Skip to main content

Physics and Jeopardy!

Tonight is the first of three nights of epic Jeopardy! competition. Watson, IBM's artificial intelligence computer, who has spent the last seven years training for this week, will take on Jeopardy! champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a charity AI-human intelligence show-down.

[The anti-Watson? An early IBM portable PC.]

According to Slate, "Science" is among the top ten categories used in Jeopardy! over roughly the last 10 years. Thanks to the online Jeopardy! fan clue archive - J! Archive - here's a list of some of the physics-relation questions Jeopardy! guests have encountered over the last decade. Think you can get them all right? How about Watson? The answers will be posted tomorrow.

These physics questions come from the following Jeopardy! categories: Ancient Science, Astronomy, Inventions, Physical Science, Physics, Science, Scientific Theories, The Solar System, and Water.

Jeopardy! Round:
A sound's repetition by reflection.
Detection of gamma rays was 1 of the uses for this 1947 instant picture taker.
After length, width & depth, the 4th dimension.
Negative particle that orbits an atom's nucleus.
Shattering sound that accompanies breaking the sound barrier.

Double Jeopardy! Round:
What we call the flow of electrons through wire, air, or even yourself.
In light, 2 colors are said to be complementary if, when added together, they produce this color.
Though it holds our planet together, it's actually a much weaker force than electro-magnetism.
Invented in 1947 to improve electron microscope images, this science created a 3-D picture.
Branch of physics dealing with motion, like the bumping of molecules in a gas.

Double Jeopardy! Bonus Round (Why not?):
In the late 19th century, scientists postulated that this travels in waves through what they called luminiferous ether.
A 1992 experiment using surface tension on polished silicon got water to defy physics by doing this.
The second law of thermodynamics says that this will of its own accord only move to a colder object.
When you press the nozzle of an aerosol can...the contents are pushed out by pressurized gas. The gas is called one of these, a general term for chemicals that create thrust.
Newton said the gravitational force between 2 objects is inversely related to the square of this measurement.

Final Jeopardy! Round:
Edward Lorenz' idea of linking this creature to changes in the weather became the basis of chaos theory.


  1. The computer shown is a
    Compaq machine, not IBM.

  2. Dave,

    Good eye and thanks for keeping us honest! It's hard to believe how much the look of computers has changed over the last few decades.

    Echo Romeo

  3. It does say IBM on the computer


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?