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Note: Many answers contain passages quoted from
Return to RF Cafe Quiz #27
This quiz is based on the information presented in Remarkable Engineers, from Riquet to Shannon, by Ioan James. Published by Cambridge University Press.
Note: Some of these books are available as prizes in the monthly RF Cafe Giveaway.
1. Why is the subtitle "From Riquet to Shannon?
b) Riquet is the earliest engineer covered, and Shannon is the latest
Riquet lived from 1604 to 1680. Shannon lived from 1916 to 2001. See pages v through vii.
2. Who first suggested that water was composed of hydrogen and oxygen?
d) James Watt
"...in 1783 he suggested in a paper submitted to the Royal Society that water was not a simple substance but a compound of hydrogen and oxygen." See page 14.
3. What was the main motivation for Charles Babbage to develop his Difference Engine?
b) To eliminate the errors in existing numerical tables of logarithms, etc.
"...he resolved to make what he called the Difference Engine, which would do the tedious work without human intervention, printing out the result automatically. It was well known that the were a huge number of errors in virtually all sets of tables then in use." See page 46.
4. Sir William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (or Lord Kelvin), is well-know for proposing
the concept of absolute zero. For what else is he famous?
c) A magnetic compass
"One of [Kelvin's] most successful inventions was the patent magnetic compass of which no fewer that 10,000 were sold; this eventually superseded the older type, which was unreliable in iron-clad ships." See page 85.
5. Westinghouse is a giant in the nuclear power and household appliance industries,
and was so formerly in defense electronics (I worked for their Oceanic division in
Annapolis, MD, in the 1980s). What was George Westinghouse's first major
a) Compressed air brakes for trains
"...he [Westinghouse] patented his first major invention, a compress air braking system, which allowed all the individual brakes on trains and other vehicles to be applied at the same time." See page 91.
6. Who confirmed the existence of electromagnetic radiation?
d) Heinrich Hertz
"He settled the problem proposed for the Berlin Academy prize by confirming the existence of the electromagnetic radiation predicted by Maxwell..." See page 124.
7. What was Elmer Sperry's most notable invention?
a) The navigational gyroscope
"...Sperry's name is remembered chiefly for the practical development of the gyroscope..."
See page 132.
8. Who made the first transatlantic radio transmission?
b) Guglielmo Marconi
"...Marconi made history when the first transatlantic signals were sent in December 1901 from Poldhu on the coast of south-west Cornwall to St. John's, the chief city of Newfoundland, where they were received from an aerial suspended by a kite." See page 142.
9. What is Edith Clarke's claim to fame?
d) All of the above
See page 151.
10. Aside from co-inventing the first transistor, for what else was William Shockley well-known?
a) Practical jokes
"...he was also an accomplished amateur magician, and became famous for elaborate
practical jokes." See page 174.