Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Test | Final Test - Medium

Charles Seife
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. According to the author in Chapter 5, “Infinite Zeros and Infidel Mathematicians,” Leibniz wanted to use infinitesimals in calculus which were termed what?
(a) “mi.”
(b) “∞.”
(c) “ö.”
(d) “dx.”

2. According to the author in Chapter 7, “Absolute Zeros,” thermodynamics led physicists to believe that light was not a particle but what?
(a) An electron.
(b) An electromagnetic wave.
(c) A vibrating string.
(d) A proton.

3. According to the author in Chapter 7, “Absolute Zeros,” Max Planck came up with a new equation that solved the ultraviolet catastrophe but implied that energy was released in discrete packets that have come to be called what?
(a) Derivatives.
(b) Quanta.
(c) Strings.
(d) Photons.

4. What principle holds that there is an inverse relation between the fineness with which a particular's location can be determined and the fineness with which its velocity can be determined?
(a) The Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
(b) The Pythagorean Theorem.
(c) The Planck constant.
(d) The Golden Ratio.

5. The name “electron” was introduced in 1891 by what Irish physicist?
(a) Sir Isaac Newton.
(b) George Johnstone Stoney.
(c) Galileo Galilei.
(d) Albert Einstein.

Short Answer Questions

1. What refers to the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916 and the current description of gravitation in modern physics?

2. According to the author in Chapter 6, “Infinity's Twin,” “i” appears whenever one takes the square root of what?

3. The operation of finding the area under a curve is now called what, according to the author in Chapter 5, “Infinite Zeros and Infidel Mathematicians”?

4. When did Sir Isaac Newton live?

5. Bishop Berkeley was a philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called what?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was discovered by Albert Einstein’s solution to the photoelectric effect?

2. How old is the universe estimated to be by astronomers today? How did they calculate this age?

3. How did the field of quantum mechanics address the problem of zero in thermodynamics?

4. How were Georg Cantor’s mathematical principles applied to his theology? Who disagreed with his vision and why?

5. How did the discovery of imaginary numbers affect the study of algebra?

6. What problems were encountered in calculus with zero? How did zero apply to the physical world, according to the author in Chapter 5, “Infinite Zeros and Infidel Mathematicians”?

7. What does the author say thermodynamics has taught us in Chapter 7, “Absolute Zeros”?

8. How does the elimination of zero help general relativity theory, according to the author in Chapter 8, “Zero Hour at Ground Zero”?

9. How did Max Planck address the problem of the ultraviolet catastrophe?

10. How many dimensions are required for string theory to work? How are these dimensions described in Chapter 8, “Zero Hour at Ground Zero”?

(see the answer keys)

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