Quiz on laws outside the legal world

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 30, 2021

Hubble’s gift: NASA image of a binary black hole found in the centre of the nearest quasar host galaxy to Earth   -  REUTERS/ NASA

It’s the birthday of American engineer and inventor Douglas Engelbart, who is known for his work on devices such as the mouse. He’s also known for Engelbart’s law, which states that the intrinsic rate of human performance is exponential. This week’s quiz is all about laws outside the legal world.

The law word

1 Which legendary author and futurist formulated the law that states “when a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong”?

2 What exactly is the law articulated by Cyril Parkinson in a 1955 essay published in The Economist, primarily based on his experience on the British Civil Service?

3 A University of Chicago statistics professor came up with Stigler’s law of eponymy, which has many examples including Hubble Law and the Archimedes principle. What is the law of eponymy?

4 Who coined the principle that states that “the most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: Management”? He named it after his most famous fictional creation.

5 One of the most famous cognitive biases is an effect where unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. In effect, the more stupid you are, the less likely you are to know that you are stupid. This effect was named after the two psychologists who came up with it. Name the effect.

6 Which legendary scientist and inventor has both a law of magnetic induction and a law of electrolysis named after him?

7 Which law coined by British economist Henry Macleod and named after a British merchant and financier is typically stated as “bad money drives good money out of circulation”?

8 Moore’s law, named after Gordon Moore, states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every 24 months. Which corporation did the propounder co-found?

9 Joseph Juran came up with a rule that 80 per cent of consequences stem from 20 per cent of the causes and named it after an Italian economist who first noticed this effect in the late 19th century. Whom did he name it after?

10 The Rosenthal effect is a psychological phenomenon wherein high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area. It is also better known after a Greek myth, which was also the title of a famous play by George Bernard Shaw. By which name is the Rosenthal effect better known?


1 Science fiction author Arthur C Clarke.

2 Work expands to fill the time allotted to it. As universal a law as possible!

3 No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer. For example, Georges Lemaître discovered Hubble’s law two years before Hubble. To prove his law, Stigler said his law of eponymy was first thought up by Robert Merton.

4 Scott Adams; it is known as the Dilbert Principle.

5 The Dunning-Kruger effect.

6 Michael Faraday.

7 Gresham’s law, a fundamental economic principle.

8 Intel Corporation.

9 Vilfredo Pareto; the Pareto Principle. Pareto had noticed that approximately 80 per cent of Italy’s land was owned by 20 per cent of the population.

10 The Pygmalion effect. Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion also inspired the film My Fair Lady.


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;

Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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Published on January 30, 2021
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