The 20th-century Revolution.

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The 20th-century Revolution.

By the end of the 19th century, the dream of the mastery of nature for the benefit of mankind, first expressed in all its richness by Sir Fran­cis Bacon, seemed on the verge of realization. Science was moving ahead on all fronts, reducing ignorance and producing new tools for the amel­ioration of the human condition.

But this sunny confidence did not last long. One annoying problem was that the radiation emitted by atoms proved increasingly difficult to reduce to known mechanical principles. Within a span of 10 short years, roughly 1895-1905, these and related problems came to a head and wrecked the mechanistic system the 19th century. The discovery of X-rays and radioactivity revealed an unexpected new complexity in the struc­ture of atoms. Max Planck's solution to the problem of thermal radia­tion introduced a discontinuity into the concept of energy that was inex­plicable in terms of classical thermodynamics.

The enunciation of the special theory of relativity by Albert Einstein in 1905 not only destroyed the ether and all the physics that depended on it but also redefined physics as the study of relations between observers and events, rather than of the events themselves.

Absolute space was a fiction. The very foundations of physics threat­ened to crumble. Mechanical models were no longer acceptable, because there were processes (like light) for which no consistent model could be constructed. No longer could physicists speak with confidence of physi­cal reality, but only of the probability of making certain measurements.

All this being said, there is still no doubt that science in the 20th centu­ry has worked wonders. The new physics - relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics - may outrage common sense, but it enables physicists to probe to the very limits of physical reality. Their instruments and mathe­matics permit modern scientists to manipulate subatomic particles with relative ease, to reconstruct the first moment of creation, and to glimpse dimly the grand structure and ultimate fate of the universe.

The revolution in physics has spilled over into chemistry and biology and led to hitherto undreamed of capabilities for the manipulation of atoms and molecules and of cells and their genetic structures. Chemists perform molecular tailoring today as a matter of course, cutting and shaping molecules at will. Genetic engineering makes possible active human intervention in the evolutionary process and holds out the possi­bility of tailoring living organisms, including the human organism, to specific tasks. This second scientific revolution may prove to be, for good or ill, the most important event in the history of mankind.


2. Переведите на русский язык следующие английские словосочетания:

1) world of nature;

2) terrestrial events;

3) the basic rhythm;

4) the migration of ani­mals;

5) premature generalization;

6) Modern quan­tum mechanics;

7) the understanding of physiological and evolutionary processes;

8) rational investigation;

9) rational order of the world;

10) the dream of the mastery of nature.

3. Найдите в тексте английские эквиваленты следующих словосочетаний:

1) на благо человечества;

2) структура атомов;

3) классическая термодинамика;

4) вмешательство человека;

5) эволюционный процесс;

6) научная революция;

7) история человечества;

8) научные знания;

9) существование человечества;

10) математическое описание.

4. Найдите в тексте слова, имеющие общий корень с данными словами. Определите, к какой части речи они относятся, и переведите их на русский язык:

1) man;

2) to survive;

3) to emerge;

4) to exist;

5) to agree;

6) cover;

7) to measure;

8) atom;

9) construct;

10) dream.

5. Задайте к выделенному в тексте предложению все типы вопросов (общий, альтернативный, разделительный, специальный: а) к подлежащему; б) к второстепенному члену предложения).

6. Выполните анализ данных предложений, обратив внимание на следующие грамматические явления: времена группы Indefinite (Present, Past, Future Active& Passive); глаголы to be, to have; конструкция there is, there are; все типы вопросов; степени сравнения прилагательных; модальные глаголы:

1. There are many regularities in nature that mankind has had to recognize for survival since the emergence of Homo sapiens as a species.

2. Day and night provide the basic rhythm of human existence; the seasons determine the migration of ani­mals upon which humans depended for millennia for survival.

3. In the first place, regularities may be simply constructs of the human mind.

4. True regularities must be established by detached examination of data.

5. Regularities, even when expressed mathematically as laws of nature, are not fully satisfactory to everyone.

6. But even if causa­tion and explanation are admitted as necessary, there is little agreement on the kinds of causes that are permissible, or possible, in science.

7. Certain conventions governed the appeal to God or the gods or to spirits.

8. But this sunny confidence did not last long.

9. Mechanical models were no longer acceptable, because there were processes (like light) for which no consistent model could be constructed.

10. This second scientific revolution may prove to be, for good or ill, the most important event in the history of mankind.


7. Ответьте на вопросы по тексту:

1. What are the reasons that made people study the surrounding word?

2. What senses is Nature known through?

3. What instruments are mentioned in the text?

4. What are their functions?

5. What does the progress of science follow?

6. Why are scientific discoveries and achievements made in the 20th century considered to be revolutionary?

7. What did the discovery of X-rays and radioactivity

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