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Jul 27th, 2015
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Read the excerpt from A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano.

Einstein's idea of gravity had big consequences. It helped explain some observations that Newton's idea didn't account for. It also opened our minds to amazing new possibilities. For example, taking his cue from Einstein's idea that space bends, scientist Karl Schwarzschild began to think about what would happen if a place in space were extremely distorted. His answer: light would follow the hyper-bent space, never to turn away from it. This was the first prediction of a black hole. At first, some scientists (including Einstein!) rejected Schwarzschild's ideas. Others were intrigued and began searching the skies for real black holes. Just decades later, they found the first of them. It just goes to show: sometimes, as Einstein himself once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

According to the excerpt, how does Karl Schwarzschild use Einstein’s ideas to draw a conclusion?



Which line from A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano helps readers to connect the scientific ideas in the text to their own experiences?



Read the excerpt from A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano.

Most of the time gravity seems to work the way Newton described it. Newton's rules explain a lot, from falling apples to most planets' orbits. But his laws don't work perfectly. In high-gravity zones, Newton's ideas don't jibe with what scientists observe. For example, Mercury's orbit—up close to the Sun—has a blip in it that Newton's laws can't explain.

Glitches like this one were the reason Einstein worked so hard at coming up with a new explanation. He wanted to account for everything. His ideas about curving space may sound bizarre, but they work! They took care of the gaps in Newton's theory and explained Mercury's orbit. They led scientists to predict shifting starlight and black holes. All of this is powerful evidence that Einstein was on to something.

In which order would events appear on a timeline based on the details in the excerpt?



Read the excerpt from A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, and answer the question.

In this way of thinking, the "background” acted more like a flexible mat, or a stretchy knit blanket. This new, blanket-like idea of space meant space could stretch, crunch up, bend, and warp. Moving objects would follow the curves of the blanket, moving along the surface through flat sections as well as distorted ones. This new idea about space changed the way scientists think about gravity.

Speaking of Gravity: Newtonese and Einsteinese

Most of the time gravity seems to work the way Newton described it. Newton's rules explain a lot, from falling apples to most planets’ orbits. But his laws don't work perfectly. In high-gravity zones, Newton's ideas don't jibe with what scientists observe. For example, Mercury's orbit—up close to the Sun—has a blip in it that Newton's laws can't explain.

Glitches like this one were the reason Einstein worked so hard at coming up with a new explanation. He wanted to account for everything. His ideas about curving space may sound bizarre, but they work! They took care of the gaps in Newton's theory and explained Mercury's orbit. They led scientists to predict shifting starlight and black holes. All of this is powerful evidence that Einstein was on to something.

According to the excerpt, what helped Einstein to draw the conclusion that space was like a stretchy blanket rather than rigid nothingness, as Newton believed?



A timeline must include



Read the excerpt from A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano.

Einstein's idea of gravity had big consequences. It helped explain some observations that Newton's idea didn't account for. It also opened our minds to amazing new possibilities. For example, taking his cue from Einstein's idea that space bends, scientist Karl Schwarzschild began to think about what would happen if a place in space were extremely distorted. His answer: light would follow the hyper-bent space, never to turn away from it. This was the first prediction of a black hole. At first, some scientists (including Einstein!) rejected Schwarzschild's ideas. Others were intrigued and began searching the skies for real black holes. Just decades later, they found the first of them. It just goes to show: sometimes, as Einstein himself once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." 

Which sentence is the best summary of the excerpt?



Read the excerpt from A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano.

The scientist who forgot to eat his lunch was busy cooking up a whole new way of thinking about gravity. He was a radical smarty-pants—somebody with a wild imagination. Someone whose brain could surprise even himself.

Albert Einstein didn't mean to turn the universe upside-down on everyone. He didn't plan on leading others to discover black holes. At first, all he set out to do was think about motion, along with a few other related ideas. But almost before he knew it, he had suddenly made our dependable old universe seem strange and new.

Which detail would be best to include in a summary of the excerpt?



Read the excerpt from A Black Hole Is NOT a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano.

However, in day-to-day experience, the strangeness of Einstein's ideas doesn't help us, and Newton's notions do just fine. In everyday life, when gravity isn't especially intense, Newton's and Einstein's ways of thinking lead to similar results. The two explanations work like different languages that express the same thing. Is an apple red (English) or rojo (Spanish)? It's okay to use either description.

So we still use Newton's laws—even scientists do, much of the time. Sure, it's more exact to be Einsteinian and think of gravity as matter's effect on space. But it's all right to take a Newtonian shortcut and imagine gravity as a pull.

The details in the excerpt best support which conclusion?


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