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

Bill Bryson
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. 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) Frozen in a freak snowstorm.
(c) Inhaling ash spewed by a volcano.
(d) Infected by deadly bacteria.

2. According to the Reverend William Buckland, the biblical reference to "in the beginning" with regards to the formation of Earth could refer to:
(a) A particular era.
(b) Myths and legends.
(c) Exactly seven days.
(d) Millions and millions of years.

3. When was Pluto discovered?
(a) 1892.
(b) 1876.
(c) 1957.
(d) 1930.

4. With scientists having found so many dinosaur bones by the dawn of the twentieth century, what did they conclude about the age of Earth?
(a) It has to be much older than 20 million years.
(b) It is no older than 5 million years.
(c) It is hundreds of billions of years old.
(d) Nobody will ever figure out its age.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. According to the author, humans today have 625 percent more what in their bloodstream compared to previous generations?

2. A hundred years before Einstein's math analyses confirmed the existence of atoms, this self-educated scientist suggested everything is made up of tiny, unchangeable particles:

3. Earth is the only planet in the solar system to have what?

4. Halley believed that once scientists figured out the distance from the sun to the Earth, they could then calculate what?

5. How far away is Proxima Centauri from Earth?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe what the Archbishop James Usser and the Reverend William Buckland concluded regarding the age of Earth.

2. Describe the protons, neutrons, and electrons of an atom.

3. What explanation did James Hutton come up with to describe the phenomenon of seashell fossils frequently found on mountaintops?

4. Describe the three basic layers of Earth, namely, the crust, mantle, and core.

5. Why does Bryson consider Pluto to be an oddity?

6. Describe Albert Einstein before he became well known in the scientific community.

7. Where do earthquakes occur?

8. Explain how inventor and engineer, Thomas Midley, Jr., solved some problems but created enormous safety and environmental issues by adding lead to gasoline and by inventing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

9. How does the Superstring Theory explain quarks?

10. Why is the term "dinosaurian" a misnomer?

(see the answer keys)

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