2011: The Science Quiz


2011 is drawing to a close, and what a big year it was…for science! Many interesting and important scientific things occurred, and we hope you were paying attention, because here’s your chance to test your knowledge of the most notable scientific developments of 2011 with our super-scientific end-of-the-year quiz!

Did you know you can win actual prizes in our quiz? That’s right! You can be the proud owner of a stylish faux-styrofoam eco-cup  OR a one-of-a-kind t-shirt!

Here’s how:

Answer the questions below and email your answers to [email protected]. We will choose a winner by random drawing among all the correct entries.


Have you been a bad monkey?

Add your own quiz question and answer and put it in the comments! You must write a question AND add four answer choices. The best question wins a prize!

Tom will announce the correct answers and winners on Friday. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 14.

Good luck!

Erika and Tom

1. Scientists sparred over a claim that what was incorporated into DNA?

(a) petrochemicals released from burning oil in the Deep Horizon oil spill

(b) arsenic from a lake in eastern California

(c) radioactive isotopes released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

(d) the new “Jersey Shore” inspired fragrance JWOWW


2. Italian scientists were put on trial for what?

(a) failing to predict an earthquake

(b) transfusing patients with blood from donors infected with HIV

(c) improperly disposing of radioactive isotopes left over from lab experiments

(d) improperly estimating the country’s lost productivity due to taxpayer-funded hair transplants, plastic surgery and Viagra pills for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi


3. Who trapped antihydrogen atoms in a feat of physics?

(a) An international team led by Stephen Hawking

(b) Tom’s brother

(c) 2011 Nobel Prize laureates Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, Adam G. Riess

(d) LWON contributor Richard Panek


4. What ended its 30-year career?

(a) the international fusion project ITER

(b) the world’s oldest DNA sequencer

(c) NASA’s Space Shuttle

(d)  Donald Trump’s original toupee


5. Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Obama administration official Steven Chu came under fire during a scandal over what?

(a) conflicts of interest among Energy Department-funded researchers

(b) a loan guarantee to a renewable energy company

(c) illegal delays in development of a Nevada nuclear waste disposal site

(d)  using taxpayer funds to purchase out-of-print first editions of Far Side comic books


6. The first company to begin clinical trials of what announced that it was quitting the field?

(a) human embryonic stem cells

(b) next-generation gene therapy

(c) cancer vaccines

(d) “StarzPower” designer lip-plumping injections harvested from celebrity liposuctions


7. This U.S. agency contributed to Presidential hopeful Rick Perry’s undoing when the Texas governor appeared to forget that it was one of three agencies he wanted to eliminate in a televised debate.

(a) Institute of Peace

(b) Environmental Protection Agency

(c) Department of Energy

(d) National Endowment for Science Fairs


8. Scientists found evidence for the largest what ever discovered?

(a) black hole

(b) underwater vent

(c) marine virus

(d) “Occupy”-inspired drum circle


9. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first new drugs in thirteen years for which disease?

(a) Parkinson’s disease

(b) hepatitis

(c)  melanoma skin cancer

(d)  Galifianakis syndrome


10. California regulators approved the United States’ largest what?

(a)  high-speed rail system

(b) cap-and-trade climate change regulation program

(c)   campaign to counter anti-vaccination programs

(d)  hippie parade


Image credits Top: “Cosmic question mark,” Arp 194. NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Bottom: Also available for sale!

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10 thoughts on “2011: The Science Quiz

  1. Re #3: I almost didn’t see it at first, because it blended in with the egg carton. But then I noticed the logo on its tee-shirt–an “H” with a slash through it. Honestly, though, capturing it wasn’t that big a deal. I just closed the refrigerator door and called 911.

  2. Physicists suffered a collective case of the heebie-jeebies when:

    (a) The National Institute of Science and Technology forbade the consumption of beer in any room containing a one kilovolt or higher power supply

    (b) Comparative testing demonstrated that on average, theoretical physicists had less spatial ability than a fruit bat wearing an eyepatch

    (c) An experiment suggested neutrinos could, under certain circumstances, travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum

    (d) Voyager 1 penetrated the heliosheath, prompting several pointed and salacious questions at the hands of the Republican-controlled House

  3. Scientists found evidence for the smallest what yet discovered?

    (a) male genitalia of any sexually dimorphic organism

    (b) habitable microclimate

    (c) planet within an area around its star that could allow the existence of liquid water

    (d) monkeys

  4. @Stephan Zielinski:
    I was under the impression that the fruit bats used in the experiment with the theoretical physicists were rabid?

    Here’s a question:Science’s bad boys and girls have been at it again: which of the following research has been accused of being fraudulent?

    1)An experiment in which neutrinos were clocked traveling at speeds faster than light
    2)A study demonstrating that rabid fruit bats have better social — oops — spatial abilities than theoretical physicists
    3)A study showing that a disorderly environment was shown to make people more prejudiced
    4)A study showing Tasmanian devils can “catch” a contagious version of cancer

  5. @Gydle: There was a work-in-progress report along those lines, but that was then revised to one of the PHYSICISTS being rabid. So it seemed to the principal investigator at the time. Eventually, it turned out the fellow was just reacting really badly to the presence of a particularly self-satisfied proponent of string theory.

    In recognition of the pain and humiliation of the prophylaxis they all had to endure, they all got T-shirts reading “Researchers bite” with arrows pointing to humorous places.

  6. When do we find out about the t-shirt? Can I get a “Researcher’s bite” t-shirt as a booby prize if Stephan’s question is judged better than mine? 😉 (To help me cope with the pain and humiliation of being bested by a physicist.)

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