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Cultural Literacy Test - Physical Science I

Take your time with the following cultural literacy test. If you select the correct answer it will be highlighted in green and the related information will be shown. If the first answer selected is incorrect, it will be highlighted in yellow, indicating try again. If the second answer selected is incorrect, the correct answer will be displayed. See the Bibliography to learn more about this test.

Wrong Answer Try Again Correct
1. What is a catalyst?
the smallest constituent of matter
a substance that controls the rate of a chemical reaction
a violent geological change
a substance that merges with an element to form a compound
2. The steady-state and big-bang theories are associated with
the study of the creation and structure of the uni­verse
the initial construction of the hydrogen bomb
the volatility of liquids such as ether and chloroform
plate tectonics and the development of mountain ranges
3. According to quantum theory,
energy is infinite
forces that balance each other are in equilibrium
force can be expressed as the acceleration it gives to an object
energy is limited and discontinuous
4. The earth's atmosphere is
primarily nitrogen, with smaller amounts of oxygen and argon
primarily oxygen, with traces of nitrogen and carbon
primarily carbon dioxide, with some helium and ozone
primarily ozone, with traces of oxygen and carbon dioxide
5. Which of these concepts is not associated with Ein­stein's theory of relativity?
Nothing can move faster than the speed of light.
Energy and mass are equivalent.
Mass and time change with increases in velocity.
Although matter may alter in shape, it is never destroyed.
6. On the Celsius scale, the boiling point of water is
373 A
7. In a lunar eclipse,
the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun
the Sun comes between the Earth and the Moon
the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon
none of the above
8. Both strong and weak nuclear forces have to do with
9. The three major classes of rocks are
granite, pumice, and quartzite
stratified, molten, and sedimentary
igneous, basalt, and clay
metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous
10. What did Marie and Pierre Curie discover?
radium and polonium
X rays
11. What is a vacuum?
a unit of measure of atmospheric pressure
gaseous matter with a high concentration of ions
a device that operates through hydraulic pressure
space from which all matter has been removed
12. You would be most likely to read a seismograph report in
a newspaper account of earthquake activity
a Scientific American article on quarks
a novel about life on other planets
Einstein's early papers on inertia
13. What is a molecule?
the smallest particle of matter
the smallest particle of an element or compound that has all the properties of that substance
a substance with the same atomic weight as a given element
a particle made up of a single nucleus and orbiting electrons in multiples of three or five
14. When an object is in equilibrium,
it is not being acted on by any forces
it is resistant to gravitational forces
it is being acted on by two or more balanced forces
it is spherical or otherwise precisely symmetrical
15. According to Newton's law of inertia,
a body at rest tends to remain at rest
a body in motion tends to remain in motion
an outside force can manipulate a body
all of the above
16. To a physicist, conservation of energy means
use of natural resources must be controlled
during a physical change, total energy remains constant
a cautious approach to particle bombardment is recommended
solid-state rather than electron materials are used
17. Which of the following bodies is not a star?
white dwarf
18. If a bar magnet is allowed to swing freely,
it will attract any metallic object
it will repel any metallic object
it will point north and south
it will display the properties of a pendulum
19. The most amazing thing about a black hole is its ability to
20. The half-life of an element is
equal to half of its atomic number
the time it takes half of a given amount to decay
half the number of years an atom takes to break down
the number of electrons dispersed over a six-month period
21. In the process of diffusion,
molecules of a substance spread evenly through a gas, liquid, or solid
molecules of a substance separate from a gas, liquid, or solid
wind or water spreads molecules of a substance
a molecule returns to its natural shape after being acted on by a force
22. What is acceleration?
speed in a straight line
the rate of increase in velocity
the rate at which motion occurs
the process of traveling from place to place
23. Which list gives the correct order of the planets in terms of average orbital distance from the Sun?
Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Ur­anus, Neptune, Pluto
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Nep­tune, Uranus, Pluto
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Ur­anus, Pluto, Neptune
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Ur­anus, Neptune, Pluto
24. In a nuclear chain reaction,
atoms explode, causing the air around them to explode
neutrons split atoms, releasing neutrons that split other atoms
electrons leap from atom to atom, destabilizing them
the nucleus of a hydrogen atom enters an atom of uranium
25. What is a light-year?
the amount of time it takes light from the Sun to reach Earth
the length of time it takes Earth to revolve around the Sun
the distance between the Sun and the Earth
the distance light travels in one year
Excellent. You are on your way to true cultural literacy.
Good. You have more than a passing knowledge of this subject.
Fair. You have a competent grasp of many aspects of this subject.
Poor. You could use some improvement in this area.
Below 60%
Time for literacy training.
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