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. Which of the following correctly describes the structure of an atom?

2. Quantum electroweak theory concerns quantum mechanics and _____.

3. What is the fundamental force responsible for keeping the nucleus of an atom "glued" together?

4. What are the components of an atomic nucleus?

5. What is the quantum, or messenger particle, of the weak force?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the structure of an atom.

2. How many string theories are there and how did there come to be multiple theories?

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

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

5. Describe some of the problems with uniting quantum mechanics and general relativity.

6. Describe the symmetry between the electromagnetism and the weak force that is predicted by quantum electroweak theory.

7. List the four fundamental forces of the universe, their functions, and describe where and at what scales they are most commonly observed.

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

9. In physics, what is symmetry?

10. Describe the basic principles of string theory.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Black Holes Redux

String theory provides some tantalizing possibilities for explaining the nature of black holes. These incredibly powerful cosmic objects were part of the reason that string theory was created in the first place. Their incredible extremes have been the point that most other theories get off the train, but string theory is able to handle these problems deftly. Part 1) Why can string theory analyze black holes where other theories fail? Include a discussion of quantum mechanics, general relativity, and entropy as they relate to this subject.

Part 2) String theory predicts the possibility of dramatic tears in space-time called conifold transitions. Explain what these events are and how they relate to the formation and structure of black holes.

Part 3) Explain the theory that black holes and elementary particles are different phases of the same material. Explain what phase-transition is and how this concept relates to black holes. If true, what are the implications of this concept?

Essay Topic 2

Relativistic Relativity

Einstein is most famous for his two theories of relativity. It is sometimes said that special relativity would have been discovered in a few years without Einstein, but if it were not for him, the world would still be waiting for general relativity. These two theories are critical to modern physics and are used in important applications every day.

Part 1) Describe the discovery of the theory of special relativity. What thoughts caused Einstein to first contemplate this theory, and how did it develop. Explain the underlying principles of special relativity.

Part 2) Repeat the above analysis for the theory of general relativity.

Part 3) Compare and contrast the discoveries of these two theories. Make an assessment of which has been more important historically. Describe succinctly the difference between these theories.

Part 4) Research and describe some of the ways that each of these theories affect technology and ongoing physics research.

Essay Topic 3

The Quantum

The quantum is the smallest possible unit of energy that can be manifested for a particular fundamental force. The realization that energy came in discrete "packets" revolutionized physics and created the field of quantum mechanics. This essay is about the discovery of the quanta.

Part 1) Research and fully describe the nature of the problem of the "oven" that contains infinite energy. What were some early attempts at a solution?

Part 2) Describe Max Planck's solution to the problem in detail. How did his final approach resolve the infinite sums into finite ones? What is the relationship between the properties of the electromagnetic wave and its energy?

Part 3) Planck proposed that energy could only exist in multiples of certain minimum amounts. Describe how he came to this conclusion, and what impact this conclusion had on other fields of science.

(see the answer keys)

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