Mangoes and Moonrocks: It's Quiz Time!

How do the panel fare with our quiz questions?
09 April 2019


close up of a mango


It's time to put our panel to the test! It's space doctor Christina Mackaill and geologist John Underhill, versus chemist Lee Cronin and psychiatrist Stephen Lawrie...

Chris - Okay so here we go. Christina And John what does the moon smell like? I'll give you three choices.

Christina - I know the answer.

Chris - Oh you know the answer? Do you want to try it? Go on then.

Christina - It’ll be embarrassing if I get it wrong.

Chris - What were you gonna say?

Christina - Gunpowder?

Chris - I had raw eggs, gunpowder, and cheese so I think that's a bing for you guys.

Chris - Plus one to John and Christina off to a flying start, right question two. This is for Lee and Stephen; Which fruit can give you contact dermatitis; pomegranates watermelons or mangoes.

Stephen - Well I think it would be a wild guess for me I'm afraid.

Lee - I would go with pomegranates.

Stephen Yeah, let's go with pomegranates.

Chris - I'm afraid it's not. The mango. The skin of a mango has got chemicals which are very similar to a urushiol I'm told, which is the same chemical in poison ivy that our American listeners are going to be very familiar with poison ivy causes the contact dermatitis that’s photo activated in the skin. So that's “nil points” for you I'm afraid on that one.

Stephen - I learned something at least!

Chris -  Team one are in the lead at the moment with one point. Round two. There's plenty of opportunity to redeem yourselves, you two. Round two is called; It's what's inside that counts. Okay so Christina and John question is carrots help you see in the dark? Is this science fact or science fiction?

Christina - I think it's a trick question

John - Because of the war. They wanted people to eat carrots.

ChristinaSo I think it's true but I think it's a trick question. Should we say true?

John - I was going to say fiction because I thought it was during the war.

Christina - I answered the last one so let's go with yours. Yeah. Yeah. Because that's what I'm saying. I think it's a trick question.

John - So I think it's a fiction because there are lots of carrots around. People were trying to encourage people to eat them. They've said you'd be able to see in the dark but in fact I don't think the carotene gives that property.

Chris - So is it right or is it wrong.


Chris - The answer is a false, vitamin A, is good for your vision in general but it does nothing for night vision actually. You're quite right about the war connection. It was a myth promulgated during the war. Actually they wanted to argue that the reason our fighter pilots were so good has nothing to with radar which is the reason they could see so far. They said they ate lots of carrots so they could see in the dark and see very well, well done. Two points so far to team one. Lee and Stephen, humans are the only primates with chins. Is this science fact or science fiction?

Stephen - That doesn't sound true. I think there must be loads of primates with chins.

Lee - Yeah I would go with that

Stephen - So that sounds false.

Chris - They're saying false they got the marks?


Chris - I'm afraid it's not looking good for you two. It's not true. No, humans are the only primates, possibly the only animals with a chin. A chin’s more than just the bottom bit your face is also the bit where a skull protrudes out before it comes back into your lips. Now all other primates actually have jaws that sweep away from the lips. Quite funny because our early human ancestors did not have chins. And I did an interview with a gentleman who was working in Norfolk because there were some early human ancestors that would come up and have holidays in Norfolk, because Norfolk used to enjoy a Mediterranean type type climate some 750000 years ago. And this guy described these people as quite small, small brains. Obviously they'd come for the warm weather and they had no chin. And when this was broadcast in Australia the presenter there said see the British aristocracy obviously goes back a lot further than we used to think.

Lee - Now Chris I come from Suffolk and I could make some comments about people in Norfolk but I won't.

Chris - Should we do round 3 anyways? Tech yes or tech no. Does this technology actually exist? Is the question we're asking, Christina and John question for you. A toaster that prints your face on the bread you put into it. Tech yes or tech no?

Christina - How would that be possible? What do you think?

John - I have no idea

Christina - Should we say yes because we said no last time?

John - I think it’s so outlandish that we should go for it.

Christina - Yeah it's too bizarre to not be true.

Chris - So is it tech yes or tech no they're going tech yes.


Chris - Yes. There's a company and they’re called Burnt Impressions and they will make a custom stencil for you so you can toast your face on slices of bread that you have at home.

John - Is that our prize?

Lee - I know the file format they have for that so I could have answered that.

Chris - So Lee is feeling hard done by, see if you can improve on this one then Lee. A belt that releases air bags when you fall over is that a tech yes or a tech no? a belt that if the unfortunate occasion you fall over rescues you with an airbag.

Lee - It’s ludicrous, let’s go yes.

Chris - Is it tech yes, they’re saying tech yes! Yes you actually scored a point!

Yes it is a tech yes. Hip-air make a wearable belt it detects when a person is falling over and deploys two airbags on each hip. The idea actually it's mainly for older people because of course falls are a serious issue for them and hip fractures cause enormous numbers of ill health and actually mortality especially in wintertime in older people so that's very important.

So you did get a point eventually that's absolutely brilliant but unfortunately you didn't win. So our winners this week for the Naked Scientist Big Brains of the Week is John and Christina. Very well done.

Christina - Thank you.

Chris - Give yourself a big round of applause and I think Lee as the loser, you and Stephen should give them an applause as well.


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