Quiz on inventors and inventions

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on: Aug 24, 2018

Genius by design: Steve Jobs | Photo Credit: ROBERT GALBRAITH

On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated a working model of the first telescope to his patrons in Venice. Good reason for a quiz on inventors and inventions.


1 What did the clumsiness of Josephine Dickson, resulting in frequent bumps and scrapes, lead to, when her husband decided to figure out a cheap homemade solution?

2 In 1879, what did Constantin Fahlberg accidentally discover when he went to dinner after working all day with coal tar deposits and found that a chemical compound he had dropped on his hand made his food taste sweet?

3 Shunpei Yamazaki currently holds the highest number of patents in the world, with more than 5,000 to his name, mostly in the area of thin film transistors and liquid crystal displays. But who was the first man to have over a thousand patents to his name?

4 Edwin Land established the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories in the ’30s to commercialise a new filter technology he had invented. In 1947, what did he rename the company, which shares its title with the iconic camera it started manufacturing in 1947?

5 Slingshot is a revolutionary water purification device that can produce cheap drinking water from almost any source without filters and can even be operated using cow dung. Its inventor Dean Kamen is a serial inventor, most remembered for a transportation device he created in 2001 now mostly used by personnel in very large malls. Name the invention.

6 After which inventor, once portrayed by David Bowie, is the Belgrade airport named?

7 Bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor is an often uncredited but very important participant in the design of which modern invention, doing most of his work in the start of the 20th century?

8 According to the Roman writer Valerius Maximus, which great inventor’s last words literally translate to “do not disturb my circles”? His tomb originally featured a sculpture with a sphere and cylinder of the same height and diameter.

9 Which Indian scientist and inventor stood as a candidate of the Union of Socialists and Progressives and won Calcutta North-West seat in India’s first general elections in 1952, defeating the favoured Congress candidate Prabhu Dayal Himatsingka?

10 Known as the straight act in a family of film comedians, this versatile man also started the Marman Products company, which invented a watch that measured pulse rate and designed the special clamps that held the Fat Man atomic bomb in the B-29 bomber. Name him and his famous family.


1 Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson cut two pieces of gauze and added adhesive, thereby designing the first Band-Aid

2 Saccharin, the artificial sweetener. He shared the credit with Ira Remsen

3 Thomas Alva Edison

4 Polaroid Corporation, and the Polaroid Instant Camera

5 The Segway, a two-wheeled self-balancing personal transporter

6 Nikola Tesla. Bowie played Tesla in the 2006 film, The Prestige

7 The first powered aircraft. He built the first airplane engine while working closely with his employers, Orville and Wilbur Wright

8 Archimedes; he was killed by a Roman soldier while studying a circle he had drawn in the sand

9 Meghnad Saha, the Indian astrophysicist known for the Saha ionisation equation

10 Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers



Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;


Published on August 24, 2018
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