Quiz-ology: Can You Guess the Scientific Field From Its Official Name?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Colin Anderson Productions Pty Ltd/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

For centuries, humans have used the sciences to methodically and purposefully explore the world around them. As they’ve expanded their knowledge and scientific horizons, the sciences have branched into many different fields. Some of them – like “biology” – are common terms that most people learned in grade school. Others are a bit more esoteric. In this -ology heavy quiz, if we provide you with a clue about a field of study, do you think you can define it? You won't need a lab coat for this quiz, but a big vocabulary and knowledge of Latin roots might help.

A lot of people will already understand terms such as “botany” and “embryology” and “genetics.” Sometimes, even if you’re not familiar with a particular field, the word itself offers a significant clue as to the purpose of the discipline. Others, however, like cryobiology or evolutionary biology, might seem familiar in some ways … but still leave you grasping for a strong definition. 

Is it a physical science, chemistry or some strange life science that you’ve never heard of before? Experiment all you want with this scientific fields quiz! Let’s find out if you’re a devotee of the scientific method or if you’re just guessing your way through life.

You'll plunge into this one. What's the gist of oceanography?

Oceanography is the study of the world's oceans and seas. It's also called marine biology, as it studies the interactions of many watery ecosystems.


Hopefully, their thumbs are green. Botanists spend their time with which subjects?

Botanists are obsessed with plants. They investigate all aspect's of plant's life cycle to better understand how they grow and adapt to their conditions.


Are you hungry yet? What issue does agrobiology tackle?

Agrobiology digs deep into the soil of plant nutrition and crop yields. These scientists can help farmers improve their crop quality and provide a better product for market.


The word "zoology" gives it away. Which kind of person would mostly likely be a zoologist?

Zoology is all about the animal kingdom, digging into all of the things that make animals tick. A tiger conservationist would definitely need to know a lot about zoology to do his or her job.


What subject does astronomy investigate?

Astronomy relies on fancy technologies like huge telescopes in exploring celestial bodies. But astronomers use their naked eye to observe events, too.


If you're into meteorology, where will your mind constantly wander?

Meteorologists spend a lot of time with their head in the clouds. That's because they spend much of their time analyzing the atmosphere and its dynamics.


You'll see scales in your dreams. What do people study in herpetology?

Herpetology is the study of creatures like amphibians and reptiles. These scienstics are experts in many types of cold-blooded creatures.


Do you like heavy metal and rock? Then you might want to study _____.

Geology studies various aspects of solid rocks and minerals that make up Earth's crust and underlying layers. It can be a purely scientific endeavor or it can help humans mine for resources under the surface.


In hydrography, researchers really dive into the material. What are they studying?

Hydrography is the investigation into various bodies of water, from oceans to rivers. It also evaluates many of the dynamics as water interacts with other aspects of the physical environment.


It's truly a green profession. What's the purpose of ecology?

Ecology is a sprawling enterprise that researches living creatures. And it does so in a way that takes the environment into account, too.


Grab your binoculars. Ornithology is the study of which sort of animal?

Ornithology is the study of birds. Scientists do everything they can to learn all about our feathered friends and the ways they survive in a variety of ecosystems.


It all makes sense. Audiology is the study of which human sense?

In audiology, researchers delve into the specifics of human hearing. Many of these specialists work to improve hearing in the disabled.


Let's say you have a thing for tapeworms. You'd most likely get into which of the following fields?

Parasitic relationships are common in ecosystems all over the planet. In parasitology, researches try to better understand parasites and the way they operate in their hosts.


What will you research in the field of malacology?

Malacology dives right into various types of mollusks. That includes creatures like squid, clams and octopus, some of which have shells, as well as others that don’t.


You can survive with just one of these in your body. What do researchers study in nephrology?

Nephrology is the study of the kidneys. Without your kidneys, your body won't last long, as these organs filter out many toxins that find their way into the human system.


In helminthology, you'll be dealing with parasites. What kind?

Helminthology thoroughly investigates parasitic worms called helminths. Flukes and roundworms are just two of a variety of helminths.


It's something your doctor might investigate if you're sick. Adenology studies which part of the human body?

Your body has various glands -- like the adrenal or pituitary -- that make vital chemicals. In adenology, researchers thoroughly investigate gland functions under a variety of conditions.


Some people think the slime is icky. What are you studying in ichthyology?

Ichthyology is the study of fish and fish behavior. And it's by no means a settled field -- each year, scientists find hundreds of new fish species that still need plenty of research.


It's not a laughing matter when you're studying malariology. What tool do you need in this field?

Malariology is the study of malaria, a terrible disease that's spread by mosquitoes. Scientists who work with any sort of disease must take a lot of protective measures to keep themselves (and their co-workers) safe.


And yes, that steak qualifies. What do scientists explore in bromatology?

Bromatology is something to celebrate when you're devouring that large pizza. It's all about food science, the engineering, processing and transformation of raw materials into ever-improving consumer foods.


It happens to all of us at a very young age. What exactly are researchers doing in tokology?

Tokology researches all things involved in childbirth. Many of the improvements we see in women's health emerge from this field.


If a scientist specializes in spermology, he or she will be doing a lot of work with what, exactly?

Spermology is the study of various types of seeds. Plants produce all sorts of fascinating seeds that only produce new growth under certain conditions.


Time to squirm around in the dirt. In limacology, scientists get down and dirty with what sort of creature?

Limacology is the study of slimy, squirming slugs. This is an older term that's now largely retired, but limacologists are definitely still a thing.


It might make you thirsty. Zythology is the study of what?

As one of humankind's oldest beverages, beer is a complicated drink that involves all sorts of chemical reactions. And zythology dives into the specifics of those processes.


If you're going to study cetology, you're going to need to be comfortable in what sort of environment?

Be prepared to tackle a barnacle now and then. In cetology, scientists study dolphins and whales, trying to get a better understanding of their life cycles and habits.


But you might lose your appetite. What do people do in gastroenterology?

In gastroenterology, researchers dig into the guts -- literally -- of humankind. They try to get a better understanding of how the stomach and digestive system work.


Hold onto your hats! Anemology is the study of what, exactly?

Gases of all kinds blow here, there and everywhere, even in outer space. In anemology, researchers try to better understand wind -- the movement of gases.


It makes werewolves very happy. Selenology is the study of what, exactly?

Selenology digs into the geology of the moon. The moon's overall structure is very different from Earth's, and its origins are of great interest to scientists.


It could one day save your life. Pharmacognosy is the study of drugs derived from what?

Over the centuries, humans have found many medicines in both plants and animals. Pharmacognosy is the study of drugs that come from those living sources.


In astrometeorology, researchers study the effects of what on climate?

Because they are huge flaming balls, astrometeorology investigates the impact that stars have on climate. Our sun is just one of those stars.


Photobiology is a revealing science. It wants to understand the effects of what, exactly, on various creatures?

Light is a primal force on Earth, affecting most creatures in way or another. Photobiology examines the effects of light on plants and animals.


Farmers rely on these scientists. What does a person study in agrology?

Soil is one of a farm's most precious resources. Agrologists help farmers analyze soil characteristics and maximize them for better long-term yield potential.


They bring things together in the body. What's the point of desmology?

Any professional who delves into human anatomy needs some familiar with desmology. What is it? It is the study of ligaments.


Prepare to count way past 10. What's the story behind dendrochronology?

Tree growth varies substantially depend on weather from year to year. In dendrochronology, scientists study the growth rings that appear as a tree ages.


Think red. In areology, scientists particularly study the geology of what?

Mars fascinates and intrigues geologists. And those geologists who specifically study Mars are practicing areology. These men and women have made some of NASA's most striking discoveries in recent years.


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