Happy New Year, everyone! Before the holidays, I attended a Yankee Swap party. for those not familiar with the game, let me summarize the rules:
1. Guests bring one wrapped gift and place them in a central location.
2. Guests draw numbers to determine the gift picking order.
3. The person who drew #1 goes first and must open a gift from the pile.
4. The person who drew #2 opens a gift after #1 picks a gift. If they are
satisfied with the gift, they can keep it. If they want #1’s gift, they can
swap with #1.
5. Play continues as such with players opening gifts/swapping.
6. Once the round for the highest numbered player is completed, player #1 can
swap gifts with any other player, and the swap ends.
Luckily, I was player #1 and chose the most swapped gift at the party, which isn’t surprising for a room filled with scientists: a science quiz clock!
I hardly knew the answers to most of the questions designated for each number on the clock. I decided to Google some of the equations and crazy symbols and managed to find the answers to everything! Let’s start with 1 o’clock…
1: The density (p) of water. At 4°C the maximum density of pure water is attained, which is about 1 g/cm3. Unlike many substances which are the most dense in their solid/frozen state, water is different because of hydrogen bonding. Thus, since ice is less dense than liquid water, it floats.
2: The approximate half-life of 237Np (an isotope of the element Neptunium), which is 2.14 million years. A half-life of an element is defined as the period of time it takes for half the radionucleotide's atoms to decay.
3: The approximate background radiation of space, more formally known as cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, in Kelvin (K). It is defined as the uniform radiation filling the Universe (not really sure what this means), and is only detected with a radio telescope. This radiation is remnant of the early years of the universe, and is supposedly physical proof of the Big Bang theory. To put things into perspective, 32.02 °F = 273.16 K, so 3 K is REALLY cold!
4: DNA consists of 4 bases, or nucleotides – adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine. Read all about DNA in my first blog post! Good thing the clock specified the only DNA bases, because if you include the special RNA base, uracil, there are 5 altogether.
5: The approximate specific gravity of magnetite, which actually ranges from 5.15 to 5.18. Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance, which usually is water (see 1 o’clock). Magnetite is the most magnetic of all the naturally occurring minerals on Earth.
6: The electrical resistivity of zinc at 20°C. The actual resistivity is 5.90 × 10-8 [Ωm (ohm meter)]. Electrical resistivity is a measure of how strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current. The lower the resistivity of a material, the more readily it allows the movement of electric charge.
7: The hardness of quartz on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, which characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. The scale is from 1-10, with 10 being the hardest mineral – diamond.
8: The approximate distance to the Milky Way in kiloparsecs (kpc). The rotational center of the Milky Way galaxy is formally known as the Galactic Center. It is located at a distance of 8.33±0.35 kpc (~27,000±1,000 light years) from the Earth. There’s a supermassive black hole located at the Center!
9: The atomic number of fluorine. In chemistry and physics, the atomic number, also known as the proton number, is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and determines which element an atom is.
10: The wavelength of human body heat. Humans, at normal body temperature, radiate most strongly in the infrared region at a wavelength of about 10 microns (μm). Because humans are made mostly out of really dense matter, our radiation can be estimated with a blackbody (an opaque and non-reflective body) spectrum in conjunction with Wein’s approximation, an equation used to calculate the short-wavelength spectrum of thermal radiation.
11: The approximate ratio of the diameter of Jupiter (yes, that’s what that 1st funky symbol designates) to that of Earth’s (that 2nd funky symbol). Even though Jupiter’s diameter is 11 times that of Earth’s, the Red planet is actually less dense.
12: Refers to the Beaufort Wind scale. It was developed in 1805 by Sir Francis Beaufort of England and is still used today to estimate wind strengths. The scale actually consists of thirteen classes, but the forces ranges from zero to twelve.
I must say this clock is pretty awesome and makes a great addition to our living room. It is especially fun seeing guests’ puzzled faces when they are trying to figure out the time!