Newton's Cradle - The Askqance Sci-Tech Quiz

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Newton's Cradle - The Askqance 2014 Sci-Tech written quiz for teams of 2 by Navin Rajaram


These are the last few stanzas of a poem by Roger Mcgough, the last line representing the final moments of every human being: I welcomed you At birth Shall bid farewell at death I am the Kiss of Life its ebb and flow With your last gasp You will call my name: o o o o o o o o What is the title of this poem? Oxygen The 8 repeating os are a reference to the atomic number of oxygen - 8 Edinburgh physician James Linds 1754 publication Treatise on Scurvy led to the Admiralty ordering ships to be supplied with citrus fruits, such as lemons, to counter the disease. By the 1850s however, a seemingly insignificant change was made to the ships supplies to incentivize British businessmen in the Caribbean and other colonies; the change led to disastrous effects and scurvy returned with a vengeance. What was the change that led to scurvy coming back to haunt the sailors? Limes replaced Lemons Limes have a lower Vitamin C content than Lemons and this caused scurvy to return When Christopher Wren first built the old St. Pauls Cathedral, he was forced by Parliament to create a dome made of heavier lead, instead of his preferred light metal copper to ensure safety and stability. Over a period of time, it was found that a certain component of the cathedral using iron based technology did not quite do its job, and the cathedrals longevity was at stake. Eventually the iron based component was replaced with one made from copper, that, in some way, was redemption of Wrens wish to have copper included as part of the structure. Where exactly was copper introduced as a replacement? Lightning Arrestor/Conduction Rod The man who originally suggested iron was Benjamin Franklin This pharmacy based occupation informally existed in hunter-gatherer societies where medicine-men concocted oils or antidotes from plants or animals. In the 1800s, the ability to isolate the active ingredients of various drugs using fractionation or recrystallization formalized this occupation. Up until the 1950s, pharmaceutical companies still sent raw drugs to such people in dispensaries, who would either change the composition of the medicine or deliver an exact dose, in liquid/solid form, as the patient needed. What is this vocation, that takes its name with a term for mixing medicines and has nothing to do with how your banking investments flourish? Compounding/Compounder Completed in 1771, the rather verbose full name of this painting by Joseph Wright of Derby is The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone, Discovers _______, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers The painting shows an alchemist in the pose of St. Francis receiving the stigmata trying to turn metal into gold, and pays tribute to Henning Brandts 1669 discovery of an element by painfully boiling gallons of a commonly available fluid. Name the element. Phosphorous from urine residues In spite of having a tradition of bishops in the family, the Gadolins took their family name from a root word meaning great; the choice being a clear deviation from the clerical custom of gentrifying ones name into a Latin form (for eg: Linnaeus). As a result, the element Gadolinium, named after Johan Gadolin is the only element in the periodic table with what distinction? Hebrew root/etymology In the 1960s, studies by Dr. Richard Harteswood proved that a certain genus had stopped flourishing because the US Forest Service had suppressed forest fires a little too well. The study explained that the genus, paradoxically, needs forest fires to survive since the flames help open seed cones, clear the forest undergrowth, providing access to soft soil and important nutrients. As a result, controlled fires are now part of government policy to help what genus? Sequoia In 1941, this company introduced a superfluous and flashy model, naming the model after the number of years the company had been in existence till then. However, the operative part made of gold wore off due to friction, forcing the company to switch to osmiridium an alloy of osmium and iridium. Due to scarcity and high costs associated with these metals, the company hired a metallurgist at Yale University, who patented a ruthenium coated part that went on to become a trademark of this model. What object/model, that was seen with Eisenhower and McArthur during decisive moments in WWII? Parker 51 The nibs were coated with ruthenium Earlier this year, PML laboratory researchers in Canada announced that they had finally refurbished and tested an aging device called the Watt Balance to compute the latest measured value of the Plancks Constant h using a prototype object. The new result 6.626 069 79 x 10-34 Joule-seconds has an uncertainty of 30 in the last 2 digits, and at least 3 more independent experiments of this type must produce values with a relative standard uncertainty of no more than 50 parts in 109. If successful, how will measuring the Plancks constant accurately save frequent air travel to France? Redefining the Kilogram standard Tying the 1 kg measure to a measured value of Plancks constant will avoid reliance on the Paris standard weight While many factors affect the choice, the most important one is that of stability, and in order to have the maximum safety factor, the center of gravity of the body must be as close to the ground as possible. While a rectangular cross-section will have a center of gravity of least height, the presence of corners and larger number of joints leads to cleaning problems. As a result, an elliptical section is the closest approximation that provides maximum stability during lateral acceleration. On the other hand, a circular section gives maximum strength/stability when the contents are pressurized. These are explanations for the shapes of what? Storage Tankers/Trucks Elliptical for water/non-pressurized fluids and circular for pressurized fluids like LPG In December 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan was the first American city where the public department implemented this on a trial basis. Conspiracy theories around its introduction include - a scheme engineered by the aluminium industry to dispose of large quantities of ____ compounds used in the metals manufacture or a scheme funded by the sugar industry to get themselves off the hook for rotting peoples teeth. In spite of this, America still remains one of the most comprehensively covered countries with access to this. What was the cause of all this hullaballoo? (2 words) Ironically, the left-wing stooges in the McCarthy era opposed its introduction, as a result of which a certain General Rippers claim in which cult-classic movie can be ignored? Flouridated Water Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb Early on in their research, when Watson-Crick had settled in on a triple-helix model, that was trashed by Rosalind Franklin in a discussion, they gained access to a paper by a Nobel Laureate (X) who had also proposed the same incorrect model. Story goes that they rushed to their research advisor, another Nobel laureate (Y) who was a bitter rival of X and had lost out on key discoveries such as the alpha-helix to X. Y had banned Watson-Crick from working on DNA due to fear of further embarrassment but after seeing Xs incorrect hypothesis, he ordered them back on the track Franklin had suggested and the rest, as they say, is history. Who were X and Y both research giants in their own right? X- Linus Pauling Y William Lawrence Bragg In 2002, The Hindu reported that atleast nine of these endangered animals were being reared on the premises of a site; in 2008, the story resurfaced when these animals were confiscated because rearing them was against the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The site owners contended that usage of the secretions of the animal are prescribed in the Vaikhanasa Agamas and have miraculous properties of keeping the Moolavirat smooth, fresh and free from splits and cankers when used in anointing rituals. Which exact location/site was rearing these animals? What are these animals, which have a long history of association with perfumery in India, but are better known to quizzers in a digestive context? Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam/Tirupati temple (Asian Palm) Civets Since the order, the TTD has restricted use of civet oil for the abhishekham ritual and civets are (as per publicly available information) not being reared on the premises. This 100+ year old organization with its heaquarters at East 70th St. in New York has a long tradition giving its members these flags, to be returned along with thesis style reports. Among the many artifacts at display at the HQ is Flag 161, a veteran of many journeys, that was recently retired by Don Walsh, who accompanied Jacques Piccard in the bathyscape Trieste. The last journey of Flag 161 was when it accompanied James Cameron aboard the Challenger Deep, giving it a unique distinction as the first object to achieve something. What organization is this? What unique distinction does Flag 161 have? Explorers Club The only object to have been on the highest and lowest points on earth (the flag went to Mt. Everest as well) Considered a direct counterpart to Picassos Guernica, it was commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. The work is considered a protest against Francos siege of Almaden, which then supplied 60% of the worlds _______. At one time, visitors were allowed to wash their hands in or throw coins into it, but when research brought out the safety implications, the sculpture was moved to the Joan Miro Foundation and has been placed behind a glass enclosure for viewing since 1975. Name this sculpture a generic 2 word term used for all such mechanisms should suffice. Name the artist (shown) who built it. Mercury Fountain Alexander Calder The words for these 2 groups of muscles differ by only 1 letter. Group A refers to any muscle that will pull a body part towards the midline of the body the word comes from the combination of Latin root meaning towards and to draw or lead. Group B refers to any muscle that will pull a body part away from the midline of the body the word comes from the combination of Latin roots meaning away from and to draw or lead and is also used in English in the sense of a criminal act. Name words for both Group A and Group B, found, among other places, in the thigh, foot and buttocks. A - Adductor B- Abductor Around 1940 he began spending a lot of money buying these on his travels to Europe and United States, then going to Panna in central India and evaluating samples with official permission from the kingdoms ruler. A little later, he bought 11 of these from Hyderabad and to his surprise, even received a gift of 16 rare pieces from South Africa and 63 perfect specimens from the Maharaja of Mysore. By the 1950s, he had more than 600 of these with him, the most by far for any common man in the country. Who? What was he obsessed with? C V Raman Diamonds In 1961, Sten Forshufvud performed analytical tests on samples of hair and proposed a murder-mystery theory to what was till then considered a very natural death. Chemist David Jones wondered if the wallpaper at Longwood House may have been coloured by a pigment Emerald Green a favourite in the 19th century. Surprisingly Jones got back a piece of the green-gold star patterned wall paper from a visitor to the location and in 1982, published a report suggesting that the active ingredient in the pigment converted into gaseous form under humid conditions prevalent in and around the area and was inhaled to fatal consequences. What is the active ingredient in Emerald Green? Whose death was being dissected thus? Arsenic (Emerald Green Copper Aceto-arsenate) Napoleon Bonaparte Sometime in 1909, this individual teamed with an Anglican preacher and wrote on the subject of Occult Chemistry, giving precise descriptions of elements as they appeared to both when viewed by the third eye of clairvoyance. The atoms were illustrated by Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa, who attended the sances and made drawings based on descriptions. The research yielded an element with proposed atomic weight 3 which the duo called occultum and another element with atomic weight 2 which they named after an area in India that has come to be associated with this persons legacy. Name the individual. Name the proposed element name, that was dismissed later by serious minded scientists. Annie Besant Adyarium In spite of his own disbelief, Herodotus, in his Histories, is held largely responsible for propagating the myth that links the name of this metals ore with an island chain with Strabo building on the myth, saying they were ten in number. In the absence of evidence, people have speculated that the name was a placeholder for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, where this metal has been extracted since 2000 BCE. It is most likely that the placeholder name for Cornwall came from the ore the Sanskrit word for the metal is kastira, which in turn was modified to give the name of the ore and the associated islands. Name the metal. Name the associated ore/islands. Tin Cassiterite/Cassiterides Story 1 In August 1610, Galileo sent a secret message to ambassador of Tuscany in Prague an incomprehensible sequence of 37 letters SMAISMRMILMEPOETALEUMIBUNENUGTTAURIAS The hidden meaning of the message (an anagram) was: ALTISSIMUM PLANETAM TERGEMINUM OBSERV - I have observed the highest planet in triple shape referring to Galileos discovery of Saturn and his then incorrect assumption that Uranus and Neptune were its satellites. At the same time, X intercepted the same message and decoded it as SALVE UMBISTINEUM GEMINATUM MARTIA PROLES X, then came to a completely different conclusion based on his interpretation, that serendipitously was proved true only after more powerful telescopes became available. Story 2 In December 1610, Galileo sent another anagram to the ambassador of Tuscany, this time it was an intelligible phrase HAEC IMMATURA A ME IAM FRUSTRA LEGUNTUR OY (I read in vain these things, not still mature) After a month, Galileo revealed to the ambassador the anagrams solution CYNTHIAE FIGURAS AEMULATUR MATER AMORUM (The mother of the love emulates the shapes of Cynthia) Galileo had discovered Venus and its moon Cynthia. Also in this case X had tried to decipher the anagram, and again had found a different solution, that was later proved to be true: MACULA RUFA IN IOVE EST GYRATUR MATHEM, ECC X? (1 point) What was his interpretation of each of the coded messages? (1 pt for each x2) Kepler Mars has two moons Jupiter has a red spot In 1858, Karl Von Nageli published a work on the subject of the composition of fibro-vascular bundles in Dicotyledonous plants. In his work he proposed two principal parts for these bundles separated by a layer called the cambium and coined two terms: The outer portion of the nutrient conducting bundle taking its name from the Greek for bark The inner portion of the bundle taking its name from the Greek for wood. Achievements aside, Nageli is infamously known as the man who corresponded with an individual over a period of 7 years, questioning the latters results, suggesting Heracium, a variety unsuitable for experimentation and eventually influencing the individual to abandon his pursuits for a more sanguine life. What two terms did Nageli coin? (2 points) Which individuals budding scientific career is Nageli accused of cutting short? (1 point) Xylem Phloem Gregor Mendel Contrary to assumption, it isnt sharks but this tiny see- through jellyfish that costs Australias tourism industry the most, forcing closure of beaches and putting atleast 50-100 swimmers in hospitals every year with venom attacks. A recently published paper has found ways to predict swarms of these creatures called _____ blooms, linking them to when south-easterly winds do not blow the trade winds kick up turbulence as a result of which the jellyfish prefer to stay at the bottom of the ocean to protect their delicate tentacles. What are these jellyfish called, named for a tribe of Aborigines who are original custodians of a narrow coastal strip in Cairns, Queensland? Irukandji Named for the Yirriganydji people With this scene, what first in American movies did Psycho achieve? First American movie to show a flushing toilet An interesting case of a genus evolution and adaptation in response to environmental demands is the soldier class in the ant genus Cephalotes rohweri which is known to inhabit nest sites abandoned by wood boring beetles. Over time, a cohort of morphologically specialized soldier ants have evolved with unique plate-like heads. What is the reason for the evolution of these plate- like heads? To act as natural nest doors and block invaders The ant heads are exactly the size of the beetles nest opening, that the ant occupies Sponsored by Google, this project began in 2009 as an optimization branch of CPython, the widely used implementation of the Python language. The objective was to improve the speed and efficiency of compiling programs in the language by a factor of 5 over the existing CPython implementation. As of 2011, the project is officially dead and while it succeeded in parts, it did not quite achieve its stated goals of speed improvement. What was this project called, in tribute to a more life defining question involving speed? (2 words) Unladen Swallow Also called Gauss formula or the surveyors formula, it is a mathematical algorithm to determine the area of a simple polygon whose vertices are described by ordered pairs x,y) in the plane by cross-multiplying these pairs.. When you list the coordinates in columns and cross- multiply the pairs, the resulting image looks like a daily use object, that involves similar crossing on a repeated basis. As a result, the algorithm is known by what popular name? Shoelace Formula Chronicling the fall of Babylon, Herodotus wrote that no Persian king would ever travel without four- wheeled mule wagons carrying water in this fashion. The tradition continued with special suspended items in foods/liquids to be consumed to avoid contamination. In the 14th century, when 25% of Europe died from bubonic plague, parents rich and poor continued this belief and resorted to a practice to ensure longevity of their progeny. What phrase comes to us from this practice, now used in an exclusive sense? Born with a silver spoon in ones mouth Parents would stick silver spoon in babies mouths, the phrase came from the belief that a child with a silver pacifier/spoon in its mouth would live longer In 2012, a group of 270 international scientists gathered in Nancy, France to pay homage to the centennial of an individuals 1912 paper in which he took a stab at how amino acids react with sugars at elevated temperatures. The reaction described in the paper was soon found to be at the foundation of how raw food gets flavor during cooking as well as the brown colour of bread crusts, soy sauce and barbecued meat. Called the most widely practiced chemical reaction in the world (since everyone cooks!), it led to serious research into how food chemistry may even cause or prevent cancer and diabetes. Name the individual shown, whose eponymously named reaction occurs every day in kitchens. Louise Camille Maillard, from whom the Maillard reaction gets its name Corning Glass first association with a certain field of scientific endeavor goes back to 1935, when the company produced a 200-inch mirror blank from PYREX glass. Funded by the Rockefeller foundation, the project was initiated when X realized that a low expansion material was needed for a large mirror, thus bringing Corning into the picture. The finished PYREX glass travelled for polishing where 10,000 pounds of glass were removed, before taking 14 days at 25 mph to its final place of service. Where does it stand today? OR Alternately who was X in whose honour the product is named? Palomar Observatory/X - George Hale From 1976 to 1989, the inventor of this technology worked in the geophysical industry, for Exxon Production Research & Landmark Graphics the worlds first stand alone seismic data interpretation workstation. The field he pioneered specialized in signal processing, wherein he bounced sound waves off deep-sea surfaces and correlated them to find ideal drilling spots, saving Exxon millions of dollars over trial and error methods to seek oil. The same technology found more far reaching applications when a guest at a dinner party challenged him to make a star out of her. What technology? Autotune The first reference to this term for a subset of Parisian cafs and bistros seems to be in Emile Zolas 1873 work The Belly of Paris, where the author describes a _____ as a counter for serving customers, going on to be used for the locations themselves by the 1880s. Although a widely circulated story, the name could not have come from the material for the bar counter-tops because the metal oxidizes and dissolves in acid spilling wine, Coca-Cola or lemon juice would damage the bar. The more plausible theory could be because these locations were frequented by high-rise _____ roofers, who would drop in to get some Dutch courage before their vertigo defying day began. What term, for locations such as the one made famous in the movie Amelie? Zinc cafs/Zincs Developed and perfected in England, this technology was in commercial use in the 1920s and employs a low viscosity oil injected into a hot exhaust manifold. It came into more mainstream public consciousness in the 1939 Wizard of Oz, when the Wicked Witch of the West threatens Dorothy in no uncertain terms the effect mimicked by using a hypodermic needle, spreading black ink across a glass tank filled with tinted water. What technology, that mostly finds use today for birthdays/marriage proposals or trolling public figures? Skywriting/Skytyping A five pointed writing instrument, it takes its name from the Latin for rake and was used to draw parallel staff lines on a blank piece of sheet music, before printed, ruled paper became readily available. While the object itself is rarely used now, its name survives in the technology of both television and computer bitmap image systems, where an image is continuously refreshed by a beam sweeping across the screen, analogous to the action of a rake sweeping objects. What object/technology? Rastrum/Raster Scanning In 1978, Kenneth Woolner of the University of Waterloo wrote a short biography of Claude mile Jean-Baptiste Litre in the universitys Chem News bulletin. The detailed biography traced the story of Claude, born in Medoc, France in a family of wine bottle manufacturers, going on to become a master chemist, rubbing shoulders with Anders Celsius and Joseph Priestley. While many fell for the joke, Woolner said the idea for the fictional Litre was born as a solution to problems faced by U.S. chemists, journal readers and typists. What specific rule (now relaxed) of the International System of Units was Woolner trying to take advantage of with this fictional biography? Only units named after people can be represented in upper case (L) The lower case l was indistinguishable from upper case I or the digit 1 What is the evolutionary advantage that the bees use to kill the hornet/How do the bees kill the hornet? Temperature resistance/Roasting alive The bees flap their wings and literally roast the hornet alive they have evolved to bear up to 2 degree C temperatures more than the hornet What jigsaw puzzle is being pieced together here? Columbia People who worked on the chemical side at Los Alamos had various in-jokes and informal clubs. One such club involved people working regularly on the newly discovered element no. 94, calling themselves the UPPU club, which was informally expanded to U.P.PU What was the criteria for qualification for this club, with members often moving in and out of this club on a weekly basis? You needed to be exposed to enough plutonium for it to show up in your urine, hence You Pee Pu (UPPU) At the 2012 Baselworld show, Hublot unveiled a concept movement of which only 4 pieces were made, one for display at the exhibition, the 2nd to be at display at the Musee des Arts in Paris, the 3rd to be auctioned with proceeds going to a museum in a nearby country and the 4th to be at the Hublot museum itself. With this movement, Hublot shrunk down the shoebox sized original to postage stamp size. The Hublot piece remains faithful to the original using non- linear gears that can simulate elliptical patterns, but theres a key addition the watch tells daily time, that the original could not. What was this watch named, after what inspired he Hublot design team? Antikythera When he was a freshman at MIT, his frat elders decided that his stature made him an excellent choice for measurement; they then proceeded to lay him across the Harvard Bridge over the River Charles in Boston. They repeated the process by laying him down again and again until they measured the bridges length to be 364.4 _____s (his last name), the original act honoured every year when the bridge is repainted with these measurements. In what might have been a planned career, he went on to chair the American National Standards Institute and become president for the International Organization for Standardization. Who is this, who gives his name to a nonstandard unit of length? Smoot Oliver R. Smoot Jr. These are the coat of arms of the Calvert family, of which Cecil Calvert, an English peer, went on to become governor of Newfoundland and the colony of Avalon among other titles. In 1904, the coat of arms was adopted as the official flag for a state, the only US state flag to be based on English heraldry. In what way did these coat of arms influence the naming of a specific icterid its bright colours reminiscent of the coat? Baltimore Oriole Cecil Calvert was Lord Baltimore Who, aptly, is playing backing guitar on this song? Douglas Adams With only around 148 cases in the world isolated to an area under a 100 km radius, which is the first parasitic disease that looks all set to be eradicated by humans? (Use the pic as a clue) Guinea worm Disease/Dracunculiasis Dracunculiasis means affliction with little dragons He published the first A New Chart of History as a supplement to his Lectures on History and General Policy and the second A Chart of Biography as a dedication to this friend Benjamin Franklin. He believed both together would help trace events in a just and orderly manner. Which polymath, known for many scientific achievements, published these? Joseph Priestley