Quiz: Fabulous Female Scientists

By: Cristen Conger

Quiz: Fabulous Female Scientists
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About This Quiz

Disproving the misguided stereotype that boys are naturally better at math and science than girls, women earn around half the science-related degrees in higher education. Since Hypatia, the ancient Egyptian mathematician, women have made groundbreaking contributions in math and science and are only now receiving proper recognition. Are you ready to test your knowledge of these brainy ladies?
French math genius Emilie du Châtelet was mistress to which famous Enlightenment thinker?
Voltaire
Leading French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire wrote of his mistress du Châtelet, "She has a genius that is rare/ Worthy of Newton, I do swear."
Rousseau
Montesquieu

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Egyptian mathematician Hypatia was killed by whom?
her father and fellow mathematician, Theon of Alexandria
a Christian mob
Around 415, Hypatia died when a radical Christian mob, which had been systematically burning down secular libraries and learning centers around Alexandria, beat her to death with roofing tiles and burned her body.
her married lover

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Around 50 percent of U.S. science and engineering graduate students are women. What percentage of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs do they claim in the United States?
16 percent
24 percent
According to a study from the U.S. Commerce Department, women make up 48 percent of the U.S. workforce as of 2009 but claim only 24 percent of jobs in STEM fields.
47 percent

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Chemist Rosalind Franklin's photographs of what helped earn a Nobel Prize for James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins?
DNA
The 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering DNA's double helix structure went to Watson, Crick and Wilkins, but they may not have made the breakthrough without Rosalind Franklin's X-ray diffraction photos of DNA strands.
X chromosomes
neurons

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Austrian physicist Lise Meitner and her research assistant discovered what atomic reaction?
nuclear fission
In 1939, Meitner and her nephew and lab partner Otto Frisch identified and named the process of nuclear fission, which would be the key to developing the atomic bomb.
nuclear fusion
radioactivity

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Lise Meitner won a Nobel Prize for what?
discovering the Auger effect
discovering nuclear fusion
Meitner never received a Nobel Prize.
Although Meitner first distinguished nuclear fission, her longtime research partner Otto Hahn took home the Nobel Prize in chemistry for it in 1944.

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Shirley Jackson, described by Time magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science," pursued what science field?
particle physics
nuclear physics
theoretical physics
The theoretical physicist concentrated primarily on electron energy, electrical charges and polarization, specifically the polaronic aspects of electrons in two-dimensional systems.

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President Clinton appointed Shirley Jackson the first female head of what?
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
In 1995, President Clinton appointed Jackson to chair the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, making her the first woman to hold the position.
NASA

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Rita Levi-Montalcini, the oldest living Nobel laureate, received her Nobel Prize for studying what body part?
the brain
Levi-Montalcini received a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1986 for discovering nerve growth factor, the key protein that stimulates neural development in the brain.
the heart
the lungs

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How old was Rita Levi-Montalcini when she received her Nobel?
67 years old
77 years old
Levi-Montalcini was 77 years old when she accepted her Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1986.
87 years old

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Who won the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics for her work with radioactive materials?
Marie Curie
Radioactivity expert Marie Curie won her first Nobel in 1903 and nabbed another in 1911.
Ada Byron
Dorothy Hodgkin

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The daughter of which famous poet devised what is considered the first ever computer program?
T.S. Eliot
Lord Byron
Also known as Lady Lovelace, Ada Byron developed a numerical calculation program in 1843, making her history's first computer programmer.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

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What primatologist has been described as "the woman who redefined man"?
Rachel Carson
Jane Goodall
When Jane Goodall decided to study chimpanzees in Tanzania at the age of 23, she probably didn't anticipate spending the next 45 years observing their social and familial behavior.
Dian Fossey

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Out of the 102 Nobel Prizes in chemistry doled out between 1901 and 2010, how many went to women?
four
The only four women to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry are Marie Curie, Irène Joliot-Curie, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin and Ada E. Yonath.
eight
16

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Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert Mayer are the only women to win a Nobel in what?
physics
Maria Goeppert Mayer took home the Nobel Prize in physics in 1963, the second -- and last, as of 2011 -- time a woman claimed it.
physiology
medicine

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British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell initially mistook her discovery of radio signals in outer space for what?
aliens
When Bell accidentally discovered radio signals in outer space, she first theorized that they were coming from "little green men."
Russian spacecraft
a black hole

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In 2009, Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Carol Greider were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering telomeres, which protect what from damage?
neurons
nerve cells
chromosomes
The pair discovered telomeres, which are protective shields on the end of chromosomes that also determine how much a cell can divide and proliferate.

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Which of the following women hasn't received a Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking research?
Jane Goodall
Although she's one of the most famous female scientists in history, primatologist Jane Goodall has never won a Nobel Prize.
Rosalyn Yalow
Gertrude B. Elion

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Who was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT?
Dolores Shockley
Shirley Jackson
Shockley was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in pharmacy, and Jemison was the first black female astronaut. Jackson was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT, where she studied elementary particle theory.
Mae Jemison

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Which branch of science attracts the lowest number of female college majors?
computer science
engineering
According to data from the National Science Foundation, female college students in the U.S. are least likely to pursue engineering. Psychology and medicine are the two most popular science tracks for women.
math

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