Here are the answers to yesterday’s science quiz:
You know that light travels at a speed of 1 light-year per year, don’t you? You also know that the universe is 13.5 billion years old? Okay, if you’re so smart, how far away is the farthest object we can see in our telescopes?
45 billion light years. (13.5 billion years ago it was closer, but then the universe started to expand.)
When Gregor Mendel started experimenting with how organisms inherited characteristics he started with mice. What made him switch from mammals to peas?
His bishop said (rough translation), “Mice? You want to breed mice and have them copulating all over my monastery? Not a chance! Stick to plants, Gregor!”
In what way did the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 1914 save Albert Einstein’s reputation and clear the way for acceptance of his relativity theories later on?
Einstein’s theories were scheduled to be put to the test in August 1914, when a crucial total solar eclipse could be observed in the Crimea. The outbreak of war made those observations impossible.
Then Einstein, regretfully looking over the calculations of the displacement of stars close to the sun that were now useless, realized with horror that he had made a mathematical mistake. His results were all wrong. If the observations had been performed his paper would have predicted false positions for both the stars and his professional credibility.
He redid the calculations in time for the actual observations, and then the results were just as he had said they would be.