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21 April 2020

A Literary-Scientific Challenge

Estimated reading time Time 2 to read

It’s not strange that literature and science should influence one another. In fact, history has witnessed their significant, even if unintentional, age-old and reciprocal influence. We have seen numerous examples of characters who were able to elaborate on modern scientific advances and incredible, futuristic scenes, an explanation of which would be worthy of advanced university classes. Mathematicians winning the Nobel Prize in Literature and writers with a keen sense of scientific curiosity attest to this close relationship.

In this crossword puzzle we challenge you to discover some of literature’s more surprising peculiarities.

  1. Pierre Boulle was an engineer, writer, spy, and author of a novela, on which the science fiction movie classic starring Charlton Heston was based. What is the name of the book and the movie that it inspired?
  2. What is the name of the protagonist — the scientist described to have breathed life into a creature he created from dead body parts — in the novel by  Mary Shelley?
  3. Isaac Asimov, known to have devised the three laws of robotics, began his university studies in zoology but changed his concentration so that he would not have to dissect animals. What did he change his major to?
  4. In addition to being the first Spanish novelist, Cervantes demonstrated his interest in science in a variety of ways. An example is when he referenced the recent (for his time) discovery of Jupiter’s satellites. Which science was Cervantes particularly drawn to?
  5. In Don Quijote Cervante refers to more than 100 species or types of “beasts.” One of them was a one-horned equine. What is the popular name for this animal?
  6. After the death of his wife, in the winter of 1847 a dejected Edgar Allan Poe immersed himself in science in order to write his tenth and final book, the lengthy essay Eureka, subtitled A Prose Poem, dedicated to the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt.  For this work, in which scientific field did the author plunge?
  7. What is the name of the 1980s television show that Carl Sagan, a staunch supporter of skeptical thought, used to popularize science?
  8. Benito Pérez Galdós was not trained as a scientist, but through his main characters, many of whom where scientists, he showed how he stayed current in fields such as biology, astronomy, geology, etc. What did Galdós study at university?
  9. In 1984, Ernesto Sábato became the second Argentine to win the  Miguel de Cervantes prize, after Jorge Luis Borges. Nevertheless, he began a brilliant career in physics, even working at the Curie Laboratory in Paris. In which other other academic institution (American) did Sábato work? (Initials).

Paz Palacios

for OpenMind

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