[ RadSafe ] Flawed Test Questions.....Calling all teachers/profs

Joseph Shonka jjshonka at shonka.com
Tue Apr 9 07:40:55 CDT 2013


I think these are trying to be tricky questions that separate "thinkers"
from "reactors";)

While your interpretation is correct, the clue to the first question is in
the words "artificial" and "natural".  How can you have a "natural"
transmutation when bombarding a nucleus?  That has to be the trick.  The
correct answer has to be b, an artificial transmutation.  While I agree
with you that it could either be transmutation or fusion, the fusion
reaction was not included in the choices of answers.  I don't like the how
it is phrased any bettter than you, but you have to work with what you
have.  As for the second question, the only stable isotope of Cesium is
133.  Thus the person writing the question is asking what is the only
isotope in the listing of Cesium, the answer I expect is c, 13555Cs.

Good luck.  I agree these questions are not worded as well as they should
be, but I think the intent can be inferred from the answers provided.

Joe Shonka

On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 3:17 PM, Jake Hecla <jakehecla at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello Radsafe- I am a student interested in nuclear physics, and I am in a
> bit of a conundrum regarding a test I recently took that I believe has
> fundamentally flawed questions. While I realize this isn't a board to turn
> to for help in schooling, I am concerned the writer of these AP Physics
> practice tests (not my teacher, they're from an online teacher resource
> site) has no idea what he's doing, and is severely screwing up our
> education. I am looking for people ( teachers/professors especially) who
> have a bit more experience here to review these questions and let me know
> if you see the same flaws that I do. I have attached photos of the
> questions as proof, but I'm typing them out to make them easy to read.
> Questions:
> 1.  Which of the following is likely to be induced by bombarding a nucleus
> with foreign particles?
> a)      an EMF
> b)      an artificial transmutation
> c)       a natural transmutation
> d)      a gamma emission
> e)      a fusion reaction
> -If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t it vary based on the particle, the energy and
> the nucleus? For example, if the target was tritium and you bombarded it
> with deuterium, wouldn’t you expect a fusion reaction rather than a
> “transmutation?” Conversely, if it was a heavier nucleus prone to absorbing
> a neutron, wouldn’t it then be more likely to be a transmutation?
> 7. Which of the following is an isotope of 13355 Cs ?
> a)      12354Xe
> b)      13353I
> c)       13555Cs
> d)      17087Fr
> e)      21186Rn
> -I believe this question is fundamentally flawed. How can you have an
> isotope of a given isotope?
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Joseph J. Shonka, Ph.D.
Shonka Research Associates, Inc.
119 Ridgemore Circle
Toccoa, GA 30577

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