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#7 - Superconductors are substances that conduct electricity

lathlee
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Hi
I just want to making sure about this. I had a or e as final contender but due to time limit, i didnt reread my choices and got incorrect. But as i do my problem solving of reanalyzing why i got it wrong, isnt a or e say say same thing? Thx
Adam Tyson
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Actually, lathlee, those two answers say very different things! A, the correct answer, says that superconductors will never be economically feasible. That's proven by the stimulus, which tells us that nothing will ever meet the requirements of the job (be made of those two particular substances and function at a high enough temperature).

Answer E tells us that use of the alloys will never be economically feasible. The stimulus proves nothing of the sort! We cannot use them to make economically feasible superconductors, but perhaps we can use them in other ways? Maybe we can make cars or dishwashers or ashtrays out of them? Perhaps those alloys could be used for all kinds of products and processes other than superconductors, all of which would be cost effective, maybe even massively profitable? Sure, that could happen, because the stimulus gives us no reason to think it couldn't.

Keep at it, and pay attention to every word!
Adam M. Tyson
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brcibake
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I eliminated answer A because I thought it sounded WAY too strong. Too say it must be true that something will NEVER happen seems a little extreme and unusual for test makers to choose that as the correct answer. The stimulus was mind turning for me.. I picked C though becuase I thought the issue was that superconductors should be able to conduct below -148C.
Thank you,
Brcibake
Francis O'Rourke
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Hi Brci,

You are right that such a strong statement is unusually to be proven from a stimulus, but the stimulus itself is quite certain! When the stimulus gives us certain, conditional statements as this stimulus did, we can often make certain conclusions. The author states that:

  • if superconductors are to be feasible, they must conduct below above -148 Celsius
  • If they conduct above -148 Celsius, they must be composed of an alloy of niobium and germanium
  • If they are be composed of an alloy of niobium and germanium, the superconductor will not conduct above -148 Celsius
Putting this together, we can see that it will be impossible to create an economically viable superconductor.
akanshalsat
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Hi!

I'm planning on taking the exam in November (one more time) so hopefully this forum will be a good way to check my answers and really get clarity for questions that I am confused on.

If the superconductor has to be able to superconduct at a temperature ABOVE -148C, and it has to be N and G alloy, then why don't they work if those alloys can superconduct at a max level of -160 degrees C? Isn't -160 higher than -148? THis may be a really dumb question, but i'm not understanding the scale b/c if it has to be above -148, and it CAN reach -160, isnt that above -148, and thus meeting the requirement?
I'm really confused so any detailed explanation would be greatly appreciated
Thank you so much!
Adam Tyson
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That's an easy mistake to make if you're in a hurry, akanshalsat! -148c is 148 degrees below zero, and -160c is 160 degrees below zero. -160c is 12 degrees COLDER than -148c, which means it is lower, not higher! As the numbers get larger on the negative side of the number line (or X axis, if that helps), the amount is getting smaller, not larger.

This illustrates a problem faced by many LSAT students, and that is that we tend to come from a liberal arts background rather than a STEM background. For many of us that means that the last time we took a math class or science class may have been in high school, and we may not be comfortable or well-versed in mathematical or scientific concepts. Given that the LSAT is all too happy to throw scientific jargon, averages, percentages, ratios, biology, physics, and more at us, we need to get used to those concepts again. That doesn't mean they are testing our understanding of math and science, but it does mean they expect us to have a certain level of proficiency and comfort with them. To the extent that we are not proficient and comfortable, it's incumbent upon us to work on that!

This was no accident, akanshalsat! The authors of this test KNEW that the use of negative numbers might cause some folks to make a simple error like that. Be careful, read every word, think about what they mean, and then proceed methodically and cautiously through your prephrase and sorting the answers. Watch out for traps laid for the careless or unwary!

Good luck, and let's be safe out there!
Adam M. Tyson
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akanshalsat
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Ahhh, yeah, I was not thinking of it in terms of colder/hotter, and rather higher up in the scales, amateur mistake

Thanks for helping!!