting-edge physics, what are ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, TOTEM, LHCb, LHCf and MoEDAL?
Seven particle detector experiments constructed at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN
ATLAS is considered the world's biggest scientific experiment.
"There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude [tenfold] improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity."
This is the summary of a seminal 1986 paper by Fred Brooks titled 'No ___ ___ - Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering.' Supply the two missing words.
What cell line used in research that was taken from an African-American woman who died in 1951 is the oldest and most commonly used human cell line?
HeLa cell line
Henrietta Lacks was the source of cells (from her cancerous tumor) which were cultured by George Otto Gey to create an immortal cell line for medical research.
The first claimed discovery of one of these was by a Chinese astronomer named Gan De around 364 BC. By 1610, a great had discovered 4 of them. No additional ones were discovered until E. E. Barnard observed Amalthea in 1892. Their number continues to grow.
What are they?
Moons of Jupiter
The first certain observations of Jupiter's satellites were those of Galileo Galilei in 1609. By March 1610, he had sighted the four massive Galilean moons with his telescope: Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa. As of 2012, Jupiter has 67 confirmed moons.
What type of creature was Lonesome George, who died in 2012 and who gained fame as the rarest creature in the world? (hint: he was aged perhaps more than 100 years)
(Pinta Island) tortoise
He was the last known individual of the subspecies. George served as a potent symbol for conservation efforts in the Galápagos and internationally. Over the decades, all attempts at mating Lonesome George had been unsuccessful, possibly due to the lack of females of his own subspecies.
A 15 meter long mechanical arm called the Canadarm was used to maneuver payloads through the 1980s to 2011 on what type of vehicles?
The Canadarm was first used on STS-2 in 1981, on board Columbia, and has subsequently been used on over 50 shuttle missions. Arms have been installed on the four other shuttles. Since the installation of the Canadarm2 on the International Space Station, the two arms have been used to hand over segments of the station for assembly from the Canadarm to the Canadarm2. The Canadarm's 90th and final shuttle mission was in July 2011 on STS-135.
'Martha' - 1914 - Cincinnati Zoo - passenger pigeon.
'Benjamin' - 1936 - Hobart Zoo - ?.
Thylacine/ Tasmanian tiger
It was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century.
The Bedford Level experiments conducted in 19th century England along a canal that ran in an uninterrupted straight line were carried out to determine what?
Shape of the Earth
Early results seemed to prove the Earth to be flat, but most later attempts to reproduce the observations firmly supported the established view that the Earth is a sphere. The most famous of the observations, and the one that was taught in schools until photographs of the Earth from space became available, involved a set of three poles fixed at equal height above water level along this length. As the surface of the water was assumed to be level, the discovery that the middle pole, when viewed carefully through a theodolite, was almost three feet higher than the poles at each end was finally accepted as a new proof that the surface of the earth was indeed curved.
The Fermi paradox which asks "where is everybody?" highlights the discrepancy between the high probability estimate of the existence and the lack of evidence for the existence of what?
The basic line of thought of Fermi suggests that the Earth should have already been colonized, or at least visited long ago owing to the young nature of the sun/Solar System.
To a celestial body, what type of region is its Hill sphere?
Region in which its satellites can be found
To be retained by a planet, a moon must have an orbit that lies within the planet's Hill sphere. That moon would, in turn, have a Hill sphere of its own. Any object within that distance would tend to become a satellite of the moon, rather than of the planet itself. In more precise terms, the Hill sphere approximates the gravitational sphere of influence of a smaller body in the face of perturbations from a more massive body. It was defined by the American astronomer George William Hill, based upon the work of the French astronomer Édouard Roche. For this reason, it is also known as the Roche sphere.
The epitaph of which 20th century physics great reads a hazy and ambiguous "He lies somewhere here"?
Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976)
In 1927 he published his uncertainty principle, for which he is best known.
Renal calculus is not a branch of mathematics but a fancy name for what painful affliction?
From the Latin ren, 'kidney' and calculus, 'pebble.'
The famed oil drop experiment performed by Millikan and Fletcher in 1909 helped determine what fundamental physical constant?
Charge of an electron
In 1923, Millikan won the Nobel Prize in physics in part because of this experiment. Aside from the measurement, the beauty of the oil drop experiment is that it is a simple, elegant hands-on demonstration that charge is actually quantized. Thomas Edison, who had previously thought of charge as a continuous variable, became convinced after working with Millikan and Fletcher's apparatus. This experiment has since been repeated by generations of physics students, although it is rather expensive and difficult to do properly.
Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania with its high levels of diversity that includes chimpanzee populations is best associated with which person?
The park is most famous as the location where she pioneered her behavioral research conducted on chimpanzees.
Troglobites whose characteristics are a heightened sense of hearing, touch and smell are organisms that primarily live in what environments?
Caves or dark places
Loss of under-used senses is apparent in the lack of pigmentation as well as eyesight in most troglobites.
In June 1696 Bernoulli addressed a letter to the mathematicians of Europe challenging them to solve two problems concerning curves. Several people including Leibniz sent solutions.
Whose solution was submitted anonymously but was recognized by Bernoulli with the words "tanquam ex ungue leonem" (we know the lion by his claw)?
The Alvarez hypothesis named after the father-and-son team of scientists Luis and Walter Alvarez claims that an asteroid hitting the Earth sixty-five million years ago is the cause for what?
Extinction of dinosaurs and other living things
Evidence indicates that the asteroid fell in the Yucatán Peninsula, at Chicxulub, Mexico. In March 2010 an international panel of scientists endorsed the asteroid hypothesis, specifically the Chicxulub impact, as being the cause of the extinction.
If numbers 1, 16, 17 and 32 are being removed, what is the most likely procedure being performed? (hint: Unlikely to turn one into a half-wit!)
Extraction of wisdom teeth
In the Universal Numbering System adopted by the American Dental Association, number 1 is the tooth farthest back on the right side of your mouth in the upper (maxillary) jaw. Number 17 is the tooth farthest back on the left side of your mouth on the bottom. If you are missing your wisdom teeth, your first number will be 2 instead of 1, acknowledging the missing tooth. If you've had teeth removed or teeth are missing, the missing teeth will be numbered as well.
At the Fifth Solvay International Conference in 1927, expressing doubts about the randomness suggested by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, what did Einstein state that god wouldn't do?
It prompted Neils Bohr to reply, "Einstein, stop telling God what to do."
What critter paired with the butterfly in the title of a 2007 movie is the only species of spider known to live entirely under water?
Diving bell (or) water spider
It breathes air which it traps in a bubble held by hairs on its abdomen and legs.
Every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere.
Stated above is what mathematical problem named for a Frenchman that defied experts for a century before it was solved by Grigori Perelman in 2006?
It is one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems, for which the Clay Mathematics Institute offered a $1,000,000 prize for the first correct solution. Perelman's work survived review and was confirmed in 2006, leading to his being offered a Fields Medal, which he declined. The Poincaré conjecture is the only solved one in the list of seven Millennium problems.
Similar to an eclipse, they are among the rarest predictable celestial phenomena. The last one for the 21st century occurred on 5/6 June 2012. They are historically of great scientific importance as they were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the Solar System. Observation for the first time in 1639 provided an accurate estimate of the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
Transits of Venus
It takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth (or another planet), becoming visible against (and hence obscuring a small portion of) the solar disk. The duration of such transits is usually measured in hours (the transit of 2012 lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes).
The most recognized form of a jellyfish and a basic stage in its life cycle takes the name of what fearsome monster in mythology? (hint: stone!)
The stages are egg and sperm, planula larva, polyp, polyp hydroid colony, ephyra and medusa. The term medusa was coined by Linnaeus in 1752, alluding to the tentacled head of Medusa in Greek mythology.
A 2000s British musical by Mat Fraser whose plot is about the love affair of a guy with phocomelia (a birth defect that causes stunted limbs) is titled after what drug?
The drug introduced in the late 1950s and was used to treat morning sickness. It was sold from 1957 until 1961, when it was withdrawn after being found to be a cause of birth defects.
Fill in the missing word in this sentence written by Arthur Eddington in The Nature of the Physical World (1927).
The law that ___ always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature.
From the second law of thermodynamics.
Who wrote a treatise published in 1819 whose preface is excerpted below?
"In 1816, I was consulted by a young woman laboring under general symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case percussion and the application of the hand were of little avail on account of the great degree of fatness. The other method just mentioned [direct auscultation] being rendered inadmissible by the age and sex of the patient, I happened to recollect a simple and well-known fact in acoustics ..."
René Laennec, the inventor of the stethoscope
He discovered that his invention was superior to the normally used method of placing the ear over the chest, particularly if the patient was overweight. A stethoscope also avoided the embarrassment of placing the ear against the chest of a woman.
The spacecraft New Horizons which is expected to be the first spacecraft to flyby Pluto (in 2015) contains on board whose ashes as a tribute?
Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto
Although he is best known for discovering Pluto in 1930, the first object to be discovered in what would later be identified as the Kuiper Belt, he also discovered many asteroids.
The Goldbach's conjecture, one of the oldest unsolved problems in mathematics, states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as a sum of what?
Two prime numbers
What systems are classified based on their visual appearance by the Hubble sequence?
Hubble's scheme divides regular galaxies into 3 broad classes - ellipticals, lenticulars and spirals; a fourth class contains galaxies with an irregular appearance. To this day, the Hubble sequence is the most commonly used system for classifying galaxies, both in professional astronomical research and in amateur astronomy.
The 1957 B2FH paper, named after the initials of the scientists that wrote it, is the source of Carl Sagan's famous quote "We are all ___ stuff." What is the missing word?
The formal title of the paper is Synthesis of the Elements in Stars, but the article is so famous that it is typically referred to only as "B2FH."
Think a big animal and fill in the two missing blanks.
___, ___, Indian, Javan, Sumatran
White and black (species of rhinoceros)
Both African species (white and black) and the Sumatran rhinoceros have two horns, while the Indian and Javan rhinoceros have a single horn.
What was the collective name given to the 17 macaques that became known for their use in experiments into neuroplasticity (the ability of the adult primate brain to reorganize itself) and whose life became the focus of significant animal rights activism in the US in the 1980s?
Silver Spring monkeys
The monkeys had been used as research subjects by Edward Taub, a psychologist, who had cut ganglia that supplied sensation to the brain from their arms, then used arm slings to restrain either the good or deafferented arm to train them to use the limbs they could not feel. The conditions under which the experiments were performed caused significant unrest and the ensuing battle over the monkeys' custody saw celebrities and politicians campaign for the monkeys' release, an amendment in 1985 to the Animal Welfare Act, the transformation of PETA from a group of friends into a national movement, the creation of the first North American Animal Liberation Front cell, and the first animal research case to reach the United States Supreme Court.
On 12 April 1961, in a significant achievement, who became the first human to cross the Kármán line?
The Kármán line that lies at an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 mi) above the Earth's sea level is commonly used to define the boundary between the atmosphere and outer space. The line was named after Theodore von Kármán, (1881–1963) a Hungarian-American engineer and physicist who was active primarily in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. He first calculated that around this altitude the Earth's atmosphere becomes too thin for aeronautical purposes.
What long-held belief that takes its name from the Greek for 'pollution' purported that deadly diseases like cholera and plague were caused by a noxious form of 'bad air'?
It was eventually displaced in the 19th century by the germ theory.
The only penguin species that lives north of the equator are found on and named for what islands? (hint: evolution)
Galapagos (the Galapagos penguin)
The species can survive due to the cool temperatures resulting from ocean currents. The islands are of course well-known for their association with Darwin.
The development of the immuno-suppressant drug ciclosporin in the 1980s gave a fillip to what type of surgeries?
Ciclosporin is used to prevent organ rejection as it reduces the activity of the immune system by interfering with the activity of a type of white blood cells. The effects of ciclosporin were discovered in 1972 at Sandoz (now Novartis) in Basel, Switzerland.
What is the more common term for the affliction called epistaxis the occurrence of which suggests sexual arousal in Japanese manga and anime?
In Japanese and Chinese folk belief nosebleeds are signs of sexual excitement. Nosebleeds are very rarely fatal.
What was the subject of astronomer Fred Whipple's 'Dirty Snowball' hypothesis?
They are often popularly described as 'dirty snowballs', though recent observations have revealed dry dusty or rocky surfaces, suggesting that the ices are hidden beneath the crust. This theory is considered an important contribution to Solar System studies.
In physics, what is the more common term for the Einstein-Rosen bridge that has fascinating implications for time travel?
It is fundamentally, a 'shortcut' through spacetime.
When Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish discovered pulsars in 1967, they were baffled by the unnatural regularity of the radio transmissions. Jocularly suggesting that it was the work of extraterrestrials, they initially named their discovery as LGM-1 which expands to what?
'Little Green Men 1'
While the hypothesis that pulsars were beacons from extraterrestrial civilizations was never taken very seriously, some discussed the far-reaching implications if it turned out to be true. A pulsar (portmanteau of pulsating star) is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.
"It was as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a sheet of tissue paper and it came back to hit you."
Who is the 20th century scientist who is describing his most famous experiment in the above words?
Describing the famous Geiger-Marsden experiment (also called the Gold foil experiment or the Rutherford experiment) that was conducted to probe the structure of the atom performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden in 1909, under his direction at the University of Manchester.
In 2010, Andre Geim became the first person to receive both the Nobel Prize and what other unusual prize whose ceremony closes with "If you didn't win a prize - and especially if you did - better luck next year!"?
Ig Nobel Prizes
The name is a play on the word ignoble and the name Alfred Nobel. They are given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think."
Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo that was established in 1925 as Africa's first national park was created mainly to protect what animal?
It was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1979. In later years it has become known for its mountain gorillas, although poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population.
What type of testing has traditionally been classified into 4 categories of atmospheric, underground, exo-atmospheric and underwater?
Nuclear weapon testing
Underground nuclear testing made up the majority of nuclear tests by the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War; other forms of nuclear testing were banned by the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. When the explosion is fully contained, underground nuclear testing emits a negligible amount of fallout.
On 24 July 1969, the aircraft carrier USS Hornet retrieved which pioneers from the Pacific Ocean about 400 miles off Wake Island?
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronauts from their splashdown
President Nixon was on board to welcome the returning astronauts back to Earth, and their first steps on Earth are marked on the hangar deck of the craft.
In 1876, a young Austrian student dissected hundreds of eels in search for the male sex organs. Conceding failure, he turned to other issues in frustration. Who?
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
The Montreal Protocol that went into force in 1989 and which was hailed by Kofi Annan as "... the single most successful international agreement to date ..." was aimed at protecting what?
Due to its widespread adoption and implementation it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation and it is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050.
On September 16, 2011, Google paid a tribute to the Hungarian physiologist Albert Szent-Györgyi with a doodle of oranges. What is Szent-Györgyi's best known discovery?
He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.
"I wrote down all the things you needed to know to predict how hard it's going to be to detect extraterrestrial life. And looking at them it became pretty evident that if you multiplied all these together, you got a number, N, which is the number of detectable civilizations in our galaxy."
Who is the pioneer in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence that said the above words?
Frank Drake, of the namesake Drake equation
The equation is used to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy. It is used in the fields of exobiology and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
The terms anadromous and catadromous describe what type of living thing referring to its mode of migration? (hint: 'ana' is up and 'cata' is down in Greek)
Anadromous fish like the salmon live in the saltwater and travel to fresh water sources to spawn. Catadromous fish like the eel spend most of their lives in fresh water and migrate to the sea to breed.
What's the missing word in this paraphrase of Stephen Hawking's statement that the universe has not existed forever?
"It's true because if it were not, all things would be the same ___."
The theory that the universe has existed forever is in serious difficulty with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law, states that disorder always increases with time. Otherwise, the universe would be in a state of complete disorder by now, and everything would be at the same temperature. In an infinite and everlasting universe, every line of sight would end on the surface of a star. This would mean that the night sky would have been as bright as the surface of the Sun.
In 2010, when the British scientist Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, a Vatican official called it "completely out of order" and said that the award ignored ethical questions. What was Edwards recognized for? (hint: not cloning)
IVF (in vitro fertilization)
He is often called as the 'father of the test tube baby.'
In 1891, where did the Dutchman Eugène Dubois discover a specimen of Homo erectus which at the time was the oldest hominid ever found?
Java (thus Java Man)
It was one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus. Dubois, called it Pithecanthropus erectus, which means 'upright ape-man' according to Greek/Latin roots. Subsequently, older human remains were discovered in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya.
What is the more common name for the order Coleoptera which contains more species than any other order in the animal kingdom?
About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species) constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms. The name Coleoptera is from the Greek for 'sheathed wing.'
On 25 December 1990 while working at CERN, he implemented the first successful communication between a HTTP client and server via the Internet. In less than 10 years, Time named him as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. Who?
The inventor of the World Wide Web.
What is the essential difference between a strain and a sprain?
Strain impacts a muscle, and sprain a ligament
A strain is also called a pulled muscle, and occurs when muscle fibres tear as a result of over-stretching.
In primary school, after he had misbehaved, his teacher asked him to add all the numbers from 1 to 100. He answered in a few seconds after realizing that the pairwise addition of terms from opposite ends of the list yielded identical intermediate sums: 1 + 100 = 101, 2 + 99 = 101, 3 + 98 = 101, and so on, for a total sum of 50 × 101 = 5050.
About which German genius, regarded as the greatest mathematician since antiquity is this possibly apocryphal story often told?
Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)
A note written in 1637 in the margin of a book says that there are no positive integers x, y and z such that xn + yn = zn, where n is an integer greater than two. This wasn't proved until 1995.
Who is the author of this note?
Pierre de Fermat
After centuries, the proof came from Andrew Wiles in 1995.
Dendrochronology is the method of determining age/timeline by the counting of what 'circles'? (hint: 'dendron' in Greek is?)
Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year.
What 'explosive' celestial phenomena, abbreviated GRBs, are said to be the most luminous electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe?
Bursts can last from ten milliseconds to several minutes, although a typical burst lasts 20-40 seconds. A typical burst releases as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will in its entire 10 billion year lifetime. Most observed GRBs are believed to be a narrow beam of intense radiation released during a supernova event, as a rapidly rotating, high-mass star collapses to form a neutron star or black hole.
Princess Irene, Carnaval de Nice, Hollandia and Blue Parrot are some of the varieties of what spring beauties?
If you are a school teacher, an orrery would be a welcome edition to your models. What is it used to illustrate?
Positions and motions of the planets and satellites of the Solar System
What wishing program has become the traditional first program that people see when starting to learn a new programming language?
In general, it is simple enough that people who have no previous experience with computer programming can easily understand it, especially with the guidance of a teacher or a written guide. Using this simple program as a basis, computer science principles or elements of a specific programming language can be explained to novice programmers. Experienced programmers learning new languages can also gain a lot of information about a given language's syntax and structure from a hello world program.
When Wolfgang Pauli postulated about this charge-less particle, he called it ___. When James Chadwick discovered a much more massive particle, also charge-less, he too gave it the same name.
To clear the confusion, Pauli's discovery was renamed as what, alluding to the Italian word 'bambino'?
Neutrino (original name - neutron)
Enrico Fermi did the renaming.
What 'v'engeful weapon is the first known human artifact to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight?
V-2 rocket (V is 'Vergeltungswaffe', German for 'reprisal weapon')
It was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. It was the progenitor of all modern rockets, including those used by the United States and Soviet Union space programs.
In the hardware industry, what 'stirring' word describes the process of coating of iron/steel with zinc to prevent rusting?
With an age of 4,842 years as of 2011, a bristlecone pine growing in the Inyo National Forest, California is the oldest known living tree in the world. What is its 'religious' name?
It is named after the Biblical figure reputed to have lived 969 years. Methuselah's exact location is undisclosed as a protection against vandalism.
What namesake thought experiment intended to demonstrate the limitation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics features a malevolent creature opening doors in a chamber?
It was created by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell to "show that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has only a statistical certainty." In the experiment, an imaginary container is divided into two parts by an insulated wall, with a door that can be opened and closed by what came to be called "Maxwell's Demon." The hypothetical demon opens the door to allow only the "hot" molecules of gas to flow through to a favored side of the chamber, causing that side to spontaneously heat up while the other side cools down.
In 1909, when geologist Charles Walcott was traveling on horseback through the Canadian Rockies, his path was blocked by a pile of rocks. When he stopped to move them, what discovery did he make which changed the study of evolution forever?
It is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields and is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils.
Who was the author of the 2nd century book Alamgest which tried to explain the motions of the stars and planetary paths using the geocentric model of the universe?
Ptolemy (c. AD 90-c. AD 168)
The model was accepted as correct for more than a thousand years in Islamic and European societies through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The book is the most important source of information on ancient Greek astronomy.
A hypothetical elementary particle called the Higgs boson that is the subject of studies using the Large Hadron Collider has been given what 'divine' name by the mainstream media?
The name came from the the title of a book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? by Leon Lederman. While use of this term may have contributed to increased media interest in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider, many scientists dislike it, since it overstates the particle's importance.
The Vital Force Theory which assumed that organic compounds are formed only in living cells was undermined by the synthesis of what substance in 1828?
Urea (produced by the Wöhler synthesis)
This chemical reaction was discovered in 1828 by Friedrich Wöhler and is considered the starting point of modern organic chemistry. This synthesis was a landmark in the history of science as it undermined the Vital Force Theory, which was believed for centuries to be true.
A 'Captcha' test that usually requires a user to identify and type letters/digits from a distorted image is an attempt to ensure that a response is not generated by a computer. It is also described as a reverse what test?
Reverse Turing test
Since a computer administers a test to determine if the subject is or is not human.
In biology, what 3-letter word derived from the Swedish for 'play' is a gathering of males of certain bird species for the purposes of mating display?
The term was originally used most commonly for Black Grouse and for Capercaillie, and lekking behaviour is quite common in birds of this type, such as Sage Grouse, Prairie Chicken, and Sharp-tailed Grouse.
Which Prussian naturalist who influenced Darwin and whose work established the field of bio-geography also has an ocean current that flows from Chile to Peru named for him?
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)
His journeys established South America as a field for scientific exploration.
Global warming be damned. The 19th century biologist Louis Agassiz who studied Alpine glaciers was the first to propose that the Earth had been subject what phenomena in the past?
If Jane Goodall is to chimpanzees, Birutė Galdikas, who worked for a long time in Borneo is to what animal?
Famously explained by the ethologist Karl von Frisch, 'waggle dance' is a term used to describe the figure-eight dance of which creature?
By performing this dance, successful foragers can share with their hive mates information about the direction and distance to patches of flowers yielding nectar and pollen, to water sources, or to new housing locations.
In biology, the theory that states that an animal's development from embryo to adult resembles the stages in the evolution of its ancestors is commonly expressed as what three word phrase?
"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"
There are several examples of embryonic stages showing features of ancestral organisms, but a 'strong' formulation of the concept has been discredited.
After hydrogen and helium, what is the most abundant element in the universe?
Hydrogen and helium are estimated to make up roughly 74% and 24% of all matter in the universe respectively.
In metallurgy, the term 'rouging' refers to a form of corrosion found on what substance that you do not readily associate with corrosion?
Commonly known as the five stages of grief, which 'model' was introduced in the 1969 book On Death and Dying?
It describes, in 5 discrete stages (Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression-Acceptance), a process by which people deal with grief and tragedy, especially when diagnosed with a terminal illness or catastrophic loss. In addition to this, the book brought mainstream awareness to the sensitivity required for better treatment of individuals who are dealing with a fatal disease.
The common basilisk is a lizard found in Central and South American rain-forests and is known for its ability to run on water. What is its appropriate nickname?
Jesus Christ lizard
When startled, the Common Basilisk escapes by speeding to the nearest edge of water-and continues sprinting. The lizard runs on only its hind legs in an erect position, holding its arms to its sides. This basilisk is so adroit on water because its feet are large and equipped with flaps of skin along the toes; when moving quickly, the lizard can cross a surface of water before sinking. On water it runs an average speed of 8.4 kph (or 5.2 mph), which is just a little slower than its speed on land.
What is the only major planet of the Solar System that takes its English name from Greek mythology?
With the exception of earth, all the other planets take their names from Roman myth. Uranus is the third-largest and fourth most massive planet in the Solar System. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky. Sir William Herschel announced its discovery on March 13, 1781, expanding the known boundaries of the Solar System for the first time in modern history. Uranus was also the first planet discovered with a telescope.
Don't get too close. In astronomy, what does the term Roche limit signify?
The distance within which a celestial body will disintegrate due to a second body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction.
Inside the Roche limit, orbiting material will tend to disperse and form rings, while outside the limit, material will tend to coalesce. The term is named after Édouard Roche, the French astronomer who first calculated this theoretical limit in 1848.
The mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot is best known for his work on the geometry of what unusual shapes?
A fractal is 'a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole' a property called self-similarity.
What is the term for a water channel that is controlled at its head by a gate?
For example, a millrace is a sluice that channels water toward a water mill. Sluice gates are commonly used to control water levels and flow rates in rivers and canals. They are also used in wastewater treatment plants and to recover minerals in mining operations, and in watermills.
What controversial theory in evolutionary biology proposes that most sexually reproducing species will experience little or no evolutionary change and remain in an extended state called stasis?
In 1972, paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould published a landmark paper developing this theory. Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Charles Darwin is virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species.
What substance registered in 1870 and widely used as a replacement for ivory is regarded as the first synthetic plastic?
Celluloid is highly flammable and also easily decomposes, and is no longer widely used. Its most common uses today are in table tennis balls and guitar picks.
The Danjon Scale is a five-point scale for measuring the appearance and luminosity of a particular heavenly body during what type of event?
An eclipse's rating on the Danjon Scale is denoted by the letter L and ranges from 0-4 (0 is Very dark eclipse - Moon almost invisible, especially at mid-totality and 4 is Very bright copper-red or orange eclipse.)
What bones found in the hands and feet are named for the ancient Greek army formation in which soldiers stood side by side like an arrangement of fingers or toes?
Phalanges (from phalanx)
In primates such as humans and monkeys, the thumb and big toe have two phalanges, while the other fingers and toes consist of three. Phalanges are classified as long bones.
The common name of which element, symbol Sb is from the Greek for 'not alone'?
Antimony (anti-monos means not-alone)
Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining of the body's internal organs (the mesothelium) is usually caused by exposure to what substance?
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways.
Which lady physicist was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission for which her colleague Otto Hahn won the Nobel and is often mentioned as the most glaring example of womens scientific achievement overlooked by the Nobel committee?
A 1997 Physics Today study concluded that Meitner's omission was "a rare instance in which personal negative opinions apparently led to the exclusion of a deserving scientist" from the Nobel.
Named for a scientist who discovered it in 1961, what is the term for the number of times a normal cell population will divide before it stops?
Prior to Hayflick's discovery it was believed that vertebrate cells had an unlimited potential to replicate.
In 2001, a successful tele-surgical operation was carried out by a team of surgeons in New York on a patient located in France using sophisticated robotics.
Can you guess what this 'trans-Atlantic' operation was called?
The name was derived from that of American aviator Charles Lindbergh, because he was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic, although the operation occurred strictly over telecommunications lines, and no aircraft were involved, other than those used to transport medical services persons.
Known for receiving the rights of Peter Pan from J. M. Barrie, London's Great Ormond Street Hospital is the first institution to provide beds specifically for what category of patients in the English-speaking world?
'Heat, pain, redness, and swelling', the four classical signs of inflammation known since ancient times are called by what rhyming phrase in medicine?
Calor, dolor, rubor and tumor
"I am become Death, the shatterer of Worlds."
This quote from the Hindu treatise Bhagavad Gita was famously used at what 1945 event?
Trinity nuclear test
It was the first test of technology for an atomic weapon. It was conducted by the United States on July 16, 1945 at a location in New Mexico. These words were uttered by J. Robert Oppenheimer who is remembered as "The Father of the Atomic Bomb."
There is no such thing as knowing this a little. The 'rabbit test' developed in 1927 by Bernhard Zondek and Selmar Aschheim was used to check for what?
The original test actually used mice. The test consisted of injecting the tested woman's urine into a female rabbit, then examining the rabbit's ovaries a few days later, which would change in response to a hormone only secreted by pregnant women. It is a common misconception that the injected rabbit would die only if the woman was pregnant. This led to the phrase "the rabbit died" being used as a euphemism for a positive pregnancy test. In fact, all rabbits used for the test died, because they had to be surgically opened in order to examine the ovaries.
Used in medical talk (think PET or CAT), what is the name given to a two-dimensional image of a slice through a three-dimensional object?
Tomography achieves this remarkable result by simply moving an x-ray source in one direction as the x-ray film is moved in the opposite direction during the exposure to sharpen structures in the focal plane, while structures in other planes appear blurred. The tomogram is the picture; the tomograph is the apparatus; and tomography is the process.
In chemistry, what is the common name for the alkane hydrocarbons with the general formula C(n)H(2n+2), the simplest form of which is the methane (CH4) gas?
Paraffin wax refers to the solids with 20 ≤ n ≤ 40.
Were he alive in 2006, the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh would have been disappointed as his discovery was 'dwarfed.' What did he discover in 1930?
Pluto was demoted from the list of planets in 2006.
In biology, what reproductive structures adapted for dispersal differ from seeds in the sense that they have very little stored food?
Spores are the units of asexual reproduction, because a single spore develops into a new organism. By contrast, gametes are the units of sexual reproduction, as two gametes need to fuse to create a new organism.
In the animal kingdom, what are 'spiracles' that are found on the surface of some animals?
Small openings that usually lead to respiratory systems
For example, in sharks and rays, a spiracle is found behind each eye, and is often used to pump water through the gills while the animal is at rest.
NASA's series of Great Observatories satellites are the following four powerful space-based telescopes. What is the missing word? (hint: An Indian-born American scientist known for his 'limit')
1. The Hubble Space Telescope
2. The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
3. The Spitzer Space Telescope
4. ___ X-ray Observatory
Of these satellites, only the Compton is not operating; one of its gyroscopes failed, and NASA ordered it to be de-orbited on June 4, 2000. Spitzer was the only one of the Great Observatories not launched by the Space Shuttle.
What chemical that takes its name from the Latin for 'bind fast' tends to shrink body tissues and is a constituent of medicines used for similar purposes?
Two common examples are calamine lotion and witch hazel.
What non-technical term is given to a condition where the thumb, when extended (as in a 'thumbs-up'), stretches backwards toward the nail and outwards?
People who do not have this condition are able to extend the thumb straight out with little backward bending. Neither condition appears to have any ill-effect on the thumb's function. While most people have either "hitchhiker's thumb" on both thumbs or neither, in some people the condition only presents itself on one thumb.
What is a type of chemical mixture where one substance is dispersed evenly throughout another?
For example, Milk is an emulsified colloid of liquid butterfat globules dispersed within a water-based fluid.
Literally meaning 'on the kidney', what hormone that participates in the 'fight or flight' response of the body is produced by the adrenal glands?
Woods Hole, Massachusetts is famous for having many institutes in what field of science?
Meaning 'indicator' in Greek, what is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow called?
In 1931, the American physical chemist Harold Urey demonstrated the existence of what type of 'weighty' liquid that proved important in the development of the atomic bomb?
It helped him win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934.
Taking its name from the Latin word for magpie, what medical disorder is characterized by an appetite for non-nutritive substances (e.g., clay)?
It is named for the magpie as it is reputed to eat almost anything. Pica is seen in all ages, particularly in pregnant women and small children, especially among children who are developmentally disabled, where it is the most common eating disorder.
What are the correct words for the emission of light at high and low temperatures?
Incandescence and luminescence respectively
The incandescence of a theoretically perfectly black object is known as black body radiation. Luminescence can be caused by chemical reactions, electrical energy, subatomic motions, or stress on a crystal.
Also known as 'beestings' or 'first milk', what is the form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals during late pregnancy?
Most species will generate colostrum within one day of giving birth.
Named after an English naturalist after his work in the rainforests of Brazil, what is the Batesian mimicry in the world of nature? Sheep in wolf's clothing?
A harmless species imitating the warning signals of a harmful species.
As far as water habitats go, what does the ecological region 'benthic zone' refer to?
Lowest level of a body of water
Organisms living in this zone are called benthos. Because light does not penetrate very deep ocean-water, the energy source for the benthic ecosystem is often organic matter from higher up in the water column which drifts down to the depths. This dead and decaying matter sustains the benthic food chain; most organisms in the benthic zone are scavengers or detritivores. In their habitats they can be considered as dominant creatures. Many organisms adapted to deep-water pressure cannot survive in the upper parts of the water column.
In 1996, an ewe became the first mammal to be cloned. If you were told that the donor cell was taken from a mammary gland, can you use 'country music' as a clue and answer why she got the name 'Dolly'?
From Dolly Parton, the famously busty country singer
Since the 1960s the International System of Units (SI) has been the internationally recognised standard metric system. Name 2 of the 3 countries that are yet to officially adopt it.
USA, Liberia, and Myanmar
Until it was named for a character in Ovid's Metamorphoses, what deadly disease had been called the 'French disease' in Italy and Germany, and the 'Italian disease' in France? Guess nobody wanted to associate themselves with it!
In addition, the Dutch called it the "Spanish disease", the Russians called it the "Polish disease", the Turks called it the "Christian disease" or "Frank disease" (frengi) and the Tahitians called it the "British disease." These 'national' names are due to the disease often being present among invading armies or sea crews, due to the high instance of unprotected sexual contact with prostitutes. It was also called "Great pox" in the 16th century to distinguish it from smallpox. The signs and symptoms of syphilis are numerous; before the advent of serological testing, precise diagnosis was very difficult. In fact, the disease was dubbed the "Great Imitator" because it was often confused with other diseases, particularly in its tertiary stage.
What industrial process that consumes 3-5% of the world's natural gas and 1-2% of the world's annual energy supply is the reaction of nitrogen and hydrogen over an iron substrate to produce ammonia?
Haber process (also Haber-Bosch process)
The Haber process is important because ammonia is difficult to produce on an industrial scale. Even though 78.1% of the air we breathe is nitrogen, the gas is relatively unreactive because nitrogen molecules are held together by strong triple bonds. Ammonia was first manufactured using the Haber process on an industrial scale in Germany during World War I to meet the high demand for ammonium nitrate (for use in explosives) at a time when supply of Chile saltpetre from Chile could not be guaranteed because this industry was then almost 100% in British hands. It has been suggested that without this process, Germany would not have started the war.
What is the name of the brew prepared from the Banisteriopsis vine native to the Amazon Rainforest that is famously used for shamanic purposes?
Ayahuasca, and also called yage in Columbia and caapi in Brazil
"Ayahuasca tourist" is a pejorative term for those who quest for a transcendent experience through using ayahuasca, implying an insincere Westerner wanting a taste of an exotic ritual.
The Tupolev Tu-144 has what other famous counterpart in the annals of civilian aviation as a unique achievement goes?
Concorde (only supersonic passenger airliners)
Tupolev was the first supersonic transport aircraft (SST), constructed under the direction of the Soviet Tupolev design bureau headed by Alexei Tupolev (1925-2001). Western observers nicknamed the plane Concordski (sometimes Konkordski), sounding Russian yet still very close to the Concorde, to which the Tu-144 was visually similar. A prototype first flew on 31 December 1968 near Moscow, two months before Concorde.
What disorder of the mind, the most common form of which is Alzheimer's disease is caused by the decline of the number of brain cells and the subsequent deterioration in mental ability?
Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood.
What ecological hypothesis of James Lovelock that is named for a Greek goddess says that since parts of the Earth are in a complex interacting system, the Earth itself can be thought of as a single organism?
Named after the Greek earth goddess, this hypothesis postulates that all living things have a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that promotes life overall.
What early type of photographic process in which the image is exposed onto a surface of silver was invented in 1839 by a Frenchman who gave it its name?
Daguerreotype by Louis Daguerre
The daguerreotype is a negative image, but the mirrored surface of the metal plate reflects the image and makes it appear positive in the proper light. Thus, daguerreotype is a direct photographic process without the capacity for duplication.
Meaning 'mist' in Latin, what is the interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas and plasma that is the first stage of a star's cycle?
Originally nebula was a general name for any extended astronomical object, including galaxies beyond the Milky Way. In these regions the formations of gas, dust and other materials 'clump' together to form larger masses, which attract further matter, and eventually will become big enough to form stars. The remaining materials are then believed to form planets, and other solar system objects.
What algebraic system taught in present-day schools is one of the legacies of the philosopher René Descartes to which he lent his name?
In mathematics, the Cartesian coordinate system is used to determine each point uniquely in a plane through two numbers, usually called the x-coordinate or abscissa and the y-coordinate or ordinate of the point. The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes and independently by Pierre de Fermat, although Fermat did not publish the discovery.
Say 'anatomy book' and everyone thinks of Gray's Anatomy. But which pioneer who is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy wrote the influential De humani corporis fabrica in 1543 preceding Gray by centuries?
Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)
Vesalius had the work published at the age of 28, taking great pains to ensure its quality. Many of the illustrations were made by commissioned artists-those in the first two books were done by Johannes Stephanus of Calcar, an employee/student of the great Venetian artist Titian-and were greatly superior to the illustrations in anatomical atlases of the day, which were often made by anatomy professors themselves.
What are the four Galilean moons of Jupiter that are named after the lovers of Zeus in Greek myth?
Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto
As a result of improvements Galileo Galilei made to the telescope, he was able to see celestial bodies more distinctly than ever before in human history. As a result, sometime between December 1609 and January 1610 Galileo Galilei discovered what came to be known as the Galilean moons although a Chinese historian of astronomy, Xi Zezong, claimed that the Chinese astronomer Gan De observed one of Jupiter's moons in 362 BC, nearly 2 millennia earlier than Galileo.
What mathematical puzzle that consists of three pegs and a number of disks of different sizes in which the objective is to move the entire stack of disks from one peg to another is used in computer science to teach recursion to students of programming?
Towers of Hanoi
The puzzle was invented by the French mathematician Édouard Lucas in 1883. There is a legend about an Indian temple which contains a large room with three time-worn posts in it surrounded by 64 golden disks. The priests of Brahma, acting out the command of an ancient prophecy, have been moving these disks, in accordance with the rules of the puzzle. According to the legend, when the last move of the puzzle is completed, the world will end. The puzzle is therefore also known as the Tower of Brahma puzzle.
When it launched the satellite Alouette 1 in 1962, which country became the first non-superpower to enter the space race?
Occasionally, Alouette 1 is misrepresented as the third satellite successfully put in orbit, rather than being from the third country ever to do so, but numerous Sputnik and Explorer program missions preceded it. The name "Alouette" came from the French "skylark" and from the title of a popular French-Canadian folk song, "Alouette."
What non-lethal weapon was named by its inventor Jack Cover after the teen science fiction character Tom Swift?
The trademarked name Taser is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle." Tasers were introduced as a less-lethal weapon with the intention to be used by police to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous suspects, often when a lethal weapon would have otherwise been used. Tasers have not proven unequivocally to reduce gun usage and there are a number of growing controversies surrounding them.
What is the term coined by Brown and Kulik in 1977 to explain a memory that is laid down in great detail during a significant event, often of national or international importance?
For example, a great many people can remember where they were when they heard of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 or the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., or musician John Lennon. The most pronounced difference between ordinary and flashbulb memory is that people believe flashbulb memories to be more accurately and vividly remembered.
With connection to landscapes, what does Eolian processes pertain to?
Activity of winds and the winds' ability to shape the surface of the Earth and other planets.
Winds may erode, transport, and deposit materials, and are effective agents in regions with sparse vegetation and a large supply of unconsolidated sediments. Although water is much more powerful than wind, æolian processes are important in arid environments such as deserts. The term is derived from the name of the Greek god, Æolus, the keeper of the winds.
Also the title of a 1991 Ron Howard film, what is the term for a situation which can occur when oxygen is re-introduced to a fire that is starved of it resulting in an explosive effect?
Backdrafts are very dangerous situations, often surprising firefighters, regardless of their level of experience. The most common tactic used by firefighters in defusing a potential backdraft is to ventilate from the highest point, allowing the heat and smoke to escape without igniting explosively.
With respect to the Solar System, what is particularly common to Shakespeare and Alexander Pope's narrative poem The Rape of the Lock?
Satellites of Uranus are named after characters from the works of Shakespeare and Pope's The Rape of the Lock.
With connection to biology, what is the 'Wallace Line'?
Boundary that separates the zoogeographical regions of Asia and Australasia
West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, mostly organisms related to Australian species. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed the apparent dividing line during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The line runs through the Malay Archipelago, between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes); and between Bali (in the west) and Lombok (in the east).
The common name of what African tree comes from the mistaken belief of early settlers who thought that malaria was contracted from being around them?
It grows naturally in Zimbabwe and South Africa near the Limpopo River, as immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in his Just So Stories. It is unique as it is the only tree where photo-synthasis takes place in the bark of the tree as the leaves are very small. It also grows a "sacraficial limb" which appears as a dead branch, and is used to dump unwanted nutrients from the soil.
In human anatomy, what is a fontanelle (or fontanel)?
Soft spots on a newborn's skull
Fontanelles are soft spots on a baby's head which, during birth, enable the soft bony plates of the skull to flex, allowing the head to pass through the birth canal. Fontanelles are usually completely hardened by a child's second birthday, and will eventually form the sutures of the neurocranium. The fontanelles allow the infant brain to be imaged using ultrasonography. Once they are closed, most of the brain is inaccessible to ultrasound imaging, as the bony skull presents an acoustic barrier.
Derived from the name of an ancient King of Pontus, what is the practice of Mithridatism?
Protecting oneself against a poison by gradually self-administering non-lethal amounts.
The word derives from Mithridates VI, who so feared being poisoned that he regularly ingested small doses, aiming to develop immunity. Having been defeated by Pompey, legend has it that Mithridates tried to commit suicide using poison but failed because of his immunity and so had to resort to having a mercenary run him through with his sword. Mithridatization has been tried with success in Australia and Brazil and total immunity has been achieved even to multiple bites of extremely venomous cobras and pit vipers.
The Apgar score was devised in 1952 by anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar as a simple and repeatable method to assess what?
Health of a newborn child
The Apgar score is determined by evaluating the newborn baby on five simple criteria on a scale from zero to two and summing up the five values thus obtained. The resulting Apgar score ranges from zero to 10. The five criteria are Heart rate, Respiration, (Reflex) irritability, (Muscle) tone and (Skin) color - the mnemonic being 'How Ready Is This Child.'
What term is given to the biological phenomenon where the size of animals isolated on an island increases dramatically over generations?
It is a form of natural selection in which bigger size provides a survival advantage. Large size in herbivores usually makes it harder to escape or hide from predators, but on islands, these are often lacking. Thus, island gigantism is not an evolutionary trend due to fundamentally new parameters determining fitness (as in island dwarfing), but rather the removal of constraints. With the arrival of humans and associated predators (dogs, cats, rats, pigs), many giant island endemics have become extinct.
What type of disease is a 'zoonosis'?
Any infectious disease that is transmitted from animals to humans or from humans to animals (the latter is sometimes called reverse zoonosis).
Many serious diseases fall under this category. The simplest definition of a zoonosis is a disease that can be transmitted from other animals to humans. A slightly more technical definition is a disease that normally exists in other animals, but also infects humans.
What potent toxin is extracted from the castor bean?
Ricin is poisonous if inhaled, injected, or ingested, acting as a toxin by the inhibition of protein synthesis. While there is no known antidote, the US military has developed a vaccine. The best-known documented use of ricin as an agent of biological warfare was by the Soviet Union's KGB during the Cold War. In 1978, the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was assassinated by Bulgarian secret police who surreptitiously 'shot' him on a London street with a modified umbrella using compressed gas to fire a tiny pellet contaminated with ricin into his leg.
What substance is the basis of the gold refining technique known as 'inquartation and parting' since it can dissolve silver and other base metals but not gold?
Nitric acid has long been used to confirm the presence of gold in items, and this is the origin of the colloquial term "acid test," referring to a gold standard test for genuine value.
What controversial form of alternative medicine that aims to treat 'like with like' traces its origins to the late 18th century when it was founded by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann?
Homeopathy is based on a vitalist world view, which sees the underlying causes of sickness as imbalances in a hypothetical vital force, and claims that homeopathic treatment can harmonize and re-balance the vital force in the body, so restoring health - a spiritual doctrine not found in modern biology or conventional medicine. The medical efficacy of homeopathic treatments is disputed both by experimental studies, and on scientific and medical grounds, and it is considered by most scientists to be ineffective.
What is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms?
Great Barrier Reef
It is composed of roughly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 2,600 kilometres (1,616 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (132,974 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
What is the colorful name given to the uranium concentrate powder obtained from leach solutions that is used in the preparation of fuel for nuclear reactors?
In medicine, what is said to occur when an object migrates from one part of the body through circulation and causes a blockage of a blood vessel in another part of the body?
This can be contrasted with a "thrombus" which is the formation of a clot within a blood vessel, rather than being carried from somewhere else. Blood clots form the most common embolic material by far: other possible embolic materials include fat globules (a fat embolism), air bubbles (an air embolism), talc embolism (often following drug abuse), septic emboli (containing pus and bacteria), or amniotic fluid. Emboli often have more serious consequences when they occur in the so-called "end-circulation": areas of the body that have no redundant blood supply, such as the brain, heart, and lungs.
In mathematics, what is a statement that appears likely to be true but has not been formally proven to be true under the rules of mathematical logic?
Once a conjecture is formally proven true it is elevated to the status of theorem and may be used afterwards without risk in the construction of other formal mathematical proofs. Until that time, mathematicians may use the conjecture on a provisional basis, but any resulting work is itself conjectural until the underlying conjecture is cleared up.
What is the term given to uranium that has its isotope uranium-235 removed?
It is primarily composed of the isotope uranium-238. Since depleted uranium contains less than one third as much uranium-235 as natural uranium, it is weakly radioactive and an external radiation dose from depleted uranium is about 60% of that from the same mass of uranium with a natural isotopic ratio. Depleted uranium behaves in the body as does natural uranium.
In biology, what is 'autotomy', which is exhibited by geckos, skinks and other lizards when captured?
The act whereby an animal severs one of its own appendages to elude a predator's grasp.
The animals that are captured by the tail will shed part of the tail structure and thus be able to flee. The detached tail will continue to wriggle, creating a deceptive sense of continued struggle and attracting the predator's attention away from the fleeing prey animal. The animal can partially regenerate its tail over a period of weeks. The new section will contain cartilage rather than bone and the skin will have different colouration, typically darker and with little or no pattern.
When all their individual contributions are added up, what insects may constitute up to 15 to 25% of the total terrestrial animal biomass?
Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ant species are Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, and the Hawaiian Islands. Individuals are divided into sub-fertile, and more commonly sterile, females ("workers"), fertile males ("drones"), and fertile females ("queens"). Colonies can occupy and use a wide area of land to support themselves. Ant colonies are sometimes described as superorganisms because the colony appears to operate as a single entity.
What two sea-dwelling creatures are notable for being the only species in which males become 'pregnant'?
Seahorses and pipefishes
Seahorses reproduce in an unusual way: the male becomes pregnant. "The female inserts her ovipositor into the male's brood pouch, where she deposits her eggs, which the male fertilizes. The fertilized eggs then embed in the pouch wall and become enveloped with tissues." New research indicates the male releases sperm into the surrounding sea water during fertilization, and not directly into the pouch as was previously thought. Most seahorse species' pregnancies lasts approximately two to three weeks.
What is the difference between a 'noble gas' and an 'inert gas'?
Unlike noble gases, an inert gas is not necessarily elemental and is often molecular.
Helium and neon are the only true elemental inert gases, because they do not form any (known) true chemical compounds, unlike the heavier noble gases (argon, krypton, xenon and radon).
Who is the British astrophysicist who announced Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to the English-speaking world in 1919?
Eddington helped to experimentally verify the theory of general relativity by observing the appearance of stars around the region of a solar eclipse.
What biological term from the Greek for 'virgin creation' denotes the growth and development of an embryo or seed without fertilization by a male?
It is a form of asexual reproduction in which females produce eggs that develop without fertilization. It occurs naturally in some species, including lower plants, invertebrates (e.g. water fleas, aphids, some bees and parasitic wasps), and vertebrates (e.g. some reptiles, fish, and, very rarely, birds and sharks). It is sometimes also used to describe reproduction modes in hermaphroditic species which can self-fertilize.
What is the most abundant protein in mammals making up about 25% of their total protein content?
Collagen has been widely used in cosmetic surgery, as a healing aid for burn patients for reconstruction of bone and a wide variety of dental, orthopedic and surgical purposes. Collagens are widely employed in the construction of artificial skin substitutes used in the management of severe burns, as well as for a wide range of dental, orthopedic, and surgical purposes. These collagens may be derived from bovine, equine or porcine, and even human, sources and are sometimes used in combination with silicones, glycosaminoglycans, fibroblasts, growth factors and other substances.
Found in suitable habitat throughout Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, what is largest of all living reptiles?
Saltwater or estuarine crocodile
A healthy adult male saltwater crocodile is typically 4.8 to 7 metres (15.75 to 21.6 ft) long, and weighs up to 770 kg (1697 lb), with many exceptions being much larger than this.
What is the common name of the Adansonia species of tree native to Africa and Australia that is noted for its capacity to store enormous quantity of water?
Baobabs store water inside the swollen trunk (up to 120,000 litres to endure the harsh drought conditions particular to each region.
What organic compound is the primary structural component of green plants and also makes-up their primary cell wall?
Cellulose was discovered and isolated in the mid-nineteenth century by the French chemist Anselme Payen. Cellulose is not digestible by humans and is often referred to as 'dietary fiber' or 'roughage.'
What site in Raritan Township in New Jersey, USA is famed as the location of Edison's research laboratory?
It was in the Menlo Park Laboratory that Thomas Edison came up with his most famous inventions, including the phonograph and a commercially viable incandescent light bulb filament and he is sometimes referred to as "the Wizard of Menlo Park."
Which element is added to rubber in the vulcanization process?
Vulcanization refers to a specific curing process of rubber involving high heat and the addition of sulfur. It is a chemical process in which polymer molecules are linked to other polymer molecules by atomic bridges composed of sulfur atoms. This makes the bulk material harder, much more durable and also more resistant to chemical attack. It also makes the surface of the material smoother and prevents it from sticking to metal or plastic chemical catalysts.
Because of his advocation for the use of direct current (DC) for electric power distribution, Thomas Edison developed a bitter rivalry with which other genius who advocated alternating current (AC)?
After his demonstration of wireless communication in 1893 and after being the victor in the "War of Currents", Tesla was widely respected as America's greatest electrical engineer. The SI unit measuring magnetic flux density or magnetic induction (commonly known as the magnetic field ), the tesla, was named in his honour. Aside from his work on electromagnetism and engineering, Tesla is said to have contributed in varying degrees to the establishment of robotics, remote control, radar and computer science and to the expansion of ballistics, nuclear physics and theoretical physics.
About which Swedish botanist who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature did Goethe write "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly."?
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)
He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy."
Developed by the Soviet Union in 1961, what was the 'royal' nickname for the largest and most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated?
Tsar Bomba ('Emperor Bomb')
The bomb had a yield of about 50 megatons of TNT and it was codenamed Ivan by its developers. The detonation qualifies as being the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity. The bomb was tested on October 30, 1961, in Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago in the Arctic Sea. The device was scaled down from its original design of 100 megatons to reduce the resulting nuclear fallout.
Which element, at atomic number 47, has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity for a metal?
Endemic to nine islands of an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, what is the largest living tortoise?
Adults of large species can weigh over 300 kilograms (660 lb) and measure 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) long. Although the maximum life expectancy of a wild tortoise is unknown, the average life expectancy is estimated to be 200 years.
Which acid that makes up 55-80% of olive oil is also emitted by decaying bee corpses thus triggering the instincts of living bees to remove dead bees from their hives?
If a drop of oleic acid were to be added to a live bee, it would be dragged off, kicking and screaming, as if it were dead.
Steady now, the physiological sense called 'equilibrioception' allows humans and animals to do what?
Walk or stand without falling
Some animals are better in this than humans, for example allowing a cat (as a quadruped using its inner ear and tail) to walk on a thin fence. All forms of equilibrioception can be described as the detection of acceleration. It is determined by the level of fluid properly called endolymph in the labyrinth - a complex set of tubing in the inner ear.
What type of viper named for an African country has the highest venom yield of any snake?
Their venom itself is not considered particularly toxic but their venom glands are enormous and produce the largest quantities of any venomous snake.
Which Muslim scholar of the middle ages is referred to as the 'father of chemistry' and is credited with the introduction of the experimental method into alchemy and the invention of processes still used in modern chemistry?
Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan (721-c.815), best known as Geber
His ethnic background is not clear; although most sources state he was an Arab, others describe him as Persian. He introduced many methods such as the syntheses of hydrochloric and nitric acids, distillation, and crystallisation.
Though it is the most abundant metallic element in Earth's crust, which element is very rare in its free form and once prompted Napoleon III, Emperor of France to give a banquet where the most honoured guests were given utensils made of it while the 'lesser' guests had to make do with gold!
It is very rare in its free form, occurring in oxygen-deficient environments such as volcanic mud. Aluminium has been produced in commercial quantities for just over 100 years.
Due to its use by the ruling class to murder one another and for its potency and discreetness, which element has been called the 'Poison of Kings'?
As the symptoms of arsenic poisoning were somewhat ill-defined, it was frequently used for murder until the advent of the Marsh test, a sensitive chemical test for its presence. (Another less sensitive but more general test is the Reinsch test.)
What 'Z' mineral found in Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia with an age of 4.404 billion years might be the oldest mineral on earth?
Their oxygen isotopic composition has been interpreted to indicate that more than 4.4 billion years ago there was already water on the surface of the Earth. This spectacular interpretation has been published in top scientific journals, but is the subject of debate.
What nutrients required by the human body for metabolic reactions are classified as water-soluble and fat-soluble? Did you take yours today?
In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C).
What is the largest living sub-species of the tiger?
The Sumatran tiger is the smallest.
The Fields Medal for outstanding achievement in mathematics carries a portrait of which ancient great along with his proof concerning the volume of the sphere and the cylinder?
The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union, a meeting that takes place every four years. The Fields Medal is widely viewed as the top honor a mathematician can receive.
What is the largest species of the salmon family that also shares its name with an Indian tribe?
Described and enthusiastically eaten by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the chinook salmon is spiritually and culturally prized among certain Native American tribes.
What was discovered by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911 when he was studying the resistance of solid mercury at cryogenic temperatures?
At the temperature of 4.2 Kelvin, he observed that the resistance abruptly disappeared. In subsequent decades, superconductivity was found in several other materials. In 1913, lead was found to superconduct at 7 K, and in 1941 niobium nitride was found to superconduct at 16 K.
In 1949, what process developed by Willard Libby revolutionized archaeology?
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring isotope carbon-14 (14C) to determine the age of carbonaceous materials up to about 60,000 years.
During WWII, troops stationed in New Guinea were warned to steer clear of what bird that was also listed by the 2007 edition of the Guinness Book as the world's most dangerous?
They are very large flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia. Normally cassowaries are very shy but when disturbed can lash out dangerously with their powerful legs. They are also considered to be one of the most dangerous animals to keep in zoos, based on the frequency and severity of injuries incurred by zookeepers.
On the scale of the IUCN's Red List that lists the conservation status of plant and animal species, on one end is (EX) for Extinct while on the other end is (LC) for Least Concern. Next to (EX) is (EW) which stands for what?
Extinct in the Wild
The other categories are Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), and Near Threatened (NT).
Olympus Mons is the tallest known volcano and mountain in our Solar System. Where is it located?
The central edifice stands 27 kilometres (around 17 miles) high above the mean surface level of Mars (about three times the elevation of Mount Everest above sea level and 2.6 times the height of Mauna Kea above its base). It is 550 km (342 miles) in width.
Which element gets its name from the Greek for 'acid producer' because the scientist Lavoisier who named it erroneously thought that it was a constituent of all acids?
From 'oxys' (acid, literally "sharp", from the taste of acids) and (-genēs) (producer, literally begetter).
What rare form of headache whose name refers to its tendency to occur periodically has been called by some experts as the most painful condition known to medical science?
Nicknamed "suicide headache", it is a neurological disease that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain. The cause of the disease is currently unknown.
A drogue parachute is designed to be deployed from what type of object?
Rapidly moving one
It is often used to gain control of very fast descents, including those of spacecraft during atmospheric reentry, or nuclear bombs. When used as a method of decreasing the landing distance of an aircraft below that available solely from the aircraft's brakes, the device is called a drag parachute or braking parachute.
The Klein bottle which has no distinction between inside and outside surfaces can be made by gluing two of what similar objects?
The Indian astronomer Brahmagupta who lived in the 7th century is credited with introducing what fundamental mathematical concept?
The number zero
His Brahmasphutasiddhanta is the earliest known text to treat zero as a number in its own right. It goes well beyond that, however, stating rules for arithmetic on negative numbers and zero which are quite close to the modern understanding. The major divergence is that Brahmagupta attempted to define division by zero, which is left undefined in modern mathematics. His definition of zero was quite accurate except he wrongly believed that 0/0 was equal to 0.
As opposed to hibernation, when is an animal said to estivate?
When it is dormant in the summer, as opposed to winter
Animals that estivate spend a summer inactive and insulated against heat to avoid the potentially harmful effects of the season (such as the increase in temperature, or relative lack of water), or to avoid contact with other species with which they may otherwise be in competition, or for which they are prey. Animals that estivate include North American desert tortoises, crocodiles, salamanders, and lungfishes.
In the world of health, what is an iatrogenic disease? The cure is worse than ...
Adverse effect associated with a medical practitioner or treatment
Iatros means physician in Greek, and -genic, meaning induced by, is derived from the International Scientific Vocabulary. Combined, they become iatrogenic, meaning physician-induced.
What breed of sheep that is also the most numerous in the world is prized for its wool?
In the general theory of relativity, what is the term for a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect the observer?
Light emitted from inside the horizon can never reach the observer, and anything that passes through the horizon from the observer's side is never seen again. A black hole is surrounded by an event horizon, for example.
It is common knowledge that hurricanes in the US are rated on a scale of 1 to 5. But what is the name of the scale?
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is used only to describe hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Other areas label their tropical cyclones as "cyclones" and "typhoons", and use their own classification scales.
Which phrase, also the title of a 2004 Ashton Kutcher movie, encapsulates the notion of 'sensitive dependence on initial conditions' of Chaos theory?
The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different.
How many operational space shuttles were built by NASA?
The first orbiter, Enterprise, was not built for actual space flight, and was used only for testing purposes and is not considered an operational vehicle. It was followed by four operational space shuttles: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis. Challenger was destroyed on launch in 1986, and Endeavour was built as a replacement. Columbia was destroyed on re-entry in 2003.
About which genius did Prof. Hardy of Cambridge say the following words?
"The greatest mathematicians made their most significant discoveries when they were very young. Galois who died at 20, Abel at 26, and Riemann at 39, had actually made their mark in history. So the real tragedy of ___ was not his early death at the age of 32, but that in his most formative years, he did not receive proper training, and so a significant part of his work was rediscovery ..."
A definitive example of an autodidact prodigy, Ramanujan compiled an estimated 3,900 theorems during his short lifetime. Although a small number of these results were actually false, most of his statements have now been proven to be correct. His deep intuition and uncanny algebraic manipulative ability enabled him to state results that were both original and highly unconventional, and these have inspired a vast amount of research.
What neurological condition named for a much-loved literary character causes the subjects to perceive humans and animals (even rabbits!) as substantially smaller than in reality?
Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS), or Micropsia
The condition is in terms of perception only; the mechanics of the eye are not affected, only the brain's interpretation of information passed from the eyes. The syndrome is associated with, and perhaps in part caused by, the classical migraine headache. The disorder is named after Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, where the title character experiences many situations similar to those of micropsia and macropsia. Because Lewis Carroll recorded at least one episode of classical migraine, scholars have speculated that he may have experienced this syndrome himself.
Which dinosaur named for a South American country is possibly the largest and heaviest land animal that ever lived?
Argentinosaurus, a herbivorous sauropod
Not much of Argentinosaurus has been recovered: just some back vertebrae, tibia, fragmentary ribs, and sacrum. One vertebra had a length of 1.3 metres and the tibia was about 155 centimetres (58 inches) However, the spectacular proportions of these bones and the familiarity of the species' sauropod relatives allows paleontologists to estimate that full-grown specimens reached some 35 metres (115 feet) in length. Weight was perhaps 80 to 100 tonnes. It is the largest dinosaur that there is good evidence for.
In biology, what type of relationship between two living organisms is called as a commensalism?
Relationship where one organism benefits and the other is unaffected
It is derived from the English word commensal, meaning the sharing of food, and used of human social interaction. The word derives from the Latin com mensa, meaning sharing a table. An inquiline is an animal that lives commensally in the nest, burrow, or dwelling place of an animal of another species.
What scale measures cola at 2.5, orange juice at 3.5, beer at 4.5, coffee at 5.0, tea at 5.5, milk at 6.5 and blood at nearly 7.4?
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Solutions with a pH less than seven are considered acidic, while those with a pH greater than seven are considered basic (alkaline). pH 7 is considered neutral because it is the pH of pure water at 25 °C.
What hypothetical subatomic particles that travel faster than light take their name from the Greek for 'swift'?
To date, the existence of tachyons has been neither confirmed nor explicitly ruled out.
In the Henry Classification System, what can have the following patterns: arch, loop and whorl?
There are also more complex classification systems that further break down patterns to plain arches or tented arches.
It is considered to be the first of its kind in the world of computers and has been alternately called 'Lahore', 'Pakistani' and 'UIUC', among others. What is it?
(c)Brain, considered the first computer virus for the PC
(c)Brain was written by two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, who lived in Lahore, Pakistan. The brothers told TIME magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy and it was supposed to target copyright infringers only.
"If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use: Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"
Who is this 'super' pioneer in the field of computer science who always resisted parallel solutions in favor of high-speed ones?
Seymour Cray (1925-1996), the architect of the Supercomputer
The name of which artificial satellite constellation system was taken from the name of the element with atomic number 77?
The Iridium satellite constellation is a system of 66 active communication satellites and spares around the Earth. It allows worldwide voice and data communications using handheld devices. The Iridium network is unique in that it covers the whole earth, including poles, oceans and airways, however the service is interdicted due to American embargoes in North Korea, Iran, Libya and Sudan. The name was taken from the element Iridium, with the atomic number of 77 -- the size of the satellite constellation projected in the early stages of planning.
In the human brain, what is the area that is involved in language processing, speech production and comprehension?
Broca's area is named after the 19th century physician Paul Broca who discovered it. He arrived at this discovery by studying the brains of aphasic patients (persons with speech and language disorders resulting from brain injuries).
What neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning is named after a Japanese city where it was first discovered?
Symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. It was caused by the release of methyl mercury in the industrial wastewater and this toxic chemical bioaccumulated in shellfish and fish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea, which when eaten by the local populace resulted in mercury poisoning.
What is the term for the time that it takes an object to make one full orbit around the Sun, relative to the stars?
This is considered to be an object's true orbital period.
What term describes the use of the gravity of a planet to alter the path and speed of an interplanetary spacecraft?
Gravitational slingshot (or) gravity assist
It is a commonly used maneuver for visiting the outer planets, which would otherwise either take far too long or require far too much fuel using current propulsion technologies. It was first developed in 1959 at the Department of Applied Mathematics of Steklov Institute and employed in the Luna 3 Moon mission. From a large distance, the spacecraft appears to have bounced off the planet. The Mariner 10 probe was the first spacecraft to use the effect to reach another planet, passing by Venus on February 5, 1974 on its way to becoming the first spacecraft to explore Mercury.
True versatility! Which actress achieved her biggest success in Samson and Delilah and co-invented the first form of spread spectrum, a key to modern wireless communication?
In 2003, the Boeing corporation ran a series of recruitment ads featuring Hedy Lamarr as a woman of science. No reference to her film career was made in the ads.
The name of what fearsome pre-historic creature, popularized by Spielberg, literally means 'robber' in Latin?
Raptor (velociraptor means 'swift robber')
The Velociraptor depicted in the Jurassic Park films were scientifically inaccurate in numerous ways. One major discrepancy is that the size of the Velociraptor in the film was much greater than their diminutive real-world counterparts. The size of the film's Velociraptor may also have been increased for dramatic reasons by Spielberg.
With respect to the Solar System, fill in the missing name in this unique list.
Ceres, Eris, Makemake, Haumea, ___
Pluto (dwarf planets)
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the official scientific body for astronomical nomenclature, defines a "dwarf planet" as a celestial body within the Solar System that satisfies these four conditions: 1) is in orbit around the Sun 2) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape 3) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit 4) is not a satellite.
What appropriately named spacecraft launched in 1972 has become the first artificial object to leave the Solar System?
It was the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt, and was the first to make direct observations of Jupiter. It is heading in the direction of the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus at roughly 2.6 AUs per year and if Aldebaran had zero relative velocity, it would take Pioneer about 2 million years to reach it. There is no longer communication with the probe; the last contact was in 2003 and in 2006 a final attempt at contact failed.
What did Edwin Land invent because of his daughters' wish for instant and 'snappy' results?
Among other things, he invented inexpensive filters for polarizing light, instant polaroid photography, and his retinex theory of color vision. At one time, he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's richest scientist.
What type of diet is ophiophagy, notably practiced by the king cobra?
It is a specialized form of feeding of animals which hunt and eat snakes. There are ophiophagous mammals (such as the skunks and the mongooses), birds (such as snake eagles, the Secretary Bird, and some hawks), lizards, and even other snakes, such as the North American Common Kingsnake. There is even an entire genus of snakes named after this habit, Ophiophagus, with species such as the venomous King Cobra.
The state of Texas actually has a state molecule! What is it?
Buckyball or fullerene
The fullerenes, discovered in 1985 by researchers at Rice University, are a family of carbon allotropes named after Richard Buckminster Fuller and are sometimes called buckyballs. They are molecules composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. Buckminsterfullerene is the smallest fullerene in which no two pentagons share an edge. It is also the most common in terms of natural occurrence, as it can often be found in soot.
Because of his prolific output, friends of which eccentric mathematician created the ___ number as a humorous tribute?
___ alone was assigned the number of 0 (for being himself), while his immediate collaborators could claim a number of 1, their collaborators have a number at most 2, and so on.
He (1913-1996) was an immensely prolific and famously eccentric Hungarian-born mathematician who, with hundreds of collaborators, worked on problems in combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, classical analysis, approximation theory, set theory, and probability theory.
The name of which subatomic particle, first used by James Joyce in his Finnegan's Wake, was coined by Murray Gell-Mann as a nonsense word rhyming with 'walk'?
Quarks are the only fundamental particles that interact through all four of the fundamental forces. They come in six flavors, and their names (up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top) were also chosen arbitrarily based on the need to name them something that could be easily remembered and used. Antiparticles of quarks are called antiquarks.
This mathematical problem deals with non-trivial zero of a zeta function (whatever that means!) and has proven to be so intractable that the German mathematician David Hilbert said if he went to sleep for a thousand years, the first question he would ask after waking up is if this has been solved.
What are we talking about?
Riemann hypothesis, formulated by Bernhard Riemann in 1859
A $1,000,000 prize has been offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute for the first correct proof. Most mathematicians believe the Riemann hypothesis to be true.
How many times does the moon revolve around the Earth in an Earth calendar year?
About 13 times
The Moon makes a complete orbit about the Earth with respect to the fixed stars (its sidereal period) approximately once every 27.3 days. However, since the Earth is moving in its orbit about the Sun at the same time, it takes slightly longer for the Moon to show its same phase to Earth, which is about 29.5 days (its synodic period). Unlike most satellites of other planets, the Moon orbits near the ecliptic and not the Earth's equatorial plane.
Endemic to New Zealand and currently listed as critically endangered, the kakapo is world's only flightless species of which common bird?
As of February 2010, only 122 living individuals are known, most of which have been given names.