Tech trivia: Do you know your tech history? Looking for DataSheets?

77 25/07/2022

It’s been about a year since EDN launched its “EDN Moments” blog,where we review moments in tech history that are important or interesting to engineers.

Thanks to all of you who visit the blog each day, EDN Moments has become a popular fixture on the site, with lots of people sharing their knowledge of tech history in comments fields.

It’s also a part of EDN that I, personally, look forward to researching and writing. Not only are the little tidbits of information fascinating, but looking back at history gives one an appreciation for all that had to happen to get to the technological advances we have today, not to mention it lifts the veil on the people and processes that came before us.

On the lighter side, it’s given me one heck of an advantage when playingtrivia quiz games with friends and family. I thought such a quiz could be fun to do here on EDN. Based on the blog’s popularity, I expect many of you will fly through the following 21 questions, finding some intriguing detail nuggets on tech history.

There’s an answer key on the very last page. (No cheating, and please don’t spoil it for others by shouting out answers in the comments field below.) So grab a piece of paper to keep track of your guesses and have fun!

1.Who gave the first public demonstration of radio?

A)Guglielmo Marconi
B)Nikola Tesla
C)Thomas Edison

2.NASA launched its Surveyor 3 craft for the moon in 1967. Unintentionally, the craft bounced twice before achieving its soft landing on the moon. What caused Surveyor 3 to bounce?

A) The craft’s radar was confused by highly reflective rocks on the moon.
B) NASA misjudged the impact of lunar dust on the landing.
C) The craft’s camera was unintentionally contaminated with a common type of Earth bacterium that spread and interfered with landing controls.

3.When Motorola’s Martin “Marty” Cooper made the first call from a handheld mobile phone in 1973, who did he call?

A)His wife
B)His boss
C)A New York Times reporter
D)His rival

4.Who is the only US president to have received a US patent?

A)George Washington
B)Herbert Hoover
C)Abe Lincoln
D)Ben Franklin

5.Apple Computer was founded by three partners in 1976: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Wayne sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak before Apple was incorporated in 1977. How much did Wayne sell his share for?


6.What innovation capped off the “Miracle Month” in 1947?

A) Rectifying crystal detectors
B) Vacuum tubes
C) Transistors

7.The first ever spacewalk was made by Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov in 1965, not American Ed White as many people presume. How long was the walk?

A)12 minutes
B)18 minutes
C)24 minutes
D)28 minutes

8.It was suggested by her math professor that programming pioneer Betty Holberton drop out of college and become a housewife and mother. Luckily, this woman who went on to become one of the six original programmers of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) stayed in school. What did she major in?

D)Home economics

9.Aeronautical innovator Kelly Johnson, known for his motto “Be quick, be quiet, be on time” and for his role in the design of more than 40 aircraft, became involved in the US Central Intelligence Agency’s Project Aquatone. Project Aquatone focused on the development of the top-secret Lockheed U-2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft in 1955. Key to this project and its extreme level of secrecy was finding a remote location and establishing a facility for testing. Johnson played a vital role in determining the location, which the CIA later turned into a now controversial facility. What is the location now most commonly known as?

B)Paradise Ranch
C)Home Base
D)Area 51

10.In 1958, the US Air Force lost a 7,600-pound Mark 15 hydrogen bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, GA. What happened that caused the bomb to be lost?

Tech trivia: Do you know your tech history? Looking for

A)Radio interference caused a pilot to misinterpret orders and release the bomb.
B)Two planes collided, and the pilot of the plane carrying the bomb jettisoned it to remain airborne.
C)An on-plane mechanical malfunction caused the bomb to be jettisoned.
D)Cold War spies rigged the plane so that the bomb would deploy without the pilot’s knowledge.

11. In 1980, Apple declared there would be no more of these items inside its buildings and on its grounds.


12.What act of nature is credited with helping to create the first Computerized Bulletin Board System?

A)A hurricane
B)A blizzard
C)A tornado
D)A heat wave

13.The US space program for a long period named its space projects after Roman gods and goddesses. What was the first project to be named after a god or goddess?


14.Orville Wright piloted the first successful flight of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903. How far did the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane go, and how long did it stay in flight?

A) 100 feet in 10 seconds
B) 110 feet in 11 seconds
C) 120 feet in 12 seconds
D) 130 feet in 13 seconds

15.What year did Microsoft ship Windows 1.0?


16.NASA’s Apollo 12 launched and was struck by lightning. But its mission went on to be a successful one that brought its commander to exclaim this when walking on the moon:

B)“What a view!”
E)“Eww, the moon is really made of cheese!”

17.Albert Einstein was named the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect” in what year?


18.American self-taught engineer Percy Spencer was working at Raytheon during World War II when an active microwave radar set melted a candy bar in his pocket. This eventually led to the development of the microwave oven. What was the candy bar in his pocket?

A)A war-time rationed Hersey bar
B)A Mr. Goodbar
C)A Baby Ruth
D)A Snickers

19.Intel was founded on July 18, 1968, by semiconductor pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, who left Fairchild Semiconductor to do so. What did Noyce and Moore originally call the company?

A)Integrated Electronics
C)NM Electronics
D)Moore Noyce Inc

20. Military veteran Norman Woodland was focused on how Morse code was used to send information electronically. When creating UPC barcodes, he started to draw dots and dashes similar to the shapes used in Morse code in what medium?

A) Sand
B) Pudding
C) Wet concrete

21. Who was acknowledged as the true inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress in 2002?

A)Elisha Gray
B)Antonio Meucci
C)Alexander Graham Bell

Check your answers on page 2!

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