David Alan Walker d.a.walker at
Wed Mar 26 12:52:33 EST 2003

Some years ago I became involved (with an illustrator, Mic Rolph) in a plot
to introduce beermats  (coasters) into a handful of  British pubs in the
hope that questions printed on them would further "the public understanding
of science".

The questions were mostly suggested by a handful of old codgers (of
which I
was one) in my local, The Cross Keys, Thropton.  Some of the questions are
to do with plants.  Some are easy, others difficult.

If you are ever so inclined, asking these questions would be a relatively
harmless way of getting a brief glimpse of the scientific knowledge of your
students,friends or colleagues. Of course there is no certainty that they
would remain your students, friends or colleagues  afterwards.

With the help of Google you would find these questions in seconds but I have
been pressed to make pictures of the beermats available as a Powerpoint
presentation so that they could be sprung on unsuspecting students, friends
or colleagues without fear of them knowing the answers before hand. I once
pretended that I was about to do this round a table of eminent scientists
but relented at the sight of so many pale faces.

Anyway,  with some diffidence, I have now made the Powerpoint presentation
available for download from the University of Sheffield (marginally safer
than the Bank of England) at

Alternatively, or additionally, the questions plus answers can be found  at

Naturally I would welcome comments, reactions or whatever.



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