Quiz about A Nose for the Liberal Arts
Quiz about A Nose for the Liberal Arts

A Nose for the Liberal Arts Trivia Quiz


In honour of the UK charity event "Red Nose Day", and in celebration of the nose everywhere - here's a bouquet hand picked for your delight from the fields of the traditional Liberal Arts. If the answers escape you, just follow your nose!

A multiple-choice quiz by Mistigris. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Mistigris
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
301,220
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
2637
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 104 (3/10), Guest 175 (3/10), Guest 5 (8/10).
1. Architecture: In which of these places will you find a famous example of 20th century architecture closely resembling a collection of overlapping noses? Hint

Dubai, UAE
London, UK
Paris, France
Sydney, Australia

2. History: Of whom was it said that if her nose had been shorter the history of the world would have been different? Hint

Belle Starr of Oklahoma
Marie Antoinette of France
Cleopatra VII of Egypt
Wu Zetian of China

3. Languages: Which of these words, derived from Greek, describes a nose-related activity that is widely considered socially unacceptable? Hint

Rhinoceros
Rhinoscopy
Rhinoplasty
Rhinotillexis

4. Literature: The Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol wrote his short story "The Nose" in 1836. Which of these other works did it NOT inspire? Hint

An opera by Dmitri Shostakovich
A book by Daniel J. Boorstin
A film by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker
A play by Tom Swift

5. Mathematics: My hearing isn't what it used to be... whose mathematical theorem were my students discussing when I thought I heard the words "This bear on the hippo's nose has sequins from Mum Bear for another two rides"? Hint

Pythagoras of Samos
Euclid of Alexandria
Leonardo Fibonacci
Isaac Newton

6. Painting: I saw a painting the other day - it was that one with the big-nosed face on sticks, by the chap with the moustache. Which artist's name has slipped my mind? Hint

Salvador Dali
Jackson Pollock
Sandro Botticelli
Sir Joshua Reynolds

7. Philosophy: Which of these nasal-sounding persons, of the Rationalist school of philosophy, was a favourite reading choice of a famous fictional valet? Hint

Baruch de Spinoza
Nasir al-Din Tusi
Robert Nozick
Michel de Nostredame

8. Politics: One of these nose-related electoral districts is not real - which one is it? Hint

Knowsley South (UK)
Calgary-Nose Hill (Canada)
Sonora (Mexico)
Hooternay-Columbia (Canada)

9. Science: Prosthetics is the science of artificial replacement body parts. Which one of these people was a famous scientist with a metal nasal prosthesis? Hint

John Wilmot
Tim Strawn
Tycho Brahe
The Tin Woodman

10. Sculpture: Which of these monumental sculptures has the greatest number of noses? Hint

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Departure of the Volunteers of 1792
The Angel of the North
Trajan's Column


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Architecture: In which of these places will you find a famous example of 20th century architecture closely resembling a collection of overlapping noses?

Answer: Sydney, Australia

According to official sources, ships' sails were the inspiration for the design of the arts complex popularly known as Sydney Opera House. To rhinophilists like myself, closer examination of this shining example of expressionist modern architecture does suggest a collection of nasal prominences pointing skywards.

In the mid-1950s, Danish architect Jørn Utzon won the competition to design the complex; construction began in 1958, supervised by the engineering firm of Ove Arup & Partners, and this magnificent monument to the nose was officially opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Dubai has many fascinating modern developments including the Burj al Arab, a hotel resembling a large nose (again, officially inspired by sails - the Arab dhow this time), built in the last years of the 20th century. Another amazing group of four swirling towers (Dubai Towers Dubai, resembling a collection of stereotypical witches' noses) is a 21st century project.

London has the Thames Barrier, the flood control system constructed between 1974 and 1982 at Woolwich Reach on the River Thames. With the eye of faith it does resemble a collection of noses, but they don't overlap.

Paris has "Le Grand Louvre", the 1986 glass pyramid designed by I. M. Pei & Partners for the new entrance to the famous museum. Although it has a slight resemblance to a stylised nose, there's only one of it.
2. History: Of whom was it said that if her nose had been shorter the history of the world would have been different?

Answer: Cleopatra VII of Egypt

"Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed."

Thus wrote the multi-talented Blaise Pascal in his 17th century work, "Pensées" ("Thoughts"). At the time, facial features were thought to reflect character traits: a prominent nose indicated dominance and strength of character, very necessary for a ruler dealing with the might of the Roman Empire. Pascal's comment perhaps meant that, with a smaller nose, the ingenuity and audacity of Cleopatra's interaction with Rome would have been absent, so changing the course of history.

Contemporary, or near-contemporary, sculptures of Cleopatra VII suggest a straight, longish, narrow nose; coins of the period also show a prominent nose.

Belle Starr (Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr) was a female outlaw of America's Old West. She lived from 1848 to 1889, and contemporary images suggest that her nose was a little above average size and slightly tip-tilted.

Portraits of the Austrian-born Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), wife of Louis XVI of France, show a long, thin, prominent nose, but there is no mention that I can find of any variation in its size potentially changing history.

Wu Zetian (625-705) was a concubine of two successive Chinese Emperors, Taizong and Gaozong. After the death of Gaozong in 683, she deposed her son Emperor Zhongzhong and placed another son, Ruizong, on the Imperial throne. She finally took the throne from Ruizong in 690 to rule as Empress herself. By all accounts she was a ruthless and very capable ruler; images of Wu Zetian show a largish nose.

Hmmm, perhaps Pascal's observation has some general application, after all...
3. Languages: Which of these words, derived from Greek, describes a nose-related activity that is widely considered socially unacceptable?

Answer: Rhinotillexis

Did you pick the correct answer? (Sorry!)

The prefix "rhino" refers to the nose.

Rhinotillexis describes the removal of mucus from the nasal cavities with the finger - that's nose-picking to you and me. It is generally regarded as an unsavoury habit when carried out in public or in company, but is widespread and usually not hazardous to the health unless practised in the extreme. "Tillexis" is "the habit of picking".

Rhinoceros describes any of the odd-toed ungulate animals of the Rhinoceratidae family. "Ceros" comes from the Greek "keras", meaning "horn" - so the animal's name is superbly appropriate: "nose horn". Devotees of the songs of Flanders & Swann may recall the trials of the poor rhinoceros with "a bodger on the bonce".

Rhinoplasty is the surgical art and procedure of nose shaping; "plassein" is from the Greek "to shape". Nose jobs are not new - they were first described and performed in ancient India around 500 BCE, and in ancient Egypt even earlier.

Rhinoscopy (or nasal endoscopy) refers to the examination of the inside of the nose with a rhinoscope - a thin, tubelike flexible instrument with an integral fibreoptic light and magnifying lens. Some rhinoscopes also have an attachment for removing small samples of tissue for laboratory examination. The "scopy" part of the word derives from the Greek "skopein", meaning "to see".
4. Literature: The Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol wrote his short story "The Nose" in 1836. Which of these other works did it NOT inspire?

Answer: A book by Daniel J. Boorstin

Gogol's satirical short story is about a nose that leaves its owner's face and wanders off to lead a life of its own. It becomes more successful than its original owner and refuses to return to its rightful place on his face. Whilst trying to escape from the city of St. Petersburg, the nose is apprehended and returned to its owner who is unable to reattach it; but nose and face are eventually successfully reunited.

The opera, film and play are all based on Gogol's story; the book is not.

Dmitri Shostakovich's 1930 opera, "The Nose", did not have a good reception and closed after very few performances; it remained unperformed within the Soviet Union until 1974, when it was revived by conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky and artistic director Boris Pokrovsky. Although in declining health, Shostakovich supervised the production.

The short animated film "Le Nez" ("The Nose"), by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker, was made in 1963 using the pinscreen animation technique. Put very simply, this employs a similar technique to the modern executive "pin art" toys: the pins are side-illuminated and the animated shapes are created by the shadows cast by the pins.

Author Tom Swift's play "The Nose" appeared in 2008 at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. The review in The Irish Times was somewhat uncomplimentary, but on-line comments left by theatregoers have been rather more enthusiastic.

Historian Daniel J. Boorstin's book, "Cleopatra's Nose: Essays on the Unexpected", is a collection of essays about the impact of ground-breaking scientific discoveries over the last few centuries. The title is based on Blaise Pascal's comment on the historical effect of the length of Cleopatra's nose, with respect to "the crucial role of the accidental and the trivial" in shaping history.
5. Mathematics: My hearing isn't what it used to be... whose mathematical theorem were my students discussing when I thought I heard the words "This bear on the hippo's nose has sequins from Mum Bear for another two rides"?

Answer: Pythagoras of Samos

OK, so the connection between Mathematics and noses is tenuous, but the famous theorem of the Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos does describe the properties of a right-angled triangle (which bears a passing resemblance to a nose): the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.

There is some doubt that Pythagoras actually formulated this theorem as an original piece of mathematics: the use of the principle it describes predates him in both the Indian and Babylonian cultures. It is possible that he may have constructed the first recorded formal mathematical proof of the principle.

The other answers were also mathematicians.

Ancient Greek Euclid was responsible for consolidating the principles of geometry that bewilder the mathematically-challenged among us. One far-fetched theory (mine) is that his work on conic sections was inspired whilst trying to help a local sculptor achieve the best angle on a nose...

Italian Fibonacci (c1170-c1250) was instrumental in introducing the Hindu-Arabic number system into Europe (much easier than doing maths with Roman numerals); the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, named for him, is found in many biological systems, and a Fibonacci spiral resembles the curled trunk (or nose) of an elephant.

Among many notable achievements, Briton Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was partly responsible for unleashing differential calculus upon generations of hitherto carefree students. Some of his writings on other subjects do contain triangles (which, of course, look like noses).
6. Painting: I saw a painting the other day - it was that one with the big-nosed face on sticks, by the chap with the moustache. Which artist's name has slipped my mind?

Answer: Salvador Dali

The Surrealist artist Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech (Salvador Dalí) painted the big-nosed face on sticks, officially titled "El sueño" ("Sleep"), in 1937. In his imagination, he visualised the act of sleeping as a monster supported by the crutches (sticks) of reality.

This charismatic Spaniard's artistic endeavours went beyond painting and included furniture design, jewellery, film, set design, fashion, and performance art. Many of Dalí's works have disturbing, controversial or socially taboo subject matter, but are nevertheless objects of great imagination and fascinating wonder.

One of Dalí's quotes, often found in articles summarising his works, expresses the view of both the artist and many admirers of his art - "...just because I don't know the meaning of my art, does not mean it has no meaning...".

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) was given the epithet "Jack the Dripper" by "Time" magazine in 1956, from his unique style of "action painting". He preferred to use things such as sticks, trowels, knives, and dripping or throwing to apply paint to the canvas. He may even have employed his nose as a painting tool, although this is an unsubstantiated theory.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was the first President of the Royal Academy of Arts, and painted many portraits, mainly in the Grand Style that idealised the subjects. Noses present in his portraits are all beautifully proportioned and not at all given to action or ambiguous interpretation.

Sandro Botticelli (1459-1510) was an artist of the Florentine school, noted for paintings such as "The Birth of Venus". Close examination of the shapes and sizes of his subjects' noses, particularly in portraits, reveals the refreshing tendency to depict reality or near-reality.
7. Philosophy: Which of these nasal-sounding persons, of the Rationalist school of philosophy, was a favourite reading choice of a famous fictional valet?

Answer: Baruch de Spinoza

Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) was a Dutch philosopher whose rationalist works were all prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church of the time, probably because of his contention that God and Nature were the same thing. Spinoza's philosophy is difficult to understand without an understanding of 17th century language and the specific way he used it - and I don't pretend to understand it myself, or to offer any deeper explanation.

Anyone interested in exploring Spinoza's logical approach may follow the example of Reginald Jeeves, P. G. Wodehouse's fictional valet to Bertie Wooster, and read him for themselves.

Nasir al-Din Tusi (1201-1274) was a renowned Middle Eastern scholar who was a contemporary of the Western scholars Thomas Aquinas and Roger Bacon. As well as philosophy, he studied and wrote on many other subjects including astronomy, ethics, history, mathematics, jurisprudence, medicine, theology and poetry. His works included both original writings and consolidation accounts that brought together previous accomplishments in knowledge from other scholars.

The inscription on his grave read, "The helper of religion and people, the Shah of the country of Science - such a son had never before been born." Many of his works still have relevance today.

Robert Nozick (1938-2002) was an American philosopher of the Analytical and Political school or tradition. His writing was noted for its exploratory style: he would raise fascinating philosophical arguments, often incorporating illustrative examples from economics or the sciences, but leave his readers to draw their own conclusions.

Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) was not a philosopher, but the French apothecary and seer commonly known as Nostradamus, whose book "Les Propheties" ("The Prophecies") was first published in 1555. Interest in his predictions continues to the present, and popular culture credits him with the foretelling of many significant world events. The view of the academic world is that mistranslation and misinterpretations of Nostradamus' 16th century French language have made modern versions of his prophecies worthless as an indicator of his supposed powers of prediction.
8. Politics: One of these nose-related electoral districts is not real - which one is it?

Answer: Hooternay-Columbia (Canada)

The Canadian federal electoral district, or riding, of Hooternay-Columbia is a figment of my nose-obsessed imagination ("hooter" being an English colloquialism for "nose"). The real one is Kootenay-Columbia: it is located in the southeastern part of British Columbia and incorporates some breathtaking and wild mountain and lake terrain.

Calgary-Nose Hill is real, too. It is the name of two electoral districts in Alberta: a provincial electoral district for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and a federal electoral district for the Canadian House of Commons. The origin of the district's name reputedly stems from a local hill shaped like the nose of a native chieftain.

The UK Parliamentary constituency of Knowsley South (pronounced "Nose-lee" or "Now-zlee") is in Merseyside in North West England. In 1983 it replaced the former constituency of Huyton (pronounced "High-tun") which had been represented in Parliament by Labour Party leader and former Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Sonora ("snorer") is one of the federal states of Mexico. Located in the northwest of the country on the Gulf of California, it is roughly triangular, echoing the shape of a stylised nose.
9. Science: Prosthetics is the science of artificial replacement body parts. Which one of these people was a famous scientist with a metal nasal prosthesis?

Answer: Tycho Brahe

The Danish mathematician and astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was wounded in a duel in 1566, resulting in the loss of the bridge of his nose. He had a replacement made from metal: most sources agree that it was made from an alloy of gold and silver, but green stains found around the area after his death suggest that the alloy may have included copper. It is possible that he had more than one prosthesis - perhaps an "everyday" copper nose and a precious metal version for special occasions!

Tim Strawn was the name of the fictional hired killer played by Lee Marvin in the 1965 comedy western movie "Cat Ballou"; he had a silver nose held on by ties.

The Tin Woodman is a fictional character from L. Frank Baum's "Oz" stories. He was played by Jack Haley in the classic 1939 movie version of "The Wizard of Oz". His transformation from flesh and blood to living metal was as a result of the Wicked Witch of the East placing an enchantment on his axe, making it chop off his limbs.

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-1680), was an English nobleman of less than impeccable virtue and the author of satirical poetry. Towards the end of his life his nasal faculties were said to be much impaired by disease, but there is no record of his having a prosthetic nose.
10. Sculpture: Which of these monumental sculptures has the greatest number of noses?

Answer: Trajan's Column

The spiral bas-relief sculpture on the exterior of Trajan's Column in Rome commemorates the victory of the Roman Emperor Trajan in the wars against Dacia in the early second century. More than 2,500 human figures are depicted, as well as many animals and severed heads, so the column is the clear winner (by more than a nose!) of this contest for nasal supremacy.

Second place goes to "Departure of the Volunteers of 1792", also known as "La Marseillaise", by French sculptor François Rude. This is found on the eastern face of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and depicts the people of France, urged onwards by the Roman goddess of war, rallying against the enemies of their country. There are at least eleven noses, human and non-human, in the sculpture.

In third place is Mount Rushmore National Memorial, located in South Dakota, USA; it was designed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum and depicts four presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln) representing the first 150 years of non-Native American history. The carving of the massive heads took place between 1927 and 1941.

The Angel of the North, spectacularly placed on a high point in Gateshead in the North East of England, is a massive steel sculpture with a wingspan of 54 metres; it was designed by Antony Gormley and constructed between 1994 and 1998, its starkly contemporary design creating much controversy. Although now generally regarded affectionately as an icon of Northern England, its single nose is barely discernible.

Thank you for sampling my bouquet of noses!
Source: Author Mistigris

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