Angol emelt szintű érettségi feladat -

Olvasott szöveg értése - Task 4

Angol emelt szintű érettségi, 2010. május

Read this review of a popular science book and then read the sentences (26-30) that follow. Your task is to choose the option (A-D) that best corresponds to what the review says. Use the arrows <= and => to move between the questions. You needn't answer the questions in the given order but you must answer them all to complete this task. If you make a mistake, you must try again until you find the right answer.

Shut up and calculate!

You are here: A Portable History of the Universe by Christopher Potter

For the past 20 years or so, popular-science books have attempted to explain to an incredulous public the latest theories put forward by scientists to explain mystifying stuff such as quarks, various types of subatomic particles, black holes, and so on. Reading these books you occasionally note a tone of slight impatience from the author when the really tricky stuff comes along. “Look, you dummies, it just is, ok?”

Or, as Christopher Potter repeatedly puts it in this elegant and thoughtfully constructed contribution to the genre: “Shut up and calculate!” Even Feynman, a brilliant Nobel prizewinning scientist, who tried to get the message across a generation ago in Six Easy Pieces, struggled; not all of those pieces are that easy, to be honest.

Potter’s book works because he is not (quite) a physicist, but nor is he merely a layman. He is a publisher with a fairly modest (he suggests) academic background in mathematics and the history of science. And this is the root of the book’s brilliance: Potter becomes a link between the bizarre world of the quantum physicists and our own rather more limited imaginations.

He makes complicated numbers comprehensible by taking us from the world we know and recognise − everything around us for ten metres, for example, from the size of a giraffe to the size of a human being − in stages down to things so small that size has no real meaning, and upwards to distances that, without his guidance, would seem so great as to be meaningless. The distances and the scale become comprehensible.

Potter takes us beyond the realms of the solar system, past our nearest neighbouring star (four light years away), beyond the outer boundaries of our galaxy, the Milky Way, until, near the end, we hit a solid supercluster of galaxies one billion light years away. And then, a little later, we are dragged through ever-diminishing stages back down to the quarks, which are at the very boundary of what we might call both “size” and “reality”.

This is the most thoughtful pop science book of the last few years, and, along with The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, the most useful to the layman.


Utolsó módosítás: 2010. 05. 11.