Monday, May 09, 2016

Brain of Britain

BBC Radio 4 has a general knowledge quiz-show modestly titled 'Brain of Britain'. The 2016 final of 'Brain of Britain' was broadcast this week. The four contestants were:

John, a dentist from Southampton.
Ian, a software developer from North Worcestershire.
Mike, a driver from Brechin.
Jane, a teacher and writer from Edinburgh.

After 7 mins, quiz-master Russell Davies poses the following question:

"In science, what name is given to the product of the mass of a particle and its velocity?"

Bit of a tricky one, eh? Science question. Still, at least it's an elementary science question, the type of question that anyone who didn't leave school at the age of 12 should be able to answer, surely?

In fact, this simple question elicited the following responses, in turn, from the contestants. And remember, these are the four finalists on a show entitled 'Brain of Britain':

John: "vector?"
Russell Davies: "No."
Ian: "acceleration."
Russell Davies: "Not that either, no"
Mike: "Force?"
Russell Davies: "No-o."
Jane: "Is it speed?"
Russell Davies: "It's not speed, it's momentum."

Still, it was Radio 4, so a science question does go somewhat outside the usual diet of politics, GCSE economics, and the arts. 


Ian F said...

Please don't be too hard on us! When you're under the lights, in front of an audience (and, in my case, dosed up with every legal cold remedy on offer), its amazing how much recall can fail you when the questions are fired at you out of context. At the end of the show we all had a list of 'kickself questions' - answers to which we really knew but fumbled in the circumstances. This question was one of mine.

But I would agree that basic 'scientific' knowledge ought to be a much more significant component of 'general' knowledge than it is. Only the basis of the modern world, after all...

Gordon McCabe said...

Bravo Ian, a perfect response, which makes me feel slightly caddish for engaging in such ridicule.

Ian F said...

Don't bad about, I would have had a similar response had I been listening at home.

In further mitigation, in the semi-finals I was given three of the fundamental forces and asked to name the fourth. I'm happy to say I got that one right!


Gordon McCabe said...

Ah, yes, that would be the Police Force, the Border Force, the Air Force, and ParcelForce.

Ian F said...