Science Trivia Questions

We get our questions from a variety of sources, including MIT alumni/ae and affiliates, scientists, and staff members at science-based institutions and organizations. If you think you have good material for a science trivia question, think about submitting it and it might get used!

The only rule (and it should be an obvious one) is that if you submit a question, you cannot participate in the competition!

Before Submitting a Question ...

First, check out the Quiz Format to get a sense of how the quiz works. Note that this is run like a pub quiz, not like a buzzer-competition. Also note that there is a Youth Division, in which the questions should be geared towards students in high school or younger, and an Open Division, which can be geared towards knowledgeable adults.

Also take a look at the Sample Questions to get a sense of what kind of questions we've used in the past.

Then, to help guide you, read the Seven Simple Guidelines below.

Very Good Science Trivia Questions ...

1. Should be about TRIVIA FACTS, not academic things like quantitative reasoning problems. Pure "textbook" knowledge should be avoided if possible.

2. Should be geared towards a GENERAL AUDIENCE, and should not require specialized knowledge (such as a Ph.D. in a particular area of science). Topics should be appropriate to high-school or middle-school science knowledge.

3. Can be about virtually ANY SCIENTIFIC TOPIC, including physics, chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, astronomy, computer science, medicine, applied math, technology, history of science, or inventors. Often the best questions are ones that branch across different topics in science or that don't relate to any specific topic at all.

4. Should include a SOURCE or REFERENCE to confirm that the facts are accurate (Wikipedia is OK in many cases, but more authoritative sources are appreciated as well).

5. Can be MULTIPLE-CHOICE, SHORT ANSWER or MATCHING, and can be SINGLE-PART or MULTIPART with partial credit for each partial answer (NB: multipart questions should ideally have either 2, 5 or 10 parts so that points can be divided easily -- but we can be flexible if the question is good and naturally divides into another number of parts).

6. Should have an EXACT and UNAMBIGUOUS answer (to minimize the need for discretionary scoring on the part of the judges).

7. The Cambridge Science Festival highlights the importance of science in the community. We welcome questions that have some broader interest to the community, perhaps on a topic of interest in the news, or a story that has some local historic interest, or that is in some way related to everyday life.

To Submit a Question

Please note the following:

  • You may submit up to ten questions total.

  • If you submit any questions, you cannot participate as a contestant in the Science Trivia Challenge.

  • The question editors reserve the right to change your question in any way for the purpose of using it in the competition.

  • If any of your material is used in the Science Trivia Challenge, you will be aknowledged in the program.

Use the form below to provide information about yourself and submit your questions. Please submit one question at a time.

To exit Question Submissions, click here: Exit.