A brighter, more comet-friendly Britain

Related Topics
You are now entering an election-free zone

This has been Science Week, a week at the start of which the British were an ignorant, scientifically naive bunch and after which they are now one of the most scientifically sophisticated communities in the world.

Or are they ?

Well, it's easy to find out.

If you have been paying attention, you too should be scientifically switched on by now.

So why not test yourself to see just how much you have picked up ?

Here we go then! All you have to do is see how many of the following searching scientific questions you can answer.

1. Every week Melvyn Bragg starts the week with a bunch of assorted pundits, and every week one of them is a geneticist. What are the odds against this happening by random selection ?

2. Sometimes one of the Dimblebys asks for a show of hands during one of their Question programmes, and says, "Of course this isn't a scientifically conducted survey". Compared to what? What is a scientifically conducted survey?

3. For instance, is a political election a scientifically conducted survey?

4. If the opinion polls say that one party will win, and the election results say that by a count of elected members the other side has won, might a scientist say that the polls were right and the election was wrong?

5. What IS the scientific process ? Which of the following descriptions most nearly approximates to the way science works ?

a) Evolving a theory and then testing it with repeatable and verifiable experiments until proved true or false.

b) Developing an experimental programme such as sheep cloning which is newsworthy enough to get more research funds rolling in.

c) Being called in by the Government at BSE or E.Coli time and being asked to bail them out overnight.

6. How can you tell sheep apart at the best of times?

7. A comet has been placed in the north-western sky especially to promote interest in Science Week. But what is it called?

a) "Hip Hop"

b) "Gault-Millau"

c) "Darth Vader"

d) "Look, just over the chimney, that faint blob, oh it's gone now...."

8. What does the word "forensic" refer to?

a) Cutting up dead people

b) Crime shows on TV....

c) Any evidence in court which is subsequently shown to be dodgy.

9. What can be seen glowing faintly in the evening after sunset and again round about sunrise?

a) That thing, you know, the whatsit, the asteroid, no, as you were, the comet or whatever

b) The nearest big city, or perhaps just Trowbridge

c) Michael Howard on Newsnight and again on the Today programme.

10. What is a comet exactly?

a) A laser show designed to publicise Science Week

b) Nuclear waste dumped in space by a now-extinct civilisation

c) An omen foretelling great unrest ahead and massive hold-ups on the M40

11. Which of the following words are not genuine scientific terms ?

a) morph

b) zap

c) mutant

d) ninja

e) ginormous

f) mega

g) bodacious

12. The population of the world is increasing the whole time, but the amount of air and water stays constant, leading to a smaller share for everyone. What will this mean for mankind by the year AD2200 ?

a) That we will all be forced to take smaller breaths ?

b) That air will be piped down from the upper atmosphere, rather as water is now piped from the Welsh hills?

c) That bottles of fizzy air will be placed on the tables of posh restaurants?

d) That dry methods of washing ourselves will be evolved, eg that we will vacuum-clean our hair instead of shampooing it?

13. Have you ever met anyone who had finished reading A Brief History of Time?

14. Explain briefly the difference between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.

Answers will be given next time Science Week comes along

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Pentagon has suggested that, since the campaign started, some 10,000 Isis fighters in Iraq and Syria have been killed  

War with Isis: If the US wants to destroy the group, it will need to train Syrians and Iraqis

David Usborne
David Cameron gives a speech at a Tory party dinner  

In a time of austerity, should Tories be bidding £210,000 for a signed photo of the new Cabinet?

Simon Kelner
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most