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ExQUIZite Science
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ExQUIZite Science Quiz 2021

Rebecca Keenan —

Gear up your grey matter with our quiz, by tackling topics from palaeontology to physics, codebreaking to cute critters.

This year’s New Zealand International Science Festival will be held from 8-18 July. Bring out your inner boffin by giving our science quiz a go...

There are 6 rounds with 8 questions each, for a total of 48 points. Then check the answers to see whether you're Einsteinium or Krypton.

Image by: Pixabay


1. What is the different between a cypher and a code?

2. What was the name of the country estate outside London where codebreakers worked to break Enigma messages during WWII?

3. Can you name the type of cypher that encrypts by replacing every letter of the alphabet with another letter or symbol?

4. Which serial murderer sent cryptograms to press in the San Francisco Bay area?

5. What are the two most well-known types of shorthand used in the English-speaking world?

6. The second of two cryptograms left by Edgar Allen Poe was created in what year, 160 years after its creation?

7. The juice of what fruit can be used as ‘sympathetic’ ink, a colourless liquid used to write non-visible messages on paper?

8. Which much-loved children’s author wrote encrypted journal entries for 15 years?

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1. Brachiosaurus lived during which geologic period?

2. The name of what group of dinosaurs can be roughly translated from the Latin as lizard foot?

3. Are fossils the remains of a) animals, b) plants, or c) both?

4. What is amber made from?

5. The largest number of fossils discovered to date come from which geologic time period?

6. What part of a stegosaur’s body has been named ‘thagomizer’, inspired by a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon?

7. Which British collector and naturalist found the first ichthyosaur and plesiosaur fossils?

8. Which winged dinosaur was discovered two years after Darwin published On the origin of species, supporting his theory of evolution by natural selection?

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1. Otters are members of which family of animals?

2. The Irish and Welsh names for otter both translate to water ____?

a) Rat

b) Stoat

c) Dog

d) Badger

3. How many species of otter are there around the world?

a) 6

b) 9

c) 13

d) 19

4. Which are the world’s smallest otters (around the size of a cat)?

5. People from which country work with the Smooth-coated otter to catch fish along the River Ganges?

6. Which otters have pockets of skin on their forelegs in which they keep rocks used to open shellfish?

7. The Giant otter, which can reach lengths of 2m (and can stand on its hind paws), is found on which continent?

8. The Patronus of which Harry Potter character is an otter?

ExQUIZite Science — Image by: Pixabay


1. What is another name for the North Star?

2. The brightest star in the Centaurus constellation is actually a system made up of 2 stars and a red dwarf. What is it called?

3. Most galaxies are one of three shapes. What are these three shapes?

4. The craters on which planet in our solar system are named after artists, musicians and writers?

5. What is the name of Neptune’s largest moon?

6. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year in which month?

7. What was the name of the other astronaut who joined Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the famous Apollo 11 mission to the moon?

8. All but two of the planets in our solar system rotate in the same direction as Earth. What are these two planets?

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Famous physics experiments

1. Which Greek researcher had a ‘Eureka moment’ that led to the discovery of liquid displacement?

2. Iraqi-born ibn al-Haytham (also known as Alhazen) invented which object to demonstrate that light travels in straight lines?

3. In what century did Joseph Black discover that you need heat to change ice to water or water to steam?

a) 16th

b) 17th

c) 18th

4. Who discovered that white light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow?

5. Whose cat is the most famous animal in the field of quantum physics?

6. Name 1 of the two scientists who worked to build the world’s first nuclear reactor in 1939?

7. Which PhD student discovered the first 4 neutron stars (or pulsars), but lost out on the 1974 Nobel prize to her male supervisor?

8. Which scientist was the first to isolate pure radium metal?

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General knowledge

1. How long did it take Isaac Newton to write his seminal book Principia?

a) 18 days

b) 18 months

c) 18 years

2. Which temperature scale measures from absolute zero?

3. What does the ‘pH’ in the pH scale stand for?

4. What does the Pythagorean theorem state?

5. The early study of chemical reactions was called alchemy. What was its main aim?

6. The 101st element of the periodic table is named after the Russian chemist who first developed the table itself. What is it called?

7. What are the three layers of the Earth called?

8. What is the scientific study of fungi called?


Image credits

All images from Pixabay