Reading Comprehension Quiz

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for March 27.

Enrico Fermi's theory of the "weak force" introduced the last of the four basic forces known in nature - gravity, electromagnetism, and (operating within the nucleus of the atom) the strong force and the "weak force."

In the mid-1930's Fermi made the most important discovery of his life: passing neutrons through a "moderator" such as paraffin increased their effectiveness. This finding would allow releasing nuclear energy in a reactor.

In 1939, Fermi and collaborator Leo Szilard co-invented the nuclear reactor at Columbia University. The work moved to the University of Chicago, culminating in the assembly of the first full-scale nuclear reactor in a squash court in late 1942. He had proved the science of a chain reaction. From then on, building a bomb was mere engineering.

The discovery of how to release nuclear energy had long-term beneficial results: the development of an essentially unlimited new source of energy.

1. Leo Szilard co-invented
A. passing neutrons through paraffin.
B. the nuclear bomb.
C. the nuclear reactor.
D. the weak force.
2. The "weak force" is
A. part of a nuclear reactor.
B. a force of gravity.
C. one of the four basic forces in nature.
D. a chain reaction.
3. Electromagnetism is
A. magnetism produced by an electric current.
B. a property of atoms.
C. a magnetic field.
D. an aspect of gravity.
4. Fermi's contributions to physics led to
A. an understanding of gravity.
B. the building of the atom bomb.
C. an understanding of electromagnetism.
D. the "weak force."

The information comes from an article by Richard Rhodes at Time 100 Most Important People of the Century.
Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-C..........2-C..........3-A..........4-B
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at