Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Math-Sci-Tech Trivia, Part IV

  1. Aug 11, 2004 #1

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Look out for the "Connections" trivia quiz, soon to appear under the Quizzes category. Heck, that felt cheap ! :biggrin:

    Rules :

    # no googling
    # only one question per person until otherwise announced - now a free-for-all




    A reminder : Please read the rules



    Q1. The following is from a letter written by a scientist, to his fiancee in New Zealand : "He's very pleasant in coversation, and he's not fossilized at all. As regards appearance, he's a medium sized man, dark and quite youthful still - shaves very badly and wears his hair rather long."

    Name the person being described in the letter ?


    Q2. Early during WWII, the RAF suffered a large number of inexplicable aircraft and systems malfunctions. The hapless RAF pilots soon conjured up a fictional creature which they blamed for the malfunctions. The stories grew and soon these creatures would be described as "a foot high, wearing pointed shoes."

    What were these creatures called ?


    Q3. Who, or what, connects the following : Lord Byron, Blaise de Vigenere, Sir Charles Wheatstone, Alfred Lord Tennyson ?


    Q4. Jornada del Muerto (Journey of the Dead Man) is a valley near the Rio Grande river in the US. The name was coined by the Conquistadors in the mid-1600s describing a harsh and rugged territory along the northward route from New Spain (Mexico).

    Nearly three centuries later, the name of this valley took on a special meaning. Why ?


    Q5. In 1948, George Gamow published a paper on Cosmogenesis with his PhD student, Ralph Alpher - actually this was a synthesis of Alpher's dissertation. For a very strange reason Gamow asked a famous nuclear physicist if he (Gamow) could add his (the other physicist's) name to the paper. Since he had done no work on this paper, the physicist initially refused, but eventually gave in on Gamow's insistence.

    Who's the unnamed physicist ?


    Q6. This prolific genius used his own peculiar language. Here are some words with their meanings :

    Supreme Fascist = God
    Epsilon = child, little kid
    Joe = USSR (Joseph Stalin)
    Sam = USA (Uncle Sam)
    Sam & Joe Show = International News
    Boss = woman
    Slave = man

    A tribute to his prolificity is that other researchers in his area get identified through a number named after him indicating degrees of co-authorship separation.

    Who ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2004 #2
    Q5. In 1948, George Gamow published a paper on Cosmogenesis with his PhD student, Ralph Alpher - actually this was a synthesis of Alpher's dissertation. For a very strange reason Gamow asked a famous nuclear physicist if he (Gamow) could add his (the other physicist's) name to the paper. Since he had done no work on this paper, the physicist initially refused, but eventually gave in on Gamow's insistence.

    Who's the unnamed physicist ?

    Hans Bethe

    Alpher-Bethe-Gamow
     
  4. Aug 11, 2004 #3
    Paul Erdos
     
  5. Aug 11, 2004 #4

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Q2. Gremlins?
     
  6. Aug 11, 2004 #5

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Drat ! 3 correct answers within 4 minutes of each other ! :eek: Naw fair u folks ! :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  7. Aug 12, 2004 #6

    Janitor

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    1. I know it was Rutherford who wrote that letter. I remember reading it in one of Pais's books. I believe he was talking about J.J. Thompson.
     
  8. Aug 12, 2004 #7

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You believe right.

    That leaves two toughies...Q3 & Q4 ! :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  9. Aug 12, 2004 #8

    Janitor

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The New Mexico question would be a [CENSORED FOR REASONS OF NATIONAL SECURITY] for me to answer, but you have restricted us to one each.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  10. Aug 12, 2004 #9

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Janitor, you're giving hints here...would you mind editing that before others see it ?

    y stuid keyoard just went onkers - it won't let me use the letters , , or . Dan ! It's tie I chucked it and ought yself a new one. Till then I'll just have to e very selective with y choice of words. Okay, I can get m, b and p by cutting and pasting - it's too painful :cry:
     
  11. Aug 12, 2004 #10

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Q3 They're all dead? (That's a "what"-connection..)
     
  12. Aug 12, 2004 #11
    they all did research on bounded harmonic functions...well, not really :biggrin:
     
  13. Aug 12, 2004 #12

    plover

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Ada Lovelace?

    My second guess, which I'm a good deal more sure of is: None of them have appeared on Wheaties boxes...
     
  14. Aug 12, 2004 #13

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    arildno, they're also all male...how did u miss that ? :wink:

    Q3. Okay there's been one really good/lucky guess for this question...well you know which one it is ! :wink:

    The idea with this type of question is that there need not be only one correct answer. If you find a 'who/what' that is related to the given people and you can explain the relationships to my satisfaction...you get a score.

    For instance, arildno found one such 'what' and explained the relationship - only, I wasn't satisfied.

    So, for the others that have had a go at Q3...if you can explain all the relationships, let's see it !
     
  15. Aug 12, 2004 #14

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    arildno, I'll call your guess a 'clarification'. So you still have a shot to take...if you want it.
     
  16. Aug 12, 2004 #15

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Oh, I clarified something, did I?
    I remain thoroughly mystified, unless Q4 has something to do with area 51 or Roswell
     
  17. Aug 12, 2004 #16

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Okay, not a 'clarification', but a 'request for one'.

    I have clarified that the connection must be non-trivial (also read non-obvious) - if not, I'm doing it now.

    And no, it's not Area-51.
     
  18. Aug 12, 2004 #17

    jcsd

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'll take a pot-shot:3. they were all members of the romantic movement?
     
  19. Aug 12, 2004 #18

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No jcsd,

    Vigenere is from the 16th century.

    And even if they were, I'd be looking for something a lot more specific. For instance, arildno's 'dead' includes most people we've heard of. My counter of 'male' covers about half the people we know. Even 'members of the Romantic Movement', I consider to be too large a group of people - too many famous Europeans from the early 1800s were associated with the Romantic Movement.

    As an example, if I asked for the connection between Avon, Julius Caesar, Globe and Francis Bacon, the answer would be ...
    .
    .
    .
    -->Shakespeare.

    If I asked for the connection between J.D Salinger, Francis Ford Coppola, and The Rock, the answer would be...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    yes, --->Nicholas Cage.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  20. Aug 12, 2004 #19

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Aargh, it's difficult, but not too difficult, it's just me not being able to solve them.

    Nor can I complain about anything else than that the unknown "Erdos" was accepted rather than the genius Erdös..
     
  21. Aug 12, 2004 #20

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    The answer to Q4 is, it was the site of the Trinity test of the first atomic bomb.
     
  22. Aug 12, 2004 #21

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Right you are, sA ! :smile:


    LAST Q STANDING : Q3 - Free for all, starting now ! But take only one guess.

    Here's an additional hint. Somebody came incredibly close . . .
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  23. Aug 12, 2004 #22

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    "Cherchez le femme"??
     
  24. Aug 12, 2004 #23
    q3: poetry?
     
  25. Aug 12, 2004 #24

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not 'poetry', unless you have an explanation.

    Quelle femme ? Je ne sais pas.

    Am i going to actually have to give you the answer ???? I'll wait another day...
     
  26. Aug 13, 2004 #25

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Okay, I think people have given up on this or just gone to sleep, or decided to bungee jump, or whatever...so I'm releasing the final answer.

    Actually, here's the complete set of solutions :

    Q1. The following is from a letter written by a scientist, to his fiancee in New Zealand : "He's very pleasant in coversation, and he's not fossilized at all. As regards appearance, he's a medium sized man, dark and quite youthful still - shaves very badly and wears his hair rather long."

    Name the person being described in the letter ?

    J. J. Thompson - letter written by Rutherford - 'New Zealand' was the give away


    Q2. Early during WWII, the RAF suffered a large number of inexplicable aircraft and systems malfunctions. The hapless RAF pilots soon conjured up a fictional creature which they blamed for the malfunctions. The stories grew and soon these creatures would be described as "a foot high, wearing pointed shoes."

    What were these creatures called ?

    Gremlins - the creatures on which the 1984 John Dante/Chris Columbus Horror/Comedy flick was based


    Q3. Who, or what, connects the following : Lord Byron, Blaise de Vigenere, Sir Charles Wheatstone, Alfred Lord Tennyson ?

    It's Charles Babbage - Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace was Babbage's assistant;

    Babbage was the first to crack the Vigenere Cipher;

    Wheatstone & Babbage were close buddies, often spending weekeds together decrypting private messages in the 'personals' columns of local newspapers...along with Lyon Playfair, the 3 created the Playfair Cipher;

    Babbage once sent Tennyson a letter complaining about lines in a poem that went "Every moment dies a man, Every moment one is born". Babbage wrote "...if this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill...I would suggest in the next edition of your poem, you have it read 'Every moment dies a man, Every moment one and one-sixteenth is born'."

    Was this too tough ? Quite Google-unfriendly too, I'd imagine :
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&q=byron+tennyson+vigenere+wheatstone&btnG=Search


    Q4. Jornada del Muerto (Journey of the Dead Man) is a valley near the Rio Grande river in the US. The name was coined by the Conquistadors in the mid-1600s describing a harsh and rugged territory along the northward route from New Spain (Mexico).

    Nearly three centuries later, the name of this valley took on a special meaning. Why ?

    This was the site of the Trinity Test - the culmination of the Manhattan Project - where the first atom bomb was detonated.


    Q5. In 1948, George Gamow published a paper on Cosmogenesis with his PhD student, Ralph Alpher - actually this was a synthesis of Alpher's dissertation. For a very strange reason Gamow asked a famous nuclear physicist if he (Gamow) could add his (the other physicist's) name to the paper. Since he had done no work on this paper, the physicist initially refused, but eventually gave in on Gamow's insistence.

    Who's the unnamed physicist ?

    Hans Bethe - So, the author list reads Alpher, Bethe, Gamow - a pun on alpha, beta, gamma. Just another example of Gamow's humor.


    Q6. This prolific genius used his own peculiar language. Here are some words with their meanings :

    Supreme Fascist = God
    Epsilon = child, little kid
    Joe = USSR (Joseph Stalin)
    Sam = USA (Uncle Sam)
    Sam & Joe Show = International News
    Boss = woman
    Slave = man

    A tribute to his prolificity is that other researchers in his area get identified through a number named after him indicating degrees of co-authorship separation.

    Who ?

    Paul Erdös - If you have co-authored a paper with Erdös, you get an Erdös Number of 1. If you have co-authored with someone who's co-authored with Erdös, your Number is 2...and so on... Nobody, save Euler, has published as many papers in the field.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2004
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook