Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mad Scientist Quiz - The Answers

Plenty of people took five minutes or so last night at Vancouver Skeptics in the Pub to challenge themselves with the Mad Scientist Quiz. The sense I got was that it was hard (actually I am positive that that was the consensus) but not so hard that it wasn't enjoyed. In fact, by the end of the night it was declared that the January meeting would take the form of a British Pub Quiz... and I'm in charge.

I'm a bit scared of it, but I'm also excited and already have a bunch of ideas.

Anyhow... here's the answers to the quiz that started it:

1) Each year Oliver Sachs buys himself a sample of the corresponding element on the periodic table. I.E. For his 77th birthday he will give himself an ingot of Iridium – atomic number 77.

2) Thomas Edison made the decidedly unscientific admission; “I do not depend on figures at all. I try an experiment and reason out the result, somehow, by methods which I could not explain.”

3) Issac Newton stuck a darning needle in his own eye to see what effect it would have.

4) Charles Darwin’s last published paper featured a theory on clams being attached to beetles and moving to a new enviroment.

5) Carl Sagan sued Apple for using his name for a project. Previous project names included Cold Fusion and Piltdown Man. Dr, Sagan was not happy with these associations. The project name was changed to ‘BHA’ which stood for Butt Head Astronomer. He went on to sue them for that.

6) Stacy Keach, Rade Serbedzija, Michael J. Pollard, Dmitry Chepovetsky and most famously David Bowie in The Prestige have all portrayed Nikola Tesla.

7) Marie Curie's actual cookbook is considered “the most dangerous cookbook in science” because she passed on too much radiation to it for it to be safely handled. The smae is true of her research notes.

8) Ben Franklin first came to fame writing under the pseudonym Richard Saunders, writing Poor Richard’s Almanac.

9) Of late James Watson has been prone to making a host of controversial statements that reflect a possible uncharitable bias towards a variety of minorities. To his credit he has rescinded most of them almost as quickly as the politically incorrect nature was pointed out.

10) Rene Descartes theorized that the pineal gland was “the seat of the soul”?

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