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Unit Five:The Professor and the Yo-Yo

2011-07-26    来源:    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

TEXT

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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