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Quiz about Great British Discoveries
Quiz about Great British Discoveries

Great British Discoveries Trivia Quiz


This quiz features 10 questions on major scientific discoveries and inventions either made in the UK or by British scientists working elsewhere.

A multiple-choice quiz by HCR1. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
HCR1
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
362,851
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
2449
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 103 (5/10), ankitankurddit (5/10), Snowman (9/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. While working at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA took what form? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. What was the title of the 1859 work by Charles Darwin in which he set out his theory of evolution by natural selection? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Which of the following medical advances is Sir Alexander Fleming known for which greatly reduced the severity of many diseases including those caused by staphylococci and streptococci bacteria? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Which unit of temperature is named after the British scientist who discovered the value of absolute zero, the coldest temperature possible? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Sir Tim Berners-Lee is a British scientist who invented what when he made a hypertext transfer protocol communication using the internet? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Which scientist is known for his 'law of universal gravitation' and his three 'laws of motion'? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. James Watt is often called the inventor of the steam engine. However his engine was actually an improved version of the 'atmospheric engine' invented in 1712 by which British inventor? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. While working at the University of Manchester Ernest Rutherford conducted the 'gold foil experiment' which led to him forming a new theory relating to what? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Edward Jenner created the first vaccine in 1796 after noticing that milkmaids who had caught the less virulent cowpox were granted immunity from which, far more serious, disease? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. John Harrison invented the marine chronometer, a very accurate clock for use on ships at sea. What did this invention enable sailors to accurately measure for the first time? Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. While working at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA took what form?

Answer: Double helix

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule which contains genetic information and is present in all living organisms. Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double helix structure of the DNA molecule on February 28 1953 after studying experimental data collected by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins.

In 1962 Crick, Watson and Wilkins were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their work in discovering the structure of DNA.
2. What was the title of the 1859 work by Charles Darwin in which he set out his theory of evolution by natural selection?

Answer: On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin was a British naturalist who lived between 1802 and 1882. He is known for his theory of evolution by means of natural selection which he first published in the work 'On the Origin of Species' in 1859. Much of the evidence for his theory came from his studies on the Galapagos Islands which he visited while working on the British survey ship HMS Beagle.
3. Which of the following medical advances is Sir Alexander Fleming known for which greatly reduced the severity of many diseases including those caused by staphylococci and streptococci bacteria?

Answer: Discovery of penicillin

Sir Alexander Fleming made his discovery in 1928. His discovery of the antibiotic properties of the mold Penicillium rubens, led to the development of a family of antibiotics known as penicillins. This proved to be a great leap forward in the treatment of various serious diseases resulting in a lot of diseases becoming far less serious illnesses than they had once been. Overuse in recent years has unfortunately reduced the effectiveness of the drug.
4. Which unit of temperature is named after the British scientist who discovered the value of absolute zero, the coldest temperature possible?

Answer: Kelvin

Lord Kelvin was born William Thomson in Belfast in 1824. In 1848 he determined absolute zero, the coldest temperature physically possible, as being −273.15 degrees Celsius. He was made a Lord in 1892 in honour of his scientific discoveries in the field of thermodynamics, becoming Baron Kelvin, of Largs in the County of Ayr, and thus is commonly referred to as Lord Kelvin.

The unit of temperature the 'Kelvin' was named after him with zero degrees Kelvin being absolute zero.
5. Sir Tim Berners-Lee is a British scientist who invented what when he made a hypertext transfer protocol communication using the internet?

Answer: The World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN in 1989. In 2004 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his work on the World Wide Web; he was also honoured in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
6. Which scientist is known for his 'law of universal gravitation' and his three 'laws of motion'?

Answer: Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton laid out these laws in his 'Philosophić Naturalis Principia Mathematica' (which translates as 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy') and is often referred to simply as the 'Principia'. It was published in Latin, in three volumes in 1687.

The 'Principia' is regarded as one of the most important scientific texts as it includes the 'law of universal gravitation' and the 'laws of motion' both of which had a major impact on the way scientists understood the physical universe.
7. James Watt is often called the inventor of the steam engine. However his engine was actually an improved version of the 'atmospheric engine' invented in 1712 by which British inventor?

Answer: Thomas Newcomen

Thomas Newcomen lived between 1664 and 1729. In 1712 he invented his 'atmospheric engine' which was the first device to use steam power to operate a mechanism. Newcomen's engines were mainly used for pumping water out of mines. Watt realised that Newcomen's engine could be improved after realising it was very inefficient while fixing one. Watt's improved steam engine was crucial to the industrial revolution and as such he is often, wrongly, regarded as its original inventor.
8. While working at the University of Manchester Ernest Rutherford conducted the 'gold foil experiment' which led to him forming a new theory relating to what?

Answer: The structure of atoms

Ernest Rutherford conducted his 'gold foil experiment' (also called the 'Geiger-Marsden experiment') in 1909, and the results of this experiment led Rutherford to suggest a new model for the structure of atoms. Previously the structure of atoms had been believed to follow the 'plum pudding model' in which negatively charged electrons (the plums) were held in a positively charged soup (the pudding); however, Rutherford found that the results of his experiment did not correspond to the 'plum pudding model'.

After studying the results of his experiment Rutherford proposed the 'planetary' or 'Rutherford' model of the atom where the negatively charged electrons orbit a positively charged nucleus.
9. Edward Jenner created the first vaccine in 1796 after noticing that milkmaids who had caught the less virulent cowpox were granted immunity from which, far more serious, disease?

Answer: Smallpox

Edward Jenner got the idea for his vaccine after realising that milkmaids who had caught the much less serious disease of cowpox were immune to smallpox. In order to test his theory of immunity Jenner injected an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, with pus from cowpox blisters. Later Jenner injected Phipps with smallpox which produced no sign of infection. Jenner's work paved the way for further vaccines to be developed and led to smallpox being declared an eradicated disease in 1979.
10. John Harrison invented the marine chronometer, a very accurate clock for use on ships at sea. What did this invention enable sailors to accurately measure for the first time?

Answer: Longitude

John Harrison invented his marine chronometer in the 18th century. Prior to its invention sailors had used the lunar distance method to calculate longitude but this was very inaccurate, especially from the moving deck of a ship where it was even harder to get accurate bearings of the angles of celestial objects which was used to determine the time.

The standard pendulum clocks of the time could not be used at sea because the motion of the ship greatly affected the mechanism. Harrison solved this problem by inventing a clock which relied on an oscillating mechanism which was unaffected by the movement of the ship and enabled sailors to calculate their longitude much more accurately.
Source: Author HCR1

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