List of STEM puzzle topics

This is a list of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) topics that have been used in puzzles in puzzle hunts.

Science-related topics include anything relating to the topics of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy, as well as things commonly with these topics, such as particular databases, awards, and public exhibitions.

Technology-related topics include both hardware and software of all kinds, particularly programming and programming languages. It does not include websites and other web content, as those will be found under Arts and Media topics.

Engineering-related topics include the more scientific aspects of architecture and construction, and as a result more often end up being applied to events or tasks than individual puzzles.

Mathematics-related topics include those related to geometry, algebra, as well as various numeral systems. Other topics vary, but as long as something appears mathematical and doesn't dip into technology or physics, it's likely going to be considered a math topic.

Science[edit | edit source]

Astronomy[edit | edit source]

  • Atmospheric Layers (wp · list)
  • Moons (wp · list)
  • Planets
  • Space exploration missions (wp · list)
  • Stars

Biology[edit | edit source]

  • DNA (wp · list)
  • Medicine (wp · list)
    • Cures (wp · list)
    • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (wp · list)
    • Human Anatomy (wp · list)
    • Neurology (wp · list)
    • Operations and medical procedures (wp · list)
    • Physical ailments
      • International Classification of Diseases (ICD) (wp · list)
  • Taxonomy (wp · list)
    • Binomial nomenclature (wp · list)
  • Zoology (wp · list)
  • To do TO DO

Chemistry[edit | edit source]

  • Chemical reactions (wp · list)
  • Fire diamonds/Safety squares (wp · list)
  • Molecules (wp · list)
  • Organic chemistry (wp · list)
  • The Periodic Table of Elements (wp · list)

Earth Science/Geology[edit | edit source]

Physics[edit | edit source]

  • Electricity
    • Circuit diagrams (wp · list)
    • Resistor color codes (wp · list)
  • Quarks (wp · list)
  • Theoretical physics (wp · list)

General Science[edit | edit source]

Technology[edit | edit source]

Hardware[edit | edit source]

  • Call letters (TV/Radio) (wp · list) - Every radio and TV station has its own four-letter code. In the United States, station codes start with K or W (K roughly allocated to stations to the west of the Mississippi river, and W for stations east)
  • Keyboard Layouts (wp · list) -
    A diagram showing the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout
    There are several different keyboard layouts, with QWERTY being the most common, but several layouts designed to be more ergonomic, such as Dvorak, Colemak, and Workman. Therefore, one possible puzzle mechanic involves mapping between different keyboard layouts, which also acts like a substitution cipher (though sometimes with letters substituting for punctuation and vice versa). The keyboard is laid out in a roughly hexagonal grid, which can also be used in various ways - for instance, you can physically shift over letters, draw letters and shapes on the keyboard, or intersect lines to meet up at a letter on the keyboard.
  • Obsolete technology (wp · list) - Since the technology is obsolete, reading the file or other data medium is no longer a straightforward task, and may require some improvisation or ingenuity to read.
  • Seven-segment display (wp · list)
    A diagram showing one canonical ordering for bit order to segments on a 7 segment display.
  • Harvard sentences (wp · list)

Software[edit | edit source]

  • CAPTCHAs (wp · list) - The everpresent widget found on the web asking users to complete a task to prove that they are a human. Due to the relative difficulty for computers, this is usually a computer vision task like classifying all images with street signs, or reading some garbled text, and so on. In puzzles this usually appears in a thematic element, spoofing the CAPTCHA presentation.
  • Error messages (wp · list)
  • EXIF data (wp · list) - Hidden metadata found in image files, which can contain things like thumbnails, geolocation data, and other comments.
  • File extensions (wp · list)
  • Fonts (wp · list)
  • Image manipulation (wp · list)
  • MD5 hashes (wp · list)
  • Microsoft Excel (wp · list)
  • Programming languages (wp · list)
    • Esoteric programming languages (wp · list)
  • Regular expressions (Regex) (wp · list)
  • RGB color codes (wp · list)
  • Top-level domains (wp · list)
  • Unicode (wp · list)

Mathematics[edit | edit source]