A question of physics

Twelve intriguing multiple-choice physics questions to tickle your synapses. Have a go, then check out the correct answers with background info.

1. The amount of energy poured onto the Earth by the Sun every 10 minutes is equivalent to the world’s electricity needs for how long?

  • Month
  • Year
  • Decade

2. If you are skating along in roller blades in a frictionless environment will you ever stop moving?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Need more information

3. In which of the following places would a pendulum swing at the slowest rate?

  • Barrow, Alaska
  • Singapor
  • Buenos Aires

4. In what conditions would a match burn with a spherical flame?

  • Zero gravity
  • Sealed container
  • Vacuum

5. How many planets the size of the Earth would fit into the Sun?

  • Hundred
  • Thousand
  • Million

6. If the Sun was the size of a basketball at St Stephen’s Green in Dublin where would the nearest star be?

  • The Spire, Dublin
  • Eiffel Tower, Paris
  • Taj Mahal, India

7. How many times would you have to cut the long side of a piece of A4 paper in half before it’s the width of an atom?

  • 31
  • 310
  • 3100

8. A clock on the equator runs slower, faster or identical than one on the North pole?

  • Slower
  • Faster
  • Identical

9. Two filled cola cans one liquid one frozen roll down a short smooth slope. Which one gets to the bottom first?

  • Liquid
  • Frozen
  • Same

10. If a ping pong ball had the same kinetic energy as two colliding protons in the LHC how fast would the ping pong ball move?

  • 4 cm/s
  • 4 m/s
  • 4 km/s

11. What happens if you try to light a candle in an orbiting space station (weightlessness)? Would the candle:

  • Not light at all
  • Burn dimly for a while
  • Briefly burn very brightly, then go out

12. What is the maximum distance from the sun’s centre of mass of our solar system?

  • 1.3 km
  • 1300 km
  • 1.3 million km

Question leaflet available to order from IOP Ireland, email: ireland@iop.org.

Download the Questions (PDF, 3.8 MB) and Answers (PDF, 186 KB).



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