Let's Get Physical: The Physics Quiz

By: Bambi Turner

Let's Get Physical: The Physics Quiz
Image: Taweepat/istock/Thinkstock

About This Quiz

Leptons, and atoms and bosons, oh my! New discoveries in physics happen so fast that even skilled scientists find it hard to keep up. See how much you know about famous physicists and theories old and new in this challenging yet fascinating field.
What is the speed of light?
186,000 miles per second (299,338 kilometers per second)
The speed of light has been well-established at 186,000 miles per second.
1.86 million miles per second
infinite

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When did scientists first discover that light had a specific, measureable speed?
17th century
Incredibly, Danish astronomer Ole Roemer first calculated the speed of light in 1676. Before that people thought light speed was either infinite or too fast to measure.
18th century
19th century

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Which of the following is NOT one of Newton's three laws of motion?
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by a force.
At a given mass, the pressure times volume of a gas will stay constant as long as temperature does.
The concept that pressure times volume will stay constant at a constant temperature came long after Newton's contributions to the field of physics.

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What do you call the building blocks that make up protons and neutrons?
squarks
quarks
Quarks, which come in six types, or flavors, are the tiny building blocks that make up protons and neutrons.
quicks

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Which of the following is Augustin-Jean Fresnel best remembered for?
his work in quantum mechanics
the discovery of the planet Neptune
the wave theory of light
Fresnel presented his wave theory of light at a science competition in 1819. Not only did he win the competition, but he also helped pave the way for future breakthroughs in the study of optics.

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What technology won the first Nobel Prize in physics in 1901?
X-rays
Wilhelm Rontgen won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of X-ray technology.
nuclear fusion
radio

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True or false: Electrons and neutrons make up the nucleus of an atom.
true
false
Protons and neutrons make up an atom's nucleus, while electrons float around the dense nucleus.

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Which of the following is NOT one of the four fundamental forces in physics?
gravitational
acceleration
The four fundamental forces in physics are gravitational, electromagnetic, strong and weak forces.
electromagnetism

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What technological innovation is Guglielmo Marconi best known for?
television
telephone
radio
Marconi made wireless communication possible with his work in radio. Soon after he introduced his wireless system in 1909, the crew of the Titanic used this technology to call for help after striking an iceberg.

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True or false: Absolute zero is equal to zero degrees Celsius.
true
false
Absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature, is minus 273.15 Celsius, or minus 459.67 Fahrenheit.

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What two measurements are captured by Boyle's law?
density and energy
pressure and volume
According to Boyle's Law, pressure and volume are inversely proportional at a given mass and constant temperature.
temperature and acceleration

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Where can you find the world's largest particle accelerator?
Switzerland
Located in Switzerland, the Large Hadron Collider is not only the world's largest particle accelerator but also one of the largest machines on the planet. By smashing particles together at the speed of light, scientists can analyze the subatomic world in a controlled environment.
United States
Russia

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Which of these two measurements will allow you to easily determine the density of an object?
mass and temperature
mass and acceleration
mass and volume
Density can be calculated by dividing mass by volume, one of the most basic calculations used in physics.

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True or false: Einstein theorized that space-time was curved, not flat.
true
Einstein theorized that massive objects cause distortions in space-time, causing it to curve.
false

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What is the "c" in Einstein's famous equation, e=mc2?
speed of light
In e=mc2, "c" represents the speed of light. This means that kinetic energy will always equal mass times the speed of light squared.
Planck's constant
acceleration

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True or false: Contrary to rumor, Einstein was a child prodigy in math and science.
true
Einstein was remarkably gifted in math, science and music as a student but had a little trouble with his French studies.
false

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What is J. Robert Oppenheimer remembered for?
giving neutrinos their name
the atomic bomb
J. Robert Oppenheimer is known as the "father of the atomic bomb" for his work on the Manhattan Project.
the discovery of numerous unknown stars

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What happens during fission?
an atom divides in two
During fission, an atom divides in two. The opposite is fusion, where two atoms combine to form a single unit.
two atoms join as one
no one knows

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True or false: An ion always has more electrons than protons.
true
false
An ion has an unequal number of electrons and protons, which means it will always have either a positive or negative charge.

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What are Kelvins used to measure?
temperature
Kelvins are a measure of temperature and are named for William Thomson, who was also known as Lord Kelvin.
mass
density

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What is gravity like inside a black hole?
nonexistent
incredibly strong
In a black hole, gravity is so strong that nothing can escape, not even light.
the same as it is outside of the black hole

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Which of these particles always consists of three quarks?
meson
baryon
A baryon always consists of three quarks, which means it has a charge of minus one, zero or one.
neutrino

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Which of these consists of one quark and one antiquark?
meson
A meson consists of one quark and one antiquark, giving it a charge of minus two, minus one, zero, one or two.
baryon
neutrino

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Which of these is the best representation of Planck's constant?
energy equals mass times acceleration
energy equals pressure times density
energy times time equal action
Planck's constant, which plays an important role in quantum mechanics, states that energy multiplied by time equals action.

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True or false: The big bang took place 15 million years ago.
true
false
The universe began to expand when the big bang took place around 15 billion years ago.

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True or false: Normal matter makes up around 5 percent of the universe.
true
The matter we see around us makes up around 5 percent of the universe. The rest consists of dark matter and a mysterious concept known as dark energy.
false

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True or false: Quarks come in three different colors that you can see.
true
false
While the differences in how quarks combine are attributed to a feature known as color, this "color" is merely a theoretical description.

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If you hold your hand up to the sun for a moment, how many neutrinos pass through?
none
just a few
billions
No-charge, massless particles known as neutrinos are the result of violent astrophysical events. Hold you hand towards the sun for just a moment, and billions of neutrinos will pass through at a subatomic level.

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What is Stephen Hawking's main field of study?
cosmology
Stephen Hawking primarily studies cosmology. His best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," made him a star in the science world when it came out in 1988.
quantum mechanics
optics

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How many dimensions exist in string theory?
four
six
10
In string theory, there are at least 10 different dimensions.

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You Got:
/30
Taweepat/istock/Thinkstock

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