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From Quark to Cosmos
"In this journey from the miniscule to the massive, we will examine various aspects of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and cosmology."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
We begin by looking at one of the smallest things in the known universe: a quark. This particular quark is bound to two up quarks, forming a proton. Which quark is it?
Looking at a proton, we find that it is not alone. It is surrounded by fifteen other protons, as well as sixteen neutrons. These thirty-two particles make up the nucleus of an atom of which element?
Upon examining an atom, we find that is it part of something larger: an amino acid. Our particular type of atom can only be found in two types of amino acids. Our atom is covalently bonded to two carbon atoms in this particular amino acid. What is the name of this amino acid molecule?
We are now looking at an amino acid at the front end of a chain of amino acids, otherwise known as a protein. This particular protein catalyzes the breaking of hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water. What is the name of this protein?
Next we notice that many proteins are floating along inside a larger structure called an organelle. This organelle contains no DNA. Which organelle is this?
We now find ourselves looking at the basic unit of life: a cell. We observe the cell undergo meiosis and divide into two cells. What kind of cells could these two new cells be?
Next we find that the cell is part of a larger collective of cells called an organ. This organ produces haploid cells. Which organ is it?
Now we gaze upon the individual: the organism. This particular organism is closely related to the jellyfish. Which organism is it?
We now focus on a population of organisms within a species. Over a long time, we observe a mountain range form, completely dividing the population in two. What kind of speciation would we likely see occur between these two populations?
All life on Earth makes up the biosphere, which extends to great depths, and sometimes very great heights. What is the furthest from the center of the Earth that life has existed, even if temporarily?
the upper layers of the atmosphere
the top of Mount Everest
orbiting the Moon
The biosphere itself is just a small part of planet Earth. In order for lifeforms to leave Earth, they need to attain a certain minimum speed. What is this minimum speed called?
Earth, like all planets in the solar system, is rotating on its axis. Which of the following planets rotates in the direction opposite that of Earth's rotation?
Next, we see a huge disc of solar systems, called the Milky Way galaxy. The light we currently see from the center of the Milky Way has been traveling a long time to reach us. During what epoch of Earth's geologic history did this currently visible light leave the stars near the center of the galaxy?
Expanding our view to almost cosmic proportions, we can see that the Milky Way is part of a much larger cluster of galaxies. What is the name of this group?
Ursa Major Supercluster
Finally, our view has expanded as far as possible, to the outskirts of all time and space; we now observe the entire cosmos. According to modern cosmology, what is the apparent shape, or topology, of the cosmos?
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Compiled May 23 13