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Paragraph Study

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  1. After studying the definitions above, use these new words in the sentences below.
  2. After studying the definitions above, use these new words in the sentences below.
  3. After studying the definitions above, use these new words in the sentences below.
  4. Desired Field of Study)
  5. Eligible Universities and Fields of Study
  6. I. Study the vocabulary that is useful to talk about life events
  7. Managing your study time
  8. Read the text about the University you study at.
  9. Referential Approach to word meaning study


Task 9. Read paragraphs 1, 2, and 3. Identify the topic sentences and the sentences developing their idea.


Task 10.Read paragraph 4. Follow the word science through the paragraph and copy out the words related to it in meaning. State the main idea of the paragraph (in English or in Russian).


Task 11.Read paragraph 5.

1. Divide the paragraph into three parts with the following titles: Subject of Research, Tools of Research and Results of Research. Indicate the beginning of each part.

2. Read the first sentence again and copy out the words indicating that the popular view on science is not adequate.


Task 12.Look through the paragraphs again and indicate the words and word groups used to connect the paragraphs and the sentences within them. (to be continued at home in written form).


Task 13.Read Text C without consulting the dictionary, pencil-mark the words that you do not understand. Divide the text into three parts, copy out the dominant noun in each part and suggest a title for each part. (to be done at home in written form)

Text C

Research: Fundamental and Applied, and the Public

1. People are always talking about fundamental research, implying thereby the existence of a nameless opposite. A good definition of fundamental research will certainly be welcomed: let us see whether we can invent one. We have to begin, of course, by defining research. Unfortu­nately the concept of research contains a negative element. Research is searching without knowing what you are going to find: if you know what you are going to find you have already found it, and your activity is not research. Now, since the outcome of your research is unknown, how can you know whether it will be fundamental or not?


2. We may say for instance that fundamental research is that which you undertake without caring whether the results will be of practical value or not. It may not be reasonable to go further and say that fundamental research is that which will be abandoned as soon as it shows a sign of leading to results of practical value. By saying this you may limit your own achievement. It will be better to say that fundamental re­search is that which may have no immediate practical value, but can be counted upon as leading to practical value sooner or later. The extension of knowledge and understanding of the world around us will always be profitable in the long run, if not in the short.


3. This is a very powerful argument for fundamental research and it is a completely unassailable one, and yet there are people who will not like it. Let us seek a definition that will give fundamental research a value of its own, not dependent upon other uses appearing soon or late. We say for instance that fundamental research is that which extends the theory. Now we have to theorize upon theory.


4. There have been several viewpoints about theory. One is that theory discerns the underlying simplicity of the universe. The non-theorist sees a confused mass of phenomena; when he becomes a theorist they fuse into a simple and dignified structure. But some contemporary theories are so intricate that an increasing number of people prefer dealing with the confusion of the phenomena than with the confusion of theory.


5. A different idea suggests that theory enables one to calculate the result of an experiment in a shorter time than it takes to perform the experiment. I do not think that the definition is very pleasing to the theorists, for some problems are obviously solved more quickly by experimenters than by theorists.


6. Another viewpoint is that theory serves to suggest new experiments. This is sound, but it makes the theorist the hand man of the experimenter, and he may not like this auxiliary role. Still another viewpoint is that theory serves to discourage the waste of time on mak­ing useless experiments.


7. Let us try to flatter theory by giving it a definition that shall not describe it as a mere handmaid of experiment or a mere device for saving time. I suggest that theory is an intellectual instrument granting a deep and indescribable contentment to its designer and to its users. This instrument is made up of units which can be compared, for instance, to different branches of physics: solid state physics, relativity, acoustics, elementary particles and others, which sometimes have only a remote relation with one another and may not even be interconnected at all.


8. The rest of my talk will be devoted to a different question which is: how are we going to communicate to the layman some of our passion for our science? This is a very important question, for everyone is a layman until he becomes a scientist. If we can solve the problem of interesting the layman we may succeed in attracting the potential Fermis, Slaters, Lands and Fletchers of future into the field of, say, physics. Nothing could be more desirable.

9. A frequent technique is that of surprise. The trouble with this is that one cannot be surprised if one is not accustomed to the situation which is nullified by the surprise. Imagine, for example, a physicist trying to surprise an audience of laymen by telling them that there are a dozen elementary particles instead of two or three, or that the newest cyclotron imparts energy of 500 mev to protons. It simply will not work, because the listeners will have no background to compare this information with.


10. It is also a mistake to think that we can excite an audience by solving a mystery for them. The trouble here is that practically no one is interested in the answer to a question which he never thought of asking.


11. Relativity had a wonderful build-up in the decade before 1905, for the physicists of that era were acquainted with the sequence of experiments which were designed to show that the earth moves relatively to the ether and which obstinately showed the opposite. Each stage in the unfolding of quantum mechanics was exciting to the physicists who knew the earlier stages, because they knew the problems which were left unsolved. The writer of a detective story creates the mystery before he solves it; but the mystery usually begins with the discovery of a murdered man, and this is considerably more exciting than a murdered theory. The corresponding technique in physics consists in trying to create a particular state of out-of-dateness in the mind of the public, in the expectation of bringing them up-to-date at the end of the lecture or paper. There is too much risk of leaving the audience in the out-of-date condition, and this technique cannot be recommended.


12. Another mistake, in my opinion at least, is that of stressing a paradox. Try telling an audience that if you know the exact position of a particle you cannot know its momentum, and vice versa — the effect is unpredictable but obviously not what you wanted. Still another mistake is that of springing an isolated fact upon the audience. An isolated fact is not science and it is not interesting. Facts are of interest only as parts of a system. And we must strive to interest the layman in the system.

(Adopted from Learn to Read Science)

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