Physicists attempting to create new kinds of atoms often do so by fusing together two existing atoms. For such fusion...

First on November 26, 2019

please explain why E is correct

Why is E correct?

1 Reply

Annie on November 26, 2019

Hi @madisanbryant,

This question is asking you to find the answer choice which is "most strongly supported" by the information provided. This means you are to pick the answer choice which provides the conclusion for the premises provided. It is a tricky question given the number of premises you have to work with.

Here's a breakdown of the argument:
Premise: Physicists often create new kinds of atoms by fusing together two existing atoms.
Premise: To fuse atoms, they must collide at high enough speeds to overcome their electromagnetic forces.
Premise: But, if the speed is too high, the new atom will be very hot.
Premise: The hotter the atom, the more likely it is to immediately split apart.
Conclusion: ???

Answer Choices:
(A) is incorrect. We are not told that the atoms "usually" split apart immediately. We don't know anything about how frequently this occurs.

(B) is incorrect. The premises tell us that if the atom is too hot it will split apart, and that this occurs when they go too fast. This speed would definitely be enough to overcome the electromagnetic force.

(C) is incorrect. We aren't told anything in the premises about the varying strengths of the electromagnetic force (for all we know they could all have exactly the same amount of force).

(D) is incorrect. We are not told how much energy is produced if the atoms don't split apart. It's possible that they could produce a lot of energy when they collide and fuse and that it takes a TON of energy to make it split apart.

(E) is correct. The key word here is "considerably" which matches on to the "greatly exceeds" language in the premises. The premises tell us that if the energy to collide "greatly exceeds" the minimum required, the atom will be hot, and the hotter the atom the more likely to split apart. This answer choice simply puts this idea into a single sentence, and thereby provides a conclusion.