Leicester Secular Society


The IDEAS Group Quiz

20 December 2007

Compiled by George Jelliss

The following are the questions used in the quiz. I found it was difficult to judge whether a question was hard or easy. The six contestants who took part found them more difficult than I expected. No one scored more than a quarter (25) of the 100 points available. If more people had been able to come I had the alternative of allowing them to enter as individuals, or to enter as teams of two or more. There were 50 questions, each scoring two points. Most of the answers required were names of people, with one point for forename or initials and one for surname.

There were ten rounds each of 5 questions. The answers to the questions were revealed after each two rounds and the contestants were allowed to score their own papers. The questions were not printed on the papers but read out by the question master, with hints included if the question was found obscure. The intention was to entertain rather than to present a serious championship style contest. The first three placed had the choice from an assortment of second-hand books.

The question master kept a series of further notes to hand on some of the questions, to provide more details with the answers, or to give as extra hints to help the contestants. Here these are replaced by the hyperlinks to external sites dealing with the particular subjects in detail.


A. History of Evolutionary Ideas:
1. Who wrote: "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" which was published anonymously in 1844, and caused a storm of controversy about the theological implications of impersonal nature functioning without direct divine intervention.
2. Who first used the phrase: "Nature red in tooth and claw", and in what publication.
3. Who wrote: "What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature!" and to whom.
4. Who first used the phrase: "Survival of the fittest".
5. Who wrote "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution" 1902.

B. Physics and Cosmology.
1. Who showed that the quantum theories formulated by Schrodinger and by Heisenberg were equivalent. And went on to combine quantum theory with special relativity, 1927, and found that his equations, having two solutions, predicted the existence of antimatter, (the first anti-particle was discovered experimentaly in 1931 by Carl Anderson called what?).
2. Who derisively coined the term "The Big Bang" for the "Primeval Atom" theory of cosmology. A point is also allowed for the name of any of those involved in devising the theory.
3. Who discovered what were at first called "Little Green Men" in 1967, although someone else was awarded the Nobel prize for the discovery in 1974, and what were they later called.
4. Who wrote a paper with the title: "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" in "Social Text" 1996.
5. Who was the "dark lady" in James Watson's account, "The Double Helix", who provided the x-ray diffraction images he and Crick used in their derivation of the structure of DNA.

C. Reformers and Movements:
1. Who was secretary of The London Corresponding Society 1792-99, and of what movement of the 1830s was it a precursor?
2. Who used the rhyme: "When Adam delved and Eve span who was then a gentleman?" and what was the nickname of the movement for translation of the Bible into common language to which he belonged?
3. Who at the time of the English Civil War was three times imprisoned in the Tower of London for treason but each time was found not guilty by jury, and what was the nickname of the group of reformers for which he spoke?
4. What was the nickname of the group around the time of the English Civil War who set up communes, and who was their main leader who wrote "The New Law of Righteousness"?
5. What was the nickname of the group for whom Joel Emmanuel Hägglund wrote protest songs, and what was his pen name?

D. Popular Quotations from Lewis Carroll:
1. Who said: "The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today" and later: "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." ?
2. Who said; "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less" and later: "The question is, which is to be the master—that's all." ?
3. Who said: "But I was thinking of a plan / To dye one's whiskers green, / And always use so large a fan / That they could not be seen." ?
4. Who said: "You may call it 'nonsense' if you like, but I've heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!" ?
5. Who said (in which book): "What I tell you three times is true." ?

E. Pen Names: What were the real names of:
1. Lewis Carroll
2. George Orwell
3. George Eliot
4. Currer Bell
5. Iconoclast

F. People connected with the LSS:
1. Who wrote a biography of August Comte and left LSS to join the Positivist Church?
2. Who spent twelve years in a monastery and wrote a Rationalist Encyclopedia?
3. Who was a Privy Councillor and reported on the Boer War?
4. Who spoke at the opening of Secular Hall and was the only female representative at the "first international"?
5. Who spoke at the opening of Secular Hall and later became head of the Theosophical Society?

G. In the Bible:
1. Who "Walked with God, and Was Not, for God took him"? And who was his great grandson?
2. Which prophet received this message from God: "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told to you."? And who was the inventor of a wartime project to build aircraft carriers of ice, for which the prophet's name was the codeword?
3. How many books are there in the Bible, and which book of the bible has as many chapters as the bible has books?
4. What was bought with the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received? And who prophesied it?
5. Who was carried up to heaven in a whirlwind, and who took up his mantle?

H. Which Pope:
1. Ordered the Albigensian Crusade (against the Cathars) and founded the Dominican and Franciscan orders?
2. Issued a bull that was the preface to which notorious book by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger published in 1487?
3. Reformed the Julian Calendar in 1582, with help of astronomers Lilius and Clavius?
4. Put Galileo under house arrest?
5. Commissioned Michelangelo to paint the sistine chapel?

I. Which Philosopher:
1. Wrote: "During the time men live without a common power to keep them in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man." and: "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." and what is the short title of the book in which he wrote this?
2. Wrote: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish." and "When anyone tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened."
3. Wrote: "I should never act except in such a way that I can always will that my maxim should become a universal law"?
4. Is said to have argued: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?" and which poet presented his ideas in the poem "The Nature of Things"?
5. Invented "Deconstructionism" and was controversially awarded an honorary doctorate by Cambridge University in 1992?

J. Which Scientist:
1. Got the Nobel Prize for discovering the electron and showing it to be a particle?
2. Shared the Nobel Prize with Clinton Davisson in 1937 for showing the electron is a wave?
3. Laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable?
4. Wrote "An Experimental Inquiry concerning the Source of Heat Excited by Friction" 1798 (based on his work boring cannon barrels as Minister for war in Bavaria).
5. Wrote the 1917 book "On Growth and Form"?


A. History of Evolutionary Ideas:
1. Robert Chambers.
2. Tennyson, "In Memoriam A.H.H."
3. Charles Darwin in a letter to J. D. Hooker.
4. Herbert Spencer.
5. Peter Kropotkin.

B. Physics and Cosmology.
1. Paul Dirac, positron.
2. Fred Hoyle, Friedmann, Lemaitre, Gamow etc.
3. Jocelyn Bell, pulsars.
4. Alan Sokal.
5. Rosalind Franklin.

C. Reformers and Movements:
1. Thomas Hardy, The Chartists.
2. John Ball, The Lollards.
3. John Lilburne, The Levellers.
4. The Diggers, Gerrard Winstanley.
5. The Wobblies, Joe Hill.

D. Popular Quotations from Lewis Carroll:
1. The White Queen.
2. Humpty Dumpty.
3. The White Knight.
4. The Red Queen.
5. The Bellman, in The Hunting of the Snark.

E. Pen Names:
1. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.
2. Eric Blair.
3. Mary Anne (or Marian) Evans.
4. Charlotte Bronte &.
5. Charles Bradlaugh.

F. People connected with the LSS:
1. F. J. Gould.
2. Joseph McCabe.
3. J. M. Robertson.
4. Harriet Law.
5. Annie Besant &.

G. In the Bible:
1. Enoch, and Noah.
2. Habbakuk verse 1.5, Habbakuk project, Geoffrey Pyke (photo).
3. 66, Isaiah.
4. The Potter's Field*, Jeremiah and/or Zechariah.
5. Elijah and Elisha.

H. Which Pope:
1. Innocent III &.
2. Innocent VIII, The Malleus Maleficarum, or "Hammer of the Witches".
3. Gregory XIII.
4. Urban VIII (Barberini), treatment of Galileo.
5. Julius II.

I. Which Philosopher:
1. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan.
2. David Hume &, on Miracles.
3. Immanuel Kant.
4. Epicurus, Riddle (video), Lucretius.
5. Jacques Derrida &.

J. Which Scientist:
1. J. J. Thomson.
2. G. P. Thomson.
3. William Thomson & (Lord Kelvin of Largs).
4. Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford).
5. D'Arcy Thompson http://www.eclipse.co.uk/moordent/darcy.htm.

[* The Potter's field question was of personal interest to me as question master, since Potters Fields Park is now a riverside green space between Tower Bridge, the new City Hall and the former St Olaves Grammar School, Tooley Street (hidden behind the trees in the panorama), where I went to school in the 1950s, though I was not aware of it being called that at the time.]

Ideas Group

Page updated 29 December 2007 GPJ