WHAT IS YOUR ATOMIC IQ? (Feb, 1959)

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WHAT IS YOUR ATOMIC IQ?

By J. Robert Connor

GREEK philosophers some 2,000 years ago are believed to be the first people to theorize that there were tiny and invisible particles in all matter. They named these particles atoms. To give you an idea of the smallness of these particles, it is said that if all the people of the world were as tiny as atoms, we would all be able to stand on the head of a pin! Since the atom seems to offer us a bright future, barring war, we should know something about it. This quiz is designed to test your atomic acumen. How do you rate?

True or False (underline one)
1. The first atomic-powered merchant ship to be built by the United States will cost an estimated $39,000,000. The name designated for this vessel by President Eisenhower is the N.S. Savannah. True. False.

2. United States scientists were the first to discover atomic energy. True. False.

3. The A-bomb derives its tremendous energy from atomic fusion. True. False.

4. A reactor is an atomic furnace. True. False.

5. Uranium, the source of nuclear fuel, is far more radioactive than radium. True. False.

6. Pitchblende is an ore containing both radium and uranium. True. False.

7. Isotopes are made up of almost identical atoms that behave chemically the same but have slight differences in their atomic weight. True. False.

8. The latest use for atomic energy, according to the Atomic Energy Commission, is the explosion of a nuclear bomb underground which is expected to open a vast new field in mining and oil techniques. True. False.

9. The inner core of the atom is called the nucleus. True. False.

10. Food irradiated by atomic particles is now being eaten by the United States Army. True. False.

Multiple Choice (underline one) 11. The name of the United States Navy’s first atomic-powered submarine is: Seawolf; Nautilus; Skipjack.

12. Master slave manipulators are: mechanical hands used to handle radioactive materials; mechanical hands used to dig up uranium ore; device used to measure atomic energy.

13. The first commercial atomic power station in the United States is located in: Shippingport, Pa.; Los Alamos, N. M.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.

14. A Geiger counter is an instrument used to: measure radioactive elements; count atomic particles; detect the presence of radioactivity.

15. The nucleus of an atom consists of: electrons and neutrons; neutrons and protons; electrons and ions.

16. A critical mass is: a radioactive pile; amount of nuclear fuel needed to sustain chain reaction; massing of protons.

17. The word “hot” means that a substance is: burning; undergoing nuclear bombardment; highly radioactive.

18. The best shield laboratory workers can use to protect themselves from radiation is: iron; steel; lead.

19. A roentgen is: a unit of radioactive dose; critical mass; radioisotope.

20. The chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission is: John A. McCone; Thomas Murphy; Lewis L. Strauss.

21. The most important material used in atomic energy operations is: U-234; U-238; U-235.

22. The man who proved by experiments that the atoms of various elements are not alike and that each has its characteristic weight was: Albert Einstein; John Dalton; Isaac Newton.

Answers
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1. True. The first steamship to cross the Atlantic was the S.S. Savannah in 1819. The first atomic-powered merchant ship will be named after it and called the N.S. (Nuclear Ship) Savannah.

2. False. German scientists discovered modern atomic energy in 1938.

3. False. Atomic fission, the splitting of heavy nuclei such as uranium, releases the energy that explodes the atomic bomb.

4. True. An atomic furnace is called a reactor and is designed to withstand the tremendous amount of energy produced by the splitting of atoms.

5. False.

6. True.

7. True.

8. True. Recently the AEC set off an atomic explosion deep in a Nevada mesa. The AEC believes that this new method will lead to obtaining minerals and oil from the ground much more easily and cheaply than is now possible.

9. True.

10. False. Research in this field has been going on for quite some time and the armed forces plan to test irradiated foods in the near future.

11. Nautilus.

12. Mechanical hands used to handle radioactive materials.

13. Shippingport, Pa.

14. A device used to detect the presence of radioactivity.

15. The inner core of the atom consists of neutrons and protons locked together.

16. The amount of nuclear fuel necessary to sustain a chain reaction.

17. Hot means highly radioactive.

18. Lead.

19. A roentgen is a unit of radioactive dose, or exposure.

20. John A. McCone.

21. U-235. Scientists have discovered that U-235, a rare isotope of uranium, is the atom that is most easily split.

22. John Dalton, a Quaker school teacher who lived in the 18th Century.

Give yourself five points for each correct answer. Here’s how to interpret your score: Zero to 30—you’re an atomic dud; 35 to 55—you can distinguish uranium ore from a hunk of coal; 60 to 80—you’re on your way to atomic science degree; 85 to 110—you’re cooking with atoms!

4 comments
  1. Kosher Ham says: January 19, 201212:11 pm

    I’ve been cooking with atoms for years!

    I grew up not far from Lawrence Livermore Labs; after college one of my early projects was the integration and test of nuclear weapons with the F-16 fighter.

    Want a power source that does not add to the carbon dioxide content in the air– nuclear power.

  2. G. L. Tyrebyter says: January 19, 201211:34 pm

    Mining and oil extraction with atomic bombs!? Really? Nothing like having radioactive fallout elements in my gasoline and other goods. Got that one wrong and I didn’t know who was in charge of the AEC at that time.

  3. Barry says: January 21, 201212:08 am

    There were even crazier suggestions then that for the use of atomic energy. Open unshielded reactors mounted on towers to function as artificial suns to allow 12 month/year growing seasons was one of the non bomb suggestions.

    From the Wikipedia entry for “Project Plowshare”

    Proposed uses included widening the Panama Canal, constructing a new sea-level waterway through Nicaragua nicknamed the Pan-Atomic Canal, cutting paths through mountainous areas for highways, and connecting inland river systems. Other proposals involved blasting underground caverns for water, natural gas, and petroleum storage. Serious consideration was also given to using these explosives for various mining operations. One proposal suggested using nuclear blasts to connect underground aquifers in Arizona. Another plan involved surface blasting on the western slope of California’s Sacramento Valley for a water transport project.

    Project Carryall, proposed in 1963 by the Atomic Energy Commission, the California Division of Highways (now Caltrans), and the Santa Fe Railway, would have used 22 nuclear explosions to excavate a massive roadcut through the Bristol Mountains in the Mojave Desert, to accommodate construction of Interstate 40 and a new rail line

  4. Barry says: January 21, 201212:15 am

    from the Wikipedia entry for “Project Plowshares”

    Proposed uses included widening the Panama Canal, constructing a new sea-level waterway through Nicaragua nicknamed the Pan-Atomic Canal, cutting paths through mountainous areas for highways, and connecting inland river systems. Other proposals involved blasting underground caverns for water, natural gas, and petroleum storage. Serious consideration was also given to using these explosives for various mining operations. One proposal suggested using nuclear blasts to connect underground aquifers in Arizona. Another plan involved surface blasting on the western slope of California’s Sacramento Valley for a water transport project.

    Project Carryall, proposed in 1963 by the Atomic Energy Commission, the California Division of Highways (now Caltrans), and the Santa Fe Railway, would have used 22 nuclear explosions to excavate a massive roadcut through the Bristol Mountains in the Mojave Desert, to accommodate construction of Interstate 40 and a new rail line

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