113 Nerdy Math / Science Trivia Questions (From Mars To Goats)

Written by:
Eli Robinson
September 9, 2022

Are you a math and science lover?

Do you like learning new and interesting facts?

If so, then this is the article for you!

We've compiled a list of nerdy math and science trivia questions, covering everything from famous mathematicians to the planets in our solar system.

We guarantee you'll learn something new.

I guess that also means you'll get some questions wrong.

But that's okay because part of the fun is learning the correct answer!

The best nerdy math and science trivia questions offer a bit of a challenge while also being fun and interesting.

It's that sense of wonder and discovery that we all love about math and science.

Whether it's Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon or Oppenheimer's famous quote about the atomic bomb, there are plenty of milestones and facts to explore.

Before we dive into the math and science trivia questions and answers, we want to share a bit about Water Cooler Trivia with you.

Each week, Water Cooler Trivia can deliver nerd-certified trivia quizzes straight to your inbox.

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We offer a four-week free trial - so you can explore everything Water Cooler Trivia has to offer without commitment.

113 Nerdy Math / Science Trivia Questions (From Mars To Goats)

  1. A buckyball is a stable and spherical molecule made up of what element?  Answer: Carbon
  2. What biome is also known as the boreal forest or snow forest? The biome is identifiable through its coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches. Although sparsely populated compared to other biomes, it is the world's largest apart from the oceans. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska.  Answer: Taiga
  3. What math-y word is considered a foundational working tool in calculus and can be geometrically interpreted as the slope of the curve of a mathematical function?  Answer: Derivative
  4. -459.67 Fahrenheit degrees (or 0 Kelvin) equals what two-word term for when all particles completely stop moving?  Answer: Absolute Zero
  5. What type of chemical bond is formed when two atoms each contribute one electron to a shared pair?  Answer: Covalent bond
  6. Which of the four standard bases in DNA typically pairs with thymine?  Answer: Adenine
  7. Mycologists often spend a lot of time digging through dirt as they study what type of natural organism?  Answer: Fungi
  8. The Mobius strip was the inspiration for a universal symbol first created in 1970 and composed of 3 arrows in a roughly triangular shape. This symbol stands for what action?  Answer: Recycling
  9. What is the smallest number greater than 1 that has an integer square root and an integer cube root?  Answer: 64
  10. The smallest known owl is only 5-6 inches tall and weighs less than two ounces. It has a name reminiscent of Middle Earth or Will Ferrell. What is this owl?  Answer: Elf Owl
  11. Although the exact origin is unknown, this piece of technology and calculating tool used beans or stones moved in grooves of sand to perform calculations. Although computers have mostly replaced it, this tool is still in use for teaching arithmetic to children in many parts of the world. What is it?  Answer: Abacus
  12. Turtles, toads, and tarantulas are all ectothermic animals, which is typically referred to by what more common term?  Answer: Cold blooded
  13. Titan is one of the few moons in the solar system known to have an atmosphere of any substance. Around which second-largest planet does Titan revolve?  Answer: Saturn
  14. What is the two-word phrase for the set of ideas that suggest the universe is not made up of points, but rather tiny vibrating lengths? Note: cheese is not involved at all.  Answer: String theory
  15. What science word technically means the amount of matter? Near the surface of Earth it's basically equivalent with weight.  Answer: Mass
  16. The "main-sequence" stage of what type of large, hot object comes from the balance of gravity and nuclear reactions? Fun fact: main-sequence stages can last millions or billions of years.  Answer: Stars
  17. Used to indicate a measurement of medicine, what does the abbreviation ‚Äúcc‚ÄĚ stand for? ¬†Answer: Cubic centimeter
  18. In what year did the Manhattan project start? We'll accept responses within one year of the correct answer. As a reminder, this is the project that led to the development of the atomic bomb.  Answer: 1939 (1938 - 40 accepted)
  19. Although at least 500 naturally-occurring amino acids are known, a much smaller subset are considered the "essential" amino acids. How many of these necessary compounds exist?  Answer: Nine
  20. In a controversy that lasts to this day, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz both claim to have developed what mathematical discipline?  Answer: Calculus
  21. Often associated with horses but also used as an anesthetic on many types of animals, what drug is often nicknamed as "Special K"?  Answer: Ketamin
  22. What zodiac constellation found in the northern celestial hemisphere has a name which means "twins" in Latin? It is associated with the twins Castor and Pollux from Greek mythology.  Answer: Gemini
  23. The direct conversion of sunlight into electricity started in 1954, via solar cells using silicon. These cells are alternatively referred to by what longer "P" name?  Answer: Photovoltaic cells
  24. Gustatory cells are primarily found on what sensory organ of the body?  Answer: Tongue
  25. What prestigious medical journal founded in 1823, gets its name from a type of window as well as another term for a scalpel?  Answer: The Lancet
  26. Two consecutive elements on the periodic table have the same atomic number as the number of letters in their English names. What are they? We need the names of both.  Answer: Boron (5) and Carbon (6)
  27. What is the (quite fun to say or spell) name for an infection disease caused by an agent that has jumped from a non-human animal to a human?  Answer: Zoonosis
  28. The quadriceps is, as the name suggests, a group of four prevailing mus les including the rectus femoris. This group of muscles covers the front and sides of what leg bone?  Answer: Femur
  29. It is likely that the first of these animals was the "Stellar" variety in which the male has a pronounced mane and is a fairly aggressive carnivore. This likely led to the misnomer for the creature. What is the name of these pinnipeds long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and a big chest and belly? They range from subarctic to tropical waters in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.  Answer: Sea lion
  30. Which two organs are connected by the only veins that carry oxygenated blood in the body?  Answer: Lungs and Heart
  31. Because it is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava, it's often known as magmatic rock. But it has a more common name as well. What is it?  Answer: igneous rock
  32. One novel way to retain thermal energy collected by a solar tower is through a mixture of sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate, and calcium nitrate. This method is often referred to as "molten ______." What dinner table-sounding word fills in the blank?  Answer: Salt
  33. The most abundant sulfide mineral is pyrite. But this mineral's lustrous appearance is more commonly known by what two-word phrase?  Answer: Fool's gold
  34. One of the most common and least-costly practical applications of solar power is through a solar cooker. In particular, the p______ solar cookers which concentrate sunlight to a single point and require no fuel or operating costs. What geometric word fills in the blank in the preceding sentence?  Answer: Parabolic
  35. There are three basic shapes of bacteria: round, called "coccus," spiral, called "spirilla," and cylindrical, whose technical name is what B-word?  Answer: Bacillus
  36. You have a cube with has 7-inch sides. What is the surface area of the cube?  Answer: 294 square inches
  37. Also NPR's Puzzlemaster since 1987, who has served as crossword editor of the New York Times since 1993?  Answer: Will Shortz
  38. Formed of leaflike parts called sepals, what five-letter word means the bottom part of a flower, which provides support for the petals?  Answer: Calyx
  39. Also part of cow farts, what simple hydrocarbon, chemical formula CH4, is the primary component of natural gas?  Answer: Methane
  40. Ohm's law of electricity, expressed as "V = IR," states that voltage is directly proportional to current, represented by I, and what quantity represented by the letter R?  Answer: Resistance
  41. In DNA, the four nucleotide bases are adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine; in RNA, what base replaces thymine?  Answer: Uracil
  42. Written around 300 BC, "The Elements" is a famous treatise on geometry by what legendary ancient Greek mathematician?  Answer: Euclid
  43. In trigonometry, the cosecant ratio is the reciprocal of what other ratio often associated with waves?  Answer: Sine
  44. Group 17 on the periodic table of elements, which includes fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine, are also commonly referred to by what term, which comes from Greek roots meaning "salt-producing?"  Answer: Halogens
  45. What is the only number that has the same number of letters as its meaning?  Answer: Four
  46. The Sieve of Erastothenes is an ancient algorithm used to find what?  Answer: Prime Numbers
  47. In chemistry, what 10-letter A-word means the adhesion of atoms or molecules from a gas or liquid to a surface, creating a thin film on the surface?  Answer: Adsorption
  48. In chemistry, what E-word means two molecules whose atomic arrangements are mirror images of each other, and that cannot be superimposed on each other just by turning them in space?  Answer: Enantiomers
  49. Theoretically, Hawking radiation is emitted by what terrifying space things that come in stellar and supermassive varieties?  Answer: Black Holes
  50. What is the most common name for the geometric term which is the part of a straight line that originates at one point on the line and extends in one direction indefinitely from that point?  Answer: Ray
  51. What is the four-letter name for the jelly-like substance obtained from red algae that is often used as a solid growth medium in Petri dishes to culture microorganisms?  Answer: Agar
  52. A gigaannum is a term that represents a very long time. One billion years in fact. About 3.5 gigaannumms ago was when what critical process used to convert light energy into chemical energy is estimated to have begun?  Answer: Photosynthesis
  53. Rotational symmetry is the property in which a shape looks the same after a partial rotation or turn. When applied to biology such as in sea anemones, what other "R" term is used to describe this characteristic?  Answer: Radial symmetry
  54. What is the type of number expressed as a pair of a real and an imaginary number? An example would be 3 + 6i where i = the square root of -1.  Answer: Complex number
  55. The Italian method, the Chinese method, gelosia multiplication, and shabakh are all alternate names for what popular method of multiplication to multiply multiple multiple-digit numbers?  Answer: Lattice multiplication
  56. Talc is a one and Diamond is a ten on what qualitative scale that uses ‚Äúscratching‚ÄĚ to discern differences between minerals? ¬†Answer: Mohs Scale of Hardness
  57. In geometry, what S-adjective describes a triangle whose three sides all have different lengths?  Answer: scalene
  58. New Zealand famously has the highest density of sheep per unit area in the world. What was the name of the sheep who was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell?  Answer: Dolly
  59. A regular hexagon has a side length of 6 feet. What is the area of the hexagon? We'll accept responses within 2 square feet of the correct answer.  Answer: 92
  60. In what decade did scientists observe seafloor spreading at mid-ocean ridges and start accepting the earlier proposed theory that Earth’s lithosphere is separated into tectonic plates?  Answer: 1960s
  61. USGS is a bureau within the US Department of the Interior with the motto "science for a changing world." What do the initials of this organization stand for? The group is headquartered in Reston, Virginia and is a fact-finding organization with no regulatory responsibility.  Answer: United States Geological Survey
  62. Trepanging is the harvesting of what elongated, leathery Pacific creature you probably don't want in your gyro?  Answer: Sea cucumber
  63. Linux uses all the letters of what operating system family that it was designed to imitate?  Answer: Unix
  64. Amethyst and citrine are extra-pretty varieties of what common mineral that's great for Scrabble?  Answer: Quartz
  65. Microbiology has many branches including virology (studies viruses), parasitology (studies parasites), and nematology (you guessed it -- studies nematodes). What is the more common compound-word name for a nematode?  Answer: Roundworm
  66. Although the word is often used in popular culture to reference a specific film franchise, technically the definition of a certain math term is "a rectangular array or table of numbers, symbols, or expressions, arranged in rows and columns." What is this term?  Answer: Matrix
  67. Commonly found on live oaks and bald-cypresses, what is the name of the flowering plant with a doubly-inaccurate name that is referred to as "grandpas beard" in French Polynesia and is generally considered to be in a commensalistic relationship with the trees on which it lives?  Answer: Spanish moss
  68. Stat 101: what is the term in statistics for the number of standard deviations by which the value of a raw score is above or below the mean value of the measured data? These can be positive or negative and are often used as a step in determining statistical significance.  Answer: Z-score
  69. Beginning nearly 12,000 years ago (after the last glacial period), what is the name of the current geological epoch? It's also the name of a song on Bon Iver's self-titled 2011 album.  Answer: Holocene
  70. What is the acronym for the correct sequence of steps to follow when using the order of operations for a math expression?  Answer: PEMDAS
  71. Though Thomas Edison primarily used carbon filaments, most incandescent light bulbs today are made with filaments of what element, whose atomic symbol is a W for its alternate name, "wolfram"?  Answer: Tungsten
  72. What mathematical function can be defined as multiplying a number with all integers less than or equal to that number?  Answer: Factorial
  73. At only one-half of one millimeter long, tardigrades are considered a microanimal found in marine environments that also happen to be one of the most resilient animals known. What is the more common two-word name for these animals based on their resemblance to a certain land-bound animal?  Answer: Water bear (or moss piglet)
  74. What is the "R" name for DNA created by combining fragments from different sources? These are occasionally referred to as "chimeric" DNA and are considered a key feature in much of DNA biotechnology applications.  Answer: Recombinant DNA
  75. A Type II error in statistics is a failure to reject a false null hypothesis in a test procedure. What is the two-word phrase by which type II error's are more popularly known in day-to-day vernacular?  Answer: False negative
  76. In a feat of inter-species biotechnology, researchers at the University of Wyoming were able to insert the silk-producing gene from spiders into what mammal which enabled them to harvest long strands of spider milk from the animal's milk?  Answer: Goats
  77. "No" is the negative-sounding chemical symbol that represents an element that was first produced in the US in 1958. The element is named after a man who more famously lent his name to a series of prizes. With a single guess, name either the man or the element.  Answer: Nobelium (Alfred Nobel)
  78. Silver iodide is a favorite "seeding agent" that is used in meteorological professions largely because it has a crystalline structure very similar to a natural ice crystal. What are the everyday objects that silver iodide is used to "seed"?  Answer: Clouds
  79. What ‚ÄúP‚ÄĚ simple machine is a wheel that carries a flexible rope, cord, or cable on its rim? It can be used to transmit energy and motion, often for lifting weights. ¬†Answer: Pulley
  80. Engineer Gilbert Levin insisted that a Viking Lander discovered life on what planet in 1976?  Answer: Mars
  81. The solstice is defined as the start of summer because it is the date when the Earth gets the most exposure to the Sun‚Äôs rays. What ‚Äúi‚ÄĚ term is a technical measurement of this exposure? ¬†Answer: Insolation
  82. What 16th-century Italian physician and botanist with a ‚ÄúG‚ÄĚ last name created the first recorded herbarium in the world, as well as the first botanical garden in Europe? ¬†Answer: Luca Ghini
  83. What geometric theorem allows for the calculation of the square of a hypotenuse of a triangle, by combining the squares of the two other sides? It gets its name from an ancient Greek philosopher.  Answer: Pythagorean Theorem
  84. What ‚ÄúP‚ÄĚ organic compound is represented by the chemical formula ‚ÄúC 5H 5N‚ÄĚ? It is highly flammable, so it makes sense that it‚Äôs prefix is from the Greek for ‚Äúfire.‚ÄĚ ¬†Answer: Pyridine
  85. According to a popular theory, dinosaurs got wiped out by the Chicxulub crater impact in what back-half-of-the-alphabet Mexican peninsula?  Answer: Yucatán
  86. What scientific instrument measures air pressure in units known as 'atmospheres?'  Answer: Barometer
  87. What is the "T" name given to fossils that consist not of animal body parts but rather their footprints, nests, poop, and other associated objects?  Answer: Trace fossils
  88. In geometry, a curve known as a "lemniscate" most closely approximates the shape of what single-digit number?  Answer: eight
  89. Prior to Hayley Arceneaux‚Äôs 2021 flight on SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission, who was the youngest American astronaut to fly into space at 32 years old ‚Äď who also became the first American woman to fly into space in 1983? ¬†Answer: Sally Ride
  90. What ‚Äúi‚ÄĚ word describes a whole number that is not a fraction? ¬†Answer: Integer
  91. Now displayed in Chicago‚Äôs Field Museum of Natural History, 90 percent of the fossils from what massive theropod dinosaur was unearthed in South Dakota in 1990 and was nicknamed ‚ÄúSue‚ÄĚ after it was discovered by paleontologist Susan Hendrickson? ¬†Answer: Tyrannosaurus Rex
  92. Symbolized as “PW," 1000 terawatts is equivalent to one of what unit of measurement commonly used to measure the potency of solar electricity?  Answer: Petawatt
  93. The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by human activity is better known by what two-word term which originated from a concept conceived by environmentalists William E. Rees and Dr. Mathis Wackernagel during the 1990s?  Answer: Carbon footprint
  94. What ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ science refers to the scientific approach to crop production? ¬†Answer: Agronomy
  95. What ‚ÄúA‚ÄĚ bacterium uses horizontal gene transfer to cause plant tumors? Its name is reminiscent of a prefix used to refer to plant production. ¬†Answer: Agrobacterium
  96. There was a boom in sales of frill-necked lizards as domesticated pets after the release of what 1993 film featuring a similar, very extinct critter?  Answer: Jurassic Park
  97. A perfect number is a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its positive divisors, apart from the number itself. What is the smallest perfect number?  Answer: Six
  98. What ‚ÄúB‚ÄĚ term refers to a line that divides an angle into two equal angles? ¬†Answer: Bisector
  99. A teaspoon of what ‚ÄúN‚ÄĚ type of star would weigh six billion tons? It is the collapsed core of a massive supergiant star. ¬†Answer: Neutron Star
  100. In linear algebra, what ‚Äúi‚ÄĚ is a square matrix consisting of zeros apart from on the main diagonal on which there are ones? ¬†Answer: Identity
  101. If you just drooled after smelling cold cream, your saliva was activated by what part of your brainstem with what P-word name from the Latin for "bridge"?  Answer: Pons
  102. Which synthetic chemical element with the symbol Sg was the first chemical element to be named after a person alive at the time?  Answer: Seaborgium
  103. Which type of elementary particle that carries a fractional electronic charge shares its name with a dairy product made by warming sour milk?  Answer: Quark
  104. Which is the only planet in our solar system whose rotation is almost at a right angle to its orbit (i.e., it spins on its side)? The largest moon of this planet is Titania.  Answer: Uranus
  105. According to a famous theorem, one of the first to be proven by computation, no more than how many colors are needed to color the regions of any map so that no two adjacent regions share the same color?  Answer: Four
  106. Even though James Bond and Liz Taylor got it wrong when they said it’s forever, which substance is still the hardest to naturally occur on Earth?  Answer: Diamond
  107. Which organ in the human body is the only one that can float in water (not that it would help if you’re drowning)?  Answer: Lungs
  108. In the 1500s, a Welsh mathematician named Robert Recorde invented which mathematical symbol to ‚Äúavoid to avoid the tedious repetition of these words: "is equal to‚Äô?‚ÄĚ ¬†Answer: Equal sign
  109. On July 5, the Earth will be the farthest from the Sun that it will be for all of 2022‚ÄĒthat‚Äôs 94,510,886 miles, to be exact. What astronomy term is used to describe this phenomenon? ¬†Answer: Aphelion
  110. According to the musical based on his adventures, which Nickelodeon cartoon is not just any kind of absorbent, multicellular, deep-sea organism, but specifically, Aplysina fistularis?  Answer: SpongeBob Squarepants
  111. Which appealing yellow fruit is slightly radioactive due to its high potassium content?  Answer: Banana
  112. The four conic sections are the nondegenerate curves generated by the intersections of a plane with one or two nappes of a cone. A hyperbola is a conic section. An ellipse is a conic section. And some consider a circle a conic section. What conic section is missing from this list?  Answer: Parabola
  113. Earth is the densest planet in the solar system. Which of the giant planets of the solar system is its least dense planet?  Answer: Saturn

What makes math trivia so engaging?

For many people, math is more than just a school subject.

It's a passion and a way of thinking that can be applied to everyday life.

Whether you're solving a problem or simply enjoying the beauty of mathematical patterns, there's a lot to love about math.

The same can be said for science.

Science is all about understanding the world around us, and there's always something new to learn.

From the smallest particles to the largest galaxies, science is full of fascinating facts and discoveries.

So, what better way to combine these two interests than with math and science trivia?

Trivia questions are a great way to test your knowledge and see how much you really know about a subject.

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