The Layman-friendly Science Quiz

Staff

Image: Steve Debenport/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

It's impossible to understand the world around us without science. It explains why things are the way they are, and innovations in the field make our days so much easier (hello smart phones and refrigerators!)  While you might not have had the best time ever in your high school science classes, we promise it's all much more interesting that your teachers let on! Beyond being full of astounding numbers and facts, science also helps us understand our place in this enormous world and universe. 

Do you know how many insects exist per human? We can't tell you quite yet, but it's a lot! Do you know which underwater trench could easily hold Mount Everest?  Do you have any idea how enormous Jupiter actually is? 

If you're an all-around science whiz, take this quiz to find out how broad your knowledge truly is! From astronomy to geology to biology, we've got it covered in this quiz.  While acing this test might not get you an "A" in class, it might distract you from a spreadsheet that needs organizing at work...and who doesn't want a little distraction in the name of science?

If a big chunk of rock falls from space and lands in your yard, it's probably:

Meteors and asteroids orbit the sun. Rocks that manage to make it all the way to the Earth's surface are knowns as meteorites.

True or False: You shouldn't swim in a pool full of dihydrogen monoxide.

Dihydrogen monoxide is just a fancy way of saying H20 (or water.) Generally speaking though, you should probably add some chlorine or salt to your pool to make sure it kills dangerous microbes that could pose a threat.

Which of these is NOT found in the nucleus of an atom?

Protons and neutrons make up an atom's nucleus, while electrons make up the area outside of the nucleus. The word "nucleons" refers to these protons and neutrons.

True or false: The earliest humans lived alongside the last of the dinosaurs.

The last dinosaurs walked Earth 65 million years ago, while early humans didn't show up until around 2.5 million years ago. While birds are ancestors of the dinosaurs, they are not, in fact, real dinosaurs.

What is the most common element in the universe?

Around 74% of the universe of made of of hydrogen. Helium is the next most common element. The remaining 2% is everything else.

At what temperature does water boil at sea level?

Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 degrees Celsius. At higher elevations, water boils at a lower temperature. This is why cooking food at altitude can be tricky and some recipes need adjustment.

How much of the Earth's surface is covered by oceans?

Oceans cover just over 70 percent of the Earth's surface, and 97 percent of all water on the planet can be found in these oceans. About two percent of the remaining water on earth is frozen.

What is the middle layer of the Earth called?

The Earth consists of three layers: an outer crust and inner core separated by a rocky layer known as the mantle. The mantle makes up 84 percent of the volume of the planet.

Which travels faster, light or sound?

Light travels around 300 million meters per second (186,000 miles per second,) while sound creeps along at 340 meters per second. That's why lightning always comes before thunder during a storm.

Which of these elements did Marie Curie discover?

Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in 1903, the first woman ever to earn the honor, for her discovery of radium and polonium. She received a second Nobel Prize in 1911.

How long does it take Earth to travel around the sun?

The Earth takes 365 days to travel around the sun and 24 hours to rotate completely on its axis. Different planets have both shorter and longer days and years.

Which of the following would you prefer to eat if you were an herbivore?

Herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat meat and omnivores nosh on a little bit of both. Different animals have different types of digestive tracks (as well as different configurations of teeth) that match their most biologically-appropriate diet.

What was Albert Einstein's primary field of study?

Einstein was known for his advancements in the field of physics, including his famous theory of relativity.

What is the largest planet in the solar system?

Jupiter is the giant among the planets, while Mercury is the smallest. It has more than twice the mass of all of the other planets put together.

What is the name given to the deepest spot in all of the world's oceans?

The Mariana Trench, also known as the Marianas Trench, is located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is believed to be the deepest spot on Earth. The trench is over 36,000 feet deep!

True or false: Icebergs and glaciers are both made up of freshwater.

Glaciers and icebergs both consist of freshwater and are technically considered land ice. Frozen saltwater is known simply as sea ice.

What controls tides in bodies of water?

The moon's gravitational pull controls tides here on Earth via tidal force. Without the moon, we wouldn't have the same kinds of tides that we currently have.

Which of the following is not a form of carbon?

Carbon comes in several forms, including graphite, diamonds and fullerenes, also known as buckyballs (because they're shaped liked the ball used in soccer.)

True or false: More than 75 percent of the world's volcanoes are found above the Arctic Circle.

The vast majority of the world's volcanoes are found in an area of the Pacific Ocean known as the Ring of Fire, and this is mostly below the Arctic Circle.

What discovery earned James Watson and Francis Crick the Nobel Prize in 1962?

Watson and Crick earned the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the double-helix design of DNA. Although she helped with the discovery, scientist Rosalind Franklin did not receive the prize along with Watson and Crick.

What percentage of the world's plants and animals live in rainforests?

Although rainforests cover just seven percent of Earth's surface, they are home to roughly 50 percent of all plants and animals.

What's the biggest ocean on Earth?

The Pacific is the largest of the Earth's five oceans by area and volume. The Arctic is the smallest.

What is frozen carbon dioxide often called?

Dry ice has a lower temperature than ice made from water. If you handled it without protective gloves, you'd get a serious ice burn.

What does a light year measure?

A light year measures the distance that light can travel in one year. It's useful for discussing distances between objects in space because of the significant distances between them.

Which of these elements is liquid at room temperature?

Only two elements, mercury and bromine, are liquid at room temperature. Mercury is also known as quicksilver, a reference to its liquid metallic state. Any direct contact with mercury is dangerous because it is highly toxic.

What is the name of the car-like vehicle that arrived on Mars in 2012?

The Curiosity rover will likely spend a decade exploring Mars and sending valuable information back to scientists here on Earth. It's main job was to find out information about the crater, Gale, which is likely a dry lake bed.

How many bones are in the adult human body?

The adult body has 206 bones. Kids have more, closer to 300, but the bones fuse together as the child grows until 206 are left.

Which of these lines can be found at 23.5 degrees north latitude?

The Tropic of Cancer is located 23.5 degrees north of the equator, while the Tropic of Capricorn lies at 23.5 degrees south latitude. These mark the northernmost and southernmost latitudes that the sun travels directly overhead.

True or false: There is an element known as Einsteinium.

Einsteinium, which was named for the famed physicist, Albert Einstein, is a radioactive byproduct discovered in 1952.

What percent of the world's species are insects?

If you're spooked by creepy-crawlies, watch out! About 80 percent of all species on Earth belong to the insect family. This means there are roughly 300 pounds of bugs per pound of human.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes