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大学英语精读:第二册 UNIT 5

2007-03-01 16:21   来源:旺旺英语       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  Seen through the eyes of a young friend Einstein was a simple, modest and ordinary man.

The professor and the Yo-yo

  My father was a close friend of Albert Einstein. As a shy young visitor to Einstein's home, I was made to feel at ease when Einstein said, "I have something to show you." He went to his desk and returned with a Yo-Yo. He tried to show me how it worked but he couldn't make it roll back up the string. When my turn came, I displayed my few tricks and pointed out to him that the incorrectly looped string had thrown the toy off balance. Einstein nodded, properly impressed by my skill and knowledge. Later, I bought a new Yo-Yo and mailed it to the Professor as a Christmas present, and received a poem of thanks.

  As boy and then as an adult, I never lost my wonder at the personality that was Einstein. He was the only person I knew who had come to terms with himself and the world around him. He knew what he wanted and he wanted only this: to understand within his limits as a human being the nature of the universe and the logic and simplicity in its functioning. He knew there were answers beyond his intellectual reach. But this did not frustrate him. He was content to go as far as he could.

  In the 23 years of our friendship, I never saw him show jealousy, vanity, bitterness, anger, resentment, or personal ambition. He seemed immune to these emotions. He was beyond any pretension. Although he corresponded with many of the world's most important people, his stationery carried only a watermark - W - for Woolworth's.

  To do his work he needed only a pencil only a pencil and a pad of paper. Material things meant nothing to him. I never knew him to carry money because he never had any use for it. He believed in simplicity, so much so that he used only a safety razor and water to shave. When I suggested that he try shaving cream, he said, "The razor and water do the job."

  "But Professor, why don't you try the cream just once?" I argued. "It makes shaving smoother and less painful."

  He shrugged. Finally, I presented him with a tube of shaving cream. The next morning when he came down to breakfast, he was beaming with the pleasure of a new, great discovery. "You know, that cream really works," he announced. "It doesn't pull the beard. It feels wonderful." Thereafter, he used the shaving cream every morning until the tube was empty. Then he reverted to using plain water.

  Einstein was purely and exclusively a theorist. He didn't have the slightest interest in the practical application of his ideas and theories. His E=mc2 is probably the most famous equation in history - yet Einstein wouldn't walk down the street to see a reactor create atomic energy. He won the Nobel Prize for his Photoelectric Theory, a series of equations that he considered relatively minor in importance, but he didn't have any curiosity in observing how his theory made TV possible.

  My brother once gave the Professor a toy, a bird that balanced on the edge of a bowl of water and repeatedly dunked its head in the water. Einstein watched it in delight, trying to deduce the operating principle. But be couldn't.

  The next morning he announced, "I had thought about that bird for a long time before I went to bed and it must work this way…" He began a ling explanation. Then he stopped, realizing a flaw in his reasoning. "No, I guess that's not it," he said. He pursued various theories for several days until I suggested we take the toy apart to see how it did work. His quick expression of disapproval told me he did not agree with this practical approach. He never did work out the solution.

  Another puzzle that Einstein could never understand was his own fame. He had developed theories that were profound and capable of exciting relatively few scientists. Yet his name was a household word across the civilized world. "I've had good ideas, and so have other men," he once said. "But it's been my good fortune that my ideas have been accepted." He was bewildered by his fame: people wanted to meet him; strangers stared at him on the street; scientists, statesmen, students, and housewives wrote him letters. He never could understand why he received this attention, why he was singled out as something special.

  NEW WORDS

  modest

  a.  having or expressing a not too high opinion of one's merits, abilities, etc. 谦虚的

  yo-yo

  n.  游游(一种用线扯动使用权忽上忽来的轮形玩具)

  ease

  n.  freedom from work, discomfort, trouble, difficulty, worry, etc. 悠闲;舒适;自在;安心

  display

  n.  show 展示

  loop

  vt. 把(绳等)打成环

  n.  圈;环

  strong

  n.  细绳;线;弦

  balance

  n.  condition of being steady 平衡

  v.  keep in a state of balance

  properly

  ad. really; completely 非常;完全地

  impress

  vt. have a strong effect on the mind or feelings of  给……深刻的印象

  mail

  vt. send by post

  poem

  n.  piece of writing in verse 诗

  personality

  n.  character 个性

  logic

  n.  the science or method of reasoning  逻辑(学);推理(法)

  simplicity

  n.  the state of being simple; an absence of pretense 简单;简朴;单纯

  function

  vi. work

  intellectual

  a.  智力的

  frustrate

  n.  cause to have feeling of annoyed disappointment; defeat 使沮丧;挫败

  frustration

  n.

  jealousy

  n.  envy 妒忌

  jealous

  a.

  vanity

  n.  state of being too proud of oneself or one's looks, abilities, etc. 虚荣心

  bitterness

  n.  the quality or state of being bitter 苦;痛苦

  resentment

  n.  feeling that one has when insulted, ignored, injured, etc. 怨恨

  ambition

  n.  strong desire for success, power, riches, etc. 野心,抱负

  ambitious

  a.

  immune

  a.  有免疫力的;不受影响的

  immunity

  n.

  emotion

  n.  strong feeling

  pretension

  n.  矫饰,做作,不受影响

  correspond

  vi. exchange letter regularly  通信

  stationery

  n.  paper for writing letters, usu. with matching envelopes; writing materials 信笺;文具

  watermark

  n.  mark made on paper by the maker, seen when it is held against light 水印

  pad

  n.  a number of sheets of writing paper fixed along one edge 便笺簿

  razor

  n.  sharp instrument for taking hair off the body 剃刀

  shave

  vt. cut off (hair or beard) with a razor

  cream

  n.  any thick, soft liquid 膏状物

  argue

  vt. give reasons for or against (sth.) 争辨

  painful

  a.  causing pain

  shrug

  vi. lift (the shoulders) slightly (to show in difference, doubt, etc.) 耸肩

  finally

  ad. at last; lastly 最终;最后

  present

  vt. give; offer 赠送;提供

  tube

  n.  管;软管

  beam

  vi. look or smile happily and cheerfully 面露喜色;高兴地微笑

  beard

  n.  hair of the lower part of the face (excluding the moustache) 胡须

  thereafter

  ad. after that; afterwards

  revert

  vi  return (to a former state, condition, etc.) 回复,回返

  exclusively

  ad. only; completely

  exclusive

  a.  person who forms theories 理论家

  theorist

  n.  方程式

  equation

  n.  small in degree, not considerable or serious 微小的,轻微的

  application

  n.  using 应用

  theory

  n.  (explanation of the) general principles of an art or science 理论

  theoretical

  a.

  reactor

  n.  反应堆

  atomic

  a.  of or concerning an atom or atoms 原子的

  atom

  n.

  photoelectric

  a.  光电的

  series

  n.  group of things of the same kind that come one after another 系列;套,组

  relatively

  ad. comparatively 相对地;比较地

  relative

  a.

  relativity

  n.

  curiosity

  n.  the desire to know or learn 好奇心

  observe

  v.  see and again

  repeatedly

  ad. again and again

  dunk

  vt. put under water for a limited time  把……浸一浸

  deduce

  vt. reach a conclusion by reasoning 演绎,推断

  deduction

  n.

  principle

  n.  原理;原则

  flaw

  n.  fault 缺点,瑕疵

  reasoning

  n.  process of reaching conclusions by using one's reason  推理

  pursue

  vt. work at, be busy with, go on with 从事;忙于;继续

  apart

  ad. separate(ly) 分离,分开

  approach

  n.  method of doing sth. 方式,方法

  solution

  n.  sth. that one cannot understand or explain 谜

  fame

  n.  (condition of) being famous

  profound

  a.  needing much thought or study to understand; deep 深奥的;深刻的

  capable

  a.  able

  capability

  n.

  household

  n.  all the people living in a house

  a.  familiar and common

  household word

  n.  word or name known and spoken of by almost everyone 家喻户晓的词或名字

  civilized

  a.  文明的

  civilize

  vt.

  civilization

  n.

  fortune

  n.  luck

  bewilder

  vt. confuse; puzzle  把……弄糊涂;使迷惑

  statesman

  n.  political or government leader, esp. one who is wise and fair-minded 政治家

  housewife

  n.  married woman who manages a household

  PHRASES & EXPRESSIONS

  at ease

  free from worry or nervousness; comfortable

  off balance

  not in balance; unsteady 失去平衡的

  come to terms with

  accept (sth. one does not want to accept) and deal with it in the best way one can 与……达成协议;与……妥协

  as far as

  to the degree that  到……程度

  mean nothing to

  be of no importance to

  believe in

  have confidence in the value of

  so much so that

  to such an extent that

  a series of

  a number of (thing or events) of the same kind that follow each other  一系列,一连串

  take apart

  separate (a small machine, clock, etc.) into pieces 拆开

  work out

  solve, find the answer to 解决;算出;想出

  capable of

  having the ability, power or inclination (to do)

  single out

  choose from a group for special treatment 选出,挑出

  PROPER NAMES

  Thomas Lee Bucky

  托马斯.李.巴基

  Joseph Blank

  约瑟夫.布兰克

  Albert Einstein

  阿伯特.爱因斯坦

  Woolworth

  伍尔沃叫(姓氏)

  Nobel Prize

  诺贝尔奖金

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