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The academic world has, undoubtedly, made a vast difference to our quality of life, yet much of the important research conducted in those ivory towers is sadly ignored in the fast pace of everyday life. Would not the world be a more contented place if we had all read The structure and function of genitalia in some American agelenid spiders (RL Gering, Smithson. misc. Collns. 121, 1953) or "Personalities of Octopuses" (JA Mather and RC Anderson, J Comp Psychology, 107, 1993)?

To encourage wider dissemination of academic findings, we have concocted a little quiz from the titles of eight papers or theses. (We have added the dates of publication, more in a spirit of academic thoroughness than through any desire to help.) Can you mix and match the titles numbered 1 to 8 with the missing phrases a to h?

If you think, for example, that the phrase missing from item 1 is "Latvian folk music", just write 1a on your entry, and so on until all eight are completed. In the highly probable case of more than one entrant correctly completing all the titles, we should like you to add your own idea of the title of a paper you would be most intrigued to see in an academic journal some time in the future. The title should comprise no more than 20 words.

1. The influence of ----- on the garden spider


2. The position of ----- in Holland (1967)

3. Looking at ----- (1969)

4. ----- across cultures (1976)

5. The effect of ----- on the growth of radish

plants (1979)

6. Haemodynamics of ----- (1985)

7. The problem of classifying ----- (1986)

8. Hedonic responses, variety-seeking tendency and expressed variety in ----- (1995)

a) Latvian folk music

b) a tuning fork

c) upside-down faces

d) homosexuals

e) obscene joking

f) holy water

g) sequential orgasm

h) sandwich choices

Answers by 17 October to Education Plus Competition, Features Department, The Independent, 1, Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DL.