SSAT Middle Level Reading Practice Test 16

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As early as 1939, scientists Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein had urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to begin government-sponsored research to develop an atomic bomb for the United States. They knew that the German effort, led by their former colleague, the brilliant Nobel winner Werner Heisenberg, could be a great threat. As it turned out, Germany was unsuccessful, perhaps because Adolf Hitler was more interested in developing rockets than nuclear weapons. But that was in the future, and the only future the physicists in America could see at that point was the danger of a German atomic bomb.  

In response to the plea of Einstein and Szilard, FDR started a modest program of uranium research. By June 1940, interest in uranium had increased to the point that the president created a larger organization, the National Defense Research Committee. He named as director Vannevar Bush, the president of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. The slowly growing effort gained further strength in 1941 from a startling British document. Based on British nuclear research, the report stated that a very small amount of uranium could produce an explosion similar to that of several thousand tons of TNT. Roosevelt responded by creating a still larger organization, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, which wouldmobilizescientific resources to create an atomic weapon.

-Robert LaRue

1. As it is used in the last sentence, "mobilize" most nearly means

  • A. transport
  • B. investigate
  • C. clutter
  • D. assemble
  • E. construct

2. This passage is primarily concerned with

  • A. Szilard and Einstein's role in scientific research.
  • B. why Germany failed to build the atomic bomb.
  • C. various types of wartime organizations.
  • D. important decisions made by President Roosevelt.
  • E. the early background of a powerful weapon.

3. All of the following were motivating factors for America to build the atomic bomb EXCEPT:

  • A. A German bomb would be a direct threat to the U.S.
  • B. A report showed the bomb's devastating effects.
  • C. Adolf Hitler made the atomic bomb a top priority.
  • D. An increased interest in the benefits of uranium.
  • E. The desire to gain an advantage in a worldwide war.

4. It can be inferred that Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein

  • A. believed Heisenberg was a very good scientist.
  • B. upset President Roosevelt with their constant pleas.
  • C. directed the National Defense Research Committee.
  • D. were suspicious of other American scientists.
  • E. eventually gave up on atomic bomb research.

5. According to the passage, President Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • A. believed Adolf Hitler was not a major threat.
  • B. made atomic bomb research increasingly important.
  • C. attempted to dispose of large amounts of uranium.
  • D. was a close friend of Director Vannevar Bush.
  • E. was the United States president for about two years.