Monday, May 18, 2009

RC Passages for 17th May 2009

Passage 7

Between the eighth and eleventh centuries A. D., the Byzantine Empire staged an almost unparalleled economic and cultural revival, a recovery that is all the more striking because it followed a long period of severe internal decline. By the early eighth century, the empire had lost roughly two-thirds of the territory it had possessed in the year 600, and its remaining area was being raided by Arabs and Bulgarians, who at times threatened to take Constantinople and extinguish the empire altogether. The wealth of the state and its subjects was greatly diminished, and artistic and literary production had virtually ceased. By the early eleventh century, however, the empire had regained almost half of its lost possessions, its new frontiers were secure, and its influence extended far beyond its borders. The economy had recovered, the treasury was full, and art and scholarship had advanced.
To consider the Byzantine military, cultural, and economic advances as differentiated aspects of a single phenomenon is reasonable. After all, these three forms of progress have gone together in a number of states and civilizations. Rome under Augustus and fifth-century Athens provide the most obvious examples in antiquity. Moreover, an examination of the apparent sequential connections among military, economic, and cultural forms of progress might help explain the dynamics of historical change.
The common explanation of these apparent connections in the case of Byzantium would run like this: when the empire had turned back enemy raids on its own territory and had begun to raid and conquer enemy territory, Byzantine resources naturally expanded and more money became available to patronize art and literature. Therefore, Byzantine military achievements led to economic advances, which in turn led to cultural revival.
No doubt this hypothetical pattern did apply at times during the course of the recovery. Yet it is not clear that military advances invariably came first, economic advances second, and intellectual advances third. In the 860’s the Byzantine Empire began to recover from Arab incursions so that by 872 the military balance with the Abbasid Caliphate had been permanently altered in the empire’s favor. The beginning of the empire’s economic revival, however, can be placed between 810 and 830. Finally, the Byzantine revival of learning appears to have begun even earlier. A number of notable scholars and writers appeared by 788 and, by the last decade of the eighth century, a cultural revival was in full bloom, a revival that lasted until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Thus the commonly expected order of military revival followed by economic and then by cultural recovery was reversed in Byzantium. In fact, the revival of Byzantine learning may itself have influenced the subsequent economic and military expansion.

1. Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?
(A) The Byzantine Empire was a unique case in which the usual order of military and economic revival preceding cultural revival was reversed.
(B) The economic, cultural, and military revival in the Byzantine Empire between the eighth and eleventh centuries was similar in its order to the sequence of revivals in Augustan Rome and fifth century Athens.
(C) After 810 Byzantine economic recovery spurred a military and, later, cultural expansion that lasted until 1453.
(D) The eighth-century revival of Byzantine learning is an inexplicable phenomenon, and its economic and military precursors have yet to be discovered.
(E) The revival of the Byzantine Empire between the eighth and eleventh centuries shows cultural rebirth preceding economic and military revival, the reverse of the commonly accepted order of progress.

2. The primary purpose of the second paragraph is which of the following?
(A) To establish the uniqueness of the Byzantine revival
(B) To show that Augustan Rome and fifth-century Athens are examples of cultural, economic, and military expansion against which all subsequent cases must be measured
(C) To suggest that cultural, economic, and military advances have tended to be closely interrelated in different societies
(D) To argue that, while the revivals of Augustan Rome and fifth-century Athens were similar, they are unrelated to other historical examples
(E) To indicate that, wherever possible, historians should seek to make comparisons with the earliest chronological examples of revival

3. It can be inferred from the passage that by the eleventh century the Byzantine military forces
(A) had reached their peak and begun to decline
(B) had eliminated the Bulgarian army
(C) were comparable in size to the army of Rome under Augustus
(D) were strong enough to withstand the Abbasid Caliphate’s military forces
(E) had achieved control of Byzantine governmental structures

4. It can be inferred from the passage that the Byzantine Empire sustained significant territorial losses
(A) in 600
(B) during the seventh century
(C) a century after the cultural achievements of the Byzantine Empire had been lost
(D) soon after the revival of Byzantine learning
(E) in the century after 873

5. In the third paragraph, the author most probably provides an explanation of the apparent connections among economic, military, and cultural development in order to
(A) suggest that the process of revival in Byzantium accords with this model
(B) set up an order of events that is then shown to be not generally applicable to the case of Byzantium
(C) cast aspersions on traditional historical scholarship about Byzantium
(D) suggest that Byzantium represents a case for which no historical precedent exists
(E) argue that military conquest is the paramount element in the growth of empires

6. Which of the following does the author mention as crucial evidence concerning the manner in which the Byzantine revival began?
(A) The Byzantine military revival of the 860’s led to economic and cultural advances.
(B) The Byzantine cultural revival lasted until 1453.
(C) The Byzantine economic recovery began in the 900’s.
(D) The revival of Byzantine learning began toward the end of the eighth century.
(E) By the early eleventh century the Byzantine Empire had regained much of its lost territory.

7. According to the author, “The common explanation” (line 28) of connections between economic, military, and cultural development is
(A) revolutionary and too new to have been applied to the history of the Byzantine Empire
(B) reasonable, but an antiquated theory of the nature of progress
(C) not applicable to the Byzantine revival as a whole, but does perhaps accurately describe limited periods during the revival
(D) equally applicable to the Byzantine case as a whole and to the history of military, economic, and cultural advances in ancient Greece and Rome
(E) essentially not helpful, because military, economic, and cultural advances are part of a single phenomenon

Passage 8

Virtually everything astronomers known about objects outside the solar system is based on the detection of photons—quanta of electromagnetic radiation. Yet there is another form of radiation that permeates the universe: neutrinos. With (as its name implies) no electric charge, and negligible mass, the neutrino interacts with other particles so rarely that a neutrino can cross the entire universe, even traversing substantial aggregations of matter, without being absorbed or even deflected. Neutrinos can thus escape from regions of space where light and other kinds of electromagnetic radiation are blocked by matter. Furthermore, neutrinos carry with them information about the site and circumstances of their production: therefore, the detection of cosmic neutrinos could provide new information about a wide variety of cosmic phenomena and about the history of the universe.
But how can scientists detect a particle that interacts so infrequently with other matter? Twenty-five years passed between Pauli’s hypothesis that the neutrino existed and its actual detection: since then virtually all research with neutrinos has been with neutrinos created artificially in large particle accelerators and studied under neutrino microscopes. But a neutrino telescope, capable of detecting cosmic neutrinos, is difficult to construct. No apparatus can detect neutrinos unless it is extremely massive, because great mass is synonymous with huge numbers of nucleons (neutrons and protons), and the more massive the detector, the greater the probability of one of its nucleon’s reacting with a neutrino. In addition, the apparatus must be sufficiently shielded from the interfering effects of other particles.
Fortunately, a group of astrophysicists has proposed a means of detecting cosmic neutrinos by harnessing the mass of the ocean. Named DUMAND, for Deep Underwater Muon and Neutrino Detector, the project calls for placing an array of light sensors at a depth of five kilometers under the ocean surface. The detecting medium is the seawater itself: when a neutrino interacts with a particle in an atom of seawater, the result is a cascade of electrically charged particles and a flash of light that can be detected by the sensors. The five kilometers of seawater above the sensors will shield them from the interfering effects of other high-energy particles raining down through the atmosphere.
The strongest motivation for the DUMAND project is that it will exploit an important source of information about the universe. The extension of astronomy from visible light to radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays never failed to lead to the discovery of unusual objects such as radio galaxies, quasars, and pulsars. Each of these discoveries came as a surprise. Neutrino astronomy will doubtless bring its own share of surprises.

1. Which of the following titles best summarizes the passage as a whole?
(A) At the Threshold of Neutrino Astronomy
(B) Neutrinos and the History of the Universe
(C) The Creation and Study of Neutrinos
(D) The DUMAND System and How It Works
(E) The Properties of the Neutrino

2. With which of the following statements regarding neutrino astronomy would the author be most likely to agree?
(A) Neutrino astronomy will supersede all present forms of astronomy.
(B) Neutrino astronomy will be abandoned if the DUMAND project fails.
(C) Neutrino astronomy can be expected to lead to major breakthroughs in astronomy.
(D) Neutrino astronomy will disclose phenomena that will be more surprising than past discoveries.
(E) Neutrino astronomy will always be characterized by a large time lag between hypothesis and experimental confirmation.

3. In the last paragraph, the author describes the development of astronomy in order to
(A) suggest that the potential findings of neutrino astronomy can be seen as part of a series of astronomical successes
(B) illustrate the role of surprise in scientific discovery
(C) demonstrate the effectiveness of the DUMAND apparatus in detecting neutrinos
(D) name some cosmic phenomena that neutrino astronomy will illuminate
(E) contrast the motivation of earlier astronomers with that of the astrophysicists working on the DUMAND project

4. According to the passage, one advantage that neutrinos have for studies in astronomy is that they
(A) have been detected for the last twenty-five years
(B) possess a variable electric charge
(C) are usually extremely massive
(D) carry information about their history with them
(E) are very similar to other electromagnetic particles

5. According to the passage, the primary use of the apparatus mentioned in lines 24-32 would be to
(A) increase the mass of a neutrino
(B) interpret the information neutrinos carry with them
(C) study the internal structure of a neutrino
(D) see neutrinos in distant regions of space
(E) detect the presence of cosmic neutrinos

6. The passage states that interactions between neutrinos and other matter are
(A) rare
(B) artificial
(C) undetectable
(D) unpredictable
(E) hazardous

7. The passage mentions which of the following as a reason that neutrinos are hard to detect?
(A) Their pervasiveness in the universe
(B) Their ability to escape from different regions of space
(C) Their inability to penetrate dense matter
(D) The similarity of their structure to that of nucleons
(E) The infrequency of their interaction with other matter

8. According to the passage, the interaction of a neutrino with other matter can produce
(A) particles that are neutral and massive
(B) a form of radiation that permeates the universe
(C) inaccurate information about the site and circumstances of the neutrino’s production
(D) charged particles and light
(E) a situation in which light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation are blocked

9. According to the passage, one of the methods used to establish the properties of neutrinos was
(A) detection of photons
(B) observation of the interaction of neutrinos with gamma rays
(C) observation of neutrinos that were artificially created
(D) measurement of neutrinos that interacted with particles of seawater
(E) experiments with electromagnetic radiation

Answers of above passages

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