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实用英语综合教程第三册4

UNIT 4
Text A

FRE-READING TASK

Exercise 1
Before reading the passage, think over the questions.

1. Do you think there exist intelligent beings in outer space?
2. Is it possible to communicate with intelligent beings living beyond our solar system? If yes, how?

Now read the passage to learn how some people tried to send messages to other civilizations.

Interstellar
Postcards -- Messages to Space

1 For centuries, a lonely sailor put messages into bottles and threw them into the ocean, hoping someone might find them, thousands of miles away. This is just what we have done, on a much larger scale, with radio signals and with spacecraft. A message to other civilizations has been broadcast, and four spacecraft have been launched that are now leaving the solar system.
2 How do you write a message for someone who knows no human language? In the 1960s, Frank Drake devised a clever approach to the problem. He wrote a short message containing some basic information we would like to know about another civilization, putting it as a series of ones and zeroes of the sort used by computers. Then he mailed copies to his colleagues, asking them to decipher it. They had great difficulty, but the mathematically inclined reader is encouraged to attempt to make sense of this message.
3 If you give up, here's the answer: the message is a television picture. To see the picture, you have to notice that it contains 551 characters. This number is special, the product of 19 and 29. In turn 19 and 29 are even more special numbers, called prime numbers, numbers that cannot be evenly divided by any other numbers except one or themselves. Thus 551 equals 19 times 29, and cannot be written any other way.
4 This means that a rectangular picture can be built up from the 551 digits by putting them down in 29 rows of 19 characters, putting black squares where there are ones and white squares where there are zeroes. The picture shows a crude image of a humanoid, together with information about chemistry, astronomy and biology.
5 Admittedly, it's hard to understand his message, but a committee of scientists could figure it out. In fact, he found that individual scientists usually were able to understand only the parts of the message related to their own specialties. If we were not limited to short messages, we could send more detailed images and avoid the uncertainties of this crude picture, and in fact, since then, increasingly sophisticated messages have been sent into space.
6 Our first deliberate note in a space-bottle was on NASA's Pioneer 10 spacecraft. It was designed to be the first vessel to fly by the planet Jupiter, but it had a distinction that made it one of the most extraordinary events in human history: Pioneer 10 was the first object from our civilization that would leave the solar system forever.
7 In giving the rocket enough of a boost to get to Jupiter, we left it with enough energy to continue sailing forever. It would not only have escape velocity from the Earth, it would have escape velocity from the Sun, after Jupiter's gravitational pull.
8 On realizing that Pioneer 10 would become the first object in the history of the human species to leave our planetary system, space writer Eric Burgess came up with the idea that we send a message to any alien civilization that might find the spacecraft, even millions or billions of years in the future.
9 Burgess and Richard Hoagland contacted Carl Sagan, who greeted the idea enthusiastically. Sagan and Frank Drake designed a plaque that any advanced being should be able to decipher. Sagan's wife at the time, Linda Salzman Sagan, drew the human figures for the plaque. NASA approved the idea and etched it onto a gold-anodized aluminum plaque mounted on a part of the spacecraft that is shielded from interstellar dust.
10 Pioneer 10 and its twin, Pioneer 11, with the same plaque, were successfully launched in 1972, starting their interstellar postcards on the longest journey in history.

New Words

interstellar
a. happening or done between the stars 星际的

postcard
n. 明信片

sailor
n. a person with a job on a ship or a member of a navy 水手,水兵

spacecraft
n. a vehicle able to travel in space 宇宙飞船,航空器

civilization
n. 1. 文明世界
2. 文明,文化

launch
v. 1. to send into the air or space 发射
2. 发动(战争等),开展(运动、斗争等)

devise
v. to plan or invent esp. cleverly 设计,发明

colleague
n. 同事

decipherv. to discover the meaning of (something difficult or secret)破译

mathematically
ad. 数学(上)地

incline
v. to cause someone to feel, think, etc. 使有意于,使倾向于

inclined
a. 倾向于…的,对…有好感的,有…的意向的

prime
a. 1. 素数的,质数的
2. 最初的,基本的
evenly
ad. 偶数地

rectangular
a. 长方形的,矩形的

digit
n. any of the numbers from 0 to 9 (0到9中的任何一个)数字

image
n. 1. 像,图象
2. 形象,典型

humanoid
n. 类人动物(尤指原人或科幻小说中的外星人)

astronomy
n. the science of the stars and planets 天文学
admittedly
ad. it must be admitted (that) 诚然,公认地

specialty
n. (AmE) a special field of work or study (美语)专业,专长

uncertainty
n. the state or quality of being uncertain 不确定,不稳定

sophisticated
a. 1. 复杂的,精密的,尖端的
2. 老于世故的
deliberate
a. 1. carefully considered 深思熟虑的
2. on purpose 故意的

space-bottle
n. 太空漂流瓶

Jupiter
n. 木星

distinction
n. 1. the quality of being unusual 特点
2. difference 差别

rocket
n. 火箭

boost
n. something that helps to increase force, power, etc. 推动(力)

velocity
n. speed in a certain direction; rate of movement 速率,速度

gravitational
a. (万有)引力的

planetary
a. of or like a planet 行星的

alien
a. 1. foreign 外国的
2. different in nature 性质不同的

enthusiastically
ad. 热情地,极感兴趣地

plaque
n. 饰板

approve
v. to agree officially to 赞同

etch
v. (用酸类或加热法在金属、玻璃、木头或塑料上)蚀刻

anodize
v. 对…作阳极处理,对…作阳极氧化

aluminum
n. 铝

twin
n. 1. each of a closely related pair 两个非常相像或紧密相关的人或物之一
2. 孪生儿之一

Phrases and Expressions

on a large scale
大规模地

make sense of
理解,弄懂

in turn
转过来,依次

together with
和…一起,和…同时

figure out
理解,明白,想出

come up with 提出,想出

shield ...from
保护…使免受

Proper Names

Frank Drake
弗兰克.德雷克(人名)

NASA
(美国)国家航空和航天局(National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Pioneer 10
先锋10号宇宙飞船

Eric Burgess
埃里克.伯吉斯(人名)

Richard Hoagland 理查德.霍格兰(人名)

Carl Sagan
卡尔.萨根(人名)

Linda Salzman Sagan
琳达.萨尔茨曼.萨根(人名)


Text B

PRE-READING TASK

Exercise 1
Before reading the passage, think about the questions.

When do you think is the best time for children to learn science? Why?

Now read the passage and try to find out why the author thinks it is important for children to learn science.

Why Should Children Learn Science?

1 Learning science helps children to develop ways of understanding the world around them. For this they have to build up concepts which help them link their experiences together; they must learn ways of gaining and organizing information and of applying and testing ideas. This contributes not only to children's ability to make better sense of things around them, but prepares them to deal more effectively with wider decision-making and problem-solving in their lives. Science is as basic a part of education as numeracy and literary; it daily becomes more important as the complexity of technology increases and touches every part of our lives.
2 Learning science can bring a double benefit because science is both a method and a set of ideas; both a process and a product. The processes of science provide a way of finding out information, testing ideas and seeking explanations. The products of science are ideas which can be applied in helping to understand new experiences.
3 The word can is used advisedly here; it indicates that there is the potential to bring these benefits but no guarantee that they will be realized without taking the appropriate steps. In learning science the development of the process side and the product side must go hand in hand; they are totally interdependent. This has important implications for the kinds of activities children need to encounter in their education. But before pursuing these implications, there are still two further important points which underline the value of including science in primary education.
4 The first is that whether we teach children science or not, they will be developing ideas about the world around from their earliest years. If these ideas are based on casual observation, non-investigated events and the acceptance of hearsay, then they are likely to be non-scientific, "everyday" ideas. There are plenty of such ideas around for children to pick up. My mother believed (and perhaps still does despite my efforts) that if the sun shines through the window on to the fire it puts the fire out, that cheese maggots (a common encounter in her youth when food was sold unwrapped) are made of cheese and develop spontaneously from it, that placing a lid on a pan of boiling water makes it boil at a lower temperature, that electricity travels more easily if the wires are not twisted. Similar myths still abound and no doubt influence children's attempts to make sense of their experience. As well as hearsay, left to themselves, children will also form some ideas which seem unscientific; for example, that to make something move requires a force but to stop it needs no force. All these ideas could easily be put to the test; children's science education should make children want to do it. Then they not only have the chance to modify their ideas, but they learn to be sceptical about so-called "truths" until these have been put to the test. Eventually they will realize that all ideas are working hypotheses which can never be proved right, but are useful as long as they fit the evidence of experience and experiment.
5 The importance of beginning this learning early in children's education is twofold. On the one hand the children begin to realize that useful ideas must fit the evidence; on the other hand they are less likely to form and to accept everyday ideas which can be shown to be in direct conflict with evidence and scientific concepts. There are research findings to show that the longer the non-scientific ideas have been held, the more difficult they are to change. Many children come to secondary science, not merely lacking the scientific ideas they need, but possessing alternative ideas which are a barrier to understanding their science lessons.
6 The second point about starting to learn science, and to learn scientifically, at the primary level is connected with attitudes to the subject. There is evidence that attitudes to science seem to be formed earlier than to most other subjects and children tend to have taken a definite position with regard to their liking of the subject by the age of 11 or 12. Given the remarks just made about the clash between the non-scientific ideas that many children bring to their secondary science lessons and the scientific ideas they are assumed to have, it is not surprising that many find science confusing and difficult. Such reactions undoubtedly affect their later performance in science. Although there is a lesson here for secondary science, it is clear that primary science can do much to avoid this crisis at the primary/secondary interface.

New Words

concept
n. a thought, idea, or principle 概念,观念,思想

contribute
v. 1. to help to cause 有助于,促成
2. 贡献出
3. 捐款

numeracy
n. 识数,计算能力

literacy
n. 识字,读写能力

guarantee
n. a promise that certain conditions will be fulfilled 担保,保证v. 保证,担保

dependent
a. that depends on 依靠的,依赖的

interdependent
a. depending on each other; necessary to each other 互相依赖的,互相依存的

encounter
v. 1. to meet; be faced by (something bad) 遇到,遭到
2. to meet unexpectedly 偶尔碰到

pursue
v. 1. 继续,进行
2. 追赶,追踪

observation
n. 1. an action of noticing or watching 观察
2. the ability to notice things 观察力

acceptance
n. 1. approval; favour 赞同
2. the act of accepting or of being accepted 接受,赞同

hearsay
n. things which are said rather than proved 风闻,传闻

despite
prep. in spite of 不管,尽管

maggot
n. 蛆

wrap
v. to cover 包

unwrapped
a. 未包装的

spontaneously
ad. 自发地

lid
n. a cover for a container 盖子

twist
v. to change shape by bending, curling, turning, etc. 扭

myth
n. 1. a widely believed false story or idea (没有事实根据的)虚构信念、理论或观点
2. 古代神话

abound
v. to exist in large numbers or great quantity 大量存在

unscientific
a. not scientific 非科学的,不符合科学原理的

modifyv. to change slightly 修改

sceptical
a. doubting; distrustful 表示怀疑的

hypothesis
n. (pl. hypotheses) 假设

twofold
a. 1. 双重的,有两部分的
2. double 两倍的

conflict
n. the meeting of opposing ideas or beliefs 抵触,冲突

secondarya. 1. coming after what is first 第二(位)的,中等的
2. 次要的,副的

scientifically
ad. 科学地

remark
n. a spoken or written opinion 评论,言辞

undoubtedly
ad. 无疑地

interface
n. a place or area where different things meet and have an effect on each other (两个独立系统互相衔接并互相影响的)接合部位,接口

Phrases and Expressions

build up
逐步建立,发展

contribute to
有助于,促成,为…作出贡献

take (the appropriate) steps
采取(适当)步骤

put out
熄灭,扑灭

put...to the test
使经受考验,检验

one the one hand...on the other hand
一方面…,另一方面…

in conflict with
(与…)不一致

with regard to
关于,在…方面
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