So, I was very pleased to recently find out that one of my favorite science fiction writers, Isaac Asimov, lent his name to a series called Isaac Asimov's Super Quiz, published in many newspapers by the King Features Syndicate. Each quiz has a different subject.
Today's subject is: SCIENCE ... (answers will be at the end of this post)
1. What is the term for a period of 1,000 years?
2. There are 1,760 _______ in a _________.
3. From what raw material is aluminum obtained?
4. The sugar found in honey and fruit is called ________.
5. What is controlled by a rheostat? ______________ .
6. What element has the atomic number 1? _________.
7. "In Vivo" means in the living body,
and "in vitro" means __________.
8. Translate "compos mentis": __________________.
9. What is the common name for diamorphine? _______.
Scoring is as follows: 1 point for each correct answer at the "Freshman Level", 2 points at the "Graduate Level", and 3 points at the "PhD Level". (remember answers are at the end of post)
I first became acquainted with Mr. Asimov's work during the summer after 9th grade (same summer that found me anxiously awaiting the arrival of the boob fairy). Summer vacations always included a lot of reading for me. In hunting around the city library for something different, I ended up in the science fiction section. So it was there that I found & devoured The Foundation Trilogy (which deals with the fall of the Galactic Empire in a more thought-provoking way than Star Wars), followed by the "I, Robot" series (featuring the famous 3 laws of robotics & eventually made into a movie starring Will Smith), and "Nightfall" ... thus beginning my life-long love of sci-fi.
Originally written in 1941, "Nightfall" was later expanded into a fuller novel & re-released. The story revolves around a planet bathed in the perpetual sunlight of its six suns ... except once every 2,049 yrs when all six suns are eclipsed, plunging the planet into total darkness. Stars appear for the first time, causing widespread madness & complete destruction of civilization, knocking any survivors back to the stone age. As the story unfolds, an archeologist finds evidence of multiple cyclical collapses of prior civilizations ... and a group of religious fanatics (called The Apostles of Flame) prophesize an impending disaster when a torrent of fire will rain down from the sky. People start having mental breakdows & massive civil riots even before the prophesized event. The novel has many underlying messages about fear & how we deal with it.
Isaac Asimov has an interesting life story which you can read about here. He was an atheist humanist who called himself a feminist & believed that homosexuality must be considered a "moral right". He authored about 500 books before his death in 1992. His final book, "Our Angry Earth" (1991) deals with environmental crises such as global warming. Here are some of my favorite Asimov quotes:
"Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night." ....."I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more; for whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse." ....."Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right."....."It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety." ....."Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." ....."Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do."..... "To insult someone, we call him 'bestial', but for deliberate cruelty, 'human' might be the greater insult."..... "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
OK, here are the answers to the Asimov Science Quiz: 1. Millennium; 2. Yards, Mile; 3. Bauxite; 4. Fructose; 5. Electrical current; 6. Hydrogen; 7. In the test tube; 8. Having control of one's mind; 9. Heroin.
Score Results: 18 points=congratulations, doctor; 15-17 points=honors graduate; 10-14 points=you're plenty smart, but no grind; 4-9 points=you really should hit the books harder; 1-3 points=enroll in remedial courses immediately; 0 points=who read the questions to you?
My results: I'm "plenty smart" !?! but maybe not, since I had to award myself full points for answering #8 with "sane". I completely fluffed #3 (tin was all that came to mind & I don't even know if it's "raw") and #9 (I winged that with "daily change", boy was I off). Deceptively simple! If you take the science quiz, tell me how you did & what questions messed you up.
Were you affected by an author an early age? What genre?