A question of science

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The Independent Online
TO MARK European Week for Scientific Culture, the Independent, in conjunction with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, is running a competition for 14- to 18-year-olds, offering a chance to win a trip to one of the scientific centres of Europe and beyond. Answer the following 20 questions correctly and you could visit 'the Big Machine' at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, the international astronomical observatory in the Canary Islands, the Medical Research Council's tropical disease laboratories in the Gambia, or one of the many other research laboratories and centres of scientific culture in Europe. Questions set by Justin Arundale

1 He became an Augustinian monk at the age of 21, and an abbot in 1868. His experiments on plants helped him to develop two laws of genetic inheritance. Who was he and what is the Latin name for the genus of plants with which he experimented?

2 The first system for duplicating documents made use of a fluid made from vinegar, borax, oyster shells, bruised Aleppo galls and distilled water. The man who patented the system also made a vital improvement to the steam engine - adding a separate condenser. Which SI unit is named after him and what does it measure?

3 The first time these men did it, it involved a sheep, a duck, a cockerel and a lot of hot air. Only one of them went up himself. Who were they?

4 This chemist once worked in Paris, but is best known for investigating the strand of life in the Strand in London. Three people shared a Nobel prize for the discovery that followed, but this researcher died before the prize was awarded. What was the chemist's name?

5 When the scale with which he is associated was devised, it went from steam to ice - but it didn't take its modern form until his colleagues at Uppsala turned it upside-down. Who was he?

6 Penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin have one thing in common - their chemical structures were worked out by someone who was born in Cairo, brought up in Sudan and whose work was rewarded with a Nobel prize. What is the name of this famous crystallographer?

7 He won a Nobel prize and wrote a book based on the legend that King Solomon had a ring which enabled him to talk to the animals. He was a great hit with his geese. Who was he?

8 One of the founding fathers of computing probably committed suicide after facing prosecution for being homosexual. Who was he?

9 Husbands and wives have shared Nobel prizes, albeit rarely. Parents and children have been known to share prizes as well. But only one family has produced two husband-and-wife pairs sharing prizes in successive generations. Who were the younger pair?

10 When Joseph Meister was nine, he was bitten 14 times by a dog. He was treated with an experimental vaccine, survived, and went on to become a caretaker at the institute of the scientist who treated him. What process, much used to destroy harmful microbes in food and drink, is named after the scientist?

11 William was an oboist in Germany. His sister, Caroline, trained as an opera singer. William's son John was a mathematician. They were a gifted family. William discovered four moons and a planet; Caroline discovered eight comets, and John took the first photograph on glass of the Sun's spectrum. What was the family name?

12 He devoted his life to astronomy after seeing his first partial solar eclipse, but that didn't stop him fighting a duel, in which he lost most of his nose, over a disputed point of mathematics. He was supported by two monarchs - one gave him Hven, the other (who was mad) gave him a castle. His measurements of the positions of 777 stars proved invaluable to later astronomers and he surely deserves the honour of having one of the Moon's most prominent craters named after him. Who was he?

13 Leonardo da Vinci was convinced that the key to understanding the world was 'knowing how to see'. In his codex on the eye, he described a device which, after much development, is now used by millions of people to help them see. What device?

14 Jean Ichbiah and his team named their most famous computer development after the only legitimate daughter of an English poet, who was herself associated with early developments in computing. What was her name?

15 The Abbe Lematre was ordained a Catholic priest and later became professor of astronomy at Louvain. He was one of the first people to propose a major cosmological theory. Which one?

16 One member of a family famous for its work with early hominids found footprints in the sand at Laetoli which proved that, more than 3 million years ago, our predecessors walked upright. Which member of which family?

17 In order to check the legend that Archimedes had set fire to the Roman fleet by reflecting the Sun's rays, he devised an experiment using 168 mirrors. He was interested in the vestigial toes of the pig and was keeper of the Jardin du Roi. He coined the phrase 'Le style c'est l'homme meme', and his master work on natural history was 44 volumes long. Who was he?

18 He was right about the Earth being a curved body poised in space but wrong about it being a cylinder. He was among the very earliest European scientists. Who was he?

19 He named his most famous book after a giant, but it was navigators who were most thankful to him. Who was he?

20 His father was an Italian consul in Algeria and he was instrumental in introducing zero into Europe. His sequence crops up in curious places, such as the growth patterns of leaves. Who was he?

All entries should be sent to Sally Goodman, Euroscience Quiz, British Association for the Advancement of Science, 23 Savile Row, London W1X 1AB, to arrive not later than the last post on 20 December 1993. Entries should be clearly marked with the entrant's name, home address and telephone number, and date of birth. Entrants must be aged 14 to 18 inclusive on 30 November 1993.

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