The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest For… Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Brian Greene
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 185 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What rule did Max Planck discover the electromagnetic waves bounded in a container, such as an oven, must follow?

2. Which of the following is not one of the four fundamental forces of the universe?

3. Why are the fluctuations that quantum physics predicts not observable in everyday life?

4. What property did the double-slit experiment demonstrate that light has?

5. Which of the following is closest to the Planck length?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the relationship between wavelength, frequency, and a wave's minimum energy?

2. Describe the "equivalence principle", which relates acceleration and gravitational force.

3. Describe a black hole, including some of its physical properties and methods by which it can be detected.

4. State Newton's law of gravity.

5. What is supersymmetry and what is its importance in string theory?

6. Describe Max Planck's solution to the infinite-energy problem.

7. What are some of the difficulties in confirming string theory experimentally?

8. Referring to the experiment described in question Short Essay #6, what would the three observers see according to the theory of special relativity?

9. In physics, what is symmetry?

10. Describe the structure of an atom.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Black Holes

Black holes are the most massive objects in our universe. They contain deep mysteries and relatively little is known about them. They are incredibly powerful, able to out-muscle light itself, piece the fabric of space-time, and perhaps even create new universes.

Part 1) Describe the history of our knowledge of black holes: How and why they were first theorized about, and how they were first discovered by observation.

Part 2) How is a black hole formed? Explain the dominant theories about the formation of black holes, being sure to address features such as the event horizon. Explain some of the more esoteric possibilities as well.

Part 3) Black holes have driven forward theory and discovery for a long time. Explain some of the ways that black holes have inspired scientists to push forward our knowledge of the universe.

Essay Topic 2

The Conflict of the Century

Between quantum mechanics and general relativity, almost any phenomenon in the universe can be explained and understood, but for physicists, this is not enough. It has long been known that these theories conflict with one another, and that therefore, neither of them can be exactly correct. The search for a single unifying theory that can reconcile these two branches of science is ongoing. String theory is just one of the many solutions that has been suggested, but it has lasted the longest and sustained the most scrutiny.

Part 1) Describe the conflicts between quantum mechanics and general relativity. How and where do these theories become mutually incomprehensible? Provide as many examples of these conflicts as possible.

Part 2) Research and describe some of the efforts to unify these fields, apart from string theory. How are these problems approached, and how successful have these theories been?

Part 3) Describe string theory's approach to resolving these conflicts. How does this approach differ from the others discussed above, and how successful has string theory been compared with these others?

Essay Topic 3

Strung Along

String theory is one of the most important physical theories of this century, and it has a mottled and unusual history. String theory has progressed in fits and starts since its strange inception, experiencing periods of boom and bust, but always moving forward. Part 1) Describe the early history of string theory, beginning with the accidental discovery by Gabriele Veneziano, up through the work of Schwarz and Scherk.

Part 2) Detail the history of the first and second "superstring revolutions". What set off these periods of intense study, what was achieved, and how did they end?

Part 3) Speculate why string theory has suffered periodic declines in the physics community. Use evidence from the book, or outside research to support your claims.

(see the answer keys)

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