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Comprehensive English - New York Regents January 2015 Exam

Directions (1–8): Use your notes to answer the following questions about the passage read to you. Select the
best suggested answer to each question and record your answer on the separate answer sheet provided for you.

Formats Worksheet / Test Paper Quiz Review
: Multiple choice

Your Performance  

                                     Listening Passage
The following passage is from a book entitled “Physics of the Impossible” by
Michio Kaku, published in 2008. In this excerpt, Dr. Kaku discusses his fascination
with science.
     One day, would it be possible to walk through walls? To build starships that can travel
faster than the speed of light? To read other people’s minds? To become invisible? To move
objects with the power of our minds? To transport our bodies instantly through outer space?
     Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by these questions. Like many
physicists, when I was growing up, I was mesmerized by the possibility of time travel, ray
guns, force fields, parallel universes, and the like. Magic, fantasy, science fiction were all a
gigantic playground for my imagination. They began my lifelong love affair with the
impossible.
     I remember watching the old Flash Gordon reruns on TV. Every Saturday, I was glued
to the TV set, marveling at the adventures of Flash, Dr. Zarkov, and Dale Arden and their
dazzling array of futuristic technology: the rocket ships, invisibility shields, ray guns, and
cities in the sky. I never missed a week. The program opened up an entirely new world
for me. I was thrilled by the thought of one day rocketing to an alien planet and exploring
its strange terrain. Being pulled into the orbit of these fantastic inventions I knew that
my own destiny was somehow wrapped up with the marvels of the science that the
show promised. …
     I was just a child the day when Albert Einstein died, but I remember people talking
about his life, and death, in hushed tones. The next day I saw in the newspapers a picture
of his desk, with the unfinished manuscript of his greatest, unfinished work. I asked myself,
What could be so important that the greatest scientist of our time could not finish it? The
article claimed that Einstein had an impossible dream, a problem so difficult that it was not
possible for a mortal to finish it. It took me years to find out what that manuscript was
about: a grand, unifying “theory of everything.” His dream—which consumed the last three
decades of his life—helped me to focus my own imagination. I wanted, in some small way,
to be a part of the effort to complete Einstein’s work, to unify the laws of physics into a
single theory.
     As I grew older I began to realize that although Flash Gordon was the hero and always
got the girl, it was the scientist who actually made the TV series work. Without Dr. Zarkov,
there would be no rocket ship, no trips to Mongo, no saving Earth. Heroics aside, without
science there is no science fiction.
     I came to realize that these tales were simply impossible in terms of the science
involved, just flights of the imagination. Growing up meant putting away such fantasy. In
real life, I was told, one had to abandon the impossible and embrace the practical.
     However, I concluded that if I was to continue my fascination with the impossible, the
key was through the realm of physics. Without a solid background in advanced physics, I
would be forever speculating about futuristic technologies without understanding whether
or not they were possible. I realized I needed to immerse myself in advanced mathematics
and learn theoretical physics. So that is what I did.
     In high school for my science fair project I assembled an atom smasher in my mom’s
garage. I went to the Westinghouse company and gathered 400 pounds of scrap transformer
steel. Over Christmas I wound 22 miles of copper wire on the high school football field.
Eventually I built a 2.3-million-electron-volt betatron particle accelerator, which consumed
6 kilowatts of power (the entire output of my house) and generated a magnetic field of
20,000 times the Earth’s magnetic field. The goal was to generate a beam of gamma rays
powerful enough to create antimatter.
    My science fair project took me to the National Science Fair and eventually fulfilled my
dream, winning a scholarship to Harvard, where I could finally pursue my goal of
becoming a theoretical physicist and follow in the footsteps of my role model, Albert
Einstein. …
    In my own research I focus professionally on trying to complete Einstein’s dream of a
“theory of everything.” Personally, I find it quite exhilarating to work on a “final theory” that
may ultimately answer some of the most difficult “impossible” questions in science today,
such as whether time travel is possible, what lies at the center of a black hole, or what
happened before the big bang. I still daydream about my lifelong love affair with the
impossible, and wonder when and if some of these impossibilities might enter the ranks of
the everyday.
                                           —excerpted from Physics of the Impossible, 2008
                                                                               Doubleday

1.

1 The account begins with a
  (1) series of specific statements
  (2) persuasive argument
  (3) series of rhetorical questions
  (4) chronological list

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

2.

2 Albert Einstein’s unfinished manuscript
  influenced the speaker to
  (1) write for a local newspaper
  (2) disprove Einstein’s laws of physics
  (3) build larger experimental models
  (4) investigate Einstein’s studies

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

3.

3 When the speaker was told “one had to abandon
  the impossible and embrace the practical,”
  people meant that he should
  (1) become kinder        (3) stop dreaming
  (2) get an education     (4) get a laptop

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

4.

4 The speaker believed that the only way to
  challenge himself was to
  (1) explore space independently
  (2) study physics and mathematics
  (3) invent new technology
  (4) create research facilities

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

5.

5 The speaker’s high school science project was a
  (1) gamma ray beam generator
  (2) presentation to Westinghouse
  (3) science fiction short story
  (4) wire replica of the football field

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

6.

6 The assembly of the speaker’s “atom smasher”
  partly depended on
  (1) financial backing
  (2) teacher collaboration
  (3) student teamwork
  (4) discarded materials

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

7.

7 What allowed the speaker to fulfill his dream?
  (1) receiving an athletic award
  (2) completing his high school education
  (3) winning a college scholarship
  (4) heading an important space project

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  Half-n-half Clue
 

8.

8 The speaker concludes that his research into the
  “‘impossible’ questions in science today” leaves
  him feeling
  (1) confused              (3) exhausted
  (2) excited               (4) distinguished

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  Half-n-half Clue
 
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