A fun science literacy quiz

I took this fun science literacy quiz, and got 47 out of 50 questions correct.

The ones I missed were all in biology and life sciences, my weakest subject. Since so many of the angroids label climate skeptics as “scientifically illiterate”, and because climate change is specifically mentioned, I thought it would be fun to share and to have readers post their scores. Many of the questions are simple, like the first one:

Then there’s some tougher ones, like about Planck’s constant and some that require some simple physics math, F=ma and stuff like that. There’s a bit of irony in whose website the poll is on.

The Christian Science Monitor.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/1209/Are-you-scientifically-literate-Take-our-quiz/

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single question about climate change, even though they mention it. If you feel like taking it, don’t succumb to the temptation to look up everything on the Internet…there’s no sport in perfect scores.

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379 thoughts on “A fun science literacy quiz

  1. Anthony, this test fits in perfectly with a very recent study showing that it is not the less educated persons but the more educated ones (at least among conservatives) whose trust in science has declined over the past 20 years. The data are very solid, coming from a well-respected survey that is repeated every year or two since the 70s. I posted this in Tips and NOtes a day or two ago:

    Today’s AAAS Policy Alert referred to a study showing a decline of trust in science:
    “Trust in science has declined sharply among conservatives since 1974, according to a study published last week in the American Sociological Review(PDF). According to Inside Higher Education, the study found that just over 34% of conservatives had confidence in science as an institution in 2010, compared to 48% in 1974. Study author Gordon Gauchat of the University of North Carolina found that it is the better-educated conservatives who have changed attitudes.”

    I was wondering whether the “climate science” war had had a noticeable effect, but the authors find the decline to be spread across the full 36 years rather than sharply associated with the Reagan or Bush administrations.
    The article, which I thought well done, can be found here, and is not behind a paywall:

    http://www.asanet.org/images/journals/docs/pdf/asr/Apr12ASRFeature.pdf

  2. My raw score was OK but then later, after adjustments to account for various factors too complicated to discuss here, my projected score went up to about 65 out of 50.
    Better than we thought!

  3. I took it the other day and got 41/50. Not too bad, in my opinion. Most of the ones I missed were the life sciences. Figures, since I’m a Mechanical Engineer.
    Anthony, this is a great site and I have enjoyed following it for the past 2 years. Please keep up the good work.

  4. There’s a bit of irony in whose website the poll is on.
    They did give as choices of the age of the Earth and the Universe the interesting number 6015 years.

  5. Well, 49 out of 50. But then, I have a degree in Science – if Climate Science (capitalized) still counts as science. I missed the DNA question, apparently due to the misplaced X chromosomes that Algore says we skeptics are hampered with.

  6. 45 and a half

    Blew four including that thunder lizard one (borderline trick question?), and got the object orbiting outside of Pluto with a WAG, so scored that a half.

    Wonder how many Al Gore scored – 12.5 or less ??

  7. I’m hideously ashamed of myself….36 correct….There is AGW after all……

    My background is medical science if that’s any consolation? ‘Woolier’ thinkers maybe……

    REPLY: There’s no shame in honesty. – Anthony

  8. 44 out of 50. A couple wrong because last time I did physics, we weren’t using Newtons, but the c.g.s system. Some of the answers I might not have got had they not provided the English meaning of Greek-originated terms – which made those questions more about knowledge of classical languages than science. I do have a science degree (zoology), though.

  9. Leif says: “They did give as choices of the age of the Earth and the Universe the interesting number 6015 years.”

    I imagine you already know this corresponds to Bishop Usher’s estimate.

    It has been ridiculed, of course, but if one begins with the once generally accepted postulate that the Bible is literally true then the calculation is a rational approach. At least it yields something that is falsifiable which is not always the case with religion.

    46 out of 50

  10. I modeled the test and got 57 out of 50 with a 95% confidence level 19 times out of 20 by 2050.

    (48/50 actually)

  11. Andrew30 says:
    April 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I modeled the test and got 57 out of 50

    Presumably a projection.?

  12. I got 31 out of 50, but I had a double major in History and English. I took a course called Chem/Phys as a freshman and passed, but dropped out of Calculus after finding it impenetrable (or perhaps it was me that was impenetrable.) That was the extent of my science and math study.

  13. Mr. Watts! Excellent work.

    Not so good here at 34 of 50. (Red faced.) I blame the damn planet questions.☺ And some of that stuff was not even discovered way back when I went to school! ☺ So I get a senior’s bye.

    I bet Al Gore would score not much more than 20 .. and that gives him 12 freebies just by chance. So he’d get a few because he actually knew them.

  14. I took this a little while back and got 44 out of 50 – One question I could argue about, one was just dumbness on my part but four I really didn’t know, mostly units in physics. I’m a scientist (biology) by profession. I thought I would do better.

    John Game.

  15. I got 44/50 right, which I think is pretty good for someone who doesn’t work in any of disciplines in the quiz. About three of the questions were about watts as units of measurement, so I hope those weren’t the ones Anthony missed!

  16. Professor Mann adjusted my scores 120.

    But he also adjusted my score the last time I took this test 2 years ago down to 84.

    Go figure.

  17. 44 right, but I gotta tell ya, I lucky-guessed correctly on about 5 of them; I really had no clue, lol. Thirty-nine sounds about right, since I flunked fluid mechanics and was average in chemistry and biology. I excelled in physics, geology, music and mathematics.

  18. If your browser doesn’t accept cookies, and mine does not gratuitously accept them, you will get a perfect score. My inner Sheriff Arpaio though knows I missed 6. I struggled with chemistry.

  19. Ugh…ad-o-rama. My browser was screaming at me to get out of there before the tracking cookies wrecked by hard drive.

    I made it question 40 without missing any, and then the site locked up.

  20. Quiz results

    46
    Correct 4
    Wrong You answered 46 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 92%. Comment on this quiz.
    Share your results

    I got wrong on zygote, titan, scalene (due to my English) and precipitating.

    It’s indeed for science lovers — even for a scientist you still need to read a lot of science articles.

  21. Disappointed to some degree (68%) but I thought it pretty quirky. I would have done so much better either straight out of school and if I’d studied Latin and Greek. It’s also been a long time since I looked over — much less used — any of my physics, cellular biology and certain other materials. Additionally, neither Paleontology nor Astronomy never ever my strong suites…

    Thought it dwelled a lot on terminology.

    And I am functioning (?) with 16 hours under my belt, and knowing I need to meet my wife’s train in another two hours… :-)

  22. I got 48 out of 50. I don’t work in the sciences, but I read a lot and have a good memory.

  23. jones says: April 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm
    [Presumably a projection.?]

    No real projection, however my model does indicates that all of our scores were.

    Worse then we thought.

  24. PS Mr Watts, what score means you’re scientifically illiterate :-)

    REPLY: Don’t know, there is nothing at the end of the quiz given to indicate…but I would assume (based on the number being used in schools) that anything over 70% (35 of 50) is a passing grade. – Anthony

  25. 49 out of 50. Missed the cell division question. Nearly missed beyond Pluto question which would have really annoyed me.

    And this was after a glass of Grand Marnier and starting at around 0100. Time for bed….

  26. I didn’t take the test. (afraid I might have to give back my Ph.D. in physics.) But, I just found this website, after suffering through Wiki’s laudatory bio on Hansen. SO: a big thank you for existing!

  27. Of course the test is flawed as it’s based upon the silly notion that merely knowing “facts” makes one scientifically literate. If anything about the climate debacle shows is that “knowing facts” isn’t what it’s about.

    Science Literacy is more than mere facts, it is about how well do you know the scientific method itself, and do you follow the scientific method when confronted by assertions of “fact” or “truths” or “science claims” or do you merely “believe in science”. Science Literacy is about how good you are at critical reasoning skills and about being able to apply those skills to slice through bogus claims or recognize that you need to do more research to find independently verifiable evidence to confirm or refute the particular claims at hand. Science Literacy is about being skeptical of everything and recognizing that there are no authorities in science, that voting by consensus isn’t scientific but political. Science Literacy is knowing the distinction between science and politics.

    Knowing a few facts on a quiz doesn’t make one scientifically literate.

  28. I scored 45/50. Probably because camels are not too bright and this one is quite old.

    I had one stupid mistake and two lucky guesses.

  29. Leif Svalgaard, April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm,

    Let me guess. Was it bishop Usher who came up with 6015 based on all those begats?

  30. I got 49 out of 50 missing the nimbus question. I did guess about 4 others, but I’ve always been a good guesser.

    Dave Dardinger (who’s stuck with the daved46 because of the stupid WordPress “improvement”.)

  31. Leif Svalgaard, April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm,

    I also guess that you and Willis scored 100% but were too modest to say so.

  32. I gave up. I hope my poor start was because I am an accountant brain dead from from tax season.
    Oh, and I have a migraine, have taken three fiornals. Lord I hope that is it.

  33. 43 out of 50. Not bad for a tradesman. My daughter is graduating from University with a science degree in a few weeks, I’m going to get her to try it. She did get the question on ‘Where does your weight go when you’re on a diet?” correct a while back so we’ll see.

  34. Leif Svalgaard says:
    April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    > They did give as choices of the age of the Earth and the Universe the interesting number 6015 years.

    I smiled at that one, but they may have an off-by-one error. Is it 4003 BC that the universe was created? If so, that was 6014 years ago – there’s no year 0, so 1 AD was 2011 years ago, 1 BC was 2012, 3 BC was 2014, and 4003 BC 6014 years ago.

  35. Given that I’ve been a science geek since elementary school, have a PhD in nuclear physics (in grad school Trivial Pursuit “science” was “roll again”) and an MS in computer science, and have taught physics and astronomy for a quarter-century, I figured on cruising to an easy fifty – then tripped over “thunder lizard” right out of the gate. 47/50, including some hair-raising guesses in bio (all your zygotes belong to ME!) and an embarrassing flop on a physics question. Yes, I said Watt instead of Joule. You probably think that’s funny, don’t you?

  36. 39 of 50. Physics and Biology, my two worst subjects. As a Computer Science graduate, I didn’t need to take classes in either…. it shows.

  37. 26 out of 50 for me, although I am a TV Producer and not involved in any of the sciences whatsoever, except if you count videoing medical conferences! Just about every one of my correct answers were lucky guesses, and being a young-earther I obviously answered the age of the earth/universe questions with 6000 years. Do I win a prize for the lowest score?

  38. D. X. says:
    April 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    > I got wrong on [fertilized ovum progression], [Saturnian moons], [triangle names] (due to my English) and [cloud suffixes].

    Please don’t give out the answers!

    I nearly missed the triangle one, but not quite enough to call it a lucky guess. I don’t think I ever used that word.

  39. 33. The test is rigged. I’m offended. I should have a perfect score because I deserve it. Save the whales. In all honesty, I’m amazed at how much I retained from high school over 30 years ago. (it was my semester in Greek that save me from looking REALLY bad.) The correct answers to one of my incorrect guesses made me say, “Of course!! My dad taught me that in grade eight. Thank you for giving us the link.

  40. 47

    I got 3 wrong but the quiz has a few wrong also.

    If you know nothing you get 12 or 13.

    23 as James Sexton points out. The correct answer was not given as an option.
    Fr George Henri LeMaitre PhD postulated the expanding universe in 1923 and referred to the initial universe as a primeval egg. Hubble measured it. Fred Hoyle( ~1950) mocked both LeMaitre and Gamov and pejoratively referred to the primeval egg theory as the Big Bang. Wilson and Penzias measured the Big Bang’s background radiation in 1963.

    Finnigan’s Wake by James Joyce… why do people keep misspelling it as Finnegans…

    Bernoulli’s Law Principle or Equation….I think that is ambiguous.

    Mars does not have moons. It has 2 asteroids in orbit. Now for those who want to correct me, and refer to them as moons then Pluto is STILL a Planet!… if size doesn’t matter.
    Pluto is a planet!

    Anyway, I like to see the scores of all the greenies…..Al Gore for that matter.

  41. Given that I am a History major who has followed a career in the Theatre I am quite pleased with my 33. I got pretty much all the astrophysics ones right. Cool

  42. J R Waring says:
    April 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    > I just found this website, after suffering through Wiki’s laudatory bio on Hansen. SO: a big thank you for existing!

    Welcome! Wish you were here when we discovered Wiki has very biased gatekeepers. Not many folks here rely on Wikipedia for climate information because of that. The main problem editor has been posting here, you might get the chance to chat with him. (He assures me I don’t understand basic physics, your mileage may vary!)

    Oh – your PhD should be safe if you take the quiz.

  43. pwl,
    using the contextual meaning of “literate”, knowing a variety of facts on a quiz is exactly what makes one scientifically literate. It does not mean one is any good at science or that one can apply that science knowledge but one is scientifically well read (literate).

    knowledge versus intelligence. intelligence can be considered the ability to properly access and assimilate new information. knowledge is the body of old information which new information is accessed against. a small child who has familiarity only with dogs and humans upon encountering an unknown 4-legged animal would mis-classify it as a “doggie”, no matter how intelligent the child is because the knowledge of other creatures just isn’t there. an adult with a larger store of taxonomic knowledge has a greater variety of species to mis-classify a newly encountered animal than a small child does.

  44. Did Newton Number his Laws? I never remember them in order. Help me out here. Please tell me that my illusion is real….. that the numbering of Newton’s laws was done by some anal retentive actuary after the fact.

  45. I got 47 and I’m a Christian. So much for the theory that we’re scientifically illiterate. I wish that there were a few more questions involving the process of science though.

  46. 48 out of 50, making me smarter than Anthony! But unqualified to comment on climate because I got the cloud one wrong…

    I will note that a bunch of them could be answered by anyone who had a decent background in Roman/greek language/mythology

  47. Paul Westhaver says:
    April 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    “…23 as James Sexton points out. The correct answer was not given as an option.
    Fr George Henri LeMaitre PhD postulated the expanding universe in 1923 and referred to the initial universe as a primeval egg. Hubble measured it….”

    Well, semantics give me problems with such questions, too. The correct answer is still that Hubble “established” it.

  48. 44, but I only got zygote because of the timely intervention of my wife, who did some biology in her degree.

  49. Well, semantics give me problems with such questions, too. The correct answer is still that Hubble “established” it.
    Well then mark me as 29 :)

  50. 42/50. And I can’t believe that I can still remember the phases of both mitosis and meiosis 29 years after learning them!

    I’m still surprised that I managed to get such a good education at a state-run school in the outer suburbs of Brisbane, Australia.

  51. Too slow – it would take 100 pages –
    (Yeah, they want to maximize their page counts)
    Plus they are slow loading – and I have very high speed link.
    It’s all pretty basic stuff – but I quit at 14.

  52. Leif Svalgaard says: April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm
    There’s a bit of irony in whose website the poll is on.
    They did give as choices of the age of the Earth and the Universe the interesting number 6015 years.

    You missed that one, too, Leif?

    I got 47 of 50. Didn’t think it was gonna be a quiz on ancient Greek, though. Fortunately iI was a fan of Roy Chapman Andrews.

  53. Max, yes you can interpret it that way but you miss out on the point which is that Science Literacy is much more than mere knowing of science facts. The so called “facts” that you know may well be wrong, as we often find out in the climate debacle, thus the ability to recite facts without knowing how to validate them shows not scientific literacy but scientific belief.

    So sure at the lowest level of the scale you have to know basic facts about science in order to be literate but if that is all you aspire to it’s disappointing indeed and a failure. That lowest common denominator definition you presented isn’t any different than if you are being just like the Jeopardy Watson program, sure you can recite facts but there isn’t anything else there. Just because you can spout facts from memory doesn’t make one literate in science. If one can’t apply that knowledge being a reference book isn’t going to help.

    As for how I did on the test, I didn’t take it on principle. Science is not about knowing everything in every field. It’s about the ability to find out things as needed. Anthony’s requirement that one not be able to research the answers is part of the mind set of the knowing the rote answers that is pervasive in education. Real science literacy involves the ability to research and learn new material as needed. The article’s test isn’t a measure of science literacy, it’s a test of a mere random 50 alleged facts. The very idea of this silly test is highly anti-scientific. It is an good example of what is wrong with the modern education systems in various countries.

    Science Literacy also involves intelligence and the ability to apply it using the scientific method.

    So if you want to use your limited narrow lowest common denominator definition fine but you’re saying that it’s acceptable that the bulk of the population only need be “rote believers in science facts told to them by science authorities” and that they should never question those facts nor apply the scientific method to know how to reproduce the results, how to falsify a hypothesis, how to measure, how to do experiments, how to assess whether or not the alleged “facts” should be trusted or not and how far, and how to adapt when old knowledge is overturned or refined with new results.

    For fun sure. As a measure of science literacy most certainly not.

    Many of the people I discuss climate issues with are scientifically literate by the meager rote fact recital definition you put forward yet they fail at science due to their “believing in science facts” that prevent them from being able to assess the claims of the scientists that they put authority into – it’s just the same as if they believed in magical sky beings that make it rain. If that is the level of scientific literacy that people are aiming for then we’re in deep trouble as a civilization.

  54. I had high hopes of matching Anthony’s 47, but 42’s okay I guess. I had two lucky guesses and two wrong answers I should’ve got, so I’ll say they cancel.

    A few questions I wouldn’t have got if not for my study of climate science the last couple of years — so some good did come out of it!

    I was clueless on Nimbus (which I’m sure Anthony got!) but I got zygote. It’s interesting that we all got different wrong answers as it makes the test look like a good, broad-ranging one.

  55. 43 – and I’m a retired shop teacher. I used to feed my students questions to ask their science teachers about global warming, because the entire science department was comprised of warmists. I miss those days….

  56. Is this available without the clumsy format?
    Its so awkward one question at a time. Surprised someone hasn’t pointed that carbon chemistry isn’t exclusively organic chemistry- carbides and carbonates don’t count as organic.

  57. About 6 reasoned guesses +
    2 completely lucky guesses +
    3 dumb mistakes (atomic number, not atomic weight, dummy) =
    40

    Interestingly, I lucked out on the bio questions (including Zygote) – a few months ago I decided it was time to get better informed on microbiology & genetics, so I’m pretty fresh. But I’m still woefully ignorant on meteorological minutiae. And the triangle question – I didn’t remember that term at all, and prior to the advent of CADD, I used geometry & trig constantly in my work.

  58. The slowness of the test and the progression drove me crazy. Does it count that I was at a 100% before my patience ran out?

  59. I took it a while back and got 44/50. But then again, it was about 1 a.m. when I took it. Accounting for the TOB adjustment, that puts me in league with Anthony!

    ;-)

    There were a couple I got right not due to my science literacy, but my limited knowledge of Greek mythology. A few guesses and a couple of DOH! wrong answers.

  60. Walter H. Schneider says: April 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Paul Westhaver says: April 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    . . .

    Well, semantics give me problems with such questions, too. The correct answer is still that Hubble “established” it.

    Let’s not forget Vesto Slipher.

  61. 47! Though I must admit, I used their Latin hints as a crutch on several that I really didn’t know.

  62. 28 right (including zygote). I don’t appear to know too much about Saint patrick’s Day either (60%).

  63. I only scored 27 out of 50. Probably would have scored more if I knew Greek. I know I could have got 50 out of 50 if I cheated.

    Gee, some of you must be pretty smart!

  64. 46 out of 50. Not a bad effort by the CSM there, although I thought a couple of the questions had a ‘trick’ element that was unnecessary, but lots of fun overall.

  65. 29 out of 50. Embarrassed, biology was easy, chemistry was ok, not so good with the physics. Out of school 30 and been a nurse for that long, not bad though. With a little studying might bring up grade with touch up on physics…Was fun to take…

  66. I managed 36 some answers were wild guesses right or wrong and one or two I managed by doing what you’r told to do in exams…READ THE QUESTION. It does work (sometimes).
    James Bull

  67. 40 outta 50. Bah. Humbug.
    Still…not bad for Comparitive Religion Major and liberal arts, yes? (40 yrs past)
    I read. Do that make me an ‘autodidact’? Tell you one thing, when I smelled the rat in AGW a decade ago I spent probably 200 hours on John Daly’s (RIP) Waiting for the Greenhouse, learning a new language. Credit him with anything I know about Climate.
    Then I tortured all my acquaintances and started fights in bars for a year or two. Now I don’t talk about it, just watch the Circus Algorus marching on…
    “Thunder Lizard” – definitely ‘tricksey’. “Nimbus” almost got by me (low to medium altitude) till I realized they were asking for a translation, not a breakdown of the atmospheric column.

  68. 39
    Made easier by:
    a) multiple choice ( I have always considered this a poor way of testing someone’s knowledge of a subject)
    b) a shaky knowledge of Greek and a distant memory of Latin.

    Disgraced myself on the astronomical questions, depite all the familiar names, which I would
    have bet beforehand would have been a reasonably strong suit for me.
    However, not bad for an arts graduate who has never worked in any scientific field.
    Thank you for the opportunity to feel good and big myself up a bit!

  69. >>
    Paul Westhaver says:
    April 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Did Newton Number his Laws? I never remember them in order. Help me out here. Please tell me that my illusion is real….. that the numbering of Newton’s laws was done by some anal retentive actuary after the fact.
    <<

    In Book I of his Principia, Newton numbered his three laws of motion.

    Jim

  70. Oh…regards age of Earth data, the CSM is showing their biases, and ignorance. 4.5 Billion, yada yada…but Young Earth oughta be 5772, not +6000 (but who’s counting). Which just happens to be about number of years it would appear to be, as viewed from theoretical point of the Big Bang. {versus ~14 Billion yrs as viewed from this corner of the Milky Way, of course). Just saying.

  71. 44 out of 50 – I’m so ashamed…

    And the website drove my laptop nuts. Refused to post my final score but I unfortunately remembered my embarrasing errors.

  72. Interesting, I did zygote as part of sex education in primary school. Guess a liberal education isn’t so bad after all :)
    I haven’t finished yet, but am on course for about 34, which for someone whose only science education for about 35 (!) years has been WUWT isn’t so bad I think. :)

  73. You answered 0 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 0%.

    Actually I only got a couple of astronomy questions wrong but I also routinely block text cookies and remove LSOs every second on principle… Why don’t they tell us when trackers are required to make web-stuff work?

    There are also 19 embedded scripts on each page of this quiz… Is this this christian science or dancing with the devil?

  74. 42. I’m abated, as I failed some really easy ones, just because of not paying enough atention. Still, not too bad, I guess.

  75. 47/50. Going great until I hit a couple of biology questions … oops. I’ve dodged that branch of study, so I made a few guesses. Some of them missed too! But the physics (and applied maths), chemistry etc were just fine.

  76. 41. Seems to be the most common score here. But most of it was general knowledge or knowing greek roots. I wonder if all the 41-scorers got the same ones wrong.

  77. My poor addled brain only managed :

    You answered 41 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 82%. And about 4 of those were “intelligent guesses”

  78. 36 and very disappointed. There were about 6 answers where I changed at the last second and would have got my original pick right.

    Still, 28 years since I studied much of this stuff at school. Not much call for a lot of it in database programming. (I was saved from a worse score by having memorised the periodic table up to Strontium whilst at school).

  79. 33 – not bad I reckon for an oldie who did no science after age 15. As with others, studying Latin & Greek helped.
    Btw – it would be difficult to get 10/10 on the climate stuff, unless you know all the “correct” answers according to the warmist camp.

  80. joep17901 says:
    April 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    41 out of 50.

    I’m a little disappointed in myself.

    Funny, that. I got 34, and I felt quite proud.

  81. 44 of 50 correct
    My Latin/Greek let me down, and the Life Sciences!
    I picked several correct answers only because I knew the other three were incorrect!

  82. 43 / 50 … at least I got all the biology and astronomy questions right – would have been pretty annoyed if I didn’t ….

  83. I’m more than happy with my 39 (as a devout non-scientist but avid reader)!
    A couple more were coin-toss guesses that I got wrong.
    And I got “zygote”!

  84. 41 out of 50.

    This explains entirely my hate-hate relationship with exams. I hate second-guessing my initial responses to find I was correct, off the top of my head. Each one provokes an ‘Arrrrghh!’

    Got one WAG, missed another. My Table of Elements has wobbly legs. Indicates I should improve my carpentry skills.

  85. Correct! (43 of 50 correct)
    Not a bad little quiz to see how well rounded your science education is. Or to see how much more has happened since you left school.

  86. Ugh, would have been 40 if I hadn’t blown 4 of them thinking there must be a cleverer answer..

    ..memo to self, give your memory the benefit of the doubt..

    And a couple of dohs, I knew that. Still, very pleased, I was aiming for 50% and heard an audible sigh of relief when I got to 26 right and thought I had a chance of getting more..

  87. 36 out of 50, not bad for a 40 year old that mows lawns for living and hasn’t set foot in a science classroom since 1989 :)

  88. With all of the stinkin’ ads, the website was way too slow for me, especially before my first cup-o-coffee. (May have been worse after the coffee.) And I just got really high speed service. If they’d post it somewhere without the stinkin’ ads, I’ll take it.

  89. Mike McMillan says:
    April 7, 2012 at 11:54 pm
    …. Fortunately iI was a fan of Roy Chapman Andrews.
    ___________________________________
    I also read all his books. At one time (age 10?) he was my favorite author.

  90. 41 out of 50, after a feed and few beers at the pub. The geology question about rock types I could still recall from Secondary School, which made me chuckle for some reason.

  91. Oh dear – only 37 out of 50 (I’m disappointed, but I was only a computer scientist, not a physicist)

  92. A poxy 36. I found myself going through the extremely rude mnemonic I wrote for the periodic table back in the 60’s. Herbert had his little bride, bed creaking, ni… [SNIIIIP]

  93. 46 (poor on the planetary stuff). Al Gore apparently got 5,000,000 – which, as David Cameron said, shows he really knows his stuff!

  94. I got 46 which is probably pretty good for someone who graduated in chemistry over 40 years ago and has never worked as a scientist exception when I had a vacation job in a lab. It is a test of scientific general knowledge rather than of understanding of scientific theories, apart from the few questions involving calculations which do assume a basic understanding of the theories involved. The questions I got wrong were the ones about the physicist Joule, a dinosaur name, clouds, and the recently discovered object that is bigger than Pluto.

  95. 44 :-(

    Though I did it at speed. And two of the wrong ones were from clicking the wrong answer when knowing the right one.

    Stuff I had to work out took the longest (e.g. time for the sun’s light to reach us). Still averaged about 13 seconds per question.

  96. 29 right for someone who got C in his GCSE isn’t half bad I reckon.

    Some of the questions weren’t anything but common sense though. Some other ones weren’t anything but remembering boring teachers’ classes.

    I like how the answer 6015 kept coming up in relation to age of the world/universe though.

  97. Left school at 16 in 1962 with a few GCE “O” levels. Still managed 46. Come on Phil, Mike and Kevin, how many did you get right?

  98. 32 out of 50 – I’m made up. My only science “qualification” is ‘O’ Level Biology. I guess I must have picked up some more stuff since school!

  99. 43/50 . . and out of the seven wrong’uns I was totally convinced I was correct on four. It’s very hard to break some prejudices. The other three were just wild assed guesses.

  100. 32 out of 50: For a psychologist whose last course was in 1965, I am relieved !!!!!!

  101. 38. Damn biology! And I really must brush up on my laws if motion. It’s been thirty years since I’ve had reason to recall those. Still, good on solar system and basic physics. Ok for a creative industry type I reckon!

  102. JohnH says:
    April 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Ugh…ad-o-rama. My browser was screaming at me to get out of there before the tracking cookies wrecked by hard drive.

    I made it question 40 without missing any, and then the site locked up.

    If using Firefox, install the Ghostery add-on. Blocks tracker scripts. Overall, increases speed considerably, though it has its own little twitches.

  103. 48/50, no degree, autodidact, don’t watch television, read a lot.

    Didn’t get the mitosis one (biology is a weak point) and, like the climate models, I don’t know about clouds.

  104. 42, but then I’m an historian, and from this side of the pond how do I know what the US postal service does with dinosaurs, and….

    Excuses, excuses!

  105. Test crashed when I was at 33/36. Can’t believe Protium tripped me up. Not bad for an artsy doofus with a Ph.D. in International Relations, though.

  106. 45/50 and a bit ashamed. I should have got at least three and maybe a fourth of the ones I got wrong, I do have a Computer Science / Physics degree from several decades ago.

    masgramondou says: (April 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm)
    “I will note that a bunch of them could be answered by anyone who had a decent background in Roman/greek language/mythology”

    Given how much Latin & Greek (and to a lesser extent their mythology) is used in scientific nomenclature I would say that a passing knowledge of them is very useful, verging on necessary, for work in the scientific field.

    If you know the roots of the words then you can more readily read and understand the literature, rather than having to rote learn each Latin / Greek derived word.

    Jim

  107. 49/50 here. Particularly interesting that it’s described as a test of scientific literacy, rather than knowledge. Most of those questions I knew straight away, but at least 20% or so were ones where I had to think about what I did know and what was presented to me, and use that information to work out the answer.

  108. Hydrogen (you have to remember Hydrogen) – Here Little Beggar Boys Catching Newts Or Fish; New Nature Magnifies All Sin. P.S. Chlorine ArKCa.

    Thank you Mr Brennan – St Cyres Scohol 1980-1982.

  109. 43/50 but I’m a confirmed adherent of Einstein’s idea of, ‘never memorise something you can look up!’ It was the biology that got me, never my strongest field. Well, I was an engineer prior to my academic career…

  110. 27/50 With a few lucky guess and even more stupid mistakes. Not bad for a ex-farmer & sheep shearer. Have to lay off the Johnnie Walker at nights & the score might improve.

  111. Anthony: great fun, thanks. I blew three of them…one from true ignorance, one from over-thinking, the last from carelessness. A real education in humility, and a reminder of that old test-taking mood: somewhere between terror and hubris, with a big slug of adrenaline.

  112. Bah 38/50 but who read James Joyce??

    I also didn’t read 1 question correctly. nanometers in a centimeter otherwise a bit poor.

  113. 48/50
    Saved by Latin, Greek, physics, and the usual skill at taking multiple-guess tests.
    And to think that we questioned the value of Latin when in school. Newton wrote in Latin.
    The Monitor’s quiz gives a hint, but little more, of the victim’s skill at science. Knowing the terminology is necessary but not sufficient for rational discussion. There is no point in arguing climate with someone who has watts of energy, or who cannot distinguish insulation from insolation.

  114. wsbriggs,

    You done good! Very good. I made a few guesses that turned out to be right. They could easily have been wrong guesses. That’s multiple choice for you.

  115. 30 out of 50 – but at least 10 of them (on subjects I know nothing about) were guesses! I’m rather angry that some I should have got right I didn’t…

  116. 46. Over-thought the question on surface gravities of planets, and miscalculated a low value for the surface of Neptune. Also failed on clouds, so my main weakness is obviously related to gas.

  117. 40 of 50. Moons and planetary stuff was my downfall. The fact that I have a sixth grader whom I’ve helped with his math and science lately helped me in a few questions (scalene triangle, metamorphic rock)

  118. 43 out of 50. I would have backed myself to do better … shamefully missed the planetary ones, and clouds, and relied on Greek to do the biology. You’d never think I studied physics!

  119. 37 correct — interesting that more than a few I would have had no idea on (e.g. nimbus, horsepower, bernoulli principle, … ) were it not for the great content on WUWT stimulating me to look up and read about things I don’t understand.

    Thanks Anthony. Your efforts are appreciated daily. Rich

  120. I nearly passed!
    I ‘got’ zygote and joule, missed on nimbus.
    Scientific literacy is knowing that you don’t know how much you don’t know but you do know that you need evidence to show what you think you already know.

  121. 46 out of 50, and I don’t know if that’s good, bad, or indifferent, since there was no breakdown of score distribution.

    I confused meiosis and mitosis
    I had no idea on nanometers. After kilometers, meters, centimeters, and millimeters, everything is just 10^-x meters for me.
    I assumed that extra pluto body was called Charon,
    I knew as pipes narrow, the flow rate increases- I got that one wrong.

  122. This was a very good test of general scientific knowledge. Anyone scoring 25/50 or better is more informed than 98% of the general population. Those with no scientific background who scored better than 25/50 know more than most all of the scientific illiterati — who unfortunately can vote on science questions involving “carbon”.

    The readership of WUWT is far and away more informed than the general public, and we should be proud of our wide ranging knowledge of the physical world.

    Kudos to everyone who accepted the challenge. I doubt that Algore would have scored better than 20/50. His “D” in his college Science class demonstrates his inferior intellect and education. Even WUWT’s non-science majors would have done better than the Goreacle.

  123. (40 of 50 correct) Biology is not my strong suit. How is anybody, not in the field, supposed to remember which moons orbit Saturn and which orbit Jupiter?

  124. Rachelle says:
    April 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm
    “Leif says: “They did give as choices of the age of the Earth and the Universe the interesting number 6015 years.”

    I imagine you already know this corresponds to Bishop Usher’s estimate.

    It has been ridiculed, of course, but if one begins with the once generally accepted postulate that the Bible is literally true then the calculation is a rational approach. At least it yields something that is falsifiable which is not always the case with religion.”

    This made me think of the lifespan of Metusaleh so I googled around and, ahem, behold:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah

    “Interpretations
    For more details on this topic, see Biblical longevity.
    [...]
    Literal interpretations take Methuselah’s 969 years to be exactly 969 solar years. This conflicts with the current human lifespan. Some literalists suggest possible naturalistic explanations: the patriarchs had a better diet, or a water vapor canopy protected the earth from radiation prior to the Flood.

    Just for the amusement.

  125. I was doing almost perfect up to the last quarter of the test where I ran into a divergence problem and scored 40. So, can I call it 50 anyway?

  126. Yeah, I did this a couple of weeks ago. 46 out of 50, I think, and it’s been more than four decades since I finished hammering for my baccalaureate in Biology.

    Specialized study in med school, clinical training, and continuing medical education in practice are not more than superficially “pure science” activities.

  127. 37/50. About 6 of them that I got wrong I actually did know at one point, but couldn’t remember. A seventh one I missed by sheer stupidity. Forgot that there is decameter before centimeter. DOH! The name itself should have tipped me off.

    Fun stuff. There were a lot of different areas. I’m more into math, but nice to see I still remember some of the course material I took way back when.

  128. Damn! only 33 out of 50, but hey, I’m an artist and used my imagination to come up with some creative answers. I knew the moons of Jupiter but for some reason I said Saturn??

  129. At 6:29 AM on 8 April, Smokey said:

    I doubt that Algore would have scored better than 20/50. His “D” in his college Science class demonstrates his inferior intellect and education.

    I dunno that his lousy grade in an undergraduate “military class” (which is what we used to call all those “General-Whatever” courses we science majors were forbidden even to audit because our helpless laughter freaked out the Liberal Arts majors) indicated “inferior intellect” as much as it showed up the Algore’s massive contempt for the implacable grinding evidence-driven integrity of scientific method at even that larval stage in his development as a parasite of the political class.

    Don’t mistake for abject stupidity that which is in Algore’s makeup a much more reliable marker of his feral cunning.

  130. Not fair, there weren’t any C++ or Microsoft Foundation Classes questions. :-(
    Anyways, I could have had 5 more correct if I thought about the questions just a little bit longer.
    And I didn’t study much biology, nor dinosaurs. And my math books not once used that word for an unequal triangle. I have seen h used in the Quantum Mechanics book I have been studying, but I don’t recall the author mentioning who it was named after.
    I may not be smarter after doing this quiz, but I am more knowledgeable. :-)

  131. 49/50, but now I know what the suffix nimbus means. That was worth having to deal with the frustration of having to click forward 100 times. Surely they can come up with a better structure for a web quiz.

  132. At 6:35 AM on 8 April, John W. Garrett had griped:

    How is anybody, not in the field, supposed to remember which moons orbit Saturn and which orbit Jupiter?

    You, bubbeleh, are not a science fiction fan.

    =============

    A.E. van Vogt’s 1940 novel Slan was about a mutant variety of humans who are superior to regular humanity and are therefore hunted down and killed by the normal human population. While the story has nothing to do with fandom, many science fiction fans felt very close to the protagonists, feeling their experience as bright people in a mundane world mirrored that of the mutants; hence, the rallying cry, “Fans Are Slans!”
    — Wiki-bloody-pedia entry on science fiction fandom

  133. 45/50 I should have studied Classical Greek and not done the nano question in my head.

  134. I assumed I got the first question correct, and projected that to a final score of between
    50/50 and as much as 100/50.

  135. I did very well considering my farming and logging degrees. Most likely because I retain alot of what I read (how else would I know zygote and mitosis?). As for scientific knowlege, you all here are far and above me. And that is why I`m here. To gits me some knowlege. Thanks to y`all my ammo pouches are full to the brim and ready to fiire away in my debates (arguments) with the agw and other agendistas crowd. Again, many thanks. By the way, nice comment Smokey!
    GRD

  136. I only got 44 out of 50. It was a fair test of general knowledge, and anyone that got high scores is well versed overall. My biggest set of errors was also the biology field.

  137. 40, with a bunch of stupid mistakes, countered I must confess, by a string of lucky guesses!

    Lew Skannen, comment number 3, nails it. I am sure that you used an IPCC model, Lew.

  138. LOL @ Lew.

    46/50 – I should have re-read the question about the largest moon of Saturn – I knew very well what it was, but I second-guessed myself.

    …and I’d like to know exactly what proportion of practicing physicians would get the base pair question right.

  139. Well, I took the test and was not satisfied with my score. I proceeded to weight the questions by category and then smoothed the results. That was a little better, but not good enough. Subsequently I then used a smaller sample of the questions and extrapolated the rest and it got even better. Once I homogenized those results I was satisfied. Unfortunately, the darn Thunder Lizard kept me below the 90% level.

    I do believe the CO2 levels have a linear relationship to my score, so in a few more years I should have a 50.

    Thanks for the fun Anthony.

  140. 46, but I have to be honest and admit some were pure guesses. Because some of the questions included extra information from Greek mythology, you could get a fair number correct even having no clue on the science. I don’t think this can fairly be described as a “science literacy” test.

  141. 39 out of 50 and if I’d read the sodding questions properly it would probably have been 42. Not great either way, but not too bad for my age, haha.

  142. 46 … interesting, it highlights just how much ancient Greece and Greek is involved in modern science. I got one WAG and made one stupid mistake so I reckon they counter each other ot.

  143. Anthony,
    41 out of 50. OK, not as high as I had hoped for, but not bad for an old guy! Great blogsite; keep up the good work.

  144. I decided to just move the error bars 50

    I’ll graph my new success with Tiljander sediments upside down.

    And refuse to share my data.

    [ Hey! a lot of that we haven't covered yet ] :)

  145. 34/50…It was a disaster looming, but had a great run in the 40s getting some respectability back.
    Still ,I did not study science at University, postgrad in Ancient Philosophy – (ancient Greek is of some use after all lol!)

  146. Without reading past the first few comments (which didn’t give any clues), I got 46 out of 50.

    Yes, a couple correct answers were guesses between two choices. :)

  147. Interesting how the vast majority obvious feel a compulsion to produce an excuse for errors. Hugely impressive that there is such a high level of obvious honesty.

    For info (@Paul Westhaver) Fred Hoyle never thought his coining of the term “Big Bang” was mocking. It is descriptive. Also Hoyle pointed out that Alexander Friedman suggested the idea a year before Lemaître; but the redshift element clearly makes Edwin Hubble the right answer.

    47/50. I slipped up on Nimbus – I’m guessing I put the same wrong answer as others, based on knowing that thunderheads are greatly elevated. I hastily somehow put the wrong answer on the gravity question – like other SF readers here I knew the value for Martian surface gravity. I didn’t know Eris. I gave up memorising names some time ago, partly influenced by Einstein’s dictum that time spent reading is at the expense of time spent thinking.

  148. The quiz kept freezing on me around q40, got 38 up to that point including zygote (but that wa a WAG)

  149. 34, not real good but…..
    Not bad for a 62yo high school dropout with a GED and 23 years as a submarine navigation equipment technician.
    A few years following WUWT helped.

  150. 36 out of 50 could be better but still not bad for a high school graduate. my thanks to Willis for teaching me about the Plank constant and to Anthony just for persevering through all the crap and keeping this one of the preeminent science sites on the web.

  151. 32, not much.

    Seemed to be more about trivia than an understanding of scientific principles.

  152. 38 for me, but I am very impressed with the general level of scientific literacy displayed here. Well done to all of you!

  153. 37/50. missed lots of astronomy and physics, but good in chemistry as I have been helping my son in the past few weeks with his schoolwork. never would have remembered otherwise.

  154. 41/9 or 82% correct. It would be of interest to compare the “grades” vs. one more question: “Is Climate Change predominantly man-made AND will it be catastrophic?” Yes/No

    Alan Watt says: April 8, 2012 at 7:47 am
    ” I don’t think this can fairly be described as a “science literacy” test.”

    Perhaps a general litteracy test?? I suspect that CSM added the Greek Mythology, etc. hints so that Liberal Arts majors wouldn’t flunk the “test”. THAT would be demeaning and hurt their feelings.

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  155. ****
    Abysmal Spectator says:
    April 8, 2012 at 7:01 am

    49/50, but now I know what the suffix nimbus means.
    ****

    Yeah, I missed that one too, despite being a weather buff. I was pretty sure a cumulonimbus cloud wasn’t necessarily precipitating — just considerably built up vertically.

  156. 44 @ 1:30 AM (My Time)

    Not bad for an IT guy :)

    There are few sites I read/check every day: Bolt, Woot (more recently) and Watts Up With That

    Best Regards,
    JAmes

  157. 40 out of 50, not at all bad for a television technician. There were only a couple that I absolutely didn’t know, and I was down to the right answer and my wrong answer on the others.

  158. 47 of 50, missed the nimbus one (as everyone else, apparently), coefficient of friction symbol (it’s been a long time), & I can’t tell the difference between momentum & KE :/

  159. I was amused that they think that knowing historical facts about science equates to being scientifically literate. 43/50 and I’m ashamed about some of them I missed because I got cocky.

  160. As to the clouds, I thought the categories referred to altitude (Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus and Nimbus, in descending order), and had nothing to do with precipitating.

  161. >>
    garymount says:
    April 8, 2012 at 7:34 am

    As for Newton’s numbered laws, I figured it went from simplest to more complicated.
    <<

    I consider the second law more complicated than the third.

    The first law would be quite a paradigm shift for many–especially those who followed Aristotle’s teachings.

    Jim

  162. To Steamboat Jack, I thought the additional Greek information tended to obscure the actual question, somewhat like “If a train leaves San Francisco going 30 mph, how many green chinese pots in a dozen”. XD

  163. I got 41. OK, but is was more a memory test than a scientific test. Got zygote and nimbus, flunked the astronomical ones badly.

  164. I missed 4, but the only one I was embarrassed by was dividing instead on the Newton question.

  165. 47. Tripped up by zygote, Erin (never ‘eard of it!) and nimbus.

    Poster Imoira deserves a special mention for his/her “Scientific literacy is knowing that you don’t know how much you don’t know but you do know that you need evidence to show what you think you already know.”

  166. I have to express my admiration for your 47 Anthony.
    I can claim little credit for my 46 because this was my second attempt at it. Dammit, I still got 4 wrong! The first time I did it was several weeks ago. I can’t say exactly when, for I am chronologically challenged.
    Questions on scientific history and nomenclature are interesting, but I personally wouldn’t include them when testing somebody’s knowledge of science.
    Two quick asides- according to the Jewish calendar this is the year 5772, and their tradition has it that they’ve been counting since the creation of Adam. Also, the book title is ‘Finnegans Wake’, no apostophe. We’re on the internet people, it’s not hard to fact check before posting.

  167. 46
    Correct
    4
    Wrong
    Am sure the pilots in the group got the NIMBUS question. cumulus + nimbus :)

  168. 44 out of 50 could do better as my teachers were always fond of saying.

    Had a couple of Homer moments. Doh

  169. Logicophilosophicus,

    Fred Hoyle was furious with Gamov and LeMaitre for suggesting that the universe was not static and never accepted the expanding universe theory and he died in 2001!! Too bad since got the atomic synthesis theory correct for atoms larger than iron. Hoyle was a simple case of a recalcitrant, intelligent, atheist, consumed with his own arrogance. His snotty disposition won him many enemies. I’m sure he thought himself flawless.

    Nowadays, there is a lot of rewriting of history about Fred Holye since he was a popular atheist figure in the 1940s and 1950s, and he was so completely and spectacularly wrong about the static universe model.

    As for Friedman…. I think you are alone in asserting that he thought up the big bang.

    I’d like to see that in writing… Lemaitre wrote his ideas down, had them reviewed and published, as did Gamov. My Grandfather told me he thought it up all by himself in 1899 but he never wrote it down either.

  170. I also took their climate change quiz, it’s only ten questions. I nearly gave up after one very dubious ”correct” answer which I didn’t agree with. Ended up with 8 out of 10, so I nearly know what I’m talking about.

  171. 43 out of 50 for me. Most embarassing for me, as an engineer, I got the F =ma question wrong by multiplying instead of dividing. Proves that overconfidence leads to errors. I think I missed most of the bio questions, but I did get Zygote.

  172. 48/50. (Lowest gravity planet, symbol for coefficient of friction.)
    Each of C, A, and GW is a fraud. Lysenko rulz ok.

  173. 39/50. I didn’t realize I know nothing about biology. And Austral what’s his name is from Africa and not Australia? WUWT? They’re misnaming old people.

  174. 35/50 :( I have got to stop second guessing myself and just stick with what my brain initially tells me… should have had a 40 (there I go making excuses again instead of just admitting that I failed it miserably). Impressive range of questions though, I have not had to use 70% of the knowledge tested in this quiz in the last 12 years. Are most of these high scores for real or is some of it the “google” effect? If not, boy do I feel like I am a few brain cells short around here.

  175. PaddikJ says:
    April 8, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Let’s not forget Vesto Slipher.

    There is no way I could have forgotten him, because what I don’t know I can’t forget. Thanks for pointing him out.

    I love your site, Anthony and all who contribute. It makes my golden years an adventure, a journey of discovery.

  176. 36 right 14 wrong, 72%….. About six I should have got right but changed my mind on…. The rest I really was guessing on….Though one of the ones I got right was a complete guess…. A bio question about cell division in eukaryotic cells = Mitosis….. Pfft, didn’t have a clue, guessed right. ;-)

  177. Tom in Florida says:
    April 8, 2012 at 5:56 am
    I took the test 10 times. Total correct answers were 487. Average score 48.7.

    To +/- 0.1, using CliSci error calculations.

  178. 37/50. 74% Considering that I left school at 16 to join the Navy I am quite proud of myself. Does help that I went to a grammar school and did Greek and Latin, for this quiz. Also shows why I comment on the Political and Social posts on WUWT and don’t tend to get involved in the science posts.. Fun quiz though; I learnt a few things! As someone else said, after the first 5 questions at 100% I was going to model a projection/prognostication/prediction of 50/50. Should have stopped whilst I was winning. (A lesson for climate scientists perhaps.)

  179. Finished, 49/50. Never had an astronomy or Greek course in my life to go with my Ph.D. in chemistry. I’ve also been good at multiple choice tests though.

  180. Hmm, very interesting, I didn’t realize how rusty I’ve gotten:

    http://www.uic.edu/classes/bios/bios100/lecturesf04am/lect16.htm says:

    Mitosis in a Nutshell

    * The stages of the cell cycle can be broken down into six stages:
    o Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase

    Interphase

    * is the “resting” or non-mitotic portion of the cell cycle.
    * It is comprised of G1, S, and G2 stages of the cell cycle.
    * DNA is replicated during the S phase of Interphase

    —-

    The stages of meiosis can be broken down into two main stages, Meiosis I and Meiosis II

    * Meiosis I can be broken down into four substages: Prophase I, Metaphase I, Anaphase I and Telophase I

    * Meiosis II can be broken down into four substages: Prophase II, Metaphase II, Anaphase II and Telophase II

    So, the question:

    38) What type of cell division in eukaryotic cells is divided into prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase?

    1) meiosis
    2) mitosis
    3) fission
    4) senescence

    can only be mitosis if stages like “prophase I” is not like “prophase”. I’d call it a very poor question, but I’ll admit to getting it wrong simply because I didn’t remember that either 1 or 2 should be correct.

    Along the way, there was a note that bacteria (prokaryotes) reproduce by duplicating plasmid ( a circular chromosome and the cell splits in two, a process called binary fission. I had forgotten that term.

    Senescence is the endstage for prokaryotes as the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes get shorter on each mitotic division and reach a point where cell division stops. Very important in aging and preventing cells from becoming cancerous. The telomere stuff is new since high school biology and is a interesting story of science working right without a major controversy before new knowledge was embraced.

  181. I took this test about a month ago, and got 100%, but I confess that one was a lucky guess. I was relieved that it contained none of the highly questionable assertions of “consensus” climate science.

    I left a comment because I thought that much of the test was not about science itself, but about the symbols and words that scientists use for ideas. Knowing that the Greek letter mu is used for the coefficient of static friction does not by itself demonstrate any understanding of the forces between two objects in contact. A science question on the topic might ask, “When an idealized block rests on a flat slope, what determines the angle at which the block will begin to slide?” with answer choices like, “a) Poisson ratio. b) diffusion coefficient. c) coefficient of static friction. d) shear stress.”

    In his autobiography, Richard Feynman made a big point of the distinction between understanding science and understanding human symbols, a distinction he learned from his father. Far too often our education system rewards the latter at the expense of the former. I think this quiz rewarded the latter more than the former also.

  182. This was one of those simple dumbed down set of so called scientific questions composed by a 2nd rate Professor. How does knowing which was Newton’s first law as opposed to knowing what his actual laws were and how to apply them matter. I have used these his laws for 40+ years but I couldn’t remember if it was the 1st or the 2nd, so I guess I was scientifically illiterate according to this quiz. Then we get onto literature with Janes Joyce and the “quark”. Yes I got it correct but I have never read his books!

    Then knowing the Greek letter “gamma” is used to denote the 3rd angle of a triangle made me a scientific genius! Not to mention the greek letter “mu” as the coefficient of friction made me a super genius able to do all sorts of calculations! This type of quiz reflects more badly on those who compose them than those who answer them. Absolutely pathetic but it probably reflects on the standard of education today.

    The website stopped responding before I finished so I don’t know what my score would have been. Probably not as good as yours Anthony!

  183. Scored 41 out of 50. Not bad for an accountant who last took chemistry, physics and biology forty years ago. It was interesting however, how much I retained through the years. Says a lot for the schools I attended and the quality of their instruction. Can we say the same thing now?

    Jay Davis

  184. 35, which is why I read but don’t comment much here.
    Not too bad for no science background.
    Strong in language which helped, a lot of questions depended on some knowledge there.
    Got ‘zygote’.

  185. I shouldn’t brag, but I got all 50. Comes from having a degree in an interdisciplinary field, biophysics, plus having taught intro-level geology and astronomy survey courses in college. The difficult thing in my life is focusing on one subject – I just love science in general!

    By the way, Mr. Watts, I have been following your web site for a number of years now and find it very useful. Though many scientists may now be loathe to admit it, one day I hope you will be recognized for the service you have done in providing needed critiques of climate science. I will be on a panel discussion at my college next week, and one of my topics will be how environmentalism and the climate change debacle has adversely affected science.

  186. Bah humbug, 49/50. I missed the one about Athena and catalytic converters. I had the right answer selected, but then I second-guessed myself.

  187. Took this test a few weeks back on a lunch break… scored either a 40 or a 41. I remember I made some dumb mistakes (I can commiserate with many here!) and was a bit disappointed in myself but, what the heck – no excuses!

    MtK

  188. 44/50 for me. I only had 1 wrong on the first 25, so I got complacent!
    As a science teacher, I would have liked to have seen some questions on the nature of science and scientific method like: What is a fair test?, What is the manipulated variable?, What is a controlled variable?, What is the responding variable?.

  189. 38. :-(

    There were some D’Oh, why did I put that as well as some guesses. The D’Ohs outnumbered the guesses.

    DaveE.

  190. “50 Correct 0 Wrong You answered 50of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 100%.”
    Five guesses and one by elimination – never heard of Eris.
    Hope I get as much luck in the lottery!

  191. ‘DOH! (Homer Simpson)

    You Dummy! (Fred Sanford)

    Meathead! (Archie Bunker)

    74% . . . But I was Lobotomized at Ft. Benning

  192. Grrrrrrrr! Scalene!!!!!
    Grrrrrr names of Greek letters Grrr Grrrr Grrrrr
    Got watt instead of joule double grrrrrrr!!

    Did guess Thunder Lizard though. Got quark but didn’t know it was from Finnegan’s Wake.

    A disappointing 42.

  193. UnfrozenCavemanMD says:
    April 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

    and

    D. M. says:
    April 8, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Concur with both – a very Western centric test – a lot based on context within the Western English speaking world; with its affinity for all things Greek !

    And I always had this problem at school – if I know how to apply Newtons nth law – why the heck do I need to know what number it is ? You can get many people to RECITE interminable lists of crud; not so many of those can apply any of the knowledge supposedly contained there in !

    I had the dubious pleasure of sitting a psychosomatic ‘evaluation’ in South Africa that was based on US/UK English and symbols – one question required you to know what the UK Ordnance Survey symbol for a lock gate is; otherwise you picked the answer involving female genitalia – boy did I have fun with them afterwards; as the wrong answer lead to some questions being asked at later interviews; that really implied you were a devient of the worst sort (yes; an Afrikaans colleague of mine answered it wrong; surprise, surprise)

    Unintended bias in these type of test is very easy to do – aquestion of not knowing what you don’t know about other people’s backgrounds

    Oh – Process Control Engineer & Science Fiction fan — 42/50 – College is some 40 years ago

    Can we get our Civil Servants who are in the Department of Climate Change to sit this; along with a few politicians ?

  194. I was spooked,
    the same face staring at me each time waving two vials of liquid with a grin put me off my stride,
    and I thought the `nimbus` cloud question was a bit questionable,
    OK if you knew the technically correct answer but if your not a cloud geek I would suggest they are splitting infinitives `is producing rain` or `does produce rain` and they are vertically formed.
    The result of my test showed that they still have to change 11 answers to meet the nationally accepted consensus average answer.
    apart from that 39 of 50

  195. Just 31 out of 50! But then I never studied biology or chemistry beyond 14, and slept through the physics ‘A’ level at 16-18 years.
    However, an understanding of the relevance of CAGW is not primarily knowing particular facts. It is a complex subject, requiring an understanding of relevance, magnitude and likelihood. Understanding requires being able to sort facts like a lawyer, to substantiate one’s case. It requires a logical mind, and an understanding of rhetorical fallacies. But at the same time it requires a high level of numeracy. Not the precise numeracy of pure mathematics, but the vague numeracy of statistics. In other words, it is an interdisciplinary subject, that requires skills way beyond the sciences.

  196. 41 correct. Three really stupid mistakes so it should have been 44. My excuse is my 62 year old brain was/is still awash from a little too much red wine last night and the coffee hadn’t kicked in yet.

    Apropos speed, the pages loaded really slow initially and then sped up considerably. And that’s when the stupid mistakes happened.

  197. My computer hung up three times, the last time totally at question 47. Up to there I had 5 wrong, with several lucky guesses (zygote and other biological terms about which I know nothing). The format is very slow and clunky, and to get back up to #47 would take more time than I am willing to put into it; I wish there were some way to skip up to where I involuntarily left off.

    IanM

  198. Apropos the use of the word literate, it literally means being acquainted with the literature. Unless you are a biologist and then it means ‘Marked with short, angulated lines resembling letters: applied to the surfaces of shells and insects’.

  199. The test is pretty lame. If you go all the way through you just gave the CSM web site 100 page hits. It’s transparently made to pump up page hits for their adverts. If it wasn’t they’d have 10 questions per page and hold the answers to the end.

  200. 80%…though struggling with the english language, empirial measures and two glasses of Californian wine :-)

  201. Ooops, and gone…. bzzt pffffhh
    So again:
    80% though struggling with the english language, imperial measures and two glasses of Californian wine :-)

  202. 33/50
    Certainly would have been less, had I not been following the crowd at WUWT for the last 2-3 years.

  203. 40/50. I’m embarrassed. Physics major ’77, engineer/manager since. I blame that last title for my low score – spent too much time in marketing, where reality is a drawback.

  204. Leif Svalgaard says: “There’s a bit of irony in whose website the poll is on. They did give as choices of the age of the Earth and the Universe the interesting number 6015 years.”

    Yeah, Leif, I got a chuckle out of that. No irony, though. Many Christians think evolution is valid.

    47/50. No excuses. I was ignorant.

  205. The first time the program gave up at question 38 at that time I had 33 right
    Tried again and it gave up at question 46, this time all were correct up to that point. What was the point?

  206. Quiz results

    “38
    Correct 12
    Wrong You answered 38 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 76%.”

    As my degree subject was German Studies, I have to admit plenty of those correct answers were down to a very rudimentary knowledge of Ancient Greek and Latin.

    I’ve long maintained that the three essential subjects for study in schools are Ancient Greek, Latin and mathematics. With that basis nothing you encounter in life should ever be so baffling that you’re discouraged from making the effort to understand it better.

  207. @Jorgekafkazar
    Me, a proud heathen knows, evolution isn’t valid. I’ll never understand Christians subscribing to Evolution Theorie despite possessing a book stating otherwise by the authority of their god ;-).

  208. Correct! (30 of 50 correct)

    I’m rapt. Also, as someone who uses 90% of his brainpower figuring out why one horse will run faster than another horse, amazed.

    And I guess every party has a pwl.

  209. lenbilen says:
    April 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    “What was the point?”

    The point is in the article’s title: fun!

    . . .

    Mike Hebb,

    Actually that was pretty good. I suspect the U.S. population as a whole would score around 15. Which would explain belief in the “carbon” scare.

  210. I was initially ashamed at my 43/50, then I remembered that I screwed up my A-levels (over 30 years ago when they actually meant something) due to my youthful fascination with the distaff side and motorbikes.

    Then I resampled the answers in line with peer-reviewed techniques and discovered that not only did I score 87/50 but I also aced my A-levels back in the day along with pulling the best looking girl in school and winning the World 500cc Championship …. which was nice!

  211. 42, at around midnight with a glass of whisky in hand. One of the wrong answers was kind-of-deliberate (I’m a creationist, so I was marked wrong for answering question 10, “What IS the age of the earth?”, but right for answering question 42, “ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD MODEL OF BIG BANG COSMOLOGY, what is the age of the universe?”) In all of the other cases I was able to narrow down the choices to two, but guessed wrong. I got the ‘nimbus’ one wrong, so I guess I haven’t been paying enough attention here.

  212. Smokey says:
    April 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm
    “Arn Riewe,
    Yes, I note that the usual suspects haven’t posted their scores.”

    Smokey and Arn,
    Many of them have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted to be honest about basic science issues. Without an independent ‘report card’, I don’t think I trust them to be honest about anything, even as trivial as this little quiz!
    MtK

  213. Got me on Eris and the pea plant (and I should have known the pea plant). Fun quiz but kinda stupid.

  214. The quiz froze at question 43. I got 38/43, partly because I was rushing and didn’t think carefully about a couple of questions.

    But they were pretty simple stuff. I had learned most of that at school before I was 16. For some of them (e.g. eukaryote) you didn’t even need to know any science. All you had to do was translate the Greek.

  215. I got somewhere in the low 70% (can’t remember exactly). My daughter took it and got 73%. I’m a chemist (at least I got all the chemistry questions right), and my daughter majored in geography. I graduated from college in 1969, and I have still have no idea what a “eukaryote” is — I really don’t think they covered that. And Brontosaurus meaning “Thunder Lizard” — Bronto means thunder?? I enjoyed taking the test, but was impatient that it had a separate screen for giving the correct answer, before going to the next question.

  216. You answered 50 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 100%. ^_^

    I read WUWT daily, which explains it. I didn’t know what they’d named the body past Pluto, but I knew all but one of the choices were in use for the names of moons or asteroids.

  217. You answered 50 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 100%. ^_^

    I read WUWT daily, which is like fuel for the brain.

    I didn’t know what they’d named the body past Pluto, but I recognized all but one choice as names of Pluto’s moons and a Kupier belt asteroid.

  218. 46/50 … and I was determined to beat Anthony too .. so that’s a primary mission FAILURE!
    Meiosis-meitosis: Never could remember which was which. Also went for blastocyst instead of zygote. Haven’t rubbed up against the coefficient of friction since 1973 – so crashed and burned there. Clueless about ‘Nimbus’, as well, which I imagine Anthony might possibly have guessed correctly(?!).
    All good fun though!
    And deepest gratitude and heartfelt best wishes to you Mr Watts for your irreplaceable website and your courageous and intellectually-rigorous stand against junk science. You’re the last American hero in my book and your name will be celebrated long after Global Warming is consigned to the garbage disposal of history.

  219. A key requisite for scientists wishing to be famous and successful, is learning how to disguise your own ignorance. [Guess that's why I only got 44 ]
    Failing that, criticize the question or the questioner. [Hey, it works in climate-change-ology]

  220. 47/50 for me. It would be interesting to compare average scores for WUWT readers versus readers of some other blogs.

  221. 39/50 :-(

    I shoulda done better, but never use physical units of measurement, and. . .

    Enough excuses!

    Greek clues helped, I must admit.

    /Mr Lynn

  222. Ric Werme says:
    April 8, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Prokaryotes have circular chromosomes, not linear ones. That means no telomeres.

    As an aside, I’ve seen people trained in physics or another “hard science”, decide to deal with some “simple” questions in biology. Typically, they discover the hard way biology isn’t a particularly “soft” science.

  223. Alas, I didn’t know, what Greek letter designates the coefficient of friction! Guess I’m scientifically illiterate, after all. But so are the authors of this quiz. Because physical units named after scientists (Ampere, Joule, Watt, etc.) must be capitalized. Because quark is not an elementary particle. Because the size and the mass of Eris are unknown (the hypothesis that it is larger than Pluto is no more than a speculation). And, as far as I know, Hubble, the discoverer of the red shift, did not postulate the expansion of the Universe. A Belgian priest, Georges Lemaître, did that on Vatican orders.

  224. Darn. g2-e1dac56eda01bae75bf1f4ea5d7fa0d6 was me. I must have my gravitar settings screwed up. That’s the second time I’ve come up as a serial number.

    I’d like to see a test of scientific knowledge that doesn’t include the particular terms and history that an advanced alien species would not have a clue about.

  225. Darn it, Word Press once again said my name was g2-e1dac56eda01bae75bf1f4ea5d7fa0d6.

    Had to go edit my profile.

  226. 40 out of 50. I was tempted to look some of them up, but avoided the temptation. Not a bad score, since I was playing Warcraft at the same time I did the quiz. hehe

  227. 44 out of 50. As an Australian I cheated on the US culturally specific question about the US postal service and the Brontosaurus. Only seems fair to put foreigners on a level playing field?

  228. 48, should have had 49 but a sloppy arithmetic mistake on f=ma. Did not know the new body beyond Pluto.

  229. Hoser says:
    April 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Ric Werme says:
    April 8, 2012 at 11:38 am
    Prokaryotes have circular chromosomes, not linear ones. That means no telomeres.

    As an aside, I’ve seen people trained in physics or another “hard science”, decide to deal with some “simple” questions in biology. Typically, they discover the hard way biology isn’t a particularly “soft” science.

    When I was interested in ecology, probably around the first Earth Day, I bought an ecology textbook. All differential equations. Very little of the foxes eating the rabbits (except as a diff eq model).

    One odd thing about my schooling – my English classes morphed from memorizing vocaulary and spellings to analyzing essays and novels. Meanwhile, biology morphed from observing plants and animals to memorizing terms like meiosis and mitosis (which I remembered) to terms like prophase through telophase (which I didn’t) to all the many steps to go from glucose to ATP. (I remember the Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain, but can’t tell what’s inside them.) See http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/etc/medialib/docs/Sigma-Aldrich/General_Information/metabolicpathways_updated_02_07.Par.0001.File.tmp/metabolic_pathways_poster.pdf

    While that’s really biochemistry, how many kinds of RNAs are there (e.g transfer RNA, messenger RNA, a few more named since I was in high school, etc) or how many types of white blood cells are there?

    Edward Bancroft says:
    April 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

    OK, but it was more a memory test than a scientific test.

    Yeah, but I’ve been thinking of how the test should be structured and concentrate in things that that show understanding, not just definitions, or things that can be deduced from recalling some facts. The more complex questions tend not to fit into multiple choice
    answers readily.

    For example “The Hohmann transfer orbit optimizes what aspect of moving around in space?” With answers like “minimal fuel use,” “time of flight”, “gravitational assist.”

    A lot of questions defy multiple choice answers. For example, “argon constitutes 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Why hasn’t it settled at ground level and suffocated us all?” One good thing about a question like that is it takes multiple bits of knowledge to answer the question well.

  230. John Warner says:
    April 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm
    44 out of 50. As an Australian I cheated on the US culturally specific question about the US postal service and the Brontosaurus. Only seems fair to put foreigners on a level playing field?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Sorry mate, can’t give you a pass on that. I’m a Kiwi and I knew it. Not about the stamp but that brontosaurus is a bogus name.

  231. A short story for the people above who call this a memory test instead of a science test. When I was in High School I took a field-trip to a cyclotron. The physicist who was giving the tour was giving us some info. on a chalk board and it became evident that he couldn’t remember the numerical value for the speed of light! Also, remember that Einstein did not remember his own phone number because he said “why memorize something you can look up in a book.”

  232. 48/50

    Missed Mitosis and Horsepower.

    The latter of which I am quite annoyed with myself about. As I was clicking submit for BTUs I had a sudden thought along the lines of “What the hell does heating water have to do with foot-pounds…..” , but it was too late.

    Oh well, I’m sure a lot of people had answers they were mad at themselves for immediately after the fact =P Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  233. @Alexander Feht,

    For friction I always remembered “Friction is Fun!”
    I used this to remember the formula: f = μn
    Or the force of friction(f) is equal to the coefficient of friction(μ) times the normal force(n).
    Remembering of course to factor in the fact that both f and n are vectors.

  234. 34 but I am just a lawyer. Aced the chemistry though since my dad was a PhD in biochemistry. Didn’t do too badly on the biology.

    Where were the medical questions? Since I was a personal injury lawyer for 30 plus years, I think not having any medical questions (not even any basic anatomy) cost me.

  235. Hey, I got 33 out of 50 right. Not bad for a lawyer who hadn’t studied much science since senior year physics in high school. All the rest of you guys are too smart for me. Lol!

  236. 37… I have a degree is micro/phytopath so I aced the bio + chem… I never liked physics though

  237. 37

    But I don’t agree that anecdotal knowledge of moons in the solar system makes you “scientifically literate” – it just makes you literate…

  238. Just got my 12 year old son Marcus to have a go,
    Once we got over the “I dont know” stock answer and with a help to think outside the box and pattern forming he scored a creditable 19 including 4 guesses from the 2 remaining choices.
    Now if they didnt have 8 weeks holiday in the summer he may learn even more !!!

  239. 46.

    Missed Hubble, mu, natural log, and nimbus (sorry Anthony).

    Not bad for a Monday morning, I guess.

  240. 49/50 not bad for a failed physics major turned mathematician. I missed the Nimbus cloud question which I suppose was easy for all real climate watchers.
    I would like to challenge some college age relatives to take the test but from here it was painfully slow and I had to restart it 4 times because it locked up. So probably a bad idea.

  241. 41 out of 50, thought I would do worse, but I also thought I would do better on the mathematics questions.

  242. Quiz results: 46 Correct, 4 Wrong
    You answered 46 of 50 questions correctly for a total score of 92%.

    Total test took a few minutes over an hour to complete (went to kitchen to pour a cup of coffee at one point, moved the Green-cheeked Conure (bird) between cages, all the while watching NBC’s “Today” program with the beautiful Natalie Morales, but I digress) … and that was using Google in an open-book test-taking format (which I’m sure a number of ppl also did) … not all Google-referenced items (relied upon for ‘answers’ on more obscure subjects for an engineer for instance) would appear to be correct (maybe in a quick, hurried read at least) …

    It would be tough to believe that most reported scores of over 40 (correct) did not rely on web searches or text-book references (the last time i saw the term ‘zygote’ must have been during sex ed or some biology class a generation and more ago and who remembers the four stages of a eukaryotic cell’s division in/during mitosis?).

    Quite a test; thanks for posting Anthony.

    .

  243. 47 – I missed Nimbus, thunderlizard, and… the extra-Pluto object (maybe that one was published in one of the pop-science rags that I don’t ever even look through anymore since they began their pathological obsession with the evil CO2). And I admit I guessed on a few, but they weren’t totally uneducated guesses. Narrowing a choice down to one of two is better than randomly choosing one of four.

    Sometimes we over-analyze these things… for these types of quizzes we all should know that the desired answer is the popular answer, not always the right answer, and a few were worded with slightly less than crystal clarity.

    I always liked these kinds of quizzes… of course, I always like anything that makes me look smart.

  244. Got about 15 questions into it then had to sign off. Starting over again later, I found the first 15 questions curiously easy. I managed to finish, but I was severely distracted by pop-ups. A helmeted traffic cop with sunglasses kept checking my speed with a radar gun, sometimes pointing right at me. Unnerving when you’re trying to remember the number of bloody moons of bloody Neptune. : – !

    Where do these ads come from? Did I track that one in, or did one of the blogging gods place it there?

  245. Finally had the chance to take this, without referencing anything,

    scored 39/50.

    Do have to say I am pretty happy, I missed all 5 I had to guess at, but shrug, I think anyone who scored in this neighborhood or higher with any kind of science background is doing good. I am in computers, so the only reason I have science background at all is from high school and reading blogs such as this one lol…so go figure. Never took any phyiscs, chemistry or anything like that in college so all I had was math and biology in college, which was kind of how I did manage to get the zygote question correct myself. I have to really read into phyics etc which I do depending on jobs and what not all the time, so I am constantly keeping up to date on various topics, but for general run of the mill physics, forget it lol!

    Which just goes to show we all have those different questions we get wrong or right.

    Thanks for the diversion, It was needed.

  246. @Paul Westhaver

    ‘Fred Hoyle was furious with Gamov and LeMaitre for suggesting that the universe was not static and never accepted the expanding universe theory and he died in 2001… he was so completely and spectacularly wrong about the static universe model.’ Wrong there – the Steady State model was always an expanding universe in agreement with Hubble.

    ‘Too bad since got the atomic synthesis theory correct for atoms larger than iron.’ Wrong again, I’m afraid. Hoyle famously predicted the mechanism for the nucleosynthesis of Carbon.

    ‘Hoyle was a simple case of a recalcitrant, intelligent, atheist, consumed with his own arrogance. His snotty disposition won him many enemies.’ Where I come from, we have a saying: Tha can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but tha can’t tell him much. Hoyle never took anything on authority, and that is a good thing. Wherever he saw a cosy scientific consensus he set out to pick (usually mathematical) holes in it. Some would say that is how science works. He was, for example, a chapter author in ESEF’s ‘The Global Warming Debate’.

    ‘I’m sure he thought himself flawless.’ I don’t know how you can be sure, but in any case I’m not a great believer in thoughtcrime nor, for that matter, any kind of ad hominem argument in science.

    ‘As for Friedman…. I think you are alone in asserting that he thought up the big bang. I’d like to see that in writing.’ Fighting talk, no less. No, I didn’t make it up. This is from ‘Cosmic Life Force’ (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1988, page 116): ‘…the “Big Bang” model of the Universe which was first suggested in 1922 by the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman.’ If that source is too obscure for you, you could always try Wikipedia: ‘When Lemaître approached Einstein at the 1927 Solvay Conference, the latter pointed out that Alexander Friedmann had proposed a similar solution to Einstein’s equations in 1922, implying that the radius of the universe increased over time.’

    Personally, I think the Big Bang model in its current form is too dependent on additional hypotheses – inflation, dark matter, dark energy… Hoyle certainly did not reject expansion at any point in his career, and in the early 1990’s he, with Burbidge and Nalikar, published the Quasi-Steady State Cosmology, which assumed that our observable universe was largely a ‘minibang’ embedded in an infinite universe. See for example

    http://www.ias.ac.in/jarch/jaa/18/353-362.pdf

    for the several advantages of this theory over the Standard Big Bang.

    Or just accept that the Standard Model is Holy Writ…

  247. Many of you have dully noted the shortcomings of this quiz as a measure of any real scientific ability. In fact it reads like the science cards in Trivial Pursuit.

    But the point to take away from this is that if the warmist MSM believes their test is a valid measure of scientific literacy, then our collective performance here knocks the “ignorant skeptic” meme right into a cocked hat.

  248. 38/50 is something I probably shouldn’t be too ashamed of, in today’s America, but I probably shouldn’t have missed the cloud question beings this is a site full of amateur weather nerds, of which I consider myself.

    Cumulonimbus clouds are vertical, which I answered, but they also precipitate, which is the correct answer.

  249. Just flew in from a birding and butterflying trip to south Texas- and now this! Got 45 right with a couple of lucky guesses. Actually, there were several clues, linquistic and otherwise for some of the questions, which helped. My undergraduate and graduate biology helped. My ham radio hobby of 55 years helped me with 3 or 4 questions. My math skills hurt me enanomously. Very impressive group of WUWTers here! Bet the Skeptical Science blog alarmists would do goreable in this test.

  250. 45 here.

    But some of you guys should quit apologizing for guessing. Here in California we educators spend a great deal of time and effort teaching the kids how to make good guesses on tests….

    By the way we also teach ‘scalene’ and ‘metamorphic’ in 3rd and 4th grade.
    : > )

  251. The quiz was fun, but it took too long because the web site was slow. Additionally, it took too many click-and-waits to answer a question. Maybe it was my pop-up blocker software that bogged things down, but I won’t turn that off for *anybody*.
    BTW, I was 50 for 50, but there were a couple lucky guesses in there…

  252. Done Physics & Electrical Engineering 30 Years ago . Only got 35 out of 50. :-(
    I’d say I’m a lot more scientifically literate now from what I’ve learned following this global warming thing, ‘though nothing Ilearned from that helped with this test.
    As ‘pwl’ says further up, scientific literacy is perhaps more about the approach & method than recalling facts and my appreciation of questioning & the method has probably been sharpened more in these recent years, from following the likes of Watts, Nova, Monckton et al.
    Of course I could have used Google etc. but found Anthony’s sporting challenge more interesting. Google & Wiki etc. would only have identified the accepted wisdoms.

    Congratulations Anthony on leading the first great crusade against pseudo-science of the new millenium. I’m sure there will be many more to come.

  253. Eh, 35/50. My memory just isn’t that good, which is why I actually look stuff up before forming opinions about things, lol. I’ve noticed an ironic fact of the world over the years: The people with the strongest convictions often have the least knowledge about the subjects at hand.

    I can’t wait to make my friends do this. The are mostly aerospace engineers and lawyers, so wanna place bets on who claims to get the best scores?

  254. For those with with loading problems click the print icon in the CSM articlefor the answers.

    The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com

    Are you scientifically literate? Take our quiz

    You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education,
    stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts to
    back up your opinion? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy.

    ————————————————————————

    By Eoin O’Carroll , Staff
    posted December 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm EST

    Composing about 78 percent of the air at sea level, what is the most
    common gas in the Earth’s atmosphere?

    Carbon dioxide

    Oxygen

    Nitrogen

    Hydrogen

    The Austrian monk Gregor Mendel’s observations of what organism
    formed the basis for the science of genetics?

    pea plants

    fruit flies

    tulips

    mice

    What term, which means the maximum absolute value of a periodically
    varying quantity, does the “A” in AM radio broadcasting stand for?

    Amplification

    Amplitude

    Ampere

    Amphibian

    In 1989, the US postal service drew criticism from paleontologists
    for releasing a stamp with what obsolete genus name, which
    translates from Greek as “Thunder Lizard”?

    Tyrannosaurus

    Brontosaurus

    Stegosaurus

    Triceratops

    Organic chemistry is the study of compounds that contain what element?

    oxygen

    nitrogen

    carbon

    potassium

    How many nanometers are there in a centimeter?

    1,000

    1,000,000

    10,000,000

    100,000,000

    In physics, what letter is used to represent the speed of light in a
    vacuum?

    a

    b

    c

    d

    The only two known planets in our solar system that lack any moons
    are Venus and what other planet?

    Mars

    Uranus

    Mercury

    Pluto

    What is the heaviest noble gas?

    xenon

    neon

    helium

    radon

    Approximately how old is the Earth?

    6015 years

    100,000 years

    4.5 million years

    4.5 billion years

    Newton’s First Law of Motion describes what phenomenon?

    Inertia: An object not subject to any net external force moves at a
    constant velocity

    Gravitation: Physical bodies attract each other with a force
    proportional to their mass

    Acceleration: The rate of change of a body over time is proportional to
    the net force acting on it

    Kinetic energy: The energy of a body is equal to one half of the product
    of its mass times and velocity squared

    Mars is often described as the “Red Planet” because of the
    prevalence of what element mixed with oxygen on its surface?

    copper

    iron

    zinc

    cadmium

    What combustible compound, the principal component of natural gas,
    has the chemical formula CH4?

    propane

    ethanol

    methane

    benzene

    What word, which comes from a Greek term meaning “good kernel,”
    describes an organism whose cells contain chromosomes inside a
    nucleus bounded by a membrane, as distinguished from bacterial forms
    of life?

    virus

    amoeba

    vertebrate

    eukaryote

    Named for a 19th century English physicist, what unit of measurement
    is defined as the energy exerted by the force of one newton acting
    to move an object through a distance of one meter?

    watt

    joule

    hertz

    pascal

    The lowercase of what letter of the Greek alphabet is used to denote
    diverse phenomena such as the photon, the third angle in a triangle,
    the heat capacity ratio in thermodynamics, a type of high frequency
    electromagnetic radiation?

    alpha

    beta

    gamma

    delta

    What element, whose atomic number is 8, is the most abundant element
    in the earth’s crust, making up almost half the crust’s total weight?

    aluminum

    oxygen

    carbon

    nitrogen

    DNA contains adenine, cytosine, guanine, and what other nucleotide
    base, which is not found in RNA?

    uracil

    adenosine

    thymine

    deoxyribose

    What is the electrical resistance offered by a current-carrying
    element that produces a drop of one volt when a current of one
    ampere is flowing through it?

    1 joule

    1 watt

    1 ohm

    1 hertz

    The letter K stands for what element on the periodic table?

    tungsten

    tin

    potassium

    silver

    What term describes the single initial cell of a new organism that
    has been produced by means of sexual reproduction?

    zygote

    blastocyst

    embryo

    fetus

    If you were to apply a net force of one Newton on a 200 gram object,
    what would be the acceleration of the object?

    5 meters per second squared

    2 meters per second squared

    0.2 meter per second squared

    50 meters per second squared

    Noting how light from objects that are moving away from the observer
    tend to shift to the red end of the spectrum, what scientist first
    established that the universe is expanding?

    Albert Einstein

    Carl Sagan

    Johannes Kepler

    Edwin Hubble

    A temperature interval of one degree Fahrenheit is equal to an
    interval of 5/9ths of a degree Celsius. At about what temperature do
    the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales converge?

    400 degrees

    4000 degrees

    -40 degrees

    -400 degrees

    The genus Australopithecus, one species of which was an ancestor of
    modern humans, first evolved on what continent?

    Australia

    Africa

    Asia

    South America

    According to Bernoulli’s Principle, an increase in the speed of a
    fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in what?

    volume

    mass

    energy

    pressure

    What is the name for the chemical compound that dentists use as
    “laughing gas” and that engineers and mechanics use as an oxidizer
    in rocketry and in motor racing?

    nitrogen tetroxide

    hydrogen peroxide

    nitrous oxide

    hydrogen fluoride

    Geologists categorize rocks into three types: Igneous, sedimentary,
    and what?

    volcanic

    metamorphic

    crystalline

    oceanic

    Two planets in our solar system are tied for having the lowest
    surface gravity – on each one you would weigh only about 38 percent
    of what you weigh on Earth. One of these planets is Mercury. What is
    the other one?

    Neptune

    Saturn

    Mars

    Venus

    What moon, the largest moon orbiting Saturn, is the only known
    object in the solar system other than Earth that is known to have
    liquid on its surface?

    Tethys

    Titan

    Rhea

    Enceladus

    The 2006 demotion of Pluto to the status of dwarf planet was
    precipitated by the discovery of what object orbiting beyond Pluto,
    believed to be 27 percent more massive than Pluto and named for the
    Greek goddess of strife and discord?

    Ceres

    Eris

    Nyx

    Charon

    In classical mechanics, what is defined as the product of an
    object’s mass and velocity?

    force

    acceleration

    momentum

    kinetic energy

    What word, which comes from Ancient Greek words meaning “entire” and
    “Earth,” describes a supercontinent thought to have existed during
    the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, about 250 million years ago?

    Gaia

    Eurasia

    Pangaea

    America

    What term for an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent
    of matter gets its name from a line in James Joyce’s 1939 novel
    “Finnegans Wake”?

    atom

    quark

    proton

    electron

    The mathematical constant e is defined as the base of the natural
    system of logarithms, having a numerical value of approximately what?

    3.142

    0.567

    1.618

    2.718

    Protium, which consists of a single proton and no neutrons, is the
    most common isotope of what element?

    helium

    hydrogen

    nitrogen

    carbon

    The lowercase version of what Greek letter is used to symbolize the
    coefficient of friction in classical physics?

    delta

    mu

    epsilon

    zeta

    What type of cell division in eukaryotic cells is divided into
    prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase?

    meiosis

    mitosis

    fission

    senescence

    What word, which comes from a Greek term meaning “old stone”
    describes the era of human history, from about 2.5 million years ago
    to 12,000 years ago, which was distinguished by the development of
    the first stone tools?

    Holocene

    Jurassic

    Paleolithic

    Pleistocene

    With an atomic number of 9, what chemical element is the lightest
    element of the halogen series? It gets its name from a Latin word
    meaning “stream” or “move freely.”

    bromine

    astatine

    fluorine

    iodine

    After the Moon, what is the brightest natural object in the night
    sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast
    shadows?

    Polaris

    Mercury

    Venus

    Betelgeuse

    According to the standard model of Big Bang cosmology, approximately
    how old is the Universe?

    6015 years old

    14 million years old

    14 billion years old

    14 trillion years old

    What word, which derives from a Greek term meaning “unequal” or
    “bent,” describes a triangle whose three sides are of unequal length?

    equilateral

    isosceles

    oblong

    scalene

    Over half of the world’s supply of what element, which gets its name
    from the epithet of the Greek goddess Athena, is used in catalytic
    converters?

    americium

    palladium

    molybdenum

    cadmium

    In quantum mechanics, the physical constant used to describe the
    sizes of quanta – denoted as h – is named after what German physicist?

    Erwin Schrödinger

    Max Planck

    Albert Einstein

    Werner Heisenberg

    Approximately how long does it take light from the sun to reach Earth?

    It’s pretty much instantaneous

    Eight seconds

    Eight minutes

    Eight hours

    In meteorology, what does the suffix -nimbus added to the name of a
    cloud indicate?

    It is at a low altitude

    It is at a high altitude

    It is vertically developed

    It is precipitating

    What element, which has the atomic number 16 and is a bright yellow
    crystalline solid at room temperature, is referred to in the Bible
    as “brimstone”?

    magnesium

    sulfur

    phosphorus

    chlorine

    The moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto all orbit what planet?

    Saturn

    Jupiter

    Neptune

    Uranus

    What unit of measurement, which is equal to 33,000 foot-pounds per
    minute, did 18th-century steam engine entrepreneur James Watt come
    up with?

    British Thermal Unit

    watt

    erg

    horsepower

  255. 46 — But I missed some I should have gotten right and got some I should have gotten wrong…

    Which in the end means nothing. Not knowing Eris affects my understanding of physics exactly how? If I don’t know Mendel was connected to the pea? Am I a dunce?

    Being able to understand a Punnet square though has much more bearing on my ability to understand science in general. Knowing that it is called Punnet, not so much. The only reason I knew that is my son was watching a Kahn video recently discussing them.

  256. _Jim says:
    April 9, 2012 at 7:54 am

    It would be tough to believe that most reported scores of over 40 (correct) did not rely on web searches or text-book references (the last time i saw the term ‘zygote’ must have been during sex ed or some biology class a generation and more ago and who remembers the four stages of a eukaryotic cell’s division in/during mitosis?).

    “Closed web” for me. (49.) I remember a lot of stuff from school, at least I remember a lot after the test on that material. I’ve always been bothered by students griping that subjects covered before the last test are on the most recent test. I never figured out that grades and class rank were important because I had this misplaced idea that schools were places you learned stuff.

    Also, I subscribed to Science News after being blown away by a 1969 Nova-like program titled “Our Restless Universe” with all sorts of stuff I didn’t know about. A year later I watched “Our Restless Earth and was quite pleased that there was only one thing I wasn’t familiar with. This was during the plate tectonic revolution, and things were changing at a furious rate.

    I had to puzzle over zygote for a little bit, mainly because it had been mentioned as being in the test, but decided blastocyst had lots of cells. And I chose meiosis for the wrong reasons, though it turns out meiosis loses on a technicality.

    These days I don’t read Science News much. I take in some of it on the web, and bring paper copies to doctor appointments. (Otzi, the Alpine Ice Man had Lyme disease! Who’da thunk it?) Just spend too much time here. :-)

  257. Anthony– —

    49 out of 50, no cheating; does that make me smarter than a 5th grader?

    Only missed the one about palladium being used in catalytic converters (used to be platinum; it must have gotten to expensive … … )

    Regards,

    Mark H.

  258. 33 / 50. I was hoping for better. I got the first 13 correct and was feeling pretty proud of myself. But then they put in a eukaryote, of which I’ve never ever heard of. It all went down hill from there.

    Still not bad for an Engineering Draftsman who didn’t do physics, chemestry or biology in school.

  259. ugh 37. I suck at astronomy and history.. There was too much of that. Got all the physics stuff though which made me happy seeing as I’m anatomy and physiology studies all the way down. Great link Anthony, thanks for that.

  260. I have an extremely poor mobile broadband connection that is constantly dropping-out. I lost connection at Q 34 and on reconnecting found myself staring at Q 9 again. I scored 25 out of 34 (73.5%). Disappointed. I don’t know my solar system very well, it seems.

  261. 86% and very pleased with it! I am a retired dentist but took two geology and one meteorology courses out of interest and have been an amateur astronomist for 20 years, so I lucked out!
    All my misses were physics.

  262. I got 47 out of 50, bio was my 2/3 downfall. The other was the cloud question,, I had a different interpretation of what “nimbus” meant. And in the small world category, I have actually met Dr. Harbron in my travels.

  263. I answered one question, then clicked NEXT, only to receive a “This page cannot be displayed because the site is too busy.”

    So now I expect tomorrow’s Current TV headline to be: “Climate skeptics mount denial of service attack on Christian Scientist web site.”

  264. 45/5, but that would also include knowingly giving the ‘wrong’ answer for the age of the earth. (Yes, I am one of those fools ‘science hating’ fools.) Was ashamed for missing the horsepower and zygote questions as I should have nailed those as well!

  265. 42 – Oil field work is done in English units, at least over here in the US so after college many moons ago the metric system has faded from memory.

  266. “”””” Cladis Advisory says:

    April 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    46 — But I missed some I should have gotten right and got some I should have gotten wrong…

    Which in the end means nothing. Not knowing Eris affects my understanding of physics exactly how? If I don’t know Mendel was connected to the pea? Am I a dunce? “””””

    Well you got screwed; I believe it was actually SWEET PEAS.

  267. 44 out of 50 and quite disappointed in myself. I was rushing through at the end due to the number of clicks needed. There were at least 3 I should have gotten with a little more thought.

    I was really hoping to equal (or even best) Anthony due to my love of biology. I’m a scientist– like many who read this blog. I just drive a bus to pay the bills.

    As for the ‘open book’ theory–ABSOLUTELY NOT. Don’t you think it would have been mentioned at the start of the test?

    I’d be quite surprised if even 1% of the readers here used anything but their memory.

    If you used Google there is no excuse for anything less than 100%. Its really not a hard test with many clues for the more difficult questions.

  268. @ Rick Werme

    “I never figured out that grades and class rank were important because I had this misplaced idea that schools were places you learned stuff.”

    Me too, because mine were. But it was a long time ago. I know better now.

  269. The trouble with multiple choice tests, is that they never follow the rules. All offered “answers” to a multiple choice question must be equally plausible, to someone who knows nothing at all about the subject. So just how many elements would the average dunce think might have just one proton, and no neutrons.
    And with a one out of four choice, even a monkey can get 12 1/2 out of 50 correct. So 12.5 correct should be scored as zero. But then how do you correct higher scores. Do you take (4/3)x(s-12.5), or some other formula.
    As near as I can recall, the ONLY multiple choice test I ever took, prior to this non science test, was the usual IQ test; and those tests were always silly too. Quite often, one could find multiple possible correct answers, that the examiner never realized were there when they set the test. Most common violator in that way, is the type of problem, where a certain geometrical figure undergoes some transform, to yield a different figure. One then has to guess which out of 4 or 5 figures is the result of applying the same transform to a new figure. Well what if the original change can be accomplished by several different transforms. For example, a square with a dot in the NW corner, can transform to a square with a dot in the SE corner, in at least two different ways. A 180 flip about the SW-NE diagonal will do the trick. So will a 180 degree turn in the plane

  270. 49/50. I had no idea -nimbus meant precipitating. It’s well worth missing one to learn that.

  271. IQ tests? The ‘correct’ answer is merely the one that most intelligent people pick; i.e. it is not ‘right’ in the sense that a math test answer is right.

  272. Mervyn says:
    April 8, 2012 at 12:30 am

    “I only scored 27 out of 50. Probably would have scored more if I knew Greek. I know I could have got 50 out of 50 if I cheated. Gee, some of you must be pretty smart!”

    My ^favorite comment!^☺

  273. I tried this test with some apprehension, as my background is classics/Eng Lit and my scientific training is scanty to say the least. However, the clues (esp. the Greek clues!) saved the worst of my blushes. It was interesting psychologically, as although I knew I was ignorant, I didn’t really
    want to know quite how ignorant I was. Just shows how ignorance can work to preserve ignorance, despite it being in one’s best interests not to be ignorant. This leads back to the reason why I initially started visiting this website, ie, to try to make sense of what was being reported about global warming that seemed implausible or irreconcilable. The point of this comment : thanks to all of you out there who spread your knowledge, and although I understand that you write for the scientifically informed, I’m especially grateful to those of you who spread the information so logically and lucidly that it’s comprehensible to the general public. There are a lot of us out here who don’t have a scientific background, but aren’t complete fools either and can differentiate between what is logical and what is not. Keep up the good work!

  274. Sorry forgot to specify score as requested: 34/50. Quite pleased with this (said she grinning from underneath the dunce’s hat).

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