London Blog

The Friday Quiz

Welcome to the first instalment of what will hopefully become a regular feature – a Friday quiz!

The quiz is divided into five sections (the subjects of which will change each time). Some, but not all, are Google-able – but what’s the fun in that? Have a go, and feel free to pass comment below (but don’t reveal the answers!).

Round 1 – London’s pioneers

All of the following blue plaques dedicated to scientific pioneers can be found somewhere in London. However, we’ve obscured the names – can you fill in the blanks?


Chris Clough


sarflondondunc (Flickr)


sarflondondunc (Flickr)

Round 2 – 1st lines

The following are all the first sentences from seminal works of science. Can you identify the author in each case? (And bonus points if you can name the book as well.)

1. “Since the newness of the hypotheses of this work–which sets the earth in motion and puts an immovable sun at the center of the universe–has already received a great deal of publicity, I have no doubt that certain of the savants have taken grave offense and think it wrong to raise any disturbance among liberal disciplines which have had the right set-up for a long time now.”

2. “Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence.”

3. “Since the ancients (as we are told by Pappus) esteemed the science of mechanics of greatest importance in the investigation of natural things, and the moderns, rejecting substantial forms and occult qualities, have endeavored to subject the phenomena of nature to the laws of mathematics, I have in this treatise cultivated mathematics as far as it relates to philosophy.”

Round 3 – Elements

1. Which essential element has a name meaning “water producer”?

2. Which element is named after

(a)   the Roman name for Paris?

(b)   the Roman name for Copenhagen?

(c)    An island in the Mediterranean Sea?

3. Which element’s alternative name of ‘wolfram’ is reflected in its chemical symbol, W?

Round 4 – The Royal Society

The following are all pictures of past presidents of the Royal Society. Can you name them?


President from 2005-2010

Rob Minchin


President from 1890-1895


President from 1684-1686

Glyn Thomas

Round 5 – Anagrams

And to finish off, here are three anagrams of famous scientists past and present (first and second names). Can you unscramble them to reveal the geniuses therein?

1. A Knights Nephew

2. Broke Hooter

3. Whining Recorders

All answers will be revealed next week. There are no prizes, unless you count a smug sense of satisfaction as a prize. Good luck!


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