A Short History of Nearly Everything Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

Bill Bryson
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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Today, scientists know that radiation in high doses is:
(a) Toxic.
(b) Tolerable.
(c) Healthy.
(d) Safe.

2. Astronomer Edmond Halley approached mathematician Sir Isaac Newton to get his help figuring out why planets:
(a) Orbit the sun in ellipses.
(b) Are round.
(c) Spin on their axes.
(d) Vary in size.

3. The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico is thought to be the site of what?
(a) Asteroid impact that brought on the extinction of dinosaurs.
(b) Landfall of the largest hurricane in the past thousand years.
(c) First legitimate UFO landing.
(d) Most advanced ancient telescope ever developed.

4. Richard Owen coined the term paleontology as the study of prehistoric life forms and called the giant animals dinosaurian, meaning:
(a) Terrible lizard.
(b) Enormous creature.
(c) Large reptile.
(d) Ancient animal.

5. When French physicist Henri Becquerel accidentally left a packet of uranium salts on a photographic plate, what happened?
(a) The salt crystals melted into the plate.
(b) The plate became magnetic.
(c) The plate rusted.
(d) An emission from the salts ruined the plate.

6. In 1875, why was Max Planck advised against studying physics and urged to study math instead?
(a) Planek knew high-level math but only very basic physics.
(b) A career in math offered greater financial opportunities for him.
(c) It was believed that all the important physics discoveries had already been made.
(d) The government often arrested those who delved in certain branches of physics.

7. As of July 2001, approximately how many asteroids had been identified?
(a) 240.
(b) 26,000.
(c) 2,700.
(d) 29,000,000.

8. What happened to the dinosaur bone discovered in New Jersey in 1789?
(a) It had been permanently misplaced.
(b) It is on permanent display at the Smithsonian.
(c) It was sold to a museum in England.
(d) It is part of a wealthy family's private collection.

9. How far away is Proxima Centauri from Earth?
(a) 390 million times farther than Venus.
(b) 100 million times farther than our moon.
(c) 700 million times farther than Mars.
(d) 120 million times farther than our sun.

10. Our universe is at least how many light-years wide?
(a) 5 trillion.
(b) 350 trillion.
(c) 50 million trillions.
(d) 100 billion.

11. The fact that Pluto has a moon was not discovered until:
(a) 1936.
(b) 1965.
(c) 1978.
(d) 1991.

12. In 1971, Mike Voorhies discovered an amazing fossil bed in Nebraska full of skeletons of prehistoric animals killed 12 millions years ago. How did they die?
(a) Drowning in a massive flood.
(b) Infected by deadly bacteria.
(c) Inhaling ash spewed by a volcano.
(d) Frozen in a freak snowstorm.

13. The British astronomer Martin Rees hypothesizes that there could be an infinite number of what?
(a) Different universes.
(b) Speeds of light.
(c) Subatomic particles.
(d) Electromagnetic frequencies.

14. What components were central to the apparatus that Henry Cavendish used to determine the density of Earth?
(a) Boiling water, a tub, and a barrel.
(b) A burner, gases, and switches.
(c) Weights, counter-weights, and pendulums.
(d) Chutes and slides.

15. Halley believed that once scientists figured out the distance from the sun to the Earth, they could then calculate what?
(a) Distances to distant stars.
(b) Weight of Earth.
(c) Distances to other planets.
(d) Weight of the sun.

Short Answer Questions

1. Pluto is the first planet to be discovered by an:

2. An asteroid strike on Earth would most likely affect the climate for how long?

3. Which of the following is not a major geological era?

4. What campaign did geologist Clair Patterson take on?

5. According to the Caltech physicist Richard Feynman, the most important discovery ever made is what?

(see the answer keys)

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