Nov 18, 2009
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This is from the BCA brookscole Verbal practice mcat

Contemporary astronomy is ordinarily at least as much of an observational as a theoretical science. Sooner or later on the basis of observation and analysis, what astronomers detect finds its way into theory, or the theory is modified to accept it.
Neutrino astronomy doesn't fit this pattern. Its highly developed body of theory grew for 30 years without any possibility of verification. Despite the construction of a string of elaborate observatories, some buried in the earth from southern India to Utah to South Africa, the last five years as well have produced not a single, validated observation of an extraterrestrial neutrino.
It is a testament to the persistence of the neutrino astronomers and the strength of their theoretical base that their intensive search for these ghost particles goes on.
The neutrino is a particle with a vanishingly small mass and no charge. Having no charge, it does not interact with the fields around which most particle detection experiments are built; it can be detected only inferentially, by identifying the debris left from its rare interaction with matter.
Even such indirect observations need elaborate and highly sensitive equipment that wasn't in place until about five years ago. The goal is worth the effort; however, once detected, extraterrestrial neutrinos will provide solid, firsthand information on the sources and conditions that spawned them.
Scientists are sure of this in light of results of sophisticated experiments already conducted on neutrino reactions in particle accelerators and other earthbound apparatus. These experiments have been refined rigorously over the years and are the basis of neutrino theory, which is an integral part of modern physics.
The existence of neutrinos was first postulated in the early 1930s, to explain a form of radioactive decay in which a beta particle-an electron-is emitted. Certain quantities that physicists insist should be the same after an interaction as before-momentum, energy, and angular momentum-could be conserved only if another particle of zero charge and negligible mass were emitted.



According to the article, equipment for studying extraterrestial neutrinos has been available _____.
Select the correct answer.

since the 1930s
for 25 years
for the last five years --I picked this when the right answer was 25 yrs.
for the last 15 years
The answer to this question is based on the following statement in paragraph 5: "Even such indirect observations need elaborate and highly sensitive equipment that wasn't in place until about five years ago."
 

tartrate

10+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2007
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I would disagree with their answer.

Its highly developed body of theory grew for 30 years without any possibility of verification...the last five years as well have produced not a single, validated observation of an extraterrestrial neutrino.
What is so significant about the last five years that they include the phrase "as well?" And why are those five years not included in the span of those 30 years mentioned prior, where no possibility of verification existed? They are alluding to what they talk about later on, namely the introduction of equipment that makes verification possible.

Even such indirect observations need elaborate and highly sensitive equipment that wasn't in place until about five years ago.
And of course this part supports the answer of five years, which I am sure is what you based your answer on.

The article itself isn't very well written either. A lot of the language is awkward and clumsy.