Leonardo da Vinci was a famous inventor. Look at these inventions. Which are his ideas or inventions?

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Leonardo da Vinci was a famous inventor. Look at these inventions. Which are his ideas or inventions?

the bicycle the car the diving suit
the helicopter high heels the parachute
the radio the robot the telescope


Read the text Leonardo da Vinci quickly and check your ideas.

Leonardo da Vinci

Man of art. Man of ideas. Man of inventions.

His life

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) lived in a small town in Italy with his grandparents. He studied at home and enjoyed music, singing and mathematics. At the age of 16, he wanted to study art, so he moved to the city of Florence for art classes. He finished his studies after four years. He then worked in Milan as an engineer and he started his life as an inventor. In 1500 he returned to Florence and in 1516 he travelled to France, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

His inventions

Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked before people used electricity and petrol for power, but he had the first ideas for many machines that we use today.

The robot

Leonardo built his robot in 1495. The robot stood up, sat down and held things in its arms.

The car

A single passenger drove the car. It travelled 40 metres at a time.

The helicopter

Leonardo designed the first helicopter but he never made it. His design used a screw to lift the helicopter into the air. This is different from the modern design, but the general idea is similar.

The diving suit

Leonardo made the suit of leather and added long pipes to carry the air to the diver. He also invented special gloves for divers. Today, divers use them on their feet!

These are just some of Leonardo’s hundreds of inventions. He also invented a parachute and even high heels!

Are these sentences true or false?

1 When he was young, Leonardo was at a large school.

2 Leonardo was an engineering student.

3 A lot of modern inventions use his ideas.

4 The robot could only move its legs.

5 The car could only travel a short distance.

6 Leonardo’s helicopter is the same as the modern ones.

7 Modern divers use Leonardo’s diving glove.

Put the inventions in the text in order of importance. Compare with a partner.


Find at the information about Alfred Nobel and Levi Strauss. Match the information with these inventors and then write a short text about them.


Read the text on plastic and match the objects to a country on the World map. Write the name of the object in the space for each of the six countries.

A Plastic World

Oil was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 1839. Many of the inventions we have today could not work if we did not have oil. It is used to drive many kinds of transport like cars, buses, planes, and ships which are built in the USA. Oil is also used to heat our houses. Plastic is used in Indonesia to make everything from supermarket bags to computers and mobile phones. In fact, most of the things we use in our lives are made of plastic.

Plastic is used because it is cheap and tough, and can last a long time. New products are invented almost every day. Most toys and games today are produced in China and then they are sent to different parts of the world. Many other more expensive items like mobile telephones are made by big companies in Finland. Look around your house. How many electrical items are made in Japan? Look at your athletic shoes. Maybe they were made in India or Korea. But where does plastic come from? The answer is that plastic is produced from oil.



Lesson 59



Read the text:

Discoveries and Inventions

ADHESIVE TAPE Richard G. Drew (1886-1956) invented masking tape and clear adhesive tape (also called cellophane tape or Scotch tape) in 1930. Drew was an engineer for the 3M (Minnesota Mining) company SAFETY PIN The safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt in 1849. Hunt's pin was made by twisting a length of wire. Hunt invented the safety pin in order to pay a debt of $15; he eventually sold the rights to his patent for $400.
AEROSOL SPRAY CAN The first aerosol can was invented by Erik Rotheim of Norway. On November 23, 1927, Rotheim patented a can with a valve and propellant systems - it could hold and dispense liquids. JEANS Levi Strauss (1829-1902) was an entrepreneur who invented and marketed blue jeans. In 1873, Strauss patented the idea of using copper rivets at the stress points of sturdy work trousers. They were sold initially to the miners of the Californian Gold Rush.
AEROPLANE The first working aeroplane was invented, designed, made, and flown by the Wright brothers, Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948). On December 17, 1903, the "Flyer" flew a distance of 37m for 12 seconds at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, USA. TEA BAGS Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan around 1908. The first bags were made from silk. Sullivan was a tea and coffee merchant in New York who began packaging tea samples in tiny silk bags. Many of his customers brewed their tea in the bags rather than in the traditional way of brewing loose tea in a teapot, and the tea bag was born.
AQUALUNG The aqualung is a breathing apparatus that supplies oxygen to divers and allows them to stay underwater for several hours. It was invented in 1943 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan. This safe, easy-to-use, and reliable device was the first modern scuba system. MOTORCYCLE A gas-powered motorcycle was invented by the German inventor Gottlieb Daimler in 1885. His mostly wooden motorcycle had iron-banded wheels with wooden spokes. This bone-crunching vehicle was powered by a single-cylinder engine.
SANDWICH The sandwich was invented by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). In 1762, the story goes, he was too involved in a card game to have a formal meal, so he instructed his cook to put some meat between two slices of bread to save him time. He named the snack after himself. TELEPHONE The telephone (meaning "far sound") is the most widely used telecommunications device. It was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. His device transmitted speech sounds over electric wires.
ZIP The zip was developed in 1913 by the Swedish American engineer, Gideon Sundbach. He was successful at selling his invention, which he called the Hookless 2. He sold these fasteners to the US Army, who put zips on soldiers' clothing and equipment during World War I. BALLPOINT PEN The first non-leaking ballpoint pen was invented in 1935 by the Hungarian brothers Lazlo and Georg Biro. Lazlo was a chemist and Georg was a newspaper editor. The brothers patented their invention and then opened the first ballpoint manufacturing plant in Argentina, South America.
LIQUID PAPER Liquid Paper is a quick-drying, paper-coloured (white) liquid that is painted onto paper to correct printed material. Liquid Paper was invented in 1951 by Bessie Nesmith (1922-1980). Nesmith was a secretary in Texas, USA, before the time of word processors. She began selling her popular invention, and soon ran the very successful Liquid Paper company. Her son, Michael Nesmith, was a member of the Sixties rock group The Monkees. X-RAYS X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Konrad von Roentgen. He was a German physicist who discovered that, with the help of radiation, he could photograph objects (including part of his own skeleton) that were hidden behind opaque shields. Roentgen called these waves "X-radiation" because so little was known about them.

Complete the following statements:


1.___________________was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. _______________

2. __________________ was invented by Gottlieb Daimler. _______________

3. __________________ were invented by Thomas Sullivan. _______________

4. _____________________ was developed by Gideon Sundbach. _______________

5._____________________ was invented by the Wright brothers. _______________

6._____________________ were discovered by W. K. von Roentgen. _______________

7. ___________________ was invented by the Biro brothers. _______________

8. ______________________ was invented by Bessie Nesmith. _______________

9._____________________ was invented by Cousteau and Gagnan. _______________

10. ______________________ was invented by Eric Rotheim. _______________

11. ______________________ were invented by Levi Strauss. _______________

12. ______________________ was invented by Richard G. Drew. _______________

13. ______________________ was invented by John Montagu. _______________

14. ______________________ was invented by Walter Hunt. _______________


Read the text:

Albert Einstein

On 18th April 1955 Albert Einstein, possibly the most famous scientist of all time, died in New Jersey in the USA, aged 76. In 1999 he was described by Time magazine as the ‘Person of the Century’.

It is said that Einstein’s interest in science began at the age of five when he was given a compass as a present, and at school it was clear that his ability in mathematics was extraordinary.

The biggest of Einstein’s many scientific achievements was probably his General

Theory of Relativity, published in 1916. His ideas on space, time and matter were completely new, and helped develop a lot of the technology that forms part of our modern world, such as atomic energy and – unfortunately – nuclear weapons.

Einstein worked on his scientific theories in Germany, where he was born, and in Switzerland before moving to the USA in 1933. Although he was a pacifist, in 1939 he told President Roosevelt of the USA that the country needed to make an atomic bomb before Nazi Germany – which of course it did. Later in his life, when talking about the power of modern weapons, he said: “I don’t know with what weapons

World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

He was also famous for being quite eccentric. For example, he hated wearing socks, enjoyed talking to his cat, and found it difficult to remember people’s birthdays. Also, although he spoke English very well, he said he was never able to write in the language because the spelling of English words was too difficult.

After he died, scientists decided to study Einstein’s brain. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that the part that was responsible for mathematical thought was 15% bigger than average.

Fill in the eleven missing words and discover the word that completes another of Einstein’s famous quotes: “_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is more important than knowledge.”

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