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Helium Trivia Questions

Science trivia questions with answers about helium


Questions and Answers About The Element Helium

What is helium?
A: Helium is a chemical element with symbol He and atomic number 2.

It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic  what?
A: Gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table.

Its boiling and melting points are the what?
A: Lowest among the elements.

Helium exists only as a "what" except in extreme conditions?
A: Gas.

Helium is the second "what" element?
A: Lightest.

It's the second most abundant element in what?
A: The observable universe, being present at about 24% of the total elemental mass.

Most helium in the universe is helium-4, and is believed to have been formed during what?
A: The Big Bang.


What is creating large amounts of new helium?
A: Nuclear fusion of hydrogen in stars.

Helium is named for what Greek god?
A: Helios, the sun God.

It was first detected as a what?
A: An unknown yellow spectral line signature in sunlight during a solar eclipse in 1868.

It was discovered by whom?
A: By French astronomer Jules Janssen.

In 1903, where were large reserves of helium found?
A: In natural gas fields in parts of the United States.

Helium is used in cryogenics for cooling what?
A: Superconducting magnets, with the main commercial application being in MRI scanners.

Helium's other industrial uses account for how much of the gas produced?
A: Half.


A well-known but minor use is as a lifting gas in what?
A: Balloons and airships.

As with any gas whose density differs from that of air, inhaling a small volume of helium temporarily changes the timbre and quality of what?
A: The human voice.

On Earth helium is relatively what?
A: Rare,  5.2 ppm by volume in the atmosphere.

In 1882, who detected helium on Earth, for the first time?
A: Italian physicist Luigi Palmieri.

On March 26, 1895, Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay isolated helium on Earth by doing what?
A: By treating the mineral cleveite with mineral acids.

Ramsay was looking for argon but, after separating nitrogen and oxygen from the gas liberated by sulfuric acid, he noticed what?
A: A bright yellow line that matched the D3 line observed in the spectrum of the Sun.

In 1907, Ernest Rutherford and Thomas Royds demonstrated that alpha particles are what?
A: Helium nuclei.


In 1908, helium was first liquefied by whom by cooling the gas to less than one kelvin?
A: Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes.

He tried to solidify it by further reducing the temperature but why did he fail?
A: Because helium does not have a triple point temperature at which the solid, liquid, and gas phases are at equilibrium.

 Willem Hendrik Keesom was eventually able to solidify 1 cm3 of helium in 1926 by doing what?
A: Applying additional external pressure.

The US Navy sponsored three small experimental helium plants during what?
A: World War I.

What was the goal of the three plants?
A: To supply barrage balloons with the non-flammable, lighter-than-air gas.

How much gas was produced?
A:  A total of 5,700 m3 (200,000 cu ft) of 92% helium.

The government of the United States set up the  what, in 1925 at Amarillo, Texas?
A: National Helium Reserve.


What was the goal of the reserve?
A: Supplying military airships in time of war and commercial airships in peacetime.

Helium produced between 1930 and 1945 was how pure?
A: About 98.3% pure (2% nitrogen), which was adequate for airships.

In 1945, a small amount of 99.9% helium was produced for what?
A: Welding use.

Commercial quantities of Grade A 99.95% helium were available by what year?
A: By 1949.

For many years the United States produced how much of the commercially usable helium in the world?
A: Over 90%.

In the mid-1990s, a new plant in Arzew, Algeria began operation, with enough production to cover  what?
A: All of Europe's demand.

Meanwhile, by 2000, the consumption of helium within the U.S. had risen to what?
A:  Above 15 million kg per year.

As of 2012 the United States National Helium Reserve accounted for how much of the world's helium?
A: 30 percent.

In the perspective of quantum mechanics, helium is the second simplest atom to what?
A: Model, following the hydrogen atom.

Helium is composed of two electrons in atomic orbitals surrounding a nucleus containing what?
A: Two protons along with some neutrons.

The nucleus of the helium-4 atom is identical with a what?
A: An alpha particle.