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1. Background Information
2. About the Solar System
3. Group Discussion
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1. Leon Jaroff
2. Galileo
3. Roger Penrose
4. James Hartle
5. Stephen Hawking
6. Lucasian Professor of Mathematics
7. ALS — Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
After Reading
Before Reading
1. Warm-up Quiz
2. Dwarf Planets
3. Black Holes
4. Big Bang
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Leon Jaroff
Leon Jaroff was the founding managing editor of Discover, the news
magazine of science, and was a longtime correspondent, writer and editor for
Time and Life. He had written many famous stories such as Science Under
Siege, Secrets of Heredity, Great Ball of Fire (The Sun), Viruses, Allergies and
Life on Mars. What’s more, his stories on black holes and Richard Leakey won
first prize and honorable mention, respectively, from American Association for the
Advancement of Science for the best science stories in 1978. A 1975 cover story
on the brain and a 1988 cover story on viruses won top journalism awards from
the American Medical Association. His 1991 cover story Allergies won the top
award from the American College of Allergy and Immunology.
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Galileo
Galileo was a great Italian scientist who helped unlock many secrets of
astronomy and natural motion. Galileo’s achievements include:
building the first high-powered astronomical telescope;
inventing a horse-powered pump to raise water;
showing that the velocities of falling bodies are not proportional to their
weights;
describing the true parabolic paths of cannonballs and other projectiles;
coming up with the ideas behind Newton’s laws of motion;
and confirming the Copernican theory of the solar system.
Because he believed that the planets revolved around the sun, and not the
Earth, Galileo was denounced as a heretic by the Church in Rome. He faced the
Inquisition and was forced to renounce those beliefs publicly, though later
research, of course, proved him to be correct.
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1. What was Galileo’s greatest achievement to human beings?
He helped unlock many secrets of astronomy and natural motion.
2. Why was Galileo punished by the Church in Rome?
Because he believed that the planets revolved around the sun.
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Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose is an English mathematical physicist and Emeritus Rouse
Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford
and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College. He is highly regarded for his work in
mathematical physics, in particular his contributions to general relativity and
cosmology. He is also a recreational mathematician and philosopher.
Roger Penrose is well-known for:
1. His 1974 discovery of Penrose tilings, which are formed from two tiles that can
only tile the plane periodically.
2. Another noteworthy contribution is his 1971 invention of spin networks, which
later came to form the geometry of space time in loop quantum gravity.
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James Hartle
James B. Hartle is an American physicist and professor of physics at the
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) since 1966. He is known for his
work in general relativity, astrophysics, and interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Together with Stephen Hawking, he proposed the Hartle-Hawking wave function
of the Universe — a specific solution to the Wheeler-DeWitt equation meant to
explain the initial conditions of the Big Bang cosmology.
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Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking is considered the world’s foremost living theoretical
physicist. He’s an expert on black holes whose stated intention is to unify
quantum mechanics with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, forming a single
theory to explain the origin (and end) of the universe. Hawking, a professor of
mathematics at Cambridge University, is the author of the best-selling book A
Brief History of Time and something of a celebrity: Hawking has suffered from
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease) since he
was a young man and is confined to a wheelchair.
In 1979 Hawking took the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at
Cambridge. According to Hawking’s own site, “The chair was founded in 1663
with money left in the will of the Reverend Henry Lucas, who had been the
Member of Parliament for the University. It was first held by Isaac Barrow, and
then in 1663 by Isaac Newton.”
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Lucasian Professor of Mathematics
Directions: Fill in the blanks with the exact words or phrases you have heard.
_____ of a mathematical professorship at Cambridge
Lucasian Professor is the holder
University. The post was founded in 1663 by Henry Lucas, who was Cambridge
officially
University’s Member of _____________
from 1639 to 1640, and was ________
Parliament
bequeathed
established by King Charles II on January 18, 1664. Lucas, in his will, ___________
purchase
his library of 4,000 volumes to the university and left instruction for the _________
of land whose yielding would provide £100 a year for the founding of a professorship.
One of the requirements in Lucas’s will was that the holder of the professorship
should not be active in the Church. Isaac Newton would later appeal
_______
to King Charles
II that this requirement ______________
excused him from taking holy orders, which was __________
compulsory
for Fellows of the University at that time (save some exempt Fellowships). The King
________ , from
supported Newton and excused all holders of the professorship, in perpetuity
the requirement to take holy orders.
The current Lucasian Professor of Mathematics is renowned
________ theoretical physicist
Stephen Hawking. He was appointed in 1980.
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ALS — Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Description Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease
that breaks down tissues in the nervous system
of unknown cause that affects the nerves
responsible for movement. It is also known as
motor neuron disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease,
after the baseball player whose career it ended.
Causes
The symptoms of ALS are caused by the death of motor
neurons in the spinal cord and brain. As motor neurons die,
the muscles they enervate cannot be moved as effectively,
and weakness results. Although many causes of motor
neuron degeneration have been suggested for ALS, none
has yet been proven responsible.
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Symptoms
The earliest sign of ALS is most often weakness in the arms
or legs, usually more pronounced on one side than the
other at first. In addition to weakness, the other cardinal
signs of ALS are muscle wasting and persistent twitching.
While initial weakness may be limited to one region, ALS
almost always progresses rapidly to involve virtually all the
voluntary muscle groups in the body.
Diagnosis
The diagnosis of ALS begins with a complete medical
history and physical exam, plus a neurological examination
to determine the distribution and extent of weakness. An
electrical test of muscle function, called an electromyogram,
or EMG, is an important part of the diagnostic process.
Various other tests, including blood and urine tests, X rays,
and CT scans, may be done to rule out other possible
causes of the symptoms.
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Treatments There is no cure for ALS, and no treatment that can
significantly alter its course. There are many things which
can be done, however, to help maintain quality of life and to
retain functional ability even in the face of progressive
weakness.
Prognosis
ALS usually progresses rapidly, and leads to death from
respiratory infection within three to five years in most cases.
The slowest disease progression is seen in those who are
young and have their first symptoms in the limbs. About
10% of people with ALS live longer than eight years.
Prevention
There is no known way to prevent ALS or to alter its course.
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Warm-up Quiz
Choose the most appropriate answer to each of the following
questions.
1. The Sun is ____.
KEY
A) the only star in our galaxy
B) just one of the billion stars that make up our galaxy
C) the largest planet in our galaxy
D) technically speaking, one of the Earth’s moon
2. Which of the following features makes the Earth unique among planets?
KEY
A) It is the only round planet.
B) It is the only planet with its own moon.
C) It is the only planet with enough oxygen to sustain life.
D) It is the only ringed planet.
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3. Comets are icy masses of frozen gases and dust particles. What happens
when a comet gets too close to the Sun?
KEY
A) The gases catch fire, making the comet glow.
B) The ice begins to melt, leaving a trail of gases and debris.
C) The comet explodes, and it is called a supernova.
D) The comet bounces off the Sun’s magnetosphere.
4. What is the central and largest body of our solar system?
KEY
A) Jupiter.
B) The Milky Way.
C) Mars.
D) The Sun.
5. What would change if our Sun were suddenly replaced by a black hole of
the same mass?
KEY
A) The Earth would be sucked into the black hole.
B) The planets would not have the same orbit.
C) Only the temperature on the Earth would change.
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Dwarf Planets
A dwarf planet is a body, other than a natural satellite (moon), that orbits the
Sun and that is, for practical purposes, smaller than the planet Mercury yet large
enough for its own gravity to have rounded its shape substantially. The International
Astronomical Union adopted this category of solar system bodies in August 2006,
the first members of the category are as follows:
Pluto
Eris
Ceres
These three bodies are not massive enough and are in orbits too elliptical, too
inclined, or both to have swept up most smaller nearby bodies by gravitational
attraction; they thus fail to grow larger.
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Black Holes
A black hole is an object with a gravitational field so powerful that a region of
space becomes cut off from the rest of the universe — no matter or radiation,
including visible light, which has entered the region, can ever escape.
■
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Big Bang
In astronomy, it is a theory according to which the universe began billions of
years ago in a single event, similar to an explosion. There is evidence for the Big
Bang theory in the observed red shift of distant galaxies, which indicates that they
are moving away from the Earth, in the existence of cosmic microwave background,
and from other data. Most astronomers accept the Big Bang theory of the origin of
the universe today.
Scientists have recently found that the expansion of the universe is actually
speeding up. This effect is attributed to the presence of dark energy.
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Group Discussion
1. What can you learn from Stephen Hawking’s experience?
2. What do you think of black holes?
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1. Part Division of the Text
2. Further Understanding
For Part 1
True or False
For Part 2
Questions
For Part 3
Table Completion
For Part 4
Group Discussion
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Part Division of the Text
Parts
Paragraphs
Main Ideas
1
1-2
Hawking is widely acknowledged as one of the
most famous physicists.
2
3-9
In spite of his illness, Hawking still works hard
in his research field.
3
10-12
Hawking’s most innovative ideas about black
holes and Big Bang.
4
13-14
Recently, Hawking is trying to recant his former
work.
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True or False
1. As Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest theoretical mathematicians,
controlled his vehicle down the thoroughfare, people greeted him eagerly. ( F )
Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most famous theoretical physicists.
2. Hawking’s illness has been advancing even more quickly, which robbed
him of any physical movement. ( F )
Even though Hawking’s illness seemed to be stabilized, this illness still robbed
him of control over most of his muscles.
3. Regardless of illness, Stephen Hawking can still speak. ( F )
Stephen Hawking cannot speak anymore, but by operating his wheelchair’s
built-in computer and voice synthesizer, he can “utter” his words.
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4. After Stephen Hawking was stricken by the serious illness, his research
was virtually stopped. ( F )
His mental expeditions have never been stopped. Hawking conceived theories
about black holes, and he suggested that the universe has no boundaries.
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Questions
1. Was Stephen Hawking’s daily routine work very tough and demanding?
Yes. Hawking follows a routine that would even be a tough job to those
able-bodied people, let alone a disabled one.
2. How was Stephen Hawking’s study in his childhood?
He was slow to learn to read, and he liked to take things apart but was never
good at putting them back.
3. How was Stephen Hawking’s study before ALS struck him?
In college, he was not an outstanding student at all. And in graduate school, he
still found study was tough.
4. What was Hawking’s early behavior after he was informed of his physical
situation?
He was overwhelmed and totally ignored his study.
5. What made Hawking pick up his research again?
In the first place, the progress of ALS seemed to be slowed. But the most
important reason was that he was going to get married with Jane.
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Table Completion
Einstein’s idea
about black holes
Most physicists’ ideas
about black holes
Hawking’s ideas about
black holes
A black hole was a
___________
____,
Black holes exist
_____________
relativity is
If general
region surrounding
the object at the
but _________
________ must
correct, singularity
__________
a
singularity , which is an
heart of a black hole
exist. What’s more, the
_______ dense point with
infinitely
would be ___________
small but not
entire universe must have
____________
and
______________
no dimensions
dimensionless
____________ and
_________ dense.
extremely
singularity
____________.
sprung from one
_________
irresistible gravity.
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Group Discussion
Directions:
Divide students into several groups, and then ask them to hold a
discussion about the following questions. After discussions, invite
some groups to do their presentations.
1. Recently Hawking was trying to prove that his famous proof — singularities
exist — was wrong. What does this imply?
2. According to the passage, what are the personalities of Stephen Hawking? And
list several pieces of evidence to prove your ideas.
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A victim of an incurable disease, Stephen Hawking is almost completely
paralysed, confined to a wheelchair, and unable to speak. Yet, he has
overcome every obstacle and achieved far more than most able-bodied people
ever dream of accomplishing and become one of the greatest physicists of our
time.
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Roaming the Cosmos
Leon Jaroff
Darkness has fallen on Cambridge, England, and
on a damp and chilly evening King’s Parade is filled
with students and faculty. Then, down the crowded
thoroughfare comes the University of Cambridge’s
most distinctive vehicle, bearing its most distinguished
citizen. In the motorized wheelchair, boyish face dimly
illuminated by a glowing computer screen attached to
the left armrest, is Stephen William Hawking, 46, one
of the world’s greatest theoretical physicists. As he
skillfully maneuvers through the crowd, motorists slow
down, some honking their horns in greeting. People
wave and shout hello.
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A huge smile lights up Hawking’s bespectacled face, but he cannot wave or
shout back. Since his early 20s, he has suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS), a progressive deterioration of the central nervous system that usually
causes death within three or four years. Hawking’s illness has advanced more
slowly, and now seems almost to have stabilized. Still, it has robbed him of virtually
all movement. He has no control over most of his muscles, cannot dress or eat by
himself and has lost his voice. Now he “speaks” only by using the slight voluntary
movement left in his hands and fingers to operate his wheelchair’s built-in computer
and voice synthesizer.
While ALS has made Hawking a virtual prisoner in his own
body, it has left his courage and humor intact, his intellect free
to roam.
And roam it does, from the infinitesimal to the
infinite, from the subatomic realm to the far reaches of the
universe. In the course of these mental expeditions, Hawking
has conceived startling new theories about black holes and
the disorderly events that immediately followed the Big Bang
from which the universe sprang.
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More recently, he has shaken both physicists and theologians by suggesting that
the universe has no boundaries, was not created and will not be destroyed.
Most of Stephen Hawking’s innovative thinking occurs at Cambridge, where he
is Lucasian professor of mathematics, a seat once occupied by Isaac Newton.
There, in the Department of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, he benevolently
reigns over the relativity group, 15 overachieving graduate students from nine
countries. On his office door is a small plaque irreverently reading QUIET, PLEASE.
THE BOSS IS ASLEEP.
Hardly. From midmorning until he departs for dinner around 7 p.m., Hawking
follows a routine that would tax the most able-bodied, working in his book-lined
office, amid photographs of his wife Jane and their three children. When he rolled
into the department’s common room one morning last month, his students were
talking shop around low tables. Maneuvering to one of the tables, Hawking clicked
his control switch, evoking tiny beeps from his computer and selecting words from
lists displayed on his screen.
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These words, assembled in sequence at the bottom of the screen, finally issued
from the voice synthesizer: “Good morning. Can I have coffee?” Then, for the
benefit of a visitor: “I am sorry about my American accent.” (The synthesizer is
produced by a California company.)
When the conversation shifted to creativity and
how mathematicians seem
to reach a creative peak in their early 20s, Hawking’s computer beeped. “I’m over
the hill,” he said, to a chorus of laughter.
Hawking was born on Jan. 8, 1942 — 300 years
to the day, he often notes, after the death of Galileo. As
a small boy, he was slow to learn to read but liked to
take things apart though he confesses that he was
never very good at putting things back together. When
he was twelve, he recalls humorously, “one of my
friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would
never come to anything. I don’t know if this bet was
ever settled and, if so, who won.”
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Fascinated by physics, Stephen concentrated in the subject at Oxford’s
University College, but did not distinguish himself. He partied, took a great interest in
rowing and studied only an hour or so a day. Moving on to Cambridge for graduate
work in relativity,
he found the going rough, partly because of some puzzling
physical problems; he stumbled frequently and seemed to be getting clumsy.
Doctors soon gave him the bad news: he had ALS, it
would only get worse, and there was no cure. Hawking was
overwhelmed. Before long, he needed a cane to walk, was
drinking heavily and ignoring his studies. “There didn’t seem to
be much point in completing my Ph. D.,” he says.
Then Hawking’s luck turned.
The progress of the disease slowed, and
Einsteinian space-time suddenly seemed less formidable. But what really made the
difference, he says, “was that I got engaged to Jane,” who was studying modern
languages at Cambridge. “This gave me something to live for.” As he explains, “If
we were to get married, I had to get a job. And to get a job, I had to finish my Ph. D.
I started working hard for the first time in my life. To my surprise, I found I liked it.”
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What particularly interested Stephen was singularities,
strange beasts predicted by general relativity. Einstein’s
equations indicated that when a star several times larger
than the sun exhausts its nuclear fuel and collapses, its
matter crushes together at its center with such force that it
forms a singularity, an infinitely dense point with no
dimensions and irresistible gravity. A voluminous region
surrounding the singularity becomes a “black hole,” from
which — because of that immense gravity — nothing, not
even light, can escape.
Scientists years ago found compelling evidence that black holes exist, but they
were uncomfortable with singularities, because all scientific laws break down at
these points. Most physicists believed that in the real universe the object at the
heart of a black hole would be small (but not dimensionless) and extremely dense
(but not infinitely so).
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Enter Hawking. While still a graduate student, he and Mathematician Roger
Penrose developed new techniques proving mathematically that if general relativity
is correct, singularities must exist. Hawking went on to demonstrate — again if
general relativity is correct — that the entire universe must have sprung from a
singularity. As he wrote in his 1966 Ph. D. thesis, “There is a singularity in our past.”
Stephen later discerned several new characteristics of black holes and
demonstrated that the amazing forces of the Big Bang would have created miniblack holes, each with a mass about that of a terrestrial mountain, but no larger
than the subatomic proton. Then, applying the quantum theory (which accurately
describes the random, uncertain subatomic world) instead of general relativity
(which, it turns out, falters in that tiny realm), Hawking was startled to find that the
mini-black holes must emit particles and radiation. Even more remarkable, the little
holes would gradually evaporate and, 10 billion years or so after their creation,
explode with the energy of millions of H-bombs.
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Hawking has visited the U.S. 30 times, made seven
trips to Moscow, taken a round-the-world journey, and
piloted his wheelchair on the Great Wall of China. On
the road, the activities occasionally deviate somewhat
from physics. One night Stephen accompanied a group
to a Chicago discothèque, where he joined in the
festivities by wheeling onto the dance floor and spinning
his chair in circles.
Recently, Hawking, who has no qualms about recanting his own work if he
decides he was wrong, may have transcended his famous proof that singularities
exist. With Physicist James Hartle, he has derived a quantum wave describing a
self-contained universe that, like the earth’s surface, has no edge or boundary. If
that is the case, says Hawking, Einstein’s general theory of relativity would have
to be modified, and there would be no singularities.
“The universe would not
be created, not be destroyed; it would simply be,” he concludes, adding
challengingly, “What place, then, for a Creator?”
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And roam it does, from the infinitesimal to the infinite, from the subatomic realm
to the far reaches of the universe.
1. Translate the sentence into Chinese.
他的智力仍在自由地漫游。他的智力也的确是在漫游,从无穷小漫游到无穷大,从
亚原子王国漫游到宇宙的遥远区域。
2. Analyse the sentence.
In this sentence, “roam it does” is an emphatic expression which stresses the
freedom of Hawking’s mind. And in order to stress its freedom and
limitlessness, the author uses two pairs of expressions, namely, the first pair
is “infinitesimal” and “infinite”, the second pair is “subatomic” and “far
reaches”.
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… how mathematicians seem to reach a creative peak in their early 20s,
Hawking’s computer beeped. “I’m over the hill,” he said, to a chorus of laughter.
1. What does the phrase “over the hill” mean in this sentence?
The phrase “over the hill” has two meanings. The first one is to indicate
someone is no longer young. The second one is to indicate something or
someone is losing its former prosperity. In this sentence, these two meanings
are both indicated by the phrase “over the hill”, which produces a humorous
effect, because Hawking’s students are discussing “a creative peak in their
early 20s”, while Hawking uses this phrase to indicate: I’m older than 20s,
and I’ve passed my creative peak. That’s why his students produced a
chorus of laughter.
2. Please use “over the hill” to make a sentence.
Mary thinks she’s over the hill, but actually she’s only 32.
Many professional athletes have to face a reality, that is, after 30, they are
definitely over the hill.
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Hawking was born on Jan. 8, 1942 — 300 years to the day, he often notes, after
the death of Galileo.
1. What does the phrase “to the day” mean in this sentence?
It means “exactly”. In this sentence, we can infer that Galileo died on Jan. 8th.
2. Why does Hawking often note the fact?
Because Galileo was a famed scientist who made fundamental contributions
to the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials and the
development of the scientific method.
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… he found the going rough …
Paraphrase this part.
He found that his graduate study in Cambridge was becoming more and
more demanding.
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Then Hawking’s luck turned.
Paraphrase this sentence.
Then his luck changed for the better.
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The progress of the disease slowed, and Einsteinian space-time suddenly
seemed less formidable.
1. What does “Einsteinian space-time” indicate in this sentence?
Theoretically, it refers to the four dimensions, namely, length, breadth, depth
and time, within which any physical event can be located exactly. But in this
sentence, this indicates the changing time.
2. Why was Einsteinian theory not so formidable?
Because Hawking’s disease seemed not to deteriorate so fast; at this point,
time seemed to stop.
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Enter Hawking.
Analyse the structure of this sentence.
This structure is normally used in stage directions, in which “enter” instead of
“enters” is used and put in front of the subject, e.g. Enter Romeo (= Romeo
comes or appears on the stage). Here “Enter Hawking” means that now
Hawking joined in the research and presented his own theory about the
problem.
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On the road, the activities occasionally deviate somewhat from physics.
1. Translate the sentence into Chinese.
在旅途中,他偶尔也参加一些与物理学并无多少关系的活动。
2. What does this sentence mean?
This sentence indicates that while Hawking made various trips to other
countries, he often took part in some activities, which were not related to his
major — physics.
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“The universe would not be created, not be destroyed; it would simply be,” he
concludes, adding challengingly, “What place, then, for a Creator?”
What does this sentence refer to?
The universe is believed by many people to have been created by God. If it
should be proved some day that the universe has neither a beginning nor an
end, if it has always existed, then, what place would there be for God?
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roam: v.
walk or travel without any definite aim or destination
When I roam through the deserted village, I feel totally immersed in the
infinite nature.
The speaker roamed freely over the events of the past week.
CF: roam, stroll & wander
这些动词均有“徘徊、漫游”之意。
roam
常指在广阔地方以自得其乐的愉快心情作无固定目标的漫游。例如:
Many travelers were astonished by herds of wild deer roaming freely over
the hills.
看到在小山上自由走动的野鹿群,许多游客都惊呆了。
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CF: roam, stroll & wander
这些动词均有“徘徊、漫游”之意。
stroll
常指无明确目的地悠闲而缓慢地漫游。例如:
He strolls in and out as he pleases.
他随意地出来进去闲逛。
wander 指无目的地到处徘徊或闲荡,强调没有固定路线或目标。例如:
We seem to have wandered from the path.
我们好像已经偏离了原路。
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distinctive: adj.
serving to identify; distinguishing
Juniper berries give gin its distinctive flavor.
Her innocent voice seemed so distinctive among the madding crowd.
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illuminate: v.
1) provide or brighten with light
The room was illuminated by the blow of the fire.
A flash of lightning illuminated the house.
2) make something much clearer and easier to understand
Cleverly made attacks can often serve to illuminate important differences
between candidates, as well as entertain the voters.
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maneuver:
1. n.
1) movement performed with care and skill
A rapid maneuver by the driver prevented an accident.
2) skilful plan or movement
These shameful maneuvers were aimed at securing his election.
2. v. (cause sth. to) move about by using skill and care
The driver maneuvered the car into the garage, over to the side of the road.
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progressive: adj.
1) increasing steadily or by degrees
Her condition is showing a progressive improvement.
A progressive decline in population has been witnessed by a majority of
European countries in the last few decades.
2) (of a group, person, or idea) favoring or implementing social reform or new,
liberal ideas
Economic prosperity calls for progressive and forward-looking policies, which
have been ignored by the central government for many years due to military
conflict.
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intact: adj.
undamaged; complete
从事故中抢救出来的箱子,里面的东西完好无损。
A box was recovered from an accident with its contents intact.
He can scarcely survive this scandal with his reputation intact.
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infinitesimal: adj.
immeasurably or incalculably minute
This latest device can sense and record infinitesimal changes in
temperature.
If there is any salt in this soup, it must be infinitesimal because I can’t taste
it.
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conceive: v.
1) become pregnant
The baby was conceived when her mother was nearly 40.
2) form or devise (a plan, idea, or work) in the mind
I simply cannot conceive why this serious situation has
not been mitigated after the enforcement of a series of
related laws and regulations.
It was then that I conceived the notion of running away.
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CF: devise, conceive & formulate
这些动词均含“设计、设想”之意。
devise 强调设计的临时性和权宜性,并隐含有更多的设想可用之意。例如:
They have devised how to make their wedding ceremony unforgettable.
conceive 强调在制订计划之前先有设想构思。例如:
The managing director conceived a plan to increase profits, but it needed an
approval from the board.
formulate 与conceive相反,指在devise之后的具体设计活动。例如:
The argument is sufficiently clear that it can be formulated mathematically.
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startling: adj.
very surprising, astonishing, or remarkable
He bore a startling likeness to his father.
By her startling intelligence, her group at last won that fierce competition
beyond others’ wildest imagination.
Her startling beauty dimmed the gold complexion of the sun.
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reign:
1) n. (period of) rule of a king or queen
The original chapel was built in the reign of Charles I, but destroyed later
during the French Revolution.
Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the United
Kingdom experienced an epoch-making prosperity in
economy and literature.
2) v. be king, queen or regent; rule; be dominant
With a bumper harvest in sight, joy reigned over us.
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irreverently: adv.
irreverent: adj.
showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously
She is irreverent about the whole business of politics.
Her irreverent statement about Islamic traditions brought out complaints
and threats from other countries.
This irreverent humor about disabled people from the statesman has become
a headline on television.
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tax:
1) n. a burden or strain on something
The tedious assignments were really a tax on my energy and time.
2) v. make heavy demands on something; strain
他不断要求我们帮助他,过分利用了我们对他的好意。
His constant requests for help taxed our goodwill.
All these questions are beginning to tax my patience.
Our patience has been taxed to the limit by the aggressors’ atrocities.
Collocation:
additional tax
income tax
poll tax
value-added tax
tax evasion
附加税
所得税
人头税
增值税
逃税
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talk shop:
talk about one’s work
I just cannot interrupt them as they are talking shop with their director.
Don’t talk shop at home, otherwise your family life would be disturbed by
your work.
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evoke: v.
1) bring to mind (a feeling, memory, etc.); summon up
这乐曲勾起她对青年时期的回忆。
The music evoked memories of her youth.
2) produce or cause (a response, reaction, etc.)
This stage set was intended to evoke the mood of a royal palace.
Her utterance evoked great anger and inextinguishable hatred in her
opponents’ mind.
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in sequence:
in order
Please check that the page numbers are in sequence.
The major reason why Mr. Brown could not find the file he needed was that his
secretary did not arrange them in sequence.
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stumble: v.
1) strike one’s foot against something and almost fall
In her hurry, she stumbled and spilled the milk all over the floor.
Vick stumbled over a stump as he was trying to catch the chirping bird.
2) stop or make a mistake when you are reading to people or speaking
She stumbled briefly over the unfamiliar words or names, and then continued
her presentation.
I sincerely hope that this little child wouldn’t stumble over any of the long
words.
那孩子演奏肖邦的曲子很不流畅。
The child stumbled through a piece by Chopin.
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formidable: adj.
1) very impressive
With her management skills and his marketing expertise, they make a
formidable combination.
This latest technology provides computers with formidable data-processing
power.
2) difficult to deal with or overcome
The rally is a formidable test of both the car and
the driver.
Creating a new filing system is really a
formidable task.
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irresistible: adj.
1) too strong to be resisted
I had an irresistible urge to embrace her to express my gratitude and
appreciation.
Even a loaf of bread was an irresistible temptation for such a small kid
who hadn’t eaten anything for two days.
2) too delightful or attractive to be resisted
On such a hot day, the sea was irresistible.
Chocolate is irresistible for a lot of people.
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voluminous: adj.
1) (of writing) great in quantity; abundant
He took voluminous notes during the lecture, which amounted to nearly
fifteen papers.
Paradise Lost, a famous epic poem written by John Milton, was a
voluminous work.
The majority of voluminous works of Dickens depicted the commonplaces
of everyday life among the middle and lower classes.
2) (of clothing, etc.) using much material; loose-fitting or ample
The little infant was wrapped in voluminous folds of a blanket.
A voluminous cloak engulfed this famed lady, so no one had ever noticed her.
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compelling: adj.
urgently requiring attention; drivingly forceful
He felt a compelling need to tell others his new idea.
His compelling personality makes him one of the most popular professors
in the college.
A host of compelling socioeconomic problems had to be handled before
they became disastrous.
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spring from:
be caused by something
Her rudeness to other people springs from a basic sense of insecurity.
The never-ending conflicts between these two nations spring from
economic and religious problems.
His innovation and creativity spring from his lifelong research into
this field.
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deviate: v.
change what you are doing so that you do not follow an expected plan, idea, or
type of behavior
我决不背离我自信正确的道路。
I will never deviate from what I believe to be right.
The plane had to deviate from its normal flight path.
His statements sometimes deviated slightly from the truth.
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spin:
1) v. (cause to) turn round and round rapidly
The revolving sign was spinning round and round in the wind.
汽车被撞得转着圈儿冲到路的另一边。
The collision sent the car spinning across the road.
They spun a coin to decide who should start, ie threw it spinning in the air
to see which side was uppermost when it landed.
2) n. an act of turning around quickly
The dance ended with a dramatic spin.
Collocation:
产生,派生
spin off
拖长,拖延
spin out
陷入恐慌
fall into a spin
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Directions: Fill in the blanks with the given phrases or expressions.
1. The company ________
spun off its financial services division in 1988.
2. The sudden fall on the stock market sent brokers into
__________.
a spin
3. I’m paid by the hour, so I ________
spin out the work as long as I can.
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qualm: n.
feeling of doubt, especially about whether what one is doing is right
他向警方隐瞒实情而并未感到十分不妥。
He had no serious qualms about concealing the information from the police.
He seemed to have no qualms about breaking the speed limit.
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recant: v.
formally reject (a former opinion, belief, etc.) as being wrong
Galileo was forced to recant his belief in the Copernican theory.
I’d rather die than recant my belief.
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transcend: v.
go above or beyond the limits of something
The mutual desire for peace transcended political discrepancy
between these two nations.
One never can see the thing in itself, because the mind does not
transcend phenomena.
她才貌出众。
She far transcends the others in beauty and intelligence.
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derive: v.
1) get something, usually a pleasant feeling, from something or someone
He derived some comfort from the fact that he wasn’t the only one to fail
the exam.
她用药经此疗程后并无好转。
She derived no benefit from the course of drugs.
2) develop or come from something else
Thousands of English words derive from Latin or Greek.
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self-contained: adj.
1) constituting a complete and independent unit in and of itself
The computer is equipped with a self-contained database package.
This self-contained retirement community holds activities for those elder
people.
2) keeping to oneself; reserved
Being a self-contained people, English people seldom quarrel with others in
public.
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1. Useful Expressions
2. Listening Comprehension
3. Proof Reading
4. Picture Talking
5. Writing Practice
6. Proverbs and Quotations
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1. 点亮
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Useful Expressions
light up
2. 内置的
built-in
3. 从无穷小到无穷大
from the infinitesimal to the infinite
4. 脑力活动
mental expeditions
5. 创新的思维
innovative thinking
6. 统治
reign over
7. 一流的学生
overachieving students
8. 身体健康的人
the able-bodied
9. 书本林立的办公室
book-lined office
10. 谈论工作
talk shop
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11. 按次序
in sequence
12. 达到创新的顶点
reach a creative peak
13. 走下坡路
over the hill
14. 一天也不差
to the day
15. 一事无成
come to nothing
16. 有说服力的证据
compelling evidence
17. 失败
break down
18. 起源于
spring from
19. 惊讶地发现
be startled to find
20. 环球旅行
take a round-the-world journey
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21. 偏离
deviate from
22. 没有丝毫疑虑
have no qualms about
23. 得自于
derive from
24. 自成体系的团体
a self-contained community
25. 如果是这样
if that is the case
26. 师生
students and faculty
27. 理论物理学家
theoretical physicist
28. 按喇叭打招呼
hook horns in greeting
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Listening Comprehension
Directions: In this section, you will hear a short passage. At the end of the
passage, you will hear some questions. After you hear a question, you
must choose the best answer from the four choices marked A, B, C
and D for questions 1 to 3, while for questions 4 and 5, you should
write down the answers according to what you have heard.
1. A) The fifteenth anniversary of the successful launch of the world’s first artificial
satellite.
KEY
B) The fiftieth anniversary of the successful launch of the world’s first artificial
satellite.
C) The celebration of the first space probe on Titan.
D) The fiftieth anniversary of the first spacewalk for human beings.
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2. A) Human beings are not able to land a space probe on Titan.
B) Titan is not far away from Earth, only a thousand miles from us.
KEY
C) The probe on Titan provides us with detailed analyses of it.
D) Even though human beings have landed a space probe on Titan, we don’t get
valuable data from it.
3. A) The temperature of Earth will decrease very fast.
B) Just like the temperature of Earth, the temperature of Titan will increase,
KEY
which would be a great threat to life.
C) The rise of the temperature of Titan would give human beings a promising
future because ice on it will melt.
D) Even though the temperature of Earth will rise, Earth will still be an ideal
place for human beings.
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4. What is the lecture given by Professor John Zarnecki mainly about?
It is mainly about the fifty years of space exploration.
5. What would happen to human beings, according to the speaker, in a billion years?
Human beings may be wiped out.
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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s our very great pleasure to welcome you all here
tonight to the Open University, to the 2007 Annual Lecture. We are here to mark the
fiftieth anniversary of the successful launch of the world’s first artificial satellite,
Sputnik 1 — no minor event. Indeed, in the words of NASA, with the launch of
Sputnik 1 the space age had been born and the world would be different ever after.
In the following fifty years the field of planetary science and astronomy has
progressed to such an extent that we are now able to land a space probe on Titan,
more than a billion miles from Earth and provide detailed analyses of its surface
composition and temperature.
Tonight, Professor of space science, John Zarnecki, will give a lecture entitled
“Fingers Crossed: Fifty Years of Space Exploration”. Anyone who works in the field of
space exploration is entitled to cross their fingers as they watch their experiments.
The results, I would remind you, are of years of meticulous planning and design. It is
on such endeavours that our speaker tonight has spent his professional life. The
work of his Open University team has attracted critical acclaim from around the world.
The triumph of landing a space probe on Titan two years ago, for instance, prompted
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the Minister for Science to hold it up as a glowing example of British science
ingenuity at its best. It also prompted John Zarnecki to ponder with us that he and his
team may be playing a part in saving the human race. In a billion years, when the
sun becomes a red giant, it will expand massively, he said.
“The temperature on Earth will rise; the oceans will boil; life on Earth will be
wiped out. But on Titan, towards the end of the solar system, things will be better.
The temperature will rise. Some of the ice will melt. Maybe it will become an Eden
and the human race can flourish there.”
Questions 1 to 3 are based on the passage you have just heard.
1. What kind of anniversary does they celebrate in the speech?
2. Which of the following statements is correct about humans’ exploration of
Titan?
3. Which of the following statements is correct according to Professor John
Zarnecki’s words about our solar system and Titan?
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Proof Reading
Directions: This part consists of a short passage. In this passage, there are
altogether 10 mistakes. You may have to change a word, add a word
or delete a word. Mark out the mistakes and put the corrections in the
blanks provided.
The problems which face with learners of English
can be divided into three categories: psychological,
culture, and linguistic. The largest category seems to
be linguistic.
When foreign learners first have the opportunity to
speak to a native speaker of English, they may have a
shock: they often have little difficulty in understanding
spoken English of native speakers. There are a
number of reasons to this.
( face
)
( cultural )
( lots of )
(
for
)
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First , it seems to students that English people speak
very quickly. Secondly, they say with a variety of accents.
Thirdly, different styles of speech are used in different
situations. For example, everyday spoken English, which is
colloquial and idiomatic, are different from the English used
for academic purposes.
But the main reason for it is that students are lack of
practice in communicating with native speakers. What can a
student do then to overcome these difficulties? Well,
obviously, he can be of benefit in attending English classes
and he should take every opportunity available to speak
with native speakers of English. He should be aware of ,
however, that English people are, by temperament, often
reserved and may be willing to start a conversation. So he
should have the courage to take the initiative (主动).
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( Firstly )
(
(
is
)
lack )
( benefit )
( be aware)
( unwilling )
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Picture Talking
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1. A Brief Introduction — Writing an Apology Letter
2. Two Sample Letters
3. Assignments
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Writing Practice — Letter Writing
A Brief Introduction — Writing an Apology Letter
An apology letter shows that you are sorry and says that you value your
relationship with the other party. The sooner an apology letter is written and sent
out, the better it is for the relationship. Depending on the nature of the letter, it can
either be written in the friendly or the business letter format.
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Friendly / Personal Apology Letter
If this is a personal letter you should start the letter by saying that you are sorry
to the recipient. Next you should admit your fault and take responsibility for your
actions. Next you should volunteer to ask if there is any way that you can help out
to resolve the situation. Then you should let the recipient know that you will try to
make sure that the situation will not happen again. To close off the letter you should
apologize again. When writing a personal apology letter it should come from the
heart and be sincere.
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Formal / Business Apology Letter
If this is a business letter you should start the letter by saying that you are sorry
to the recipient. Next you should give an explanation as to what went wrong. Then
you should try to rectify the problem. To close off the letter you should apologize
again.
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1. Sample Apology Letter (Business)
5868 Maple Wood Street
Fairfield, PA 37626
November 29, 2004
Mr. Joseph Bicman
358 Noncook Road
John’s Town, PA 57323
Dear Mr. Bicman,
I apologize for the mix-up of order #: 26429782. We have just implemented a new
packaging system that still has a few bugs to be worked out, but we did fix your order and
sent it out this morning. For your trouble, we have enclosed a $25 gift certificate which can
be used at any of our stores. Once again I would like to apologize for the mix-up in your
order and any inconveniences this may have caused you.
Sincerely,
Signature
Scott Mahoney
Customer Service Manager
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2. Sample Apology Letter (Personal)
68 Pine Zaggat Lane
Hampervile, NE 25385
January 5, 2005
Dear Jolene,
I am sorry about forgetting about our lunch date. It was completely my fault;
I was so busy at work that it must have slipped my mind. How about I treat you
to lunch next Wednesday, at the new Italian restaurant Julie’s at 12:30 PM? I
have marked this date in my planner so I will not forget about it. I’d just like to
apologize again for missing the lunch date.
Your Friend,
Signature
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Assignments
Directions: Write an apology letter based on the following ideas.
1. You, as a chief editor of an English dictionary, have received a complaint
letter from a college student about spelling mistakes occurring in the
dictionary. You need to write an apology letter to the student.
2. A friend of you invited you to a dinner tomorrow evening, and you accepted
the invitation. But today you find out that you have to work overtime
tomorrow to finish a project.
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Proverbs and Quotations
1. Progress sometimes uses a comma, but never a full stop.
学无止境。
2. Half a tale is enough for a wise man.
举一反三。
3. Unpolished pearls never shine.
玉不琢,不成器。
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4. The universe is wider than our views of it.
- Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, naturalist
宇宙要比我们认为的大得多。
——亨利•大卫•梭罗 美国散文家、诗人、自然主义者
5. It is clear to everyone that astronomy at all events compels the soul to look
upwards, and draws it from the things of this world to the other.
- Plato, ancient Greek philosopher
众所周知,任何时候,天文学都要求灵魂向上,也因此让人为之倾倒。
—— 柏拉图 古希腊哲学家
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