These questions are to be read aloud by the scientist host. Teams will have two
minutes to submit the answer to each question on a sheet of paper (be sure to
include team names) and hand in each sheet for scoring. The host will give the
answer for each question before moving to the next one.
Scientist host should take out a cell phone and loudly pretend to place a call
to someone a few hundred miles away in another state. After "hanging up," the
scientist should ask the group for a show of hands to indicate who they think
heard his or her words first—the Kaffeehaus guests in the back of the
room (about 10 meters/30 feet away), or the friend in another state. The answer
may surprise some, but it gets back to the speed of light. Cell phones carry
signals as electromagnetic radiation (that is, at light speed). Light speed is
900,000 times faster than the speed of sound traveling through the air of the
room. So the scientist's voice made it to the other state before it made it
across the room to the people's ears.
Einstein was fascinated by the nature of light. One interesting thing about
light is that although it appears white, it can be broken out into a spectrum
of different colors by passing the white light through a prism. What are the
colors of the rainbow from longest wavelength to shortest?
Answer: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. (Also acceptable is
red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet—forming the
familiar mnemonic ROYGBIV. The labels used for colors are arbitrary and while
indigo is no longer commonly used, it is included to make the sequence easier
What was the name of the top-secret U.S. government program to build the
Answer: The Manhattan Project
What radioactive element was used in the bomb that was dropped on
Answer: Uranium; offer bonus point for naming specific
Einstein was working as a patent clerk in Switzerland when he arrived at
E = mc2. A particularly notable patent that was awarded
within the last few years was to inventor Dean Kamen for the Segway Human
Transporter. What was the code name for this invention?
A: "Ginger" is the code name for the Segway Human Transporter. Also
acceptable, "IT" (rhymes with "fit").
How long does it take for light to travel from the sun to Earth?
- 10 seconds
- 85 minutes
- 850 minutes
- 10 minutes
- 8.5 minutes
Answer: (e) 8.5 minutes
This Hollywood comedian who starred in the movie ¡Three Amigos!
wrote a play called Picasso at the Lapin Agile about a fictional meeting
between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.
Answer: Steve Martin
What instrument did Albert Einstein play starting at the age of five?
Answer: (b) Violin
Working after Einstein proposed his famous equation, Lise Meitner was the
first to show that a uranium atom can be split, converting a tiny amount of
mass into a prodigious amount of energy in accordance with the formula E=
mc2. What is the name of this splitting process?
Suppose you have a light bulb shining on a page of a book. Now you
move the bulb half the distance closer to the page. How much more intense will
the light be on the page?
Answer: 4 times more intense. The intensity of the light has
an inverse squared relationship to its distance from the page. 1/(1/2)2
Ten-Point "Make or Break" Question
Note to host: Remind players that they can wager up to 10 points on this
question. Points will be added to team total for a correct answer and
subtracted for an incorrect answer.
To what institute did Einstein come when he immigrated to the United States?
Answer: Institute for Advanced Study (located in Princeton, New Jersey,
but not affiliated with Princeton University)