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Quiz about The Greek Alphabet in Science Technology  Maths
Quiz about The Greek Alphabet in Science Technology  Maths

The Greek Alphabet in Science, Technology & Maths Quiz


This quiz tests your familiarity with letters from the Greek alphabet that have pervaded almost every field of science, technology and mathematics. You should do fine even if Ancient Greek isn't quite your forte...have fun!

A multiple-choice quiz by achernar. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
achernar
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
200,991
Updated
Oct 13 22
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
12 / 15
Plays
12352
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Taltarzac (12/15), Dizart (15/15), Steelflower75 (8/15).
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Question 1 of 15
1. In the lower case, the first letter of the Greek alphabet is used as the symbol for angular acceleration, the co-efficient of linear expansion of solids, as well as to indicate proportionality. The brightest star in a constellation usually has a Bayer designation containing this letter. This letter is also used to denote a form of strongly ionising particle radiation, consisting of helium nuclei. Which Greek letter is being referred to here?

Answer: (One word; the origin of the Roman letter "A")
Question 2 of 15
2. High-energy electrons emitted by certain radioactive nuclei such as potassium-40 are designated with this Greek letter, the second in the alphabet. A version of a software product, which is still in its development stage but is released for testing purposes, is referred to by this letter ... which is it? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. The third in the alphabet, this Greek letter gives its name to a unit of magnetic flux density, the equivalent of 1 nanotesla. In the lower case, it is used to represent a photon (in layman's terms, a "packet" of electromagnetic energy), as well as a high-energy form of electromagnetic radiation. Which Greek letter is this? Hint


Question 4 of 15
4. The fourth in the Greek alphabet, this letter is used to express a change or difference in values, in the upper case. A triangular area of alluvial deposit at the mouth of a river is named after this letter, because its shape resembles this letter in the upper case. Which letter is this? Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. In the lower case, this letter, the fifth in the Greek alphabet, is used as the symbol for a very small quantity in mathematics, as well as the permittivity of a medium in physics. This letter is also used to express set membership in mathematics. Which letter is this? Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. This letter, the eighth in the Greek alphabet, is very commonly used as a symbol for a plane angle in trigonometry and geometry. Which is it? Hint


Question 7 of 15
7. This letter, the 11th in the Greek alphabet, is used to denote the wavelength of a wave in physics. It also lends its name to a phage (a small virus that infects only bacteria) that inhabits the bacterium E. coli. Which letter am I talking about? Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. In number theory, this letter is used to denote the Möbius function, named in honour of the German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius, who introduced it in 1931. This letter is also the symbol used to represent the coefficient of friction between two surfaces, and permeability in electromagnetism. In particle physics, it is used to denote a subatomic particle, the muon. The 12th in the Greek alphabet, which letter is this? Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. In the lower case, this letter, the 13th in the Greek alphabet, is frequently used as a symbol for the frequency of a wave. In particle physics, this letter is used as the symbol for any of three kinds of neutrinos- almost mass-less subatomic particles. Which Greek letter is this? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. This Greek letter, the 16th in the alphabet, is used to denote the smallest positive "x" for which sin(x) = 0. Or, more simply put, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter...

Answer: (One Word; 3.14159...)
Question 11 of 15
11. In physics, this Greek letter is used as the symbol for the density and resistivity of materials. It also lends its name to a protein found in prokaryotes, especially E. coli. The 17th in the alphabet, which letter is this? Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. This letter, the 18th in the Greek alphabet, is commonly used as the symbol of the summation operator in mathematics. In the lower case, this letter represents the famous Stefan-Boltzmann constant of blackbody radiation. Which letter is this? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet is used as a symbol for torque, the rotational "force" in mechanics. This letter is also used to denote the lifetime of a spontaneous emission process (the process by which matter loses energy resulting the creation of a photon). Which letter is this? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. This letter, the 21st of the Greek alphabet, looks like an "o" with a vertical line through its centre. In the lower case, it is the symbol for the famous golden ratio in mathematics, art and architecture. It is used to denote Euler's totient function in number theory. Along with the letter theta, this letter is commonly used to represent a plane angle. Often (albeit mistakenly), it is used to denote the empty set in mathematics. Which Greek letter is this?

Answer: (One word; fee fie foe fum...)
Question 15 of 15
15. The last of the Greek alphabet, this letter lends its name to entire classes of fatty acids. In the upper case, this letter is used to represent the SI unit of electrical resistance, the ohm. In the lower case, this letter denotes the angular velocity of a body. Which Greek letter is this? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In the lower case, the first letter of the Greek alphabet is used as the symbol for angular acceleration, the co-efficient of linear expansion of solids, as well as to indicate proportionality. The brightest star in a constellation usually has a Bayer designation containing this letter. This letter is also used to denote a form of strongly ionising particle radiation, consisting of helium nuclei. Which Greek letter is being referred to here?

Answer: Alpha

Alpha particles have low penetration; they can travel only a few centimetres in air. They are easily absorbed by most materials, including the outer layers of the skin, and so generally pose no harm unless their source is inhaled or ingested (i.e. eaten). IF, however, alpha radiation DOES enter the body, then considerable damage may ensue. Alpha particles are the most strongly ionising form of radiation; if enough of these ionisations occur, significant destruction to living tissue will occur. A person who is exposed to substantial amounts of this radiation may suffer any or all of the symptoms of radiation poisoning, including cancer.

Most smoke-detectors contain small amounts of the radioactive isotope americium-241, which emits alpha particles. Thus, if inhaled or ingested, this isotope is extremely dangerous; nevertheless, if the source is kept sealed, the danger is minimal. However, the advantage of such smoke-detectors is that they can even detect particles of smoke that are too small to be seen.
2. High-energy electrons emitted by certain radioactive nuclei such as potassium-40 are designated with this Greek letter, the second in the alphabet. A version of a software product, which is still in its development stage but is released for testing purposes, is referred to by this letter ... which is it?

Answer: Beta

While beta particles can travel ten times farther in air than alpha particles, they ionise a tenth less than alpha particles do.

The ubiquitous beetroots (also called beets, table beets, garden beets, blood turnips or red beets), of the family Amaranthaceae, belong to the genus "Beta"- which, please note, has nothing to do with the Greek letter!

By the way, the word "alphabet" comes from alpha and beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet.
3. The third in the alphabet, this Greek letter gives its name to a unit of magnetic flux density, the equivalent of 1 nanotesla. In the lower case, it is used to represent a photon (in layman's terms, a "packet" of electromagnetic energy), as well as a high-energy form of electromagnetic radiation. Which Greek letter is this?

Answer: Gamma

Shielding from gamma rays requires large amounts of matter; the efficacy of the shield increases with density and atomic number of the constituent element. Also, the higher the energy of the gamma rays, the thicker the shielding required. Thus, 1 cm (0.4 inches) of lead (an extremely dense material) is as effective as 6 cm (2.4 inches) of concrete and 9 cm (3.6 inches) of packed dirt, when it comes to reducing the intensity of gamma rays.

In the event of a nuclear war, the gamma rays from the fallout would probably cause the largest number of casualties. An effective nuclear fallout shelter would reduce human exposure to gamma rays at least 1000 times.
4. The fourth in the Greek alphabet, this letter is used to express a change or difference in values, in the upper case. A triangular area of alluvial deposit at the mouth of a river is named after this letter, because its shape resembles this letter in the upper case. Which letter is this?

Answer: Delta

The upper-case letter delta is shaped like an equilateral triangle, and thus lends its name to river mouths that build outwards, such as the Nile river delta in Egypt, that are triangular in shape.

As a river approaches the sea, its velocity is reduced, causing it to deposit its load of gravel, sand, silt and clay. As layers upon layers of alluvial materials are built up, a platform of alluvium is created, which eventually rises above the water-surface and is termed the "delta". The vegetation that grows on the alluvium stabilises the delta.
5. In the lower case, this letter, the fifth in the Greek alphabet, is used as the symbol for a very small quantity in mathematics, as well as the permittivity of a medium in physics. This letter is also used to express set membership in mathematics. Which letter is this?

Answer: Epsilon

A set is simply a collection of objects; for example, the set of integers greater than 7 would include the numbers 8, 9 and 10, besides others. To express set membership, the symbol epsilon is used. For example, to indicate that 27.983 is an element of the set of real numbers "R", you write "27.983 (epsilon) R".

The roman "E" arose from the Greek epsilon.
6. This letter, the eighth in the Greek alphabet, is very commonly used as a symbol for a plane angle in trigonometry and geometry. Which is it?

Answer: Theta

The letter theta, shaped like a "0" with a horizontal line through its centre, is very frequently encountered while doing maths, especially when it comes to trigonometry. Another Greek letter that is commonly used to denote angles is phi, the 21st in the alphabet.
7. This letter, the 11th in the Greek alphabet, is used to denote the wavelength of a wave in physics. It also lends its name to a phage (a small virus that infects only bacteria) that inhabits the bacterium E. coli. Which letter am I talking about?

Answer: Lambda

Once inside the E. coli bacterium, the enterobacteria phage lambda (lambda phage) may integrate itself in its host's DNA (talk about making oneself at home!). In such a state, lambda is called a "prophage" and stays in the host's genome without causing it much harm. Thus, the prophage gets duplicated with every cell division of the E. coli.

The DNA of this prophage codes for proteins that look for signs of stress, such as those that might result from starvation or the action of poisons such as antibiotics. At this point, the lambda phage gets re-activated, takes apart it host's DNA and re-programs its "protein factories" to produce multiple copies of new phages. When all the resources that are required for the production of new phages are depleted, the cell is lysed, i.e. the cell-wall is broken down, and the new phages are released into the external environment.
8. In number theory, this letter is used to denote the Möbius function, named in honour of the German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius, who introduced it in 1931. This letter is also the symbol used to represent the coefficient of friction between two surfaces, and permeability in electromagnetism. In particle physics, it is used to denote a subatomic particle, the muon. The 12th in the Greek alphabet, which letter is this?

Answer: Mu

The letter mu is also used to represent the SI prefix "micro-", which indicates one-millionth of a quantity. Thus, one-millionth of an second (the SI unit of time) can be simply called a microsecond. A micrometre, or one-millionth of a metre, was once referred to by the term "micron", denoted by just the letter mu; this term, however, is now considered obsolete and its use is discouraged.
9. In the lower case, this letter, the 13th in the Greek alphabet, is frequently used as a symbol for the frequency of a wave. In particle physics, this letter is used as the symbol for any of three kinds of neutrinos- almost mass-less subatomic particles. Which Greek letter is this?

Answer: Nu

Most (99%) of the energy released in supernova explosions is radiated away in the form of an enormous burst of neutrinos. These neutrinos are produced when protons and electrons in the core of the star combine to form neutrons at the time of the supernova explosion.

On February 23, 1987, a supernova was observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud (Nubecula Major), a dwarf galaxy that orbits the Milky Way. Approximately 3 hours before visible light from the supernova reached the Earth, at 7:35 AM Universal Time, three separate neutrino observatories recorded a sudden burst of neutrinos. One of the three recorded 13, another 8 and the third 5, all within a span of 13 seconds; thus the total number recorded was 24, which is EXTREMELY high, considering how difficult neutrinos are to detect.
10. This Greek letter, the 16th in the alphabet, is used to denote the smallest positive "x" for which sin(x) = 0. Or, more simply put, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter...

Answer: Pi

March 14 (3/14) is celebrated as "Pi Day" in the US, while July 22 (22/7: a popular approximation of pi) marks "Pi Approximation Day"- I know, some people have way too much time on their hands! Besides this, people sometimes talk of "pi o'clock"; 3:14:15 (15 seconds past fourteen minutes past three o'clock) is just slightly before the true "pi o'clock".

As of 2003, Yasumasa Kanada and his team are credited with holding the world record for calculating the maximum digits of pi: more than 1,241,100,000,000 decimal places!
11. In physics, this Greek letter is used as the symbol for the density and resistivity of materials. It also lends its name to a protein found in prokaryotes, especially E. coli. The 17th in the alphabet, which letter is this?

Answer: Rho

The densest naturally occurring substance on Earth is the element Iridium, which has a density of 22.650 grams per cubic centimetre. The highest density known to be reached in the universe is in the core of neutron stars, formed as a result of certain supernovae (when the exploding star is less than 3 solar masses): one teaspoonful weighs around a billion tonnes!

The world's lightest solid- aerogel- is a stiff foam composed of 99.8% air. Aerogel holds 15 records in the "Guinness Book of World Records", including best insulator and lowest-density solid. Aerogel can support 2000 times its own weight without succumbing to pressure and collapsing.
12. This letter, the 18th in the Greek alphabet, is commonly used as the symbol of the summation operator in mathematics. In the lower case, this letter represents the famous Stefan-Boltzmann constant of blackbody radiation. Which letter is this?

Answer: Sigma

The lower-case letter sigma is also used to denote the standard deviation of a set of data. For example, the sets {7, 9 ,8, 12} and {15, 13, 7, 1} both have the same mean (9), but the first set has a much smaller standard deviation than the second set. Mathematically, the standard deviation of a set of values is the square root of the sum of the squares of the individual deviations from the mean.
13. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet is used as a symbol for torque, the rotational "force" in mechanics. This letter is also used to denote the lifetime of a spontaneous emission process (the process by which matter loses energy resulting the creation of a photon). Which letter is this?

Answer: Tau

In the lower case, the letter tau is also sometimes used as a symbol for the golden ratio (usually denoted by phi).
14. This letter, the 21st of the Greek alphabet, looks like an "o" with a vertical line through its centre. In the lower case, it is the symbol for the famous golden ratio in mathematics, art and architecture. It is used to denote Euler's totient function in number theory. Along with the letter theta, this letter is commonly used to represent a plane angle. Often (albeit mistakenly), it is used to denote the empty set in mathematics. Which Greek letter is this?

Answer: Phi

Two quantities are said to be in the golden ratio, phi, if "the whole is to the larger as the larger is to the smaller". The value of phi is approximately 1.618, which is equal to half of the sum of the square root of 5 and 2, i.e. phi = [sqrt(5) + 1]/2. Shapes defined by the golden ratio are supposed to be aesthetically pleasing, though this is somewhat controversial. This ratio is frequently used in art and design.


The name "golden ratio" is believed to have first been used by Leonardo da Vinci, who called it "sectio auria", meaning "golden section". The American mathematician Mark Barr was the first to use the symbol "phi" to represent the golden ratio, from the first three letters of the name of the Greek sculptor Phidias', who is believed to have employed the golden ratio in his designs.

The golden ratio, phi, possesses some unique properties:
phi^2 = phi + 1
phi^3 = (phi + 1)/(phi - 1)
1/phi = phi - 1

(The letter "phi" may be pronounced like either "fee" or "fie".)
15. The last of the Greek alphabet, this letter lends its name to entire classes of fatty acids. In the upper case, this letter is used to represent the SI unit of electrical resistance, the ohm. In the lower case, this letter denotes the angular velocity of a body. Which Greek letter is this?

Answer: Omega

Omega has been traditionally used to denote the end of something, as opposed to alpha, which denotes beginnings. For example, the following line appears in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible:
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13)

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I hope you enjoyed playing this quiz, and that it wasn't, as Servilius Casca put it (Julius Caesar; Act I, Scene 2), "Greek" to you.
Source: Author achernar

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor crisw before going online.
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