Quiz: summer time

08 August 2017

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Quiz: summer time

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Let's see which of our panel can win the infamous 'Naked Scientists Big Brain of the Week' award...

Chris - As promised we have a little quiz for our panel and for you at home… We need to divide you up into two teams so we’re going to have Olivia and Peter together and we’ll have Sarah and Simon.

This week, our quiz theme is the summer! Or at least what we refer to as the summer here in the UK…

Sarah and Simon are up first...

Q1 - Death Valley in California. What is officially the hottest place on earth and how hot is it?

Sarah - Is it the surface of the Earth we’re talking?

Simon - When we say on Earth.

Chris - If I had a thermometer and I put it down outside.

Simon - So not in volcano then?

Chris - No. Couldn’t get away with a volcano.

Sarah - I think we were both thinking the same thing there to outsmart Chris.

Simon - Obviously the thermometer would melt in a volcano.

Chris - I like the way you’re thinking though but what do you reckon? So the hottest place on Earth and how hot? I gave you a clue of the location.

Simon - A desert would be obvious.

Sarah - Yes, you would think a desert. How hot?

Chris - The clue was in the name - I said Death Valley. How hot do you think it was?

Simon  - 60 or 70.

Sarah - I would have said 65, something like that.

Simon - Yeah. We’ll split the difference we’ll go with 65 degrees C.

Chris - The hottest temperature reach 50 degrees celsius and the record was set in 1913 at 56.7 degrees.

Q2: When it’s hot, there’s nothing quite like an ice cream; but which country on earth consumes the most?

Olivia - It’s got be be somewhere hot.

Peter - It’s got to be the States, I would imagine. Don’t you think?

Olivia - The States? We can go with that. I love ice cream and I’m from Canada.

Chris - But with respect, there’s one of you Olivia so.

Olivia - Yes.

Chris - You’re not going to eat more than the whole…

Peter - This is not per capita then? Is this per capita?

Chris - This is taking the country that’s got the biggest appetite as in en mass.

Peter - I would imagine that had to be America.

Olivia - I suppose if you go by the waistline I should not be saying that.

Peter - If you go in an American supermarket it’s ice cream.

Olivia - Alright. That’s why I love American supermarkets. Let’s go with that.

Peter - The United States of America.

Chris - China - they stole the ice cream crown from the US in 2014, consuming a massive 5.9 million litres of ice cream per year. In the Uk we eat much less, only 0.35 million litres in 2014.

Q3: After finishing your ice cream, why not go for a swim (waiting 30 minutes of course)... And with that in mind I want to know what is the average temperature of the sea around the UK coast in summer?

Simon - Well, we’ve got the current that warms us up coming across the Atlantic, so that’s side’s warm. Then we’ve got the North Sea coming down. So the average around the whole coast of the UK?

Chris - In summer.

Sarah - It always feels like -40 whenever I go swimming.

Simon - But then we go skating.

Sarah - Maybe the teens.

Chris - Going to have to hurry you.

Simon - Let’s go 12.

Sarah - 12.

Chris - Not bad...

15-20 degrees. The North Sea - and in particular North of Scotland - is much cooler at an average of 10 degrees in summer, compared to the English Channel where temperatures can reach up to 20 degrees.

Q4: From wet to dry - what is the driest place on Earth?

Peter - I think it may be some patch of dry rock in Antarctica.

Olivia - We can go with that.

Peter - That’s just a guess, but I think there’s some very, very dry bits of Antarctica.

Olivia - I was thinking, I don’t know why, for some reason. Maybe because I just loved it there but I was going to say some place in Morocco, but we can go with Antarctica. I like your answer better.

Chris -  McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica - they haven’t seen rainfall in over 14 million years… They are surrounded by extremely high mountains which even block the flow of ice.

Q5: Speaking of a lack of rainfall, how much of the earth is covered in desert?

Simon - That’s going to be a very small percentage.

Sarah - It depends whether we count Antarctica as a desert, or that small part of Antarctica.

Simon - It’s only 33% so about 3 or 4 %?

Sarah - I’d go 4%.

Simon - Let’s go 4%.

Chris - Approximately 10%. 71% of the earth is ocean, and of the remaining 29% around ⅓ is desert. That may seem high, but the definition of a desert is anywhere that has a moisture deficit over a year - so more evaporation than rainfall.

Q6: Sticking with sand, what is the world record for the tallest sandcastle ever built?

Olivia - You mean in metres?

Chris - Yeah. You can give me metres. I suppose I could quickly try and do a conversion but yeah, metres would be good. And decimal points as well please to keep Simon happy.

Olivia - The bigger the better.

Chris - I need a height - roughly.

Peter - Oh, 50 feet.

Olivia - Okay, we’ll go with that.

Chris - Can we have that in metres. It’s a metric programme.

Peter - I’m not sure we can.

Olivia - We can ask the statistician to do the quick mental conversion.

Simon - That 100 metres.

Chris - That’s quite tall. That’s quite high.

Peter - 50 feet is not 100 metres.

Simon - I didn’t say I’d give the right answer.

Chris - They’re trying to throw you off - don’t listen to him. Just give me an answer in metres.

Peter - 15 metres, 20 metres. Between 15 and 20 metres.

Chris - 14.84 metres. It was constructed on February 10th, 2017 this year on a beach in India. It took 9 days to build and had a circumference of 160m at the base.

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