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Science Fact or Science Fiction Quiz

A quiz I compiled from similar quizzes online for Teen Tech Week at my library.

Catherine Boddie

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of Science Fact or Science Fiction Quiz

Which of the following is NOT a real invention being used in medicine, but still the stuff of fiction?
A. Nanorobots
B. Exoskeletons
C. Genetically Designed Babies
Which of the following was predicted by science fiction writer Jules Verne decades before its actual invention?
A. The Internet
B. Laser guns
C. Videoconferencing

Time travel like that depicted in Doctor Who is currently possible.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
You can have a clone made of your pet.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
Ford sells a car that can perform a task once thought only possible in fiction. What is it?
A. Hovering
B. Self-parking
C. Self-cleaning – inside and out
“Tractor beams” – rays that lift or draw in objects – are possible.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
Science Fact or Science Fiction...
Can you distinguish fiction from reality?
Answer: C. Teleconferencing
In one of his books, Jules Verne talks about the “phonotelephote,” which sounds eerily similar to videoconferencing, such as Skype. According to Verne, people would access a device that would transmit images over distances so they could converse while seeing each other “as if through a glass window.”
Answer: B. Science Fiction
Well, sort of. In the way it is portrayed in science fiction, time travel remains an impossibility (30% of those surveyed guessed it is possible). Current theories of physics hold that particles are popping into and out of existence and bouncing back and forth in time - but people cannot.
Answer: C. Genetically Engineered Babies
Nanorobots are already in use in medicine, especially to target cancer cells. The microscopic robots deliver the drugs. Exoskeleton suits also are in use; they can be strapped to the legs of paraplegics to help them walk again. They could, in theory, replace wheelchairs, but they’re too expensive ($100,000) to be standard solutions for mobility. It’s possible to screen for and modify a baby’s genetics, but ethics have kept the availability of genetically designed, or “designer babies,” at bay.
In Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, after you've done six impossible things today, what should you do next?
A. Holographic ads
B. Skywriting
C. Internet banners
What Jules Verne described as "atmospheric advertisements" became reality in the form of ________ .
Scientists have built a device that harnesses brainwaves, moving objects based on a subject’s will.
A. The Time Machine
B. The Invisible Man
C. The Island of Dr Moreau
D. 1984

HG Wells' War of the Worlds was first published in 1898 and has never been out of print. Which of the following sci-fi classics was NOT written by HG Wells:
A. The letters on the spine of one of the
books in an encyclopaedia on the
writer's bookshelf: DAL-LEK
B. An anagram of Kaleds, the name of race
of creatures from which the Daleks
originally mutated
C. Their creator, Davros, who gave them the
name which means 'cyborg' in the Kaled
D. None of the above. It just rolled off the
writer's typewriter.
The Daleks of Doctor Who fame take their name from:
A. The stuff of old cartoons and
science fiction novels
B. Only a (mostly crashing)
C. Available for sale
A combined-flying driving vehicle is called many things, but in reality, the flying car is:
A. Yes
B. Sort of
C. No
Did writer H.G. Wells predict the invention of the cell phone?
A. In the next 50 years
B. In the next 20 years
C. Right now
Space tourism, once the stuff of fiction, will be possible…
A. Robyn Williams (host of ABC Radio
National's Science Show)
B. Barry Humpries (aka Dame Edna)
C. Gai Waterhouse (prominent racing
D. Germaine Greer (the writer)
Which of the following official National Living Treasures of Australia performed as as a character in an episode of Doctor Who:
A. Ray guns
B. Human-like cyborgs
C. Armed robots
Which invention, popular in fiction, is still light-years away from becoming reality?
Despite the capabilities shown in fiction, the world’s most advanced robots still CANNOT do what?
A. Dance to hip-hop
B. Maintain extemporaneous
C. Sing in tune
Fill in the blank to make this a true statement: It is possible to teleport ________________.
A. Data
B. People
C. Bacteria
Which of the following, at least in theory, could be possible?
A. Matter replicators
B. Time travel
C. Human teleporters
Which one of the following incredible actions is possible today, not just in sci-fi novels and films, but also in reality?
A. Time travel
B. Teleportation
C. Living forever
Light sabers – in classic Star Wars flashy-battle style – are available.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
A. Insulin in liquid form, so people with diabetes can drink it
with meals instead of injecting it
B. Stem cell treatments that regenerate kidney tissue so they
never need transplants
C. Contact lenses that change colors to indicate blood sugar
A garment that can hide people – a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak – exists.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
The ability to cryopreserve (freeze and unfreeze) people has been mentioned in science fiction and time-travel movies for years. What's the state of human cryopreservation?
A. It’s in deep freeze, except for in movies and novels, and will
be for some time.
B. It’s a reality; if you have the money, you can “live” forever
because of your frozen status.
C. It’s currently suspended somewhere between reality and
Which of the following is not nearly as exciting (and doesn’t work as well) in real life as in science fiction?
A. Flying cars
B. Space travel
C. Jet packs
Although author Jules Verne wasn’t the first person to talk about submarines, he was the first to mention this type:
A. Electric submarines
B. Atomic submarines
C. Unmanned submarines
The term "Xenomorph" is associated with a very particular species of science fiction monster. In which film did it first appear?
The Thing

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The idea for the electronic translator “Babel Fish” first came from:
A. The engineers working at Yahoo!
B. A book
C. Author HG Wells, as early as the 19th century
Scientist Nikola Tesla claimed he had created this, but died before he could demonstrate a prototype. Plans for a model were never found in his office and nobody has been able to re-create the invention since then. Still, it's played an important role in many fictional stories over the past 100 years.
A. The first humanoid android
B. A particle beam weapon
C. A teleporting machine
Which writer described the invention and use of the first spacecraft (in eerily accurate details) 104 years before it happened?
A. Jules Verne
B. H.G. Wells
C. Isaac Asimov
In terms of the number of movie adaptions of his work, Phillip K Dick was one of the most successful science fiction writers of all time. His short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale was adapted into which movie?
A. Bladerunner
B. Minority Report
C. Total Recall
D. Paycheck
Science can mimic the stage trick of levitation, and demonstrations have even shown a frog levitated in mid-air.
In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, there were seven humanoid Cylon types, not counting the final five (no spoilers here). Of the seven models, how many were female?
Created by American screenwriter and futurist Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek is perhaps the most enduring science fiction franchise in history, The most recent: Star Trek Into Darkness is Star Trek feature film number...?
What popular tech gadget was "described" in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey?
A. Science Fact
The first cloned pet was produced in 2004 (a cat called Little Nicky), and for the right price, you could have one too. NB: since both genes and environment shape animals' (and our) dispositions, the result will not necessarily be like the beloved pet you clone.
B. Self-parking
The self-parking technology is an add-on available for certain luxury models. And yes, once you press the appropriate button, the car’s ultrasonic sensors and self-steering technology find a way to park the car between vehicles, against the curb and even on an inclined terrain.
A. Science Fact
A staple in science fiction is the baddies' ship being targeted and drawn in using a visible beam of light. Scientists in Hong Kong now say that's theoretically possible - but only for small objects over short distances.
Answer: B. Sort Of
In his 1933 book The Shape of Things to Come, Wells talks about a society that communicates using wrist intercoms. He doesn’t call these devices “phones,” but they operate much like modern cell phones, down to many features such as being wireless.
Answer: A. Data
Teleportation is a tricky concept, and so far only the physical states of electrons and photons have been sent from one place to another. Pulling off the same trick with whole molecules and starship captains is a long way off; a quarter of respondents thought it was possible to teleport people.
Answer: B. Maintain extemporaneous conversations
The most advanced robots can answer questions and have vocabularies of about 3,000 words. They cannot, however, maintain conversations about topics they’re not programmed for.
B. Science Fiction
Not yet - and 78% of respondents guessed not. But it is a rich area of research, and for small, rigid objects the trick is not all that hard to do. Getting something pliable and wizard-sized will prove tricky, though.
Which of the following inventions, currently undergoing testing, could revolutionize the lives of people with diabetes (just as science fiction books predicted a few decades ago)?
Answer: C. Contact lenses that change colors to indicate blood sugar levels
Scientists at the University of Western Ontario have developed special lenses that change color when the patient’s blood sugar goes up. The lenses react to the glucose that’s present in patient’s tears. Google is working on a similar invention but their lenses would have small LED lights that flash when the person’s blood sugar levels go too high or too low.
B. Science Fiction
Twenty-two percent of survey respondents reckon they are. But not yet. It is certainly easy to make lasers that cut, but stopping them at saber-length is difficult, and the laws of physics have it that they would never bash against one another but would pass straight through.
Answer: B. Human-like cyborgs
The military has beam weapons – basically, ray guns. And soldiers also use advanced, armed robots. Although there are numerous robots that can mimic human movement and looks, however, we’re a far cry away from a cyborg that can blend into society and pass for human.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
A. Science Fact
The power of the mind plus a device to read out brain waves makes it possible - and 30% of respondents said it was. Our primitive understanding of what the brain's electrical signals actually mean can translate our sheer will into motion; the idea has been put to use recently in hi-tech toys and even an orchestra.
B. Teleportation
Teleportation might not be available at your state fair or mall kiosk, but it’s at least possible at a subatomic level. In 2005, scientists from Austria and the US worked together to transfer information among atoms. Just to be clear, they didn’t actually transfer an atom from one place to another. Instead, they replicated the information within the atom, creating an exact copy of it at the receiving end. A human being who wants to be teleported wouldn’t “beam up” from one place to another. Instead, he or she would appear on the receiving end as an exact copy of the original.
A. Science Fact
B. Science Fiction
A. Science Fact
Frogs are not the only animals that have been levitated, but it still has not been done with humans. A magnetic field of some strength is necessary, and physics Nobel laureate Andre Geim famously did the trick with a live frog in 1997.
Answer: C. Jet Packs
Real jet packs are nothing like the fictional flying packs. Yes, they shoot you into the air – for an entire 30 seconds. We’re a far cry away from flying around like James Bond.
Answer: D. 1984
was written by George Orwell and published in 1949, 51 years after
War of the Worlds
and three years after HG Wells death.
The Time Machine
The Island of Dr Moreau
The invisible Man
were all written by HG Wells and published before
The War or the Worlds
C. Available for Sale
In 2011, Terrafugia started selling its flying cars for the tidy sum of $250,000. About 100 had been sold, but none had yet been delivered as the company put the final touches on productions. The cars hit the road (and the air) at the beginning of 2012. Terrafugia is Latin for “escape from land.”
Answer: D. None of the above. It just rolled off the writer's typewriter.
Although the writer who created the Daleks, Terry Nation, once told the Daily Mirror the story about the encyclopaedia, he apparently later admitted that it was not true, that the name is completely fictitious and it just "rolled off his typewriter". 'Kaleds' is an anagram of 'Daleks' and not the other way round. Unlike Klingon, there is no such thing as a Kaled language (They all spoke English in the episodes — but then again that could be because of the TARDIS translation circuit).
Answer: A. Electric Submarines
The electric submarine Verne talked about in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea became a reality in 1964, almost 100 years after the book’s first edition was published.
Answer: A. Alien
The creature wasn't actually referred to as a Xenomorph until Aliens, the second film in the franchise. The name comes from the Greek - xeno- or "strange" and -morph, shape. Unlike many science fiction extraterrestrials, the aliens are not an advanced civilisation, but predatory creatures with no higher goals than the propagation of their species and the destruction of any life that could pose a threat to them. The parasitic alien in The Thing was capable of mimicking other life forms, but was also apparently capable of space flight. Similarly the alien in Predator came from a technologically advanced civilisation. The monster in the original Star Trek was a machine.
Answer: B. A book
The translator now used by Yahoo! (and originally by Alta Vista) was named after the character (Babel Fish) in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide.” The small, yellow fish lived on brain wave radiation. In the book, sticking one in your ear could help you understand any form of language spoken to you.
Answer: C. Gai Waterhouse (prominent racing identity)
Gai Watherhouse (nee Smith) appeared as a proto-feral character named Presta in The Invasion of Time where she helped the fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela defeat the Sontaran invasion of Gallifrey. ABC's Robyn Williams also claims to have had a non-speaking role as an extra in a Doctor Who episode, but since he doesn't remember which one - we won't accept him as a correct answer. Barry Humphries and Germaine Greer are also Australian National Living Treasures, but there is no evidence that either ever encountered a Time Lord.
Answer: B. Time Travel
Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking believes time travel could happen if we could learn how to use wormholes. Of course, today's brightest geniuses still have no idea how to use them, so it's not likely to happen tomorrow, which could become yesterday…
C. Total Recall
A recurring theme in Phillip K Dick's work is the nature of reality. The original short story plays with the notion of memory. If your memories can be manipulated, what is reality? Neither of the two film adaptations truly captures the humour and cleverness of the original story in
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
A. Jules Verne
Among many similarities of Jules Verne's depiction with the real 1969 moon landing were the launch site (Florida), the number of people onboard the spacecraft (three), the physical dimensions of the launching base and projectile and the recovery method (U.S. Navy ships picking up the returning craft from the ocean).
A. The BlackBerry
B. The Bluetooth
C. The iPad
Answer: C. The iPad
In Clarke's novel, which was developed alongside Stanley Kubrick's film, he describes a device that "plugs into the ship's circuit" to search headlines. The device has a postage-sized rectangle that expands to fit the screen. Clarke called it a "newspad." The iPad debuted in January 2010.
Answer: C. It’s currently suspended somewhere between reality and fantasy.
Cryopreservation is suspended between reality and fantasy. It's possible to cryopreserve people but not to revive them. People who are preserved with cryogenics agree to it (before dying) in the hopes that future technology can safely bring them out of their frozen states.
A. 2
B. 3
C. 4
D. 5
Answer: B. 3
The female models were:
Number Three — played by Lucy Lawless
Number Six — played by Tricia Helfer
Number Eight — played by Grace Park
(There was no onscreen Number 7)

Answer: B. Skywriting
Verne talked about advertising written in the sky using smoke, much like skywriting.
Answer: C. Right Now
Space travel is here, that is if you have $20 million to spare. Board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and head to the International Space Station for up to seven days. And in rural New Mexico, taxpayers and Richard Branson have invested millions in a commercial spaceport -- they've already sold some tickets, but it could be two years before the first flight takes off. At $200,000, you can experience space for a lot less than the space station trip, but it's only a two-and-a-half hour flight and a total of four minutes in outer space.
A. Have a cup of tea
B. Have breakfast at Milliways
C. Press that big red button
D. Don't panic
Answer: B. Have Breakfast at Milliway's
Milliways is the restaurant at the end of the universe. The restaurant's bill can be paid by depositing a penny in any bank account of the present time: by the end of the universe, compound interest will be enough to pay the extremely high bill. Near-instant transportation to the restaurant can be achieved in certain rarefied circumstances, such as being next to an exploding hyperspatial field generator on the planet where Milliways will eventually be built several billion years after the explosion occurs.
Answer: B. A particle beam weapon
According to Tesla, a particle beam weapon or "death ray" would be able to generate so much energy that it could actually demolish matter in seconds.
A. 6
B. 8
C. 10
D. 12
Answer: D. 12
There have been 12 Star Trek movies. Another one is expected in 2016, 50 years after the original television series first went to air (complete with fax machines on the flight deck).
1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
5. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
6. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
7. Star Trek Generations (1994)
8. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
9. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
10. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
11. Star Trek (2009)
12. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
The Star Trek franchise has also spanned five television series across 30 seasons.
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