QUIZ: Elementary, my dear!

Find out which team were our Big Brains of the Week!
09 October 2018

Interview with 

Bianca Jupp, David Rothery, Jess Wade, Jacob Dunn,




Chris - Now, it’s time for a little quiz. We’re going to divide our panel members into two teams. We’ll have David and Bianca, and we’ll have Jess and Jacob - the two Js.

And round one is ELEMENTARY MY DEAR.

David and Bianca, you may confer, your question -

Q: Which chemical element shares its name with half a Belgian reporter and something you would put food into?

David - A Belgian reporter!

Bianca - I don’t listen to Belgian radio.

David - The only Belgian I can name is Hercule Poirot and he’s fictional. Something that you put food in?

Bianca - Let’s think about bowl, plate! I’ve no idea.

David - Most of the elements are named after towns in Sweden. I think we’re beaten aren’t we?

Chris - Tupperwariam.

Bianca - No!

Chris - No, it’s not that. I’m just kidding. But I’m going to have to hurry you. Do you want to guess?

David - Boron.

Chris - No, I’m afraid it’s not.

A: TIN - Of course it is the metal Tin, the Belgian reporter being tin tin.

Chris - We did say half of Belgian reporter. They scored the premium score of zero for that. Jess and Jacob... 

Q: Which element is also a place in Kentucky, it’s also the notional home planet of superman?

Jess - Where’s superman from? Oh my gosh, we should know this.

Chris - There’s only 120 elements on the periodic table you can pick so….

Jess - And you know it. This is not fair.

Chris - These guys over here are crowing because they know the answer to this one.

Jacob - I know where Batman’s from, does that help? Gotham City.

Jess - Okay. No, that doesn’t help. I don’t know.

Chris - Are you going to guess?

Chris - Wrong. David, put them out of their misery.

David - On Earth he lived in Smallville but he came from Krypton.

Jess - I thought it might be Krypton but I didn’t want to say something stupid.

A: KRYPTON, the noble gas which is often used in fluorescent lamps.

This round is the elephant in the room - you have to guess the species…

Chris - David and Bianca -

Q: Elephants are unfortunately hunted and killed for their ivory tusks –but it’s not just elephants that have ivory - can you name one other species!

David - Narwhal.

Bianca - Narwhal.

David - Yeah. We both yeah… we say…

Bianca - Narwhal.

Chris - Bing bong. Yes. The Narwhal’s one of them. You could have had any of these whales; walrus, hippopotamus, sperm whale, killer whale, narwhal, wart hog

Chris - And mammoths. Flourishing trade in mammoth ivory.

David - And they’re not an endangered species anymore.

Chris - No. But they have come off less well from the process of evolution though. They’re not around anymore. Wart hog’s also have ivory.

So that’s plus one to you. Well done. David and Bianca into the lead.

Jess and Jacob... 

Q: Humans go through menopause, and we’re one of only 5 species to do this. Name one of the other four.

Jess - Yes. Jacob can.

Jacob - Killer whales and a few other different kinds of whales too.

Chris - Ah, you’re absolutely on fire. It is whales.

A: Whales - short-finned pilot whale / killer whale / beluga / narwhal

David - Do whales have hot flushes?

Chris - You wouldn’t know because they live in cold water.

But it’s interesting that none of our closest primate relatives like chimps - everyone thinks chimpanzees, that kind of thing they think they do but they don’t have a menopause.

Good right. So that’s one each so you’re level pegging.

And the last round  - is called watch this space.

Chris - David and Bianca - 

Q: Betelgeuse is one of our galaxies largest stars - you can see it at night it’s the brightest star in Orion for any would be astronomers out there. What would happen if it tried to use our asteroid belt as a belt for Betelgeuse?

A -  Would its trousers fall down
B -  Would it be a perfect fit
C -   Would it be an impossible squeeze

What do you think?

David - Betelgeuse is a red giant. It’s going to be somewhere near the asteroid belt. I suspect beyond the asteroid belt.

Chris - Are you going for the perfect fit or the impossible squeeze?

David - The impossible. Betelgeuse would stretch further than the asteroid belt.

Chris - It absolutely is.

C - Betelgeuse is enormous - it has a radius of 820 million km. The asteroid belt only is about 3-400 million km out from our sun, so would be an extremely tight fit for betelgeuse. The kuiper belt however, which is where pluto lives, would leave plenty of room.

Chris - so plus one for that. Jess and Jacob

Q: Which of the following types of planet has never been discovered?

Chris - And David knows the answer to this. You’re not allowed to cheat David.

A – a planet shaped like an egg
B -  a planet which orbits a star which orbits a star.
C – a planet which rains diamonds

Chris - What do you think it is?

Jess - Oh man!

Jacob - I mean is the last one just so ridiculous that it’s just a red herring?

Jess - I mean there not going to be massive beautiful diamonds that you’d wear on a ring but you could get some kind of carbon structure that rained from something. I have no idea. I don’t study planets.

Jacob - Send a mission there and just bring back a load of diamonds.

Jess - It would be a wonderful thing. It might take more than seven years.

Chris - What are you going for? The egg, the orbit of a star around a star, or a planet which rains diamonds

Jacob - Egg?

Jess - Okay. Let’s go with egg.

Chris - You’re going for egg.

Jess one as well. Ah no, we’re into tie-breaker time.

A: The answer is A! A planet shaped like an egg hasn’t been discovered, but diamonds are thought to rain down on Jupiter and Saturn, and plenty of binary star systems have planets. One was even announced in a TRINARY system - aka a star orbiting a star orbiting a star, but its existence hasn’t been confirmed. 


If one of you drank all of the alcohol that’s consumed in one day in the UK , and assuming you didn’t die and it does take you one hour to process one unit of alcohol, how many years before you were sober?

Jess - How many units to people drink a day? 

Bianca - How many people in the UK and how many units on average do you think people…

David - There’s 60 million and let’s say 20 million of those...

Jess - I’ve just heard that there are 60 million people in the UK...

David - So 20 million hours?

Bianca - What’s that in years?

Chris - Have we got an answer. Let’s come to Jess and Jacob first. What do you think the answer is? We’ll take it to the nearest in years. What do you think the answer is?

Jess - Two and a half thousand years.

Chris - They’re going two and a half thousand years. David and Bianca, what do you think?

David - We’re going higher.

Bianca - Yeah.

David - About eight thousand years.

Chris - Actually the answer is:

It would take around 13,000 years to process - it’s estimated in the UK we drink about 110 million units a day.

Chris - So this weeks winners, big round of applause, David and Bianca are the naked scientists big brains of the week.


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