It was a full house at Mamaleh’s Delicatessen on the evening of Wednesday, April 17th as trivia teams packed into booths and tables for the second annual “The Year in Science” trivia competition.
The event, sponsored by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT and Undark, was held as part of the 2019 Cambridge Science Festival. Each team was assigned a KSJ fellow to help them answer questions related to scientific studies in the past year — topics spanning health and climate to artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.
Participants sipped on science-themed cocktails including “The Falcon Heavy,” “The Black Hole,” and “The Gulf Stream.” The guests of honor were the Victor K. McElheny Award-winning reporters from The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, who had flown up to Cambridge to receive their awards at a ceremony earlier in the day.
After four competitive rounds and three bonus questions, emcee John Durant announced that the winning team was “The Grapes of Staph,” a group of friends and microbiologists from Massachusetts General Hospital who were joined by KSJ Fellow Rachel E. Gross.
Think you could have outdone them? Try your hand at a sampling of the trivia questions below, and let us know how you do. (Answers are at the bottom of the page.)
“Year in Science” Trivia Questions:
1. According to a study published last year the number of American adults in optimal metabolic health is ‘alarmingly low’. Based on factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol the study reported only [THIS %] of American adults are metabolically healthy:
A. 55% B. 48% C. 2% D. 12%
2. Researchers reported last year that mice dosed with relatively-high amounts of (THIS) showed improved resistance to common age-related heart defects and suggested routine consumption of (THIS) may be healthier than once thought:
A. Alcohol B. Caffeine C. Sodium D. Fructose
3. In June 2018, a massive project to upgrade the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was launched. There’s hope the upgraded LHC will be able to explain previously observed anomalies, perhaps by confirming the existence of theoretical particles including these:
A. Leptoquarks B. Z primes C. Both A & B are correct. D. None of the above.
4. This past summer, LHC (Large Hadron Collider) scientists discovered the Higgs boson transforming into bottom quarks as it decays, which they had been hoping to find for years. This method of Higgs decay is predicted to be the most:
A. Rare B. Common C. Rapid D. Unexplainable
5. A 2018 study reported that several common alternatives used in “BPA-free” plastics can also be harmful. The chemicals appeared to disrupt genetic information passed down during (THIS) type of cell division which is necessary to produce egg and sperm cells for sexual reproduction:
A. Mitosis B. Cytokinesis C. Primary Fission D. Meiosis
6. In a study on 25 people with epilepsy, researchers found that after they electrically stimulated an area of the brain above the eyes, patients showed greatly improved moods, although only temporarily. This treatment, called “Deep Brain Stimulation,” relies upon:
A) Surgically implanted electrodes within the brain
B) Electromagnetic coils placed on the scalp
C) Vagas nerve stimulation
7. A bird that is now extinct in the wild was successfully hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in May of 2018. The Guam King Fisher, like many critically-endangered bird species native to small island ecosystems was decimated by (THIS):
A. Rising oceans B. A predatory invasive species C. Scarcity of food
8. Last year researchers discovered new antibiotic candidates. Bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. can be killed by fragments of (THIS) protein secreted by the stomach wall, which happens to share the start of its name with a popular soft drink:
A. Pepsinogen B. Pibbinogen C. Fantanogen D. RC-Collage
Bonus Question. In 1943, a German U-boat sunk The Esso Gettysburg, a tanker carrying 131,000 barrels of oil. If 10% of the barrels from the shipwreck leaked into the Gulf Stream, it could potentially affect an area the size of:
A. Rhode Island B. California C. Texas D. The continental U.S.
Answers:1. D; 2. B; 3. C; 4. B; 5. D; 6. A; 7. B; 8. A; Bon: B.