Geosciene Online Quiz Question and Answers

The Geosci Motherload Unit 1 – Science! |1. |The US government, and most other governments of the world, provide support for scientists but not for astrologers, palm readers, or telephone | | |“psychics”. Why do governments support scientists? | | |A. | | |Scientists are amazingly sexy, and government functionaries simply cannot control themselves in the presence of such overwhelming sexiness and | | |throw money at the scientists (sometimes tucking tens and twenties into the pockets of the scientists’ lab coats). | | | | |B. | | |Scientists use a careful method, and governments are always committed to supporting the use of careful methods. | | | | | |C. | | |Scientists help humans do useful things, which makes the humans healthier, wealthier, etc. , and governments often like to support health and | | |wealth. | | | | |D. | | |Scientists all drink Diet Pepsi because they think it makes them look sexy, and governments are all controlled by the powerful Pepsi | | |Corporation and so the governments support the Diet-Pepsi-drinking scientists. | | | | | |E. | | |Scientists learn the Truth, and governments are always deeply committed to learning the truth. | | | The government is often interested in seeing people live longer, or improving the economy, or having better and more-accurate explosive devices for the military, or in many other things that improve our lives, and science plus engineering and scientific medicine are better than any other human activity at delivering these. A cynic might say that politicians are often not all that interested in finding the Truth.

And a realist would note that science is being improved all the time, and because you cannot improve on the Truth, science has not (yet? ) learned the Truth. There are many methods in the world, some of them are careful, and many of them are not funded by the government. Some of our spouses or significant others may think that some scientists are sexy, but many other sexy persons are not funded by the government. One of the professors has been known to drink a competitor of Pepsi on occasion, and some scientists refrain from soft drinks entirely. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |C | |Your Response: |C | |2. |What is an accurate description of the job of a scientist? | | |A. | |The scientist does only things that require high-tech equipment. | | | | | |B. | | |The scientist invents new ideas, and goes on to show that some of those ideas are false. | | | | | |C. | | |The scientist learns the Truth through careful application of the scientific method. | | | | | |D. | |The scientist does only things that show how sexy being a scientist really is, causing down-trodden non-scientists to lose control of | | |themselves with carnal lust for the scientist. | | | | | |E. | | |The scientist Invents new ideas, and then goes on to prove that some of those ideas are True. | | | | Much of the fun in science is coming up with great new ideas (hypotheses, if you like fancy words).

But for your new idea to “win”, you have to show that it does better than old ideas, so you have to prove those old ideas false (or incomplete, or not-quite-right, or whatever “nice” word you might prefer). The scientific method is a powerful way for humans to learn to do things, and learn what does and doesn’t work, but the results of science are always open to improvement, so are not claimed to be Truth, and probably are not Truth. Some scientists still use pencils and look at things, and there are probably a few non-sexy scientists around somewhere. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |3. |Newton’s ideas on physics “won”, and Aristotle’s ideas were kicked out of science and over into history. Why? | | |A. | | |Newton’s ideas appealed to dead white European males, whereas Aristotle’s didn’t because Aristotle wore a toga all the time. | | | | | |B. | |Newton’s ideas did a better job of predicting how nature would behave. | | | | | |C. | | |Newton’s ideas appealed to dead white European males, whereas Aristotle’s didn’t. | | | | | |D. | | |Newton’s ideas were more elegant, and so were intellectually favored. | | | | | |E. | | |Newton won the Nobel prize. | | | |

Unlike painting or literature, scientific inquiry has a well-defined procedure for figuring out if Newton’s ideas are better or if Aristotle had it right all along. In looking at a painting, we can ask different people what they think, or we can make up our own mind on whether we like it or not, and that is perfectly valid. In science, we have to ask: does the idea fit with the way the world works? Can I predict the speed of a falling object better using Newton’s ideas or Aristotle’s? As it turns out, Aristotle’s ideas didn’t predict things very well, and Newton’s did. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |4. |Scientists often speak of consensus—the scientific community agrees that a particular theory is better than the competitors.

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What is such | | |scientific consensus based on? | | |A. | | |The insistence of a single scientist that he or she is correct. | | | | | |B. | | |A number of different experiments by different people that all had outcomes that were predicted accurately by the favored theory and not by | | |the competitors. | | | | | |C. | | |Statements in the old textbooks that the scientists studied when they were in school. | | | | | |D. | |The decision of the Nobel prize committee to give the inventor of the idea a lot of money. | | | | | |E. | | |A single experiment had an outcome that was predicted accurately by the favored theory and not by the competitors. | | | | Agreement on scientific theories is a contentious, drawn-out, and sometimes acrimonious business. Scientists are no better (and no worse! ) than everybody else: we think we are right and those who disagree with us are dunderheads!

I put forward my idea, and the experiments that I did that show the idea is a good one… then everybody else piles on and pooh-poohs my idea. BUT, they go out and do experiments that try and show my ideas are wrong… and they can’t do it! So eventually all those experiments accumulate, and finally people agree that my idea is a good one. (Sometimes accompanied by a sneer: “… but of course I knew that all along. I just didn’t bother to publicize it… ” I told you, scientists are no better and no worse than the rest of the world. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |5. |Your job depends on you finding the best available information on a particular technical topic. Where should you concentrate your search if | | |you want to do it right and keep your job? | | |A. | | |Watch cola commercials on football bowl games. | | | | |B. | | |Locate articles in weekly news magazines analyzing the views of public officials on the technical issue, as reported in the newspapers. | | | | | |C. | | |Get on the web and go looking for the pages posted by “think-tanks” headquartered near Washington. | | | | | |D. | | |Scan databases of newspaper articles to find the views of public figures on the technical issue. | | | | |E. | | |Find and study refereed scientific articles in learned journals. | | | | No source of information is perfect, but the refereed articles in learned journals put immense effort into “getting it right”. The web has reliable information, of course, but probably most of the information on the web is not especially reliable. The web is very inexpensive, and lots of people put junk on it.

Think tanks also often are pushing an agenda, and try to “spin” information their way. Most newspapers are around for the long haul, and try to make the news fairly accurate, although some newspapers do have agendas, and the editorial pages are not especially accurate. But, if the report is on the views of a public figure, the newspaper may accurately report what the public figure said, but what the public figure said may be less than completely accurate. Some magazines are quite good and careful, but many are pushing a belief or just overhyping things to tease you into buying the magazine.

And while you are welcome to believe that drinking a particular cola makes you sexy… don’t count on it. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |E | |Your Response: |E | |6. |Before they can be published, scientific papers must be peer-reviewed. This means that: | | |A. | | |Some other scientific experts read the papers and guarantee that they are True. | | | | |B. | | |Some other scientific experts read the papers and provide quality control by eliminating many mistakes. | | | | | |C. | | |Government bureaucrats read the papers, to be sure that the papers do not insult the political positions of the current officeholders. | | | | | |D. | |Everyone in the world is given the opportunity to comment on the papers through a specially maintained blog. | | | | | |E. | | |An editor reads the papers, to make sure that all the semicolons are in the correct places. | | | | Reviewers work hard to identify errors of any sort, almost always identify many, and then the reviewers and editors insist that those errors be fixed before publication.

Review is done voluntarily by scientists; this is part of the cost of being a member of this great human undertaking. Science doesn’t claim Truth; although science strives to be as accurate as humanly possible, that is often well short of Truth. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |7. |What is more accurate about the Earth? | | |A. | |The Earth is formed of flat, vertical layers; one runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, and then others are layered on to the sides of | | |that. | | | | | |B. | | |The Earth is formed of flat, horizontal layers, a little cap at the South Pole, then a layer above that, and a layer above that, all the way | | |up to a little cap at the North Pole. | | | | | |C. | |The Earth is formed of concentric layers (something like an onion–a central ball with a shell around it, and a shell around that…), but with | | |a giant hole on one side where the moon-making collision blasted pieces off. | | | | | |D. | | |The Earth is homogeneous; when it melted, it got all mixed up. | | | | | |E. | |The Earth is formed of concentric layers (something like an onion–a central ball with a shell around it, and a shell around that…); when the | | |planet melted, it separated into layers. | | | | The planet is onion-like, with an inner core, then an outer core, a mantle (which has several sub-layers), and a crust. The moon-making collision did happen, but the planet got hot enough to separate again. The planet separated after melting largely or completely, with the densest stuff falling to the center and the lowest-density stuff floating to the top. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |E | | | | |8. |Geologists get to play with chemistry, physics, biology… and history! And what a history you will meet as you work your way through the | | |course.

Starting at the beginning, the textbook provides the scientifically accepted start of the story… and promises that you’ll get to | | |explore some of the evidence for that scientific view, later in the semester. Meanwhile, which is more nearly correct of the scientifically | | |accepted view? | | |A. | | |The Earth is eternal, having been here forever and promising to be here forever. | | | | | |B. | |The Earth formed from the falling together of older materials, about 4. 6 billion years ago. | | | | | |C. | | |The Earth formed in the Big Bang, about 6000 years ago. | | | | | |D. | | |The Earth was assembled by gigantic space beavers, which gnawed down the primordial tree of life and piled its branches together to form the | | |planet. | | | | | |E. | |The Earth formed when the Big Bang caused older materials to fall together, about 14 billion years ago. | | | | The Big Bang is estimated as having occurred about 14 billion years ago. Stars that eventually formed in the wake of the Big Bang led to production of elements such as iron and silicon that are common in the Earth—we are formed from second-generation stardust, which “got it together” to make the planet about 4. 6 billion years ago. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |9. |National Parks are: | | |A. | | |Regions containing key biological resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of future generations. | | | | |B. | | |Regions containing key geological resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the present generation. | | | | | |C. | | |Regions containing key cultural resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the present generation and future generations. | | | | | |D. | |Regions containing key biological, geological or cultural resources that have been set aside for the enjoyment of the present generation and | | |future generations. | | | | | |E. | | |Regions containing key roller coasters that have been set aside for the enjoyment of you and your immediate friends. | | | | Old Faithful, the giant sequoias, and Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings are waiting for you, and your grandchildren. [pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | | |Correct Answer: |D | |Your Response: |D | |10. You find two neutral atoms. Each has 8 protons in its nucleus, but one has 7 neutrons, and the other has 8 neutrons. It is correct | | |to state that: | | |A. | | |The two atoms are from two different elements. | | | | | |B. | | |The two atoms are from the same element, but are different ions of that element. | | | | |C. | | |The two atoms are from the same cola, but presented in different packaging. | | | | | |D. | | |The two atoms are from the same element, but are different isotopes of that element. | | | | |E. | | |The two atoms are from the same element, but are different isopleths of that element. | | | | The element is determined by the number of protons, so if each atom has the same number of protons, the atoms are the same element. Changing the number of neutrons primarily affects the weight, giving a different isotope of the same element. Changing the number of neutrons too much can introduce radioactivity, so the isotope won’t hang around forever. ) Ions are made by gaining or losing electrons. Isopleths are lines on a map connecting places with the same concentration of something that someone has measured, not exactly relevant here. And cola requires making atoms into molecules, and then mixing molecules of several sorts (water, sweetener, coloring agent, flavoring agent, perhaps caffeine) to make cola. [pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | | |Correct Answer: |D | |Your Response: |D | |11. You get some stuff, and start taking it apart. But, you are restricted to the use of “ordinary” means (fire, sunlight, your digestive| | |system) and you cannot use atom smashers or atom bombs. What is the smallest piece that you are likely to be able to produce: | | |A. | | |A quark | | | | | |B. | | |A nucleus | | | | |C. | | |A proton. | | | | | |D. | | |An atom | | | | | |E. | |A neutron. | | | | We can break matter down into atoms (Greek for “not cuttable” because the Greeks didn’t have atom smashers or other exotic tools that would allow cutting atoms into smaller pieces). All of the wrong answers here are smaller pieces of atoms, but cannot normally be isolated by “ordinary” tools. [pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | | |Correct Answer: |D | |Your Response: |D | |12. Ignoring good manners, you start rooting around in the nucleus of a poor, unsuspecting atom, to see what is in there. What are you | | |most likely to find? | | |A. | | |Only neutrons. | | | | | |B. | | |Neutrons, usually with some electrons hanging around among the neutrons. | | | | | |C. | | |Protons, usually with some electrons hanging around among the protons. | | | | |D. | | |Protons, usually with some neutrons hanging around among the protons. | | | | | |E. | | |Only protons. | | | | The simplest nucleus is the single proton in “ordinary” hydrogen.

All other nuclei include protons and neutrons. Electrons make the cloud around the nucleus. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |D | |1. |What is an accurate description of the job of a scientist? | | |A. | | |The scientist invents new ideas, and goes on to show that some of those ideas are false. | | | | |B. | | |The scientist learns the Truth through careful application of the scientific method. | | | | | |C. | | |The scientist Invents new ideas, and then goes on to prove that some of those ideas are True. | | | | | |D. | |The scientist does only things that show how sexy being a scientist really is, causing down-trodden non-scientists to lose control of | | |themselves with carnal lust for the scientist. | | | | | |E. | | |The scientist does only things that require high-tech equipment. | | | | Much of the fun in science is coming up with great new ideas (hypotheses, if you like fancy words).

But for your new idea to “win”, you have to show that it does better than old ideas, so you have to prove those old ideas false (or incomplete, or not-quite-right, or whatever “nice” word you might prefer). The scientific method is a powerful way for humans to learn to do things, and learn what does and doesn’t work, but the results of science are always open to improvement, so are not claimed to be Truth, and probably are not Truth. Some scientists still use pencils and look at things, and there are probably a few non-sexy scientists around somewhere. [pic]|Points Earned: |0/1 | |Your Response: |B | |1. |Most Americans support science because: | | |A. | | |The scientific method allows scientists to learn the Truth. | | | | | |B. | | |All scientists are sexy. | | | | | |C. | |All Americans are bored silly by science. | | | | | |D. | | |All Americans are fascinated by science. | | | | | |E. | | |Science has helped make our lives easier, safer, etc. | | | | Without science and technology, the great majority of us would be dead, so we tend to be supporters of science.

Although we know that science works, we’re never sure that it is completely right. Students so often discover things that professors missed, or that professors got wrong, that scientists would be silly to claim Truth. Comparing the TV ratings of the latest hit to the ratings of the latest science program on public broadcasting shows that many Americans are not fascinated by science, but the science-show ratings are above zero, so some people are fascinated by science. And hope as we might, it is unfortunately clear that not every scientist is sexy (just most of them are…). [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |E | | | | |2. |What is an accurate description of the job of a scientist? | | |A. | |The scientist invents new ideas, and goes on to show that some of those ideas are false. | | | | | |B. | | |The scientist learns the Truth through careful application of the scientific method. | | | | | |C. | | |The scientist does only things that show how sexy being a scientist really is, causing down-trodden non-scientists to lose control of | | |themselves with carnal lust for the scientist. | | | | |D. | | |The scientist does only things that require high-tech equipment. | | | | | |E. | | |The scientist Invents new ideas, and then goes on to prove that some of those ideas are True. | | | | Much of the fun in science is coming up with great new ideas (hypotheses, if you like fancy words).

But for your new idea to “win”, you have to show that it does better than old ideas, so you have to prove those old ideas false (or incomplete, or not-quite-right, or whatever “nice” word you might prefer). The scientific method is a powerful way for humans to learn to do things, and learn what does and doesn’t work, but the results of science are always open to improvement, so are not claimed to be Truth, and probably are not Truth. Some scientists still use pencils and look at things, and there are probably a few non-sexy scientists around somewhere. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |A | |Your Response: |A | |3. |The final arbitrator between two alternate theories (for example Aristotle’s and Newton’s ideas) is: | | |A. | | |A public opinion poll conducted by Gallup, ABC News, and Fox News. | | | | |B. | | |Nature, and experiments conducted to test each idea. | | | | | |C. | | |A committee of “wise men” who gather twice a year to arbitrate such disputes. | | | | | |D. | | |The Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm, Sweden. | | | |

Unlike painting or literature, scientific inquiry has a well-defined procedure for figuring out if Newton’s ideas are better or if Aristotle had it right all along. In looking at a painting, we can ask different people what they think, or we can make up our own mind on whether we like it or not, and that is perfectly valid. In science, we have to ask: does the idea fit with the way the world works? Can I predict the speed of a falling object better using Newton’s ideas or Aristotle’s? As it turns out, Aristotle’s ideas didn’t predict things very well, and Newton’s did. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |4. |When scientists agree that a particular scientific theory is a good one, and the scientists use that theory to help make new things, cure | | |diseases, etc. that “agreement” came about because: | | |A. | | |A single experiment had an outcome that was well-predicted by that theory. | | | | | |B. | | |A single, well-respected scientist put forward the idea. | | | | | |C. | | |That’s what it says in all the books. | | | | | |D. | | |The Nobel prize committee gave the inventor of the idea a lot of money. | | | | | |E. | |A number of different experiments by different people all had outcomes that were well-predicted by the theory. | | | | Agreement on scientific theories is a contentious, drawn-out, and sometimes acrimonious business. Scientists are no better (and no worse! ) than everybody else: we think we are right and those who disagree with us are dunderheads! I put forward my idea, and the experiments that I did that show the idea is a good one… then everybody else piles on and pooh-poohs my idea. BUT, they go out and do experiments that try and show my ideas are wrong… nd they can’t do it! So eventually all those experiments accumulate, and finally people agree that my idea is a good one. (Sometimes accompanied by a sneer: “… but of course I knew that all along. I just didn’t bother to publicize it… ” I told you, scientists are no better and no worse than the rest of the world. ) |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |E | |Your Response: |E | |5. Which is more likely to contain reliable information? | | |A. | | |A web page posted by an independent “think-tank”. | | | | | |B. | | |A magazine article summarizing recent newspaper and television reports. | | | | | |C. | | |A refereed article in a learned journal. | | | | | |D. | | |The views of public figures reported in a newspaper article. | | | | |E. | | |A cola commercial. | | | | No source of information is perfect, but the refereed articles in learned journals put immense effort into “getting it right”. The web has reliable information, of course, but probably most of the information on the web is not especially reliable. The web is very inexpensive, and lots of people put junk on it.

Think tanks also often are pushing an agenda, and try to “spin” information their way. Most newspapers are around for the long haul, and try to make the news fairly accurate, although some newspapers do have agendas, and the editorial pages are not especially accurate. But, if the report is on the views of a public figure, the newspaper may accurately report what the public figure said, but what the public figure said may be less than completely accurate. Some magazines are quite good and careful, but many are pushing a belief or just overhyping things to tease you into buying the magazine.

And while you are welcome to believe that drinking a particular cola makes you sexy… don’t count on it. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |C | |Your Response: |C | |6. |What is accurate about peer review of scientific papers? | | |A. | | |It insures that they are True. | | | | |B. | | |It almost always leads to the recommendation that the papers be published without changes. | | | | | |C. | | |It is why we call scientific papers “primary sources”. | | | | | |D. | | |It provides quality control by eliminating many mistakes. | | | | | |E. | |It is primarily done by government bureaucrats hired for that purpose. | | | | Reviewers work hard to identify errors of any sort, almost always identify many, and then the reviewers and editors insist that those errors be fixed before publication. Review is done voluntarily by scientists; this is part of the cost of being a member of this great human undertaking.

Science doesn’t claim Truth; although science strives to be as accurate as humanly possible, that is often well short of Truth. Asking grandpa what school was like in his childhood gives you a primary source (grandpa), even if he insists that he walked 20 miles through neck-deep snow, uphill both ways. Some primary sources have selective memories. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |D | |Your Response: |D | |7. The Earth is layered. Most geologists believe that this layering originated primarily because: | | |A. | | |The denser material fell together from space first, and then the less-dense material fell in later. | | | | | |B. | | |The Earth partially or completely melted soon after it formed, and the denser materials fell to the center. | | | | | |C. | |Graham Spanier decreed that it be, so it was. | | | | | |D. | | |The Earth has been separating bit-by-bit for billions of years as the cold oceanic slabs sink all the way to the center and pile up. | | | | | |E. | | |The Moon flew out of the Earth after a great collision with a Mars-sized body, causing the Earth to spin faster and separate. | | | Melting allows things to sort out more easily. Think of the rocks and snow and ice and salt and squirrel parts that stick on the bottom of your car when you drive in a snowstorm, and how they sort themselves out when they melt in the garage or in the spring. Much evidence points to early separation of the Earth into layers, before the collision with a Mars-sized body that blasted out the material that made the moon, although a little bit of separating may still be going on.

The type of material falling together to make the planet may have changed as the planet formed, but this doesn’t seem to have been too important in controlling things. And mighty as Graham Spanier is, this was a bit before his time. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |8. |The Earth has a fascinating history, which this class has just begun to explore.

Which is more nearly correct, according to the scientific | | |interpretation presented in the text? | | |A. | | |The Earth has been here forever. | | | | | |B. | | |The Earth formed in the great Pepsi flood, when Graham Spanier’s private reservoirs burst open and flooded Pennsylvania. | | | | | |C. | | |The Earth formed in the Big Bang, about 4. 6 billion years ago. | | | | |D. | | |The Earth formed about 4. 6 billion years ago, well after the Big Bang, as materials made in stars fell together to form the planet. | | | | | |E. | | |The Earth formed in the Big Bang, about 6000 years ago. | | | | The Big Bang is estimated as having occurred about 14 billion years ago.

Stars that eventually formed in the wake of the Big Bang led to production of elements such as iron and silicon that are common in the Earth—we are formed from second-generation stardust, which “got it together” to make the planet about 4. 6 billion years ago. |[pic] |Points Earned: |0/1 | |Correct Answer: |D | |Your Response: |C | |9. National Parks are: | | |A. | | |An invention of the Romans, to overcome the “tragedy of the commons” that caused them to invade the food-service buildings of the neighboring | | |Greeks. | | | | | |B. | | |An invention of the United States that has spread around much of the world, as a way of protecting some of the finest parts of the world. | | | | | |C. | |A U. S. government program to provide roller-coaster rides for disadvantaged grandparents. | | | | | |D. | | |An invention of the United States, which has been routinely ignored by the rest of the world because they really don’t like us. | | | | | |E. | | |An invention of Greenlandic people, who set aside the northeastern part of the island as the world’s first national park. | | | Yellowstone was the first National Park, but now you can find National Parks scattered across the planet, preserving key areas for the enjoyment of this generation and for future generations. |[pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |10. |You find two neutral atoms. Each has 8 protons in its nucleus, but one has 7 neutrons, and the other has 8 neutrons. It is correct | | |to state that: | | |A. | | |The two atoms are from the same cola, but presented in different packaging. | | | | |B. | | |The two atoms are from the same element, but are different isopleths of that element. | | | | | |C. | | |The two atoms are from the same element, but are different ions of that element. | | | | |D. | | |The two atoms are from two different elements. | | | | | |E. | | |The two atoms are from the same element, but are different isotopes of that element. | | | | The element is determined by the number of protons, so if each atom has the same number of protons, the atoms are the same element.

Changing the number of neutrons primarily affects the weight, giving a different isotope of the same element. (Changing the number of neutrons too much can introduce radioactivity, so the isotope won’t hang around forever. ) Ions are made by gaining or losing electrons. Isopleths are lines on a map connecting places with the same concentration of something that someone has measured, not exactly relevant here. And cola requires making atoms into molecules, and then mixing molecules of several sorts (water, sweetener, coloring agent, flavoring agent, perhaps caffeine) to make cola. [pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | | |Correct Answer: |E | |Your Response: |E | |11. |You get some stuff, and start taking it apart.

But, you are restricted to the use of “ordinary” means (fire, sunlight, your digestive| | |system) and you cannot use atom smashers or atom bombs. What is the smallest piece that you are likely to be able to produce: | | |A. | | |A neutron. | | | | | |B. | | |An atom | | | | | |C. | | |A proton. | | | | |D. | | |A nucleus | | | | | |E. | | |A quark | | | | We can break matter down into atoms (Greek for “not cuttable” because the Greeks didn’t have atom smashers or other exotic tools that would allow cutting atoms into smaller pieces).

All of the wrong answers here are smaller pieces of atoms, but cannot normally be isolated by “ordinary” tools. |[pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |12. |Chemical reactions involve: | | |A. | | |The sharing or trading of partons. | | | | | |B. | |The sharing or trading of quarks. | | | | | |C. | | |The sharing or trading of protons. | | | | | |D. | | |The sharing or trading of neutrons. | | | | | |E. | | |The sharing or trading of electrons. | | | |

The clouds of electrons around the nuclei of atoms serve as the Velcro of the universe. Atoms gain or lose electrons and then stick together by static electricity, or else share electrons and stick together inside the shared cloud. The nuclei with their protons and neutrons (which are themselves composed of quarks, which also were called partons at one time) are the things held together by the electronic Velcro of chemistry. |[pic|Points Earned: |1/1 | |] | | | |Correct Answer: |E | |Your Response: |E | |1. Ignoring good manners, you start rooting around in the nucleus of a poor, unsuspecting atom, to see what is in there. What are you most likely | | |to find? | | |A. | | |Neutrons, usually with some electrons hanging around among the neutrons. | | | | | |B. | | |Only neutrons. | | | | | |C. | | |Protons, usually with some neutrons hanging around among the protons. | | | | | |D. | |Protons, usually with some electrons hanging around among the protons. | | | | | |E. | | |Only protons. | | | | The simplest nucleus is the single proton in “ordinary” hydrogen. All other nuclei include protons and neutrons. Electrons make the cloud around the nucleus. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Your Response: |C | |2. Opinion polls show most residents of the US do not believe they understand science very well, but they do favor more government support of | | |science. Why do most US residents favor government support of science? | | |A. | | |Scientists are so breath-takingly sexy that most people are drawn through sheer carnal lust to support the scientific enterprise. | | | | | |B. | | |Science is so boring that almost everyone uses public-broadcasting science programming as a sleep aid, and government funding is needed to | | |insure a steady supply of boredom. | | | | |C. | | |Science has helped make our lives healthier, wealthier, easier, safer, etc. , and people hope that more funding of more science will provide | | |even more health, wealth, ease, safety, etc. | | | | | |D. | | |Science is simply so fascinating that almost everyone can’t wait to see what will be discovered next. | | | | | |E. | |Scientists apply their scientific method, which allows them to learn the Truth. | | | | Without science and technology, the great majority of us would be dead, so we tend to be supporters of science. Although we know that science works, we’re never sure that it is completely right. Students so often discover things that professors missed, or that professors got wrong, that scientists would be silly to claim Truth.

Comparing the TV ratings of the latest hit to the ratings of the latest science program on public broadcasting shows that many Americans are not fascinated by science, but the science-show ratings are above zero, so some people are fascinated by science. And hope as we might, it is unfortunately clear that not every scientist is sexy (just most of them are…). |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Your Response: |C | |3. In chemistry, the type of an atom (what element it is) is determined by: | | |A. | | |The number of electrons it exchanges with its neighbors. | | | | | |B. | | |The number of protons it has in a cloud around the nucleus. | | | | | |C. | | |The number of neutrons it has in a cloud around the nucleus. | | | | | |D. | |The number of neutrons it contains in its nucleus. | | | | | |E. | | |The number of protons it contains in its nucleus. | | | | Physicists change the name when the number of charged, massive protons in the nucleus changes. Adding one proton makes a HUGE difference to how an atom behaves, and so deserves a new name. The neutrons hang around in the nucleus to keep the protons from kicking each other out. Exchanging electrons is important, but doesn’t change the element type. [pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Your Response: |E | |4. |What is an accurate description of the job of a scientist? | | |A. | | |The scientist Invents new ideas, and then goes on to prove that some of those ideas are True. | | | | | |B. | | |The scientist does only things that show how sexy being a scientist really is, causing down-trodden non-scientists to lose control of | | |themselves with carnal lust for the scientist. | | | | |C. | | |The scientist learns the Truth through careful application of the scientific method. | | | | | |D. | | |The scientist does only things that require high-tech equipment. | | | | | |E. | | |The scientist invents new ideas, and goes on to show that some of those ideas are false. | | | Much of the fun in science is coming up with great new ideas (hypotheses, if you like fancy words). But for your new idea to “win”, you have to show that it does better than old ideas, so you have to prove those old ideas false (or incomplete, or not-quite-right, or whatever “nice” word you might prefer). The scientific method is a powerful way for humans to learn to do things, and learn what does and doesn’t work, but the results of science are always open to improvement, so are not claimed to be Truth, and probably are not Truth.

Some scientists still use pencils and look at things, and there are probably a few non-sexy scientists around somewhere. |[pic]|Points Earned: |0/1 | |Your Response: |A | |5. |What is more accurate about the Earth? | | |A. | | |The Earth is formed of concentric layers (something like an onion–a central ball with a shell around it, and a shell around that…); when the | | |planet melted, it separated into layers. | | | | |B. | | |The Earth is formed of flat, vertical layers; one runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, and then others are layered on to the sides of | | |that. | | | | | |C. | | |The Earth is formed of flat, horizontal layers, a little cap at the South Pole, then a layer above that, and a layer above that, all the way | | |up to a little cap at the North Pole. | | | | | |D. | |The Earth is formed of concentric layers (something like an onion–a central ball with a shell around it, and a shell around that…), but with | | |a giant hole on one side where the moon-making collision blasted pieces off. | | | | | |E. | | |The Earth is homogeneous; when it melted, it got all mixed up. | | | | The planet is onion-like, with an inner core, then an outer core, a mantle (which has several sub-layers), and a crust.

The moon-making collision did happen, but the planet got hot enough to separate again. The planet separated after melting largely or completely, with the densest stuff falling to the center and the lowest-density stuff floating to the top. |[pic|Points Earned: |0/1 | |] | | | |Your Response: |E | |1. |The US government, and most other governments of the world, provide support for scientists but not for astrologers, palm readers, or telephone | | |“psychics”. Why do governments support scientists? | | |A. | |Scientists all drink Diet Pepsi because they think it makes them look sexy, and governments are all controlled by the powerful Pepsi | | |Corporation and so the governments support the Diet-Pepsi-drinking scientists. | | | | | |B. | | |Scientists help humans do useful things, which makes the humans healthier, wealthier, etc. , and governments often like to support health and | | |wealth. | | | | |C. | | |Scientists are amazingly sexy, and government functionaries simply cannot control themselves in the presence of such overwhelming sexiness and | | |throw money at the scientists (sometimes tucking tens and twenties into the pockets of the scientists’ lab coats). | | | | | |D. | | |Scientists use a careful method, and governments are always committed to supporting the use of careful methods. | | | | |E. | | |Scientists learn the Truth, and governments are always deeply committed to learning the truth. | | | | The government is often interested in seeing people live longer, or improving the economy, or having better and more-accurate explosive devices for the military, or in many other things that improve our lives, and science plus engineering and scientific medicine are better than any other human activity at delivering these.

A cynic might say that politicians are often not all that interested in finding the Truth. And a realist would note that science is being improved all the time, and because you cannot improve on the Truth, science has not (yet? ) learned the Truth. There are many methods in the world, some of them are careful, and many of them are not funded by the government. Some of our spouses or significant others may think that some scientists are sexy, but many other sexy persons are not funded by the government.

One of the professors has been known to drink a competitor of Pepsi on occasion, and some scientists refrain from soft drinks entirely. |[pic]|Points Earned: |1/1 | |Correct Answer: |B | |Your Response: |B | |2. You hang around with the professor, who is a scientist when he’s not teaching. You observe that the professor learns a lot about how certain | | |parts of the world behave, and the professor then uses that information to successfully predict the outcome of an experiment. What does this | | |demonstrate? | | |A. | | |The professor’s knowledge is True; the professor couldn’t have made the successful prediction without knowing exactly what is going on. | | | | | |B. | |The professor was lucky; no professor could ever know what is going on, so a professor who successfully predicted something must be really | | |lucky. | | | | | |C. | | |The professor’s knowledge is close to being True; no professor really knows what is going on, but some professors are sort of close to knowing| | |what is going on. | | | | | |D. |

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