Today we’re heading into the beyond with Physics Trivia. How well do you know your waves and particles? Dive into thirty trivia questions and see how you score.
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Programming Note: This marks the end of the Saturday episodes. We’ll go back to Wednesday only from here on out. But fear not, these academic-themed topics will now be rolled into our regular schedule. And, you may see a bonus episode here and there, just to keep you on your toes.
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Welcome back, class. Today we’re heading into the beyond with Physics.
Hey there, I’m your host Brian Rollins and this is the Dorky Geeky Nerdy Trivia Podcast. Every episode, we bring you thirty geeky trivia questions to challenge your brain. Over the Summer, we’re doing an extra episode every Saturday focusing on academic subjects.
If you’re new here, welcome. You can find rules, score sheets, and past episodes at DorkyGeekyNerdy.com. Be sure to subscribe on your podcast player to get new episodes as soon as they are released.
Pencils and calculators ready? Let’s begin.
The Dorky Round
- Who conceived the basic theory of gravity when he was “graced by the falling of an apple”?
- Who created the Theory of Relativity?
- What is the highest attainable speed in the universe?
The speed of light, exactly 299,792,458 meters per second, or approximately 186,000 miles per second.
- What effect causes southbound moving objects to deflect to the right in the Northern hemisphere and to the left in the Southern hemisphere?
The Coriolis effect
- The cosmic microwave background radiation is evidence of what event?
The Big Bang. Its discovery earned Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics.
- The first ever image of a black hole’s event horizon was published on April 10, 2019. Where is that particular black hole?
The core of galaxy M87.
- What molecule is abundant in foods that can be efficiently heated by a microwave oven?
- In the geocentric model of the Universe, what was at the center of existence?
- Take two spheres with identical volume and different masses. In the absence of air resistance, which fall faster: the lighter sphere, or the heavier sphere?
In the absence of air resistance, they will both fall at identical rates.
- To a physicist, which way is “down”?
The direction of the net gravitational pull.
The Geeky Round
- What quantity did Newton assume was identical to mass, but we now know also depends upon velocity?
- Which physicist, who discovered the electron, was also a major promoter of the Esperanto language?
J. J. Thomson. That’s not a typo: he did not spell his last name with a P.
- What physical phenomenon explains why your legs seem shorter when you are waist deep in water?
- What field of physics, formerly known as “solid state physics,” describes the way atoms and molecules connect in both solids and liquids?
Condensed matter physics
- “Black holes have no hair” is a catchphrase to illustrate the fact that black holes destroy almost all information about what falls into them. What three quantities are still known about all the materials that fall into a black hole?
Total mass, net electrical charge, and net angular momentum.
- What three word term is used to describe periodic motion?
Simple harmonic motion
- The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle applies to many pairs of variables. When a pair of variables is not restricted by Heisenberg’s principle, why does the exception exist?
The variables share eigenstates in the wavefunction.
- Which boson mediates the strong nuclear force, holding the nucleus together?
The gluon, or rather, the eight different types of gluons.
- What are the four forces in nature?
Gravity, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force.
- Which antiparticle was the first to be discovered?
The Nerdy Round
- What is unusual about the polarization states of gravitational waves?
The polarization planes are not perpendicular to each other, but are at 45 degree angles.
- How has the meter been officially defined since 1983?
It is the distance light travels through a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds. We’re a little fuzzy on the length of a meter and the duration of a second, but with this definition, the speed of light is an exact measure.
- The Michelson-Morley experiment was designed to measure the speed of what?
Although it had major implications for the speed of light, the actual purpose behind its design was to measure the speed of Earth relative to the ether, back when it was believed that ether exists.
- Who first suggested that particles would have antiparticles?
- Which solutions to a Laplace transform are used to describe the shapes of electron orbits?
- Newtonian mechanics can be described with vector quantities. What two mathematical quantities are needed to describe relativistic quantum mechanics?
Tensors and one-forms.
- When James Clerk Maxwell published the famous “Maxwell’s Equations,” how many were there?
Twelve. While they are normally taught as 4 equations today, physicists did not adopt vector notation until a few decades after Maxwell’s work, so he had a different equation for each vector component.
- Gluons have both one color and one anticolor with red, green, and blue, which you would expect to lead to 9 types, yet there are only 8. Which is missing?
The green/antigreen gluon.
- What is a helium flash?
It is the moment a star runs out of hydrogen to burn, begins to collapse increasing the internal pressure, and triggers helium fusion instead, expanding rapidly into a red giant star and continuing to shine.
- Who was the first to define the kilogram?
Louis Lefevre-Gineau, in 1799.
Pencils down. How’d you do this week?
Like the Math episode from a few weeks back, this one was mostly written by Blaine Dowler. You should check out his podcasts on Math, Science, and more at Bureau.42.com. I’ll put links up with the show notes.
That’s a wrap on the Saturday episodes, but fear not, we’ll be rolling the academic topics into our usual Wednesday episodes.
Head on over to DorkyGeekyNerdy.com to subscribe and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We also have a Book of the Week. This week’s book is The Feyman Lectures on Physics. It’s a big boxed set that looks fantastic. Check it out and you’ll be helping to support the show.
That’s all we have for today. I’m your host, Brian Rollins. Thanks for listening.
2 thoughts on “19 | Physics Trivia”
You are a very intelligent individual!
Holy cow. That was freaking hard! Next level geek stuff.
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