Every week, I create a science quiz for The Hindu newspaper’s In School product. It consists of 10 questions and only developments from the week preceding its day of publication (Monday). The answers are at the end.

  1. The _______ region of southwest China is some 4.5 km above sea-level. At this altitude, the air is rarefied and makes breathing difficult for humans. However, the _______ people are an exception, according to American and European scientists. On July 2, they said they had found a gene these people had inherited from an extinct human species of humans called the Denisovans that enabled them to breathe and live normally in areas where the air was thin. Fill in the blank with the name of the region or the people.
  2. On July 2, NASA launched a satellite named OCO-2 that will monitor Earth’s carbon dioxide levels 24 times every second. Specifically, it will record where on Earth carbon dioxide is being produced and where it is being removed from the air, revealing a very detailed picture of this greenhouse gas. What does OCO stand for?
  3. Name the first storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season which is also one of the earliest hurricanes to have occurred in a calendar year.
  4. The __ ____ is a system of warm ocean temperatures that occurs over the Pacific Ocean and influences how strong or weak the Indian monsoons can be. Usually, the part of the Pacific close to the coast of South America becomes warmer than usual, and the part close to Indonesia becomes cooler. However, in 2009, the entire ocean showed signs of warming, which according to many climate models reduced the strength of the 2009 monsoon season in India, which ended in a drought. A week ago, the World Meteorological Organization issued an assessment that the same kind of warming was happening in 2014 as well, and that’s why this year’s monsoons could be weak. Fill in the blank with the name of the warming phenomenon, which in Spanish means “The Boy” – a reference to a young Jesus because this phenomenon’s effect is noticed around Christmas.
  5. A DNA analysis of more than 30 hair samples purportedly from the creature called _______ are actually from cows, bears, raccoon and some other animals, according to scientists from Oxford University, July 2. Fill in the blank with the name of a long-sought creature that has also been known as a Yeti in the Himalayan region.
  6. On June 30, ecologists from Spain said they had made a strange observation: according to them, there were only some 7,000 to 35,000 tons of plastic in the world’s oceans where there should have been millions of tons. They were able to arrive at this number by travelling around the world on a ship called the _________ in 2010, studying plastic concentrations. They have two explanations for this: either the they are being disintegrated into smaller and smaller bits, or they are being carried deeper into the ocean. Name the ship.
  7. On July 5, 1687 – 327 years ago – the great British physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton published the book that first described his laws of motion and law of universal gravitation. The book has a long name, and is colloquially known just by the third word of its name, which means “Principles” in Latin. What is it?
  8. What is the Cassini Grand Finale?
  9. If sea ice continues to melt at the rate at which it is melting now, the world’s population of _______ ________ will be cut by 50%, according to a new study published on June 30. Fill in the blank with the name of a bird which has been made famous through movies like ‘Happy Feet’.
  10. July 1 was the 368th birth anniversary of a famous German philosopher and mathematician. He is acknowledged as one of the inventors of the mathematical tool called calculus, and for his extensive work on mechanical calculators, refining the binary system used in modern computers, and for his optimistic philosophy. Name him.

Answers

  1. Tibetan
  2. Orbiting Carbon Observatory
  3. Hurricane Arthur
  4. El Niño
  5. Bigfoot
  6. Malaspina
  7. Principia (the full name is ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica‘)
  8. NASA has planned that, starting in late 2016, the Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn will start orbiting between the planet and its innermost ring before plunging into the gas giant to kill itself by September 2017.
  9. Emperor penguins
  10. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz