Science Quiz – June 23, 2014

Every week, I create a science quiz for The Hindu newspaper’s In School product. Although it is geared exclusively at school students, it should be available for adults as well because it’s a great place to find the news packaged plain and simple. The quiz consists of 10 questions and only developments from the week preceding its day of publication (Monday). The answers are at the end.

  1. The construction of the world’s biggest optical telescope began on June 19. It’s called the European Extremely Large Telescope, being built by the European Southern Observatory. Name the country in which it is being built.
  2. How big can a galaxy get? Astronomers are not sure, but on June 20, they announced that they had found evidence to believe its size might be controlled by the size of the ____________ _____ _____ at its center. Fill in the blanks with the name of an object whose gravitational pull is so strong, even light can’t escape it.
  3. In the week of June 16, a bunch of NASA scientists announced that they had used the Spitzer space telescope to measure the size of an asteroid named 2011 MD. This asteroid is one of the three candidates the space agency plans to pull out of its location and into an orbit around the moon so astronomers can study it better. In which part of the electromagnetic spectrum does the Spitzer space telescope observe the universe?
  4. What is the name of NASA’s mission to drag an asteroid into an orbit around the moon? The agency plans to execute this mission by 2025.
  5. Name the Canadian company that claims to manufacture the world’s only quantum computers. These computers have been mired in controversy even until June 20 because many scientists claim these computers are not faster than conventional computers even though their name implies they’re supposed to be.
  6. Name the American chemist who invented a polymer named Kevlar in the 1960s. Kevlar is used in bullet-proof vests because, weight for weight, it is five times stronger than steel and adept at slowing down bullets and shrapnel. The inventor herself won her country’s National Medal of Technology in 1996 for her work that has helped save thousands of lives. She died on June 20 at the age of 90.
  7. _______ commonly eat other insects. On June 19, however, an Australian scientist announced that there was evidence that many species of them also ate fish and that, in fact, such species were found on all continents except Antarctica. Fill in the blank with the name of an insect that is the seventh most diverse organism on the planet.
  8. The International Space Station will get its first ______-_____ in November. It is being made by an Italian company named Lavazza, which announced its plans on June 17. Fill in the blanks (think small).
  9. Name the NASA spacecraft that will go beyond the orbit of Neptune in August 2014, and become the first fully-operational human-made object to go that far.
  10. Name the French physicist and philosopher after whom the unit of pressure is named. His 391st birth anniversary was on June 19, 2014.

Answers

  1. Chile
  2. Supermassive black holes
  3. Infrared
  4. Asteroid Redirect Mission
  5. D-Wave
  6. Stephanie Kwolek
  7. Spiders
  8. Coffee-maker
  9. New Horizons
  10. Blaise Pascal

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