Scientific Reasoning Midterm

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"Laws of nature" can be characterized by saying that they

b. represent our best understanding of how the universe works under certain circumstances

Which of the following would be funded by a typical federal grant for scientific research?

e. all of the above

Which combination of the following three statements best describes how a hypothesis is tested?

d. 1 and 2, but not 3

Kepler's laws of planetary motion stated that

c. all planets orbit in elliptical paths

To calculate the gravitational force between objects, we need all of the following except

a. acceleration of both objects

If the Moon were positioned twice as far from the Earth as it is now, the gravitational attraction between the Earth and the Moon would be

c. one-fourth as great

Newton's three Laws of Motion do not include the statement that

b. the kinetic energy of an object is equal to one-half its mass times its velocity squared

The paired forces in Newton's Third Law

d. are stronger when gravity is absent

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that

d. while the type of energy in a closed system can change, the total amount of energy cannot

Thermal energy is measured in

c. watts

Lighting a fire with a match uses which kinds of energy?

a. chemical and kinetic

Which statement best represents the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

c. Every isolated system becomes more disordered with time

Efficiency is

a. the ratio of energy output to energy input

What type of heat transfer occurs in a fluid?

c. convection

The phrase "Heat-Death of the Universe" refers to

b. everything in the Universe ultimately becoming the same temperature

Which following statement(s) is/are true about the relationship between the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the theory that complex life evolved from single-celled organisms by neo-Darwinian means (natural selection sifting random genetic mutations)

d. The fact that the Earth is not a closed system does not resolve the fundamental problem of improbability that challenges neo-Darwinian accounts of the emergence of biological complexity

Coulomb's Law states that electric force is dependent on all of the following except

d. the sizes of the two objects

Which of the following can produce a magnetic field?

d. moving electrical charges

Ohm's Law states that

a. electrical pressure = the flow of electrical charge/resistance to electrical flow

The functioning of an electric motor depends on the fact that

e. an electrical current produces a magnetic field

What important technology followed from Michael Faraday's invention of the electric generator?

a. Hydro-electric power

Which of the following is not a consequence of Maxwell's equations for the electromagnetic field?

d. that unlike charges repel while like charges attract

If you are observing a light source moving very rapidly toward you, the Doppler Effect predicts that the light will be

c. shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum

The fundamental difference between electromagnetic waves and other kinds of waves is that

c. they are undetectable when they are not being observed

The electromagnetic ether was postulated in an effort to provide

e. both a and d

Sound waves

f. both a and d

Which of the following is not a consequence of the special theory of relativity?

b. Gravitational waves propagate at the speed of light

Which of the following is the most accurate description of the cases in which the predictions of general relativity have been confirmed?

c. Precession of planetary orbits that differs from Newtonian predictions, time dilation in gravitational fields, the existence of black holes, gravitational lensing, gravitational shifts in the frequency of light, and the bending of starlight around the Sun

Which of the following was not taken as evidence for the correctness of the atomic theory of matter?

c. Electromagnetic induction

An electrically charged atom is known as

a. an ion

The Rutherford atom is unstable because

a. accelerating charges radiate energy

Each electron shell in the Bohr atom corresponds to

d. a different electron energy level

What technology produces coherent photons having wave crests in alignment?

b. light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation

Each time an electron moves from a higher energy shell to a lower energy shell in an atom

e. a component of the atom's emission spectrum is revealed

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that

b. it is impossible to know with precision both a particle's position and its velocity

Measurements can be made on a macroscopic object without greatly disturbing its state because

c. the energy of the object is much greater than the energy of the probe

Experimental violations of various Bell inequalities demonstrate that


Which of the following represents the most stable arrangement of electrons in an atom?

e. any or all of the above

Sodium chloride (NaCl) atoms form a crystal lattice that is held together by

c. ionic bonds

If a chemical bond forms spontaneously

a. energy will be released in the interaction

A material that shows polarization in its chemical interactions is

b. water

Most polymers are characterized as

d. a collection of small molecules combined into long chains, sometimes with branches

Which state of matter maintains a constant volume but no fixed shape?

b. liquid

Which kind of strength describes a material's ability to resist twisting?

e. shear

A superconductor has electrons that

b. move through the material with little resistance

One important property of semiconducting diodes is that they

a. allow electricity to flow in only one direction

Integrated circuits contributed most directly to

b. the miniaturization of computers

Which of the following can be communicated using only a series of yes-or-no questions?

e. all of the above

How is a microchip an improvement over a transistor?

a. a microchip incorporates thousands of transistors into one integrated circuited designed for a specific function

Which of the following is true about radioactive decay?

e. After beta decay, the number of protons in a nucleus is unchanged.

How do two isotopes of the same element differ?

d. Their neutrons differ in number.

The difference between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission is that

b. Energy is released from fission, but not from fusion.

A particular isotope has a half-life of 10 minutes. If we start with 2,000 atoms now, in half an hour we will have how many atoms left?

c. 500 atoms.

How many protons, neutrons, and electrons are contained in Uranium-238?

c. 92 protons, 146 neutrons, 92 electrons.

A scientist who uses Carbon-14 dating is actually measuring the

e. number of carbon ions in a material.

If you plotted the number of neutrons against the number of protons of all atoms listed in the Periodic Table of the Elements, what would you discover?

e. All of the above are correct.

Which of the following statements is a characteristic of environmental radioactivity?

d. Radon atoms will sink in water.

An electron is to a beta particle as helium is to a(n)

a. alpha particle.

How does gamma radiation differ from alpha and beta radiation?

d. Alpha and beta radiation change the chemical identity of the original element by changing the number of protons and neutrons; gamma radiation only changes the energy of the nucleus without altering the number of protons or neutrons.

Why were the medieval alchemists unsuccessful in find a philosopher's stone?

d. The medieval alchemists tried to change lead into gold using chemical reactions, but to change one element into another, it is necessary to manipulate the nucleus of the atom, not its electrons. e. The medieval alchemists needed to run an electrical current through the metals while bathing them

If an atom emits two protons and two neutrons, the atom has

e. all of the above are correct.

What was the significance of Wolfgang Pauli's discovery of the neutrino?

b. It explained the apparent violation of the conservation of mass in alpha decay by showing that helium nuclei, when stripped of electrons, acquire two neutrinos.

Why are atomic nuclei greater than 92 rarely observed in nature?

c. The structure of 92 protons seems to be the last stable geometry in nature. After uranium, elements with higher atomic numbers become increasingly unstable and can only be made in the laboratory, where they quickly decay.

The difference between a quark and a lepton is

a. quarks exist in the nucleus, but leptons do not.

Which elementary particles have the same mass but a different charge than one of the leptons?

d. positrons

Quarks are one of the basic building blocks of matter. Which of the following particles or structures would not contain any quarks at all?

d. an electron

In what order are the fundamental forces unified as temperatures increase?

electromagnetism and the weak force combine at the lowest temperature, followed by the strong force, then gravity is added to unify all four fundamental forces in the super-force that last existed right after the Big Bang.

If gravitons exist, which of the following pairs of objects exchange gravitons?

e. all of the above and every other pair of objects in the Universe.

Bosons, as opposed to fermions,

g. a, c, d, and e.

Gravity is to a graviton as the strong force is to

c. a gluon.

The super-unification project associated with string theory postulates that

e. a, b, c, and d.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, is hoping to discover evidence of

e. all of the above.

A synchrotron is distinguished from a linear accelerator in that while both machines are particle accelerators that boost atomic particles to near-light speeds

b. The synchrotron accelerates particles with intense radio waves while employing a ring of magnets to constrain them to move in a circular track, but the linear accelerator uses a vacuum tube into which particles are injected to ride an electromagnetic wave.

Which of the following are true?

f. a, b, and d, but not c and e.

The energy source of stars is primarily associated with

b. the reactions of nuclei in the star core.

Which of the following can be said about large stars?

b. Large stars have a shorter lifetime than smaller stars.

The end products of fusion in the Sun's core are:

a. helium isotopes, protons, and gamma rays.

Which of the following affects the lifetime of a star?

c. a, b, d, and e.

The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram is a graphical technique used in astronomy to compare

a. the surface temperature versus the energy output of a star.

Where were the heaviest chemical elements on Earth created?

e. the asteroid belt

If you were to observe a pulsar, what would you see?

e. a Cepheid variable

Which of the following is among the things that astrophysicists predict for the Sun's demise?

e. All of these are correct.

If you were describing the structure of the Sun correctly, you would say that

b. a, c, d, and e are correct

Why do scientists think that black holes exist, considering that black holes cannot be seen and none have ever been directly observed in space?

f. a, b, and d.

The Big Bang theory and the Steady State theory differ in that

e. All of the above.

The discovery of ubiquitous cosmic microwave background radiation

d. gives support to the Big Bang theory.

What were the first three elements formed in the Big Bang?

a. hydrogen, helium, and lithium.

According to the current ideas about the origin of the Universe, which of the following forces existed before 10-43 seconds (the Planck time)?

e. a single unified force.

Which of the following is true about inflationary cosmology?

c. a, b, d, and h.

Which of the following is NOT a problem with inflationary cosmology?


The existence of a multiverse follows from which of the following theories?

f. b, c, and d.

Which of the following is true about quantum cosmology?

j. All of the above except d.

Which of the following is NOT a problem with quantum cosmology?

a. Because it requires a realistic interpretation of the Feynman path-integral formalism for quantum mechanics, it relies on the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory, which is problematic from both a technical and a metaphysical standpoint

Which of the following is NOT true about the String Landscape?

c. It presumes the truth of quantum cosmology and exists in a superspace of geometrical superpositions.

Which statement about dark matter is accepted by most astronomers?

d. Dark matter interacts with ordinary matter through its gravitational effects.

Which of the following is true of the Kālām Cosmological Argument?

c. a, b, and f.

Which of the following is evidence for the Big Bang theory?

d. The abundance of hydrogen, helium and lithium in the Universe, the cosmic microwave background radiation, universal expansion, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The argument to intelligent design in cosmology and astronomy rests on which of the following facts and correspondences?

h. All of the above.

Antimatter is rarely observed in our galaxy because

c. laboratory research indicates that matter was more plentiful in the early universe and annihilated the antimatter.

Why do scientists think that dark matter does not interact through the electromagnetic force?

a. because, if it did, it would absorb or emit photons.

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