Pop Quiz: General Science


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Getty Images / E+ / Alina555

About This Quiz

There's a good reason why we're all taught science from the time we are small until we graduate from higher education. With a world that's ever-evolving, filled with humans who are naturally curious of things around, above and below, there will always be many scientific facts and figures that will be updated and enhanced through time. 

Even ancient scientists know this. Some of them postulated one thing or another about a certain thing or event, only to have their findings refuted by another scientist studying the same thing. Meanwhile, the earth, or mother nature, has its own developing and updating processes, ones that greatly affect all creatures inhabiting the planet. Then of course, outside the planet, there are also many changes happening, ones that could impact us here on earth. 

Yes, that is how science rules our daily life. Some of the scientific knowledge we learn in school are highly practical, while some are preparations for when we decide to specialize on certain fields when we grow up. It's still a win-win situation nonetheless, so learning some science is not such a bad thing for us. Do you think you can answer many of these science-filled pop quiz questions? Discover and see for yourself!

For every action, there is an equal and opposite…what?

It’s one of the basic laws of the universe: Any action will have a reaction equal and opposite to it. This is why jet engines can make planes fly, for example.


Which element is the first in the periodic table?

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. It’s highly flammable, while at the same time is a component of water. It's also very light.


What did Charles Darwin “discover” in the Galapagos Islands?

Charles Darwin observed how some animals on Galapagos had adapted to the local area, separate from those in other islands. This process of animals developing to adapt to their environment is now known as evolution.


Which end of another magnet will stick to a magnet’s positive side?

The positive and negative sides of a magnet attract the opposing sides of other magnets. Some magnets are so strong when they attract each other that you can injure yourself if your hand is caught between them!


Where do you find the smallest bones in the human body?

The smallest bone in the body is known as the stirrup bone, which is actually located inside our ears. It’s part of our hearing mechanism, and it’s only about a tenth of an inch long.


A mineral is formed by geologic actions. Which of the following is not a mineral?

Technically speaking, a mineral is made up of crystals formed under the ground due to pressure, heat, and other factors. In many cases, mineral deposits are a mix of many different elements. Therefore, wood cannot be considered as a mineral by this definition.


Nature lovers, what is the largest reef in the world?

The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest reef system in the world, and it is located near the coast of Australia, well within the country’s territory. A reef is a big undersea community based on coral, organisms that grow large stone-like structures as their “shells.”


Why is it a bad idea to be in an open field during a thunderstorm?

Electricity tends to find the shortest way from one place to another. If you’re the tallest object in an open field during a storm, you’re the lightning rod, therefore it will strike you. It’s the same reason you should avoid tall trees when outside, because the lightning will find them and strike, which could hurt you in the process.


Why is there a “dark side” to our moon?

The time it takes for the moon to orbit around the Earth is about the same time it takes to spin around its own axis. That means the moon always shows us the same side all the time. The outer side is therefore dubbed as the “dark side” because we never see it facing the earth.


Are the movies right in saying that birds are modern dinosaurs?

Scientists have found that theropod dinosaurs, which include the Tyrannosaurus Rex, are actually the ancestors of birds. In fact, some dinosaur fossils have evidence of feathers! That’s how evolution works.


What happens during a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens if the moon comes between the earth and sun, so the moon blocks the sun’s light. On the other hand, a lunar eclipse happens if the earth blocks the light from hitting the moon.


What invention did Alexander Graham Bell patent?

Bell invented the telephone, while working with a mechanic named Thomas Watson. His invention changed the world of mass communication, as his invention is still being reinvented anew in the digital era.


Which of these are types of clouds?

Clouds are categorized by types, each with a distinct look and appearance in the sky. Cirrus are generally thin and rather wispy, cumulous are the very curly and puffy ones, nimbus are the dark ones that are actually rainclouds, and stratus are that stretch of clouds that simulate a thick blanket, kinda like a fog in appearance.


Is white light really the color white?

White light is not a true color in the sense of how we perceive the other colors of the spectrum. White light is all the other colors combined.


Is Saturn the only ringed planet?

Saturn may have the largest and most visible rings, but it turns out that Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter all have rings, too. Many scientists believe that rings are made from the leftovers of moon formation, and continuous explorations give us newer findings like these over the years.


Louis Pasteur was famous for making which drink sterile and safe?

Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization, a process by which milk had most, if not all harmful organisms, removed. In short, he made milk safe to drink, and also gave it the ability to be preserved for a longer time.


Fast fact for vegetarians: Is a cucumber a veggie or a fruit?

Surprisingly, the cool cucumber is not considered as a vegetable, and neither is it considered a fruit. Technically, it’s a member of the melon family of edible plants.


What does it mean when you hear an airplane’s sonic boom?

Sonic booms are created when a plane flies faster than the speed of sound, which is about 767 miles per hour. It’s made by air pressure shockwaves that are formed as a plane flies fast, with the shockwaves turning into a “cone” behind it.


Is magma also lava?

Magma is what we call the molten rock underneath the earth. However, once it comes out of a volcano, it’s automatically called lava.


Which "invisible line" divides the earth in equal parts horizontally?

The equator is that line that horizontally divides the earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. There are several countries that the equator touches upon, but it's closest to Ecuador in South America, and they have a monument that marks it.


Beachheads, this one’s for you: What creates tides?

The moon’s orbit around the earth creates the tides in the earth’s bodies of water. That’s because the moon’s gravity can pull at bodies of water when it moves.


What does “continental drift” pertain to?

Continental drift describes how continents are moving around. Many scientists believe there was one supercontinent in ancient times, then geologic movement broke it up to the continents and islands we know today.


Who was this wheelchair-bound scientist who taught us about black holes ?

Stephen Hawking discussed black holes at length in his books and his work. He was able to work on his theories, even though he was effectively paralyzed for majority of his life.


The discovery of gravity is attributed to which scientific man?

Sir Isaac Newton changed a lot of scientific notions during his lifetime, since he established many laws that are cited up to now. The discovery of gravity is also attributed to him, now referred to as Newton's law of universal gravitation. Generally, he had a huge contribution in the scientific field of physics.


The Panama Canal connects which body of water to each other?

The great human construction project known as the Panama Canal links together the huge Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It has many segments where water levels are raised or lowered, so boats can pass through safely.


Which element is the most abundant on our planet’s surface?

Our planet’s surface has a lot of the element called oxygen. About half of our planet’s crust, waters, and atmosphere is made up of oxygen, and the human body contains it, too.


What is the hottest planet in the solar system?

Although Mercury is closer to the sun, Venus is still the hottest planet in the solar system. That’s because the planet’s atmosphere traps heat, making the surface very hot, around 864 degrees Fahrenheit, or 462 degrees Celsius.


Which small but annoying animal is the most dangerous in the world?

Flies seem like harmless creatures, but their feet land on junk, feces, and food alike. This makes them pass on deadly sicknesses with their “footsteps.” That’s why it’s always a smart move to swat them away before they land on your food or your kitchenware, or anywhere near you.


He invented the light bulb. Who was this guy?

Thomas Alva Edison patented many inventions in his lifetime, and a lot of them became great technology we still use today. The lightbulb is one of his most significant contributions to society.


What is the common term for iron oxide?

Iron oxide is the chemical term for the very common problem known as rust. When iron is exposed to air, oxygen bonds with iron atoms to make iron oxide, which is a much weaker material. Needless to say, it’s a formula that doesn’t work well with our tools.


What particular cells in a human body live the longest?

Your brain cells will be around from the time you’re a baby until you grow old and die. On the flip side, some parts of the brain do not replace brain cells when they die, so you have to be careful of how you treat them on a daily basis.


Marie Curie was hailed for discovering which element?

There are many female scientists out there, but perhaps one of the most well-known is Marie Curie, who worked with fellow scientist and hubby Pierre Curie, and continued working on scientific knowledge even after his death. She also discovered polonium, and won the Nobel Prize for both physics and chemistry for her work, then also did work that contributed to the development of the x-ray.


Can slithery snakes be voracious vegetarians?

Snakes are one of the truly meat-eating animal species in the world. They do not eat any kind of plant at all, unless their prey ate plants. They are that carnivorous.


Where do South American tribes get poison for their darts?

Some indigenous tribes in South America coat their darts with poison taken from frogs. Poisonous frogs tend to be very colorful, and there are various species of them in that continent, especially in the Amazon Rainforest where specific species of poisonous frogs are exclusively found.


When you combine sodium and chloride together, what kind of everyday food product does it produce?

Sodium is Na and chloride is Cl, which forms the chemical compound of NaCl or sodium chloride, which we also know as salt. Sodium is considered as an essential mineral that the human body actually needs to perform several functions, so it's nice to have salt in your diet, just not too much of it.


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