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Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most

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Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 23:25
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A
B
C
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E

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41% (02:11) correct 59% (02:09) wrong based on 75 sessions

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Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most stable elements have half-lives which are thousands and thousands of years long. When an atom decays, it splits into two or more smaller atoms. Even considering the fusion taking place inside of stars, there is only a negligible tendency for smaller atoms to transmute into larger ones. Thus, the ratio of ligther to heavier atoms in the universe is increasing at a measurable rate.

Which of the following sentences provides the most logical continuation of this paragraph?

(A) Without radioactive decay of atoms, there could be no solar combustion and no life as we know it
(B) Therefore, it is imperative that scientists begin developing ways to reverse the trend and restore the proper balance between the lighter and heavier elements
(C) Consequently, it is possible to use a shifting ratio of light to heavy atoms to calculate the age of the universe
(D) Therefore, there are now more light elements in the universe than heavy ones
(E) As a result, the fusion taking place inside stars has to produce enough atoms of the heavy elements to offset the radioactive decay of large atoms elsewhere in the universe.

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Re: Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 23:30
I think D -" Therefore, there are now more light elements in the universe than heavy ones "- is incorrect because
it speaks about number of heavy elements, but the passage does not mention any amounts of elements, all we know is as stated above "When an atom decays, it splits into two or more smaller atoms".
C-"(C) Consequently, it is possible to use a shifting ratio of light to heavy atoms to calculate the age of the universe"
gives us a possibility to calculate time if given the rate of the ratio of ligther to heavier atoms.
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Re: Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jan 2020, 10:47
Official Explanation

The last sentence of the paragraph is very important. It tells us that the proportion of light atoms in the universe is increasing (because heavy ones decay into light ones, but the reverse process does not occur) and that this trend can be measured. By extrapolation back into time on the basis of present trends, scientists can find out when it all began.

(B) and (E) are incorrect for the same reason. The author describes a physical phenomenon occurring on a grand scale. There is no hint that it will be possible for scientists to reverse it (B).

Further, (E) is in direct contradiction with information given in the paragraph: The ratio is not stable because the stars do not produce enough heavy atoms to offset the decay.

(D) cannot be inferred from the passage. Although the ratio of light to heavy atoms is increasing, we should not conclude that the ratio is greater than 1:1. And, in any event, this would not be nearly so logical a conclusion to the passage as (C).

Finally, (A) is a distraction. It picks up on a minor detail in the passage and inflates that into a conclusion. Moreover, the passage clearly states that the process which keeps the stars going is fusion, not decay.

The correct answer is (C).

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Re: Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most   [#permalink] 10 Jan 2020, 10:47

Every element on the periodic chart is radioactive, although the most

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