# Math-Sci-Tech Trivia, Part V

1. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
The Rules

#1. No Googling until I announce a free-for-all,
#2. No more than 2 answers per person until the free-for-all

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The Questions

1. Trivial question to get started. If $4 \times 5=12~,~~4 \times 6=13~,...$ then $4 \times 13=?$

2. For decades, a box labeled Costa Cider sat under the sink in the home of a pathologist. This box contained a pair of large jars. What is the significance of these jars?

3. My favorite Roman scholar, Pliny the Elder, was in charge of the naval fleet stationed near Naples, when a rare event occurred. In his eagerness to observe the phenomenon, Pliny took some ships and headed towards it. However, curiosity killed the cat and Pliny died that day.

What was the event?

4. Upon his divorce and his wife's subsequent marriage, he had this to say: "Had she taken a bullfighter I would have understood, but an ordinary chemist…"

Who said this?

5. What is the special significance of the phrase "Who ordered that?" to the field of physics? (I'm looking for the name of a person and a thing.)

6. What is common to the Burnet moths, tobacco smoke, and cherry pits (no smart-ass responses)?

7. Former US President, James Garfield remained in his deathbed for over two months, after being shot, in July 1881. Given the medical capability of the time and the risk involved, White House surgeons were extremely reluctant to operate on the President without a good knowledge of the location of the bullet.

While in Boston, Alexander Graham Bell heard about this and suggested that perhaps his own invention was just the thing for this problem. The White House accepted Bell's offer, and using his invention, he tried to help the White House surgeons. Despite several successful trials prior to this (on injured soldiers), he failed with the President. (Garfield died in September that year.)

This invention was an early prototype of what? And why did Bell's attempt fail?

8. What is considered to be the first successful bombing by unmanned airborne drones?

9. This element was discovered by German chemists who were looking for traces of thallium in samples of zinc ores. A brilliant bluish-violet line in the sample's spectrum revealed the existence of the new element.

Name the element.

10. And finally, this is about one of my favorite people. What follows is a quote.

There was, of course, X. He came down from Y to consult a little bit, to help us if we had some problems. We had a meeting with him, and I had been doing some calculations and gotten some results. The calculations were so elaborate it was very difficult. Now usually, I was this expert at this; I could always tell you what the answer was going to look like, or when I got it I could explain why. But this thing was so complicated I couldn't explain why it was like that.

So I told X I was doing this problem, and I started to describe the results. He said,
"Wait, before you tell me the result, let me think. It's going to come out like this (he was right), and it's going to come out like this because of so and so. And there's a perfectly obvious explanation for this --"

He was doing what I was supposed to be good at, ten times better. That was quite a lesson to me.

Who is X? (No points for identifying the narrator.)

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Note: Quotes may be translations from another language.

Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
2. Jun 24, 2006

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
5. What is the special significance of the phrase "Who ordered that?" to the field of physics? (I'm looking for the name of a person and a thing.)

Rabi; muon.

3. Jun 24, 2006

### Danger

Sorry dude; that let's me out.

4. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Correct, George. (story to be filled in later)

I edited the OP (perhaps just after you started reading it) to allow 2 answers per person. Just letting you know, in case you missed that.

5. Jun 24, 2006

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
2. For decades, a box labeled Costa Cider sat under the sink in the home of a pathologist. This box contained a pair of large jars. What is the significance of these jars?

I think I remember this. The jars contained Einstein's brain?

6. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus

Wow, this is going fast.

7. Jun 24, 2006

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
Thanks. OK, not 100% sure, but I'll say

10. X = Schwinger

8. Jun 24, 2006

### 3trQN

10) The narrator is Feynman i think, and i think hes talking about Oppenheimer?

9. Jun 24, 2006

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
I believe there was. That reminds me I need to order "Driving Mr. Albert" for summer reading.

10. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Nope, not Schwinger. I never thought of Schwinger as the guy with the physical picture; more of the math genius type. And though Schwinger had a nice car (a '64 Iso Rivolta, with license plate number 137 ) I don't know enough about him that he'd make my list of favorite people.

The 1964 Rivolta

That's the end of your quota, for now George.

MIH has a spare (unless she's used it while I've been typing this).

11. Jun 24, 2006

### Danger

There! See! A perfect moonshine response on the tip of my typing finger, and I'm not allowed to use it! :grumpy:

12. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Good guess (as I imagine, did George as well). Yes, it is.
Not Oppie. It looks like you've got the right time-frame in mind as well, but at that time, if I'm not mistaken, they both (O & F) worked at the same place.

13. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Hey, I didn't disallow smart-ass answers for all questions - only the specific one.

Say, could you pour me some of that moonshine you've got there on the tips of your fingers?

14. Jun 24, 2006

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
Now that we know for sure that Y = Feynman, I'll tell the story behind my guess.

Already at Los Alamos, Feynman had a reputation as a good lecturer. I think that there's a story similar to your story, but with "calculations" replaced by "lectures," and with X = Schwinger. This led me to believe that maybe they talked about calculations.

Schwinger was an amazing lecturer.

15. Jun 24, 2006

### George Jones

Staff Emeritus
I'm trying to relate this to Supertramp, and the best I can do is "Which Sister are you talking about?"

16. Jun 24, 2006

### nrqed

I *think* I know that one..Wasn't it the eruption of the Vesuvius which led to the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum?

And I knew the "Who ordered that?" one (being a particle physicist)!
But George got it first.

17. Jun 24, 2006

### Omega_6

18. Jun 24, 2006

### nrqed

I would think that X is Hans Bethe!

19. Jun 24, 2006

### Pyrrhus

I think X is Fermi. If i can recall from the book, Surely you're Joking, Mr Feynman.

20. Jun 24, 2006

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Yup! Vesuvius, it was, alright.

Speaking of hooch, one of the reasons I like Pliny the Elder was for his famous hangover cure - owl's eggs. Works like a charm (or so they say, regular eggs do it for me).