Tough Trivia, 6/2/21

Today’s Science question: Light, or visible light, is no different from radio waves, x-rays, or any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The only difference is that this portion of the spectrum can be perceived by the human eye. The spectrum ranges from gamma rays, with wavelengths of 10^-16 meters (that is, ten to the negative 16th power) or frequency of 10^24 Hertz (ten to the positive 24th power), out to long radio waves (wavelengths of 10^8 meters, frequency at 1 Hertz). The colors of visible light are determined by their wavelengths (or frequencies). Can you list them from shortest to longest wavelength? Even better, can you list their wavelengths?


W.S. GIlbert

Yesterday’s question: Gilbert and Sullivan are one of the most famous duos of theatrical creators. Dramatist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) wrote the libretti, and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) wrote the music. Together, they created enduring entertainment that to this day is the inspiration of theatrical companies still performing their works, fan clubs and societies worldwide, and even the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. But how many of their collaborations can you name? Bonus points for listing them in chronological order.

The answer:

Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated on fourteen operas:
Thespis (1871): a Christmas entertainment
Trial by Jury (1875): a short opera spoofing the law
The Sorcerer (1877): English light opera
H.M.S. Pinafore (1878): their first international hit, a satire of the Royal Navy and social status

Arthur Sullivan

The Pirates of Penzance (New Year’s Eve, 1879): a comic look at duty, obligation, and respectability
Patience (1881): a satire of the aesthetic movement
Iolanthe (1882): a satire of the law, the House of Lords, and the war between the sexes
Princess Ida (1884): a spoof of women’s education and male chauvinism, based on Tennyson’s poem The Princess: A Medley
The Mikado (1885): their longest-running hit (672 performances in its original production), a satire of English bureaucracy, thinly disguised by a Japanese setting
Ruddigore (1887): an upside look at Victorian melodrama (originally called Ruddygore)
The Yeoman of the Guard (1888): their only joint work with a serious ending, concern a pair of strolling players caught in a risky intrigue at the Tower of London in the 1500s
The Gondoliers (1889): a satire of class distinctions
Utopia, Limited (1893): a satire of business and the Joint Stock Company Act
The Grand Duke (1896): their only financial failure, and their last collaboration, it concerns a troupe of actors taking political power


Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

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