Newton's Cradle - The Askqance Sci-Tech Quiz

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Newton's Cradle - The Askqance 2014 Sci-Tech written quiz for teams of 2 by Navin Rajaram


  • These are the last few stanzas of a poem by Roger Mcgough, the last line representing the final moments of every human being: I welcomed you At birth Shall bid farewell at death I am the Kiss of Life its ebb and flow With your last gasp You will call my name: o o o o o o o o What is the title of this poem?
  • Oxygen The 8 repeating os are a reference to the atomic number of oxygen - 8
  • Edinburgh physician James Linds 1754 publication Treatise on Scurvy led to the Admiralty ordering ships to be supplied with citrus fruits, such as lemons, to counter the disease. By the 1850s however, a seemingly insignificant change was made to the ships supplies to incentivize British businessmen in the Caribbean and other colonies; the change led to disastrous effects and scurvy returned with a vengeance. What was the change that led to scurvy coming back to haunt the sailors?
  • Limes replaced Lemons Limes have a lower Vitamin C content than Lemons and this caused scurvy to return
  • When Christopher Wren first built the old St. Pauls Cathedral, he was forced by Parliament to create a dome made of heavier lead, instead of his preferred light metal copper to ensure safety and stability. Over a period of time, it was found that a certain component of the cathedral using iron based technology did not quite do its job, and the cathedrals longevity was at stake. Eventually the iron based component was replaced with one made from copper, that, in some way, was redemption of Wrens wish to have copper included as part of the structure. Where exactly was copper introduced as a replacement?
  • Lightning Arrestor/Conduction Rod The man who originally suggested iron was Benjamin Franklin
  • This pharmacy based occupation informally existed in hunter-gatherer societies where medicine-men concocted oils or antidotes from plants or animals. In the 1800s, the ability to isolate the active ingredients of various drugs using fractionation or recrystallization formalized this occupation. Up until the 1950s, pharmaceutical companies still sent raw drugs to such people in dispensaries, who would either change the composition of the medicine or deliver an exact dose, in liquid/solid form, as the patient needed. What is this vocation, that takes its name with a term for mixing medicines and has nothing to do with how your banking investments flourish?
  • Compounding/Compounder
  • Completed in 1771, the rather verbose full name of this painting by Joseph Wright of Derby is The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone, Discovers _______, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers The painting shows an alchemist in the pose of St. Francis receiving the stigmata trying to turn metal into gold, and pays tribute to Henning Brandts 1669 discovery of an element by painfully boiling gallons of a commonly available fluid. Name the element.
  • Phosphorous from urine residues
  • In spite of having a tradition of bishops in the family, the Gadolins took their family name from a root word meaning great; the choice being a clear deviation from the clerical custom of gentrifying ones name into a Latin form (for eg: Linnaeus). As a result, the element Gadolinium, named after Johan Gadolin is the only element in the periodic table with what distinction?
  • Hebrew root/etymology
  • In the 1960s, studies by Dr. Richard Harteswood proved that a certain genus had stopped flourishing because the US Forest Service had suppressed forest fires a little too well. The study explained that the genus, paradoxically, needs forest fires to survive since the flames help open seed cones, clear the forest undergrowth, providing access to soft soil and important nutrients. As a result, controlled fires are now part of government policy to help what genus?
  • Sequoia
  • In 1941, this company introduced a superfluous and flashy model, naming the model after the number of years the company had been in existence till then. However, the operative part made of gold wore off due to friction, forcing the company to switch to osmiridium an alloy of osmium and iridium. Due to scarcity and high costs associated with these metals, the company hired a metallurgist at Yale University, who patented a ruthenium coated part that went on to become a trademark of this model. What object/model, that was seen with Eisenhower and McArthur during decisive moments in WWII?
  • Parker 51 The nibs were coated with ruthenium
  • Earlier this year, PML laboratory researchers in Canada announced that they had finally refurbished and tested an aging device called the Watt Balance to compute the latest measured value of the Plancks Constant h using a prototype object. The new result 6.626 069 79 x 10-34 Joule-seconds has an uncertainty of 30 in the last 2 digits, and at least 3 more independent experiments of this type must produce values with a relative standard uncertainty of no more than 50 parts in 109. If successful, how will measuring the Plancks constant accurately save frequent air travel to France?
  • Redefining the Kilogram standard Tying the 1 kg measure to a measured value of Plancks constant will avoid reliance on the Paris standard weight
  • While many factors affect the choice, the most important one is that of stability, and in order to have the maximum safety factor, the center of gravity of the body must be as close to the ground as possible. While a rectangular cross-section will have a center of gravity of least height, the presence of corners and larger number of joints leads to cleaning problems. As a result, an elliptical section is the closest approximation that provides maximum stability during lateral acceleration. On the other hand, a circular section gives maximum strength/stability when the contents are pressurized. These are explanations for the shapes of what?
  • Storage Tankers/Trucks Elliptical for water/non-pressurized fluids and circular for pressurized fluids like LPG
  • In December 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan was the first American city where the public department implemented this on a trial basis. Conspiracy theories around its introduction include - a scheme engineered by the aluminium industry to dispose of large quantities of ____ compounds used in the metals manufacture or a scheme funded by the sugar industry to get themselves off the hook for rotting peoples teeth. In spite of this, America still remains one of the most comprehensively covered countries with access to this. What was the cause of all this hullaballoo? (2 words) Ironically, the left-wing stooges in the McCarthy era opposed its introduction, as a result of which a certain General Rippers claim in which cult-classic movie can be ignored?
  • Flouridated Water Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb
  • Early on in their research, when Watson-Crick had settled in on a triple-helix model, that was trashed by Rosalind Franklin in a discussion, they gained access to a paper by a Nobel Laureate (X) who had also proposed the same incorrect model. Story goes that they rushed to their research advisor, another Nobel laureate (Y) who was a bitter rival of X and had lost out on key discoveries such as the alpha-helix to X. Y had banned Watson-Crick from working on DNA due to fear of further embarrassment but after seeing Xs incorrect hypothesis, he ordered them back on the track Franklin had suggested and the rest, as they say, is history. Who were X and Y both research giants in their own right?
  • X- Linus Pauling Y William Lawrence Bragg
  • In 2002, The Hindu reported that atleast nine of these endangered animals were being reared on the premises of a site; in 2008, the story resurfaced when these animals were confiscated because rearing them was against the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The site owners contended that usage of the secretions of the animal are prescribed in the Vaikhanasa Agamas and have miraculous properties of keeping the Moolavirat smooth, fresh and free from splits and cankers when used in anointing rituals. Which exact location/site was rearing these animals? What are these animals, which have a long history of association with perfumery in India, but are better known to quizzers in a digestive context?
  • Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam/Tirupati temple (Asian Palm) Civets Since the order, the TTD has restricted use of civet oil for the abhishekham ritual and civets are (as per publicly available information) not being reared on the premises.
  • This 100+ year old organization with its heaquarters at East 70th St. in New York has a long tradition giving its members these flags, to be returned along with thesis style reports. Among the many artifacts at display at the HQ is Flag 161, a veteran of many journeys, that was recently retired by Don Walsh, who accompanied Jacques Piccard in the bathyscape Trieste. The last journey of Flag 161 was when it accompanied James Cameron aboard the Challenger Deep, giving it a unique distinction as the first object to achieve something. What organization is this? What unique distinction does Flag 161 have?
  • Explorers Club The only object to have been on the highest and lowest points on earth (the flag went to Mt. Everest as well)
  • Considered a direct counterpart to Picassos Guernica, it was commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. The work is considered a protest against Francos siege of Almaden, which then supplied 60% of the worlds _______. At one time, visitors were allowed to wash their hands in or throw coins into it, but when research brought out the safety implications, the sculpture was moved to the Joan Miro Foundation and has been placed behind a glass enclosure for viewing since 1975. Name this sculpture a generic 2 word term used for all such mechanisms should suffice. Name the artist (shown) who built it.
  • Mercury Fountain Alexander Calder
  • The words for these 2 groups of muscles differ by only 1 letter. Group A refers to any muscle that will pull a body part towards the midline of the body the word comes from the combination of Latin root meaning towards and to draw or lead. Group B refers to any muscle that will pull a body part away from the midline of the body the word comes from the combination of Latin roots meaning away from and to draw or lead and is also used in English in the sense of a criminal act. Name words for both Group A and Group B, found, among other places, in the thigh, foot and buttocks.
  • A - Adductor B- Abductor
  • Around 1940 he began spending a lot of money buying these on his travels to Europe and United States, then going to Panna in central India and evaluating samples with official permission from the kingdoms ruler. A little later, he bought 11 of these from Hyderabad and to his surprise, even received a gift of 16 rare pieces from South Africa and 63 perfect specimens from the Maharaja of Mysore. By the 1950s, he had more than 600 of these with him, the most by far for any common man in the country. Who? What was he obsessed with?
  • C V Raman Diamonds
  • In 1961, Sten Forshufvud performed analytical tests on samples of hair and proposed a murder-mystery theory to what was till then considered a very natural death. Chemist David Jones wondered if the wallpaper at Longwood House may have been coloured by a pigment Emerald Green a favourite in the 19th century. Surprisingly Jones got back a piece of the green-gold star patterned wall paper from a visitor to the location and in 1982, published a report suggesting that the active ingredient in the pigment converted into gaseous form under humid conditions prevalent in and around the area and was inhaled to fatal consequences. What is the active ingredient in Emerald Green? Whose death was being dissected thus?
  • Arsenic (Emerald Green Copper Aceto-arsenate) Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Sometime in 1909, this individual teamed with an Anglican preacher and wrote on the subject of Occult Chemistry, giving precise descriptions of elements as they appeared to both when viewed by the third eye of clairvoyance. The atoms were illustrated by Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa, who attended the sances and made drawings based on descriptions. The research yielded an element with proposed atomic weight 3 which the duo called occultum and another element with atomic weig...