Question 3 - Science Practice Test for the ACT

The data points in Figure 1 appear in a decreasing pattern from left to right. If the axes of Figure 1 were to be switched, in other words with wavelength on the vertical axis (y-axis) and frequency on the horizontal axis (x-axis), would the points on the graph occur in a similar descending order?

Note: On both attached graphs in “Read Text”, the x-axis should be labeled “wavelength” and the y-axis should be labeled “Hz”.

Energy travels through space by electromagnetic radiation (Table 1). There are many forms of radiant energy, such as sunlight, microwave oven energy, X-rays, and heat from a fireplace. All forms of electromagnetic radiation exhibit wavelike behaviour and travel at the speed of light (c) in a vacuum. Wavelength, frequenc and speed are the three primary characteristics of waves. Wavelength (λ) is the distance between two consecutive peaks in a wave. Frequency (ν) is the number of waves (cycles) per second that pass a given point in space. There is an inverse relationship between wavelength and frequency—short wavelength radiation has a high frequency, whereas long wavelength radiation has a low frequency.

Table 1: Classification of Electromagnetic Radiation

Types of Radiation Wavelength (meters)
in Increasing Order
Gamma rays \(1 \cdot 10^{-12}\)
X-rays \(1 \cdot 10^{-10}\)
Ultraviolet rays \(1 \cdot 10^{-8}\)
Visible light spectrum \(4 \cdot 10^{-7} - 7 \cdot 10^{-7}\)
Infrared \(1 \cdot 10^{-4}\)
Microwaves \(1 \cdot 10^{-2}\)
Radio waves  
-FM \(1\)
-Shortwave \(1 \cdot 10^2\)
-AM \(1 \cdot 10^4\)

Alfred and Gwen ran experiments to measure the wavelengths of various types of energy sources. Alfred used energy sources that emit microwave radiation, whereas Gwen used sources that emit infrared radiation. After determining the wavelengths of the energy sources used, they calculated the frequency of radiation for each source using the following formula for the speed of light:

c = λν, where
λ = wavelength [meters (m)]
ν = frequency [cycles per second = 1/s = Hertz (Hz)]
c = speed of light (m/s) = 2.9979 x 108 m/s

Frequency can be calculated by rearranging this equation to solve for frequency, ν = c/λ. Alfred and Gwen plotted frequency as a function of wavelength and the resulting graphs are shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1: Alfred’s Experiment—Microwave Radiation

Figure 2: Gwen’s Experiment—Infrared Radiation

Create a FREE profile to save your progress and scores!

Create a Profile

Already signed up? Sign in

Unlock all features!

  • 2x Bonus Practice questions
  • Exam simulation mode
  • Printer friendly downloads
  • Ad-free studying
  • Money-back guarantee
Upgrade to Premium
Need ACT Math Test Prep?
If you are serious about getting a great score on your ACT Math test, try our recommended Math Prep Course.