I don’t think I’ve ever been as tuned into the TV game show Jeopardy as I was last night. It’s usually on in the background while I’m eating dinner. But last night was different. For weeks, I had known that this episode would be featuring questions related to the International Year of Chemistry.
I was eager to find out what questions would be asked … or in this case, what clues would be posed.
About halfway through the episode, and after a commercial break, host Alex Trebek introduces the categories for Double Jeopardy. The IYC logo pops up on the screen, and Trebek says, “This is the International Year of Chemistry, according to the U.N.” He then introduces the other categories: musical theater, papal bulls, writers’ relatives, what do you stand for, and nothing.
The contestants went straight for the musical theater clues. The minutes seemed to drag on, and most of the other categories had been completed, before one of the contestants, Jay Rhee, an oncologist from Annapolis, Md., finally tackles the first IYC clue for $1600, which turned out to be a Daily Double:
“Frederick Soddy came up with this term for atoms having the same nuclear charge but different masses.”
Rhee, who was up to $17,100 by this point, bet $100 and poses the question, “What are isotopes?”
“Isotopes is right,” said Trebek.
Rhee asked for a second IYC clue for $400:
“The celebratory year 2011 marks 100 years since this radiant scientist’s Nobel prize for chemistry,” said Trebek.
Rhee: Who is Curie?
Trebek: Be more specific.
Rhee: Who is Marie Curie?
After a break to tackle some of the other categories, Rhee came back to IYC and asked for the $2000 clue:
“A solid can be finely analyzed using the EELS technique, which studies energy loss in these particles.”
Buzzer (signaling no response). “Energy loss in the electrons,” Trebek offered.
Rhee asked for the $1200 IYC clue:
“A chemical known as an anhydride is one that removes this from substances.”
Contestant Julianne Moore, a mom and volunteer from Placentia, Calif., chimed in: “What is water?”
She asked for the next IYC clue for $800:
“You exhale this gas first identified by British scientist Joseph Black in the 1750s.”
Not one to be outdone, contestant Scott Goldstein, a director and writer of a sketch comedy theater from Chicago, Ill., asked, “What is carbon dioxide?”
And the IYC category was finished, with one clue left in the “Nothing” category.
Watch for yourself and let us know what you think about the chemistry clues posed and how the contestants did: http://www.chemistry2011.org/about-iyc/news/on-Jeopardy/
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