Can You Pass This General STEM Quiz?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

In this fast-paced, high-tech world, we have a desperate need for more people who apply their intellectual brawn in STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM fields are incredibly important to helping entire nations – and our race as a whole – advancing to next-level science and technology. But do you really know anything about the STEM subjects in our quiz?

In America, educators and employers became alarmed at what they saw as a shortage of qualified students and workers in high-tech fields. They adopted the STEM acronym as an easy way to convey an important message – you young people need to start studying your science and math, because we need you to help us build a better future. Do you know the names of the disciplines often associated with STEM curricula?

STEM students must master a range of challenging topics, everything from basic math to calculus, from beginning physics to Einstein-level formulas. These are the folks who wind up working at NASA, or in computer manufacturing labs, or in major engineering firms.

From grade-school biology to convoluted theories regarding the nature of DNA, let’s see if you really understand what’s at stake in this quiz. Take our STEM challenge now!

STEM is an acronym for what, exactly?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It refers to curricula that helps students learn all about these fields.


Animals that have a backbone fit into which category?

Vertebrate are animals with backbones. Mammals, like humans, are just one of many types of vertebrates.


"mL" is the symbol for what?

A millileter -- or mL -- is part of the metric system of volume. One milliliter has has a mass of about 1 gram.


Robert Fulton is known as the person who commercialized which method of transportation?

In 1807, inventor Robert Fulton saw the culmination of his major work -- the commercialization of the steamboat. His boats helped to revolutionize transportation in America.


On the periodic table of elements, what does "O" stand for?

Oxygen, at least for humans, is one of the most important elements in the universe. It is critical for respiration, as well as whole lot of chemical reactions.


Geometry is the study of _____.

Geometry is essentially the study of shape. Mastering geometry is a lifelong endeavor for many passionate mathematicians.


What do you call a mathematician who specializes in the field of geometry?

Geometers are mathematicians who are especially enthralled with geometry. Plato, for example, was a famous geometer who investigated geometry thousands of years ago.


Which planet in our solar system is closest to the sun?

Mercury is the heat-blasted planet closest to the sun, and Venus is second. Earth is third in line.


What is a very basic machine that consists of rope and a wheel?

A pulley is simply rope and a wheel. Its simple design belies its ability to help people do far more work with a lot less effort.


Which basic force is vital for keeping planets in their orbits?

Gravity, of course, is one of the most familiar forces in the universe. It keeps us grounded, so to speak, and also helps maintain planets in their regular orbits.


What is the fastest land animal on Earth?

The famous cheetah is Earth's fastest animal. These big, lithe cats can quickly accelerate to around 60 mph in order to nab prey or to escape from threats.


What tool do you use to measure temperature?

Any science lab has multiple thermometers. They are vital for making observations of temperatures and possibly preventing you from blowing the place up with an experiment gone wrong.


What's the name for a very common biological catalyst?

Biological catalysts -- enzymes -- are protein molecules that typically speed up chemical reactions in cells. Proteins are therefore incredibly important to all creatures.


Who invented a device called the phonograph?

In 1877, tech whiz and inventor Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, which was meant to record and play back sound. The first phonographs had cool flared horns that amplified the volume of quiet audio.


Which one of the following weather phenomenon causes the most deaths annually across the United States?

Lightning consistently kills about 50 people per year in America. Violent weather like hurricanes and tornadoes often claim far more lives.


An object that's moving in a straight line will likely keep moving in a straight line thanks to _______.

Objects that are in motion tend to remain in motion … and to keep going on the same path, thanks to inertia. Your unmotivated sibling seems to be suffering from unemployment inertia.


In a destructive symbiotic relationship, a parasite causes much harm to ______.

In a bit of biological yin and yang, parasites latch onto hosts. The parasite thrives -- the host slowly but surely begins to suffer.


Which of the following items did Benjamin Franklin invent?

Franklin was a lifelong tinkerer who also happened to have rather poor vision. He invented bifocal glasses, which significantly improved his ability to see his environment.


What's the name of force that causes resistance when two surfaces slide against one another?

Friction causes resistance between sliding objects. When you rub your cold hands together to warm them, you're utilizing the concept of friction.


In the realm of statistics, what's an "outlier"?

Outliers are those strange data points that fall far from other observations. Outliers may just be mistakes, or perhaps they require further investigation.


What sort of creatures would you find in the class named Aves?

Birds make up the class Aves. They are vertebrates with endothermic traits, meaning they regulate their body temperature. They range from ultra-tiny hummingbirds to ostriches that weigh hundreds of pounds.


Seismology is the study of _____.

In California, seismologists are celebrities, because they study earthquakes. And everyone on the West Coast wants to know when the next "big one" might come along and drop San Francisco into the bay like a hot potato.


The Wright brothers are credited with inventing which technology?

After years of experimentation, in 1903, the Wright brothers (Orville and Wilbur) launched the first successful airplane. Their fantastic feat sparked a major shift in transportation technologies.


What did Guglielmo Marconi invent?

Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi is credited with inventing radio. For his feat, he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun. Both men are icons of electrical engineering.


What's the number on the bottom of a fraction?

The numerator takes its position on the top of a fraction. The denominator lives downstairs. like the 40-year-old son who's still living in his parents' basement.


What's the hottest place on -- or in -- all of Earth?

The Earth is made up of multiple layers, the crust, mantle, outer core and inner core. The inner core is by far the hottest part of Earth, with temperatures topping 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.


What are the rays of the sun that cause human skin to burn?

Ultraviolet rays, or UV, make up about 10% of the electromagnetic radiation from the sun. It's also the reason that those of you with Irish ancestry must slather on 30 gallons of sunscreen before you dare wander out of the cellar.


What's the term for coplanar lines that never intersect?

Parallel lines never intersect, instead traveling side by side into eternity. Because they never connect, no matter how hard they try, parallel lines symbolize the way all of us are ultimately going to die alone.


What is the fastest animal in the entire world, including land, sea and air?

The peregrine falcon is master of the world when it comes to speed. During a dive, these sleek birds can top 200 mph. If you look very closely, you'll see that peregrine falcons actually have anus afterburners.


In eukaryotic cells, which organelle stores most of the cell's genetic material?

The nucleus is the central organelle, one that's critical to reproduction -- it stores the bulk of that cell's genetic material. A damaged nucleus often spells doom for the cell.


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