Was Einstein a Space Alien?
1 Albert Einstein was exhausted. For the third night in a row, his baby son Hans, crying, kept the household awake until dawn. When Albert finally dozed off ... it was time to get up and go to wor k. He couldn't skip a day. He needed the job to support his young family.
2 Walking briskly to the Patent Office, where he was a "Technical Expert, Third Class," Albert w orried about his mother. She was getting older and frail, and she didn't approve of his marriage to Mileva. Relations were strained. Albert glanced at a passing shop window. His hair was a mess; he had forgotten to comb it again.
3 Work. Family. Making ends meet. Albert felt all the pressure and responsibility of any young h usband and father.
To relax, he revolutionized physics.
4 In 1905, at the age of 26 and four years before he was able to get a job as a professor of physic s, Einstein published five of the most important papers in the history of science--all written in his " spare time." He proved that atoms and molecules existed. Before 1905, scientists weren't sure abo ut that. He argued that light came in little bits (later called "photons") and thus laid the foundation for quantum mechanics. He described his theory of special relativity: space and time were threads in a common fabric, he proposed, which could be bent, stretched and twisted.
5 Oh, and by the way, E=mc2. 5. 对了，顺便提一下，E = mc2。
6 Before Einstein, the last scientist who had such a creative outburst was Sir Isaac Newton. It ha ppened in 1666 when Newton secluded himself at his mother's farm to avoid an outbreak of plagu
e at Cambridge. With nothing better to do, he developed his Theory o
f Universal Gravitation.
7 For centuries historians called 1666 Newton's “miracle year”. Now those words have a differe nt meaning: Einstein and 1905. The United Nations has declared 2005 "The World Year of Physics " to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's “miracle year.”
8 Modern pop culture paints Einstein as a bushy-haired superthinker. His ideas, we're told, were improbably far ahead of other scientists. He must have come from some other planet--maybe the s ame one Newton grew up on.
9 "Einstein was no space alien," laughs Harvard University physicist and science historian Peter Galison. "He was a man of his time." All of his 1905 papers unraveled problems being worked on, with mixed success, by other scientists. "If Einstein hadn't been born, [those papers] would have b een written in some form, eventually, by others," Galison believes.
10 What's remarkable about 1905 is that a single person authored all five papers, plus the origina l, irreverent way Einstein came to his conclusions.
11 For example: the photoelectric effect. This was a puzzle in the early 1900s. When light hits a metal, like zinc, electrons fly off. This can happen only if light comes in little packets concentrated enough to knock an electron loose. A spread-out wave wouldn't do the photoelectric trick.
12 The solution seems simple--light is particulate. Indeed, this is the solution Einstein proposed i n 1905 and won the Nobel Prize for in 1921. Other physicists like Max Planck (working on a relat ed problem: blackbody radiation), more senior and experienced than Einstein, were closing in on t he answer, but Einstein got there first. Why?
It's a question of authority. 这是对权威的看法问题
13 "In Einstein's day, if you tried to say that light was made of particles, you found yourself disa greeing with physicist James Clerk Maxwell. Nobody wanted to do that," says Galison. Maxwell's equations were enormously successful, unifying the physics of electricity, magnetism and optics. Maxwell had proved beyond any doubt that light was an electromagnetic wave. Maxwell was an A
14 Einstein didn't give a fig for authority. He didn't resist being told what to do, not so much, but he hated being told what was true. Even as a child he was constantly doubting and questioning. " Your mere presence here undermines the class's respect for me," spat his 7th grade teacher, Dr. Jos eph Degenhart. (Degenhart also predicted that Einstein "would never get anywhere in life.") This c haracter flaw was to be a key ingredient in Einstein's discoveries.
15 "In 1905," notes Galison, "Einstein had just received his Ph.D. He wasn't beholden to a thesis advisor or any other authority figure." His mind was free to roam accordingly.
16 In retrospect, Maxwell was right. Light is a wave. But Einstein was right, too. Light is a parti cle. This bizarre duality baffles Physics 101 students today just as it baffled Einstein in 1905. How can light be both? Einstein had no idea.
17 That didn't slow him down. Disdaining caution, Einstein adopted the intuitive leap as a basic tool. "I believe in intuition and inspiration," he wrote in 1931. "At times I feel certain I am right w hile not knowing the reason."
18 Although Einstein's five papers were published in a single year, he had been thinking about p hysics, deeply, since childhood. "Science was dinner-table
conversation in the Einstein household," explains Galison. Albert's father Hermann and uncle Jako b ran a German company making such things as dynamos, arc lamps, light bulbs and telephones. T his was high-tech at the turn of the century, "like a Silicon Valley company would be today," notes Galison. "Albert's interest in science and technology came naturally."
19 Einstein's parents sometimes took Albert to parties. No babysitter was required: Albert sat on the couch, totally absorbed, quietly doing math problems while others danced around him. Pencil and paper were Albert's GameBoy!
20 He had impressive powers of concentration. Einstein's sister, Maja, recalled "...even when the re was a lot of noise, he could lie down on the sofa, pick up a pen and paper, precariously balance an inkwell on the backrest and engross himself in a problem so much that the background noise sti mulated rather than disturbed him." 20. 他有极强的集中思想的能力。爱因斯坦的妹妹玛雅，回忆说：“……即使周围非常吵闹，他也能躺在沙发上，拿起纸和笔，悠悠地把墨水池放在一个靠背上，专心致志得解题，北京声音不但没有打扰他，反而激励他。”
21 Einstein was clearly intelligent, but not outlandishly more so than his peers. "I have no specia l talents," he claimed, "I am only passionately curious." And again: "The contrast between the pop ular assessment of my powers ... and the reality is simply grotesque." Einstein credited his discove ries to imagination and pesky questioning more so than orthodox intelligence.
22 Later in life, it should be remembered, he struggled mightily to produce a unified field theory, combining gravity with other forces of nature. He failed. Einstein's brainpower was not limitless.
23 Neither was Einstein's brain. It was removed without permission by Dr. Thomas Harvey in 19 55 when Einstein died. He probably expected to find something extraordinary:Einstein's mother P auline had famously worried that baby Einstein's head was lopsided. (Einstein's grandmother had a different concern: "Much too fat!") But Einstein's brain looked much like any other, gray, crinkly, and, if anything, a trifle smaller than average.
unit 5 Writing Three Thank-You Letters
Alex Haley served in the Coast Guard during World War ll. On an especially lonely day to be at sea -- Thanksgiving Day -- he began to give serious thought to a holiday that has become, for many Americans, a day of overeating and watching endless games of football. Haley decided to celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving by writing three very special letters.
Writing Three Thank-You Letters
Alex Haley 1 It was 1943, during World War II, and I was a young U. S. coastguardsman. My ship, the USS Murzim, had been under way for several days. Most of her holds contained thousands of cartons of canned or dried foods. The other holds were loaded with five-hundred-pound bombs packed delicately in padded racks. Our destination was a big base on the island of Tulagi in the South Pacific.
2 I was one of the Murzim's several cooks and, quite the same as for folk ashore, this Thanksgiving morning had seen us busily preparing a traditional dinner featuring roast turkey.
3 Well, as any cook knows, it's a lot of hard work to cook and serve a big meal, and clean up and put everything away. But finally, around sundown, we finished at last.
4 I decided first to go out on the Murzim's afterdeck for a breath of open air. I made my way out there, breathing in great, deep draughts while walking slowly about, still wearing my white cook's hat.
5 I got to thinking about Thanksgiving, of the Pilgrims, Indians, wild turkeys, pumpkins, corn on the cob, and the rest. 我开始思索起感恩节这个节日来，想着清教徒前辈移民、印第安人、野火鸡、南瓜、玉米棒等等。
6 Yet my mind seemed to be in quest of something else -- some way that I could personally apply to the close of Thanksgiving. It must have taken me a half hour to sense that maybe some key to an answer could result from reversing the word "Thanksgiving" -- at least that suggested a verbal direction, "Giving thanks."
7 Giving thanks -- as in praying, thanking God, I thought. Yes, of course. Certainly.
8 Yet my mind continued turning the idea over.
9 After a while, like a dawn's brightening, a further answer did come -- that there were people to thank, people who had done so much for me that I could never possibly repay them. The embarrassing truth was I'd always just accepted what they'd done, taken all of it for granted. Not one time had I ever bothered to express to any of them so much as a simple, sincere "Thank you."
10 At least seven people had been particularly and lastingly helpful to me. I realized,
swallowing hard, that about half of them had since died -- so they were forever beyond any possible expression of gratitude from me. The more I thought about it, the more ashamed I became. Then I pictured the three who were still alive and, within minutes, I was down in my cabin.
11 Sitting at a table with writing paper and memories of things each had done, I tried composing genuine statements of heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to my dad, Simon A. Haley, a professor at the old Agricultural Mechanical Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; to my grandma, Cynthia Palmer, back in our little hometown of Henning, Tennessee; and to the Rev. Lonual Nelson, my grammar school principal, retired and living in Ripley, six miles north of Henning.
12 The texts of my letters began something like, "Here, this Thanksgiving at sea, I find my thoughts upon how much you have done for me, but I have never stopped and said to you how much I feel the need to thank you -- " And briefly I recalled for each of them specific acts performed on my behalf.
13 For instance, something uppermost about my father was how he had impressed upon me from boyhood to love books and reading. In fact, this graduated into a family habit of after-dinner quizzes at the table about books read most recently and new words learned. My love of books never diminished and later led me toward writing books myself. So many times I have felt a sadness when exposed to modern children so immersed in the electronic media that they have little or no awareness of the marvelous world to be discovered in books.
14 I reminded the Reverend Nelson how each morning he would open our little country town's grammar school with a prayer over his assembled students. I told him that whatever positive things I had done since had been influenced at least in part by his morning school prayers.
15 In the letter to my grandmother, I reminded her of a dozen ways she used to teach me how to tell the truth, to share, and to be forgiving and considerate of others. I thanked her for the years of eating her good cooking, the equal of which I had not found since. Finally, I thanked her simply for having sprinkled my life with stardust.
16 Before I slept, my three letters went into our ship's office mail sack. They got mailed when we reached Tulagi Island.
17 We unloaded cargo, reloaded with something else, then again we put to sea in the routine familiar to us, and as the days became weeks, my little personal experience receded. Sometimes, when we were at sea, a mail ship would rendezvous and bring us mail from home, which, of course, we accorded topmost priority.
18 Every time the ship's loudspeaker rasped, "Attention! Mail call!" two hundred-odd shipmates came pounding up on deck and clustered about the two seamen, standing by those precious bulging gray sacks. They were alternately pulling out fistfuls of letters and barking successive names of sailors who were, in turn, shouting back "Here! Here!" amid the pushing.
19 One "mail call" brought me responses from Grandma, Dad, and the Reverend Nelson -- and my reading of their letters left me not only astonished but more humbled than before.
20 Rather than saying they would forgive that I hadn't previously thanked them, instead, for Pete's sake, they were thanking me -- for having remembered, for having considered they had done anything so exceptional.
21 Always the college professor, my dad had carefully avoided anything he considered too sentimental, so I knew how moved he was to write me that, after having helped educate many young people, he now felt that his best results included his own son.
22 The Reverend Nelson wrote that his decades as a "simple, old-fashioned principal" had ended with schools undergoing such swift changes that he had retired in self-doubt. "I heard more of what I had done wrong than what I did right," he said, adding that my letter had brought him welcome reassurance that his career had been appreciated.
23 A glance at Grandma's familiar handwriting brought back in a flash memories of standing alongside her white rocking chair, watching her "settin' down" some letter to relatives. Character by character, Grandma would slowly accomplish one word, then the next, so that a finished page would consume hours. I wept over the page representing my Grandma's recent hours invested in expressing her loving gratefulness to me -- whom she used to diaper!
24 Much later, retired from the Coast Guard and trying to make a living as a writer, I never forgot how those three "thank you" letters gave me an insight into how most human beings go about longing in secret for more of their fellows to express appreciation for their efforts.
25 Now, approaching another Thanksgiving, I have asked myself what will I wish for all who are reading this, for our nation, indeed for our whole world -- since, quoting a good and wise friend of mine, "In the end we are mightily and merely people, each with similar needs." First, I wish for us, of course, the simple common sense to achieve world peace, that being paramount for the very survival of our kind.
26 And there is something else I wish -- so strongly that I have had this line printed across the bottom of all my stationery: "Find the good -- and praise it."
Thanksgiving, like Spring Festival, brings families back together from across the country. Waiting for her children to arrive, Ellen Goodman reflects on the changing relationship between
parents and children as they grow up and leave home, often to settle far away.
unit 6 The Last Leaf
When Johnsy fell seriously ill, she seemed to lose the will to hang on to life. The doctor held out little hope for her. Her friends seemed helpless. Was there nothing to be done?
The Last Leaf
O. Henry 1 At the top of a three-story brick building, Sue and Johnsy had their studio. "Johnsy" was familiar for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from California. They had met at a cafe on Eighth Street and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so much in tune that the joint studio resulted.
2 That was in May. In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the district, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Johnsy was among his victims. She lay, scarcely moving on her bed, looking through the small window at the blank side of the next brick house.
3 One morning the busy doctor invited Sue into the hallway with a bushy, gray eyebrow.
4 "She has one chance in ten," he said. "And that chance is for her to want to live. Your little lady has made up her mind that she's not going to get well. Has she anything on her mind?
5 "She -- she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples some day," said Sue. “她――她想有一天能去画那不勒斯湾，”苏说。
6 "Paint? -- bosh! Has she anything on her mind worth thinking about twice -- a man, for instance?"
7 "A man?" said Sue. "Is a man worth -- but, no, doctor; there is nothing of the kind."
8 "Well," said the doctor. "I will do all that science can accomplish. But whenever my patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession I subtract 50 per cent from the curative power of medicines." After the doctor had gone Sue went into the workroom and cried. Then she marched into Johnsy's room with her drawing board, whistling a merry tune.
9 Johnsy lay, scarcely making a movement under the bedclothes, with her face toward the window. She was looking out and counting -- counting backward.
10 "Twelve," she said, and a little later "eleven"; and then "ten," and "nine"; and then "eight" and "seven," almost together.
11 Sue looked out of the window. What was there to count? There was only a bare, dreary yard to be seen, and the blank side of the brick house twenty feet away. An old, old ivy vine climbed half way up the brick wall. The cold breath of autumn had blown away its leaves, leaving it almost bare.
12 "Six," said Johnsy, in almost a whisper. "They're falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred. It made my head ache to count them. But now it's easy. There goes another one. There are only five left now."
13 "Five what, dear? "
14 "Leaves. On the ivy vine. When the last one falls I must go, too. I've known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?"
15 "Oh, I never heard of such nonsense. What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? Don't be so silly. Why, the doctor told me this morning that your chances for getting well real soon were ten to one! Try to take some soup now, and let Sudie go and buy port wine for her sick child."
16 "You needn't get any more wine," said Johnsy, keeping her eyes fixed out the window. "There goes another. No, I don't want any soup. That leaves just four. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I'll go, too. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of thinking. I want to turn loose my hold on everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor, tired leaves."
17 "Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must call Behrman up to be my model for the old miner. I'll not be gone a minute."
18 Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was past sixty and had a long white beard curling down over his chest. Despite looking the part, Behrman was a failure in art. For forty years he had been always about to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it. He earned a little by serving as a model to those young artists who could not pay the price of a professional. He drank gin to excess, and still talked of his coming masterpiece. For the rest he was a fierce little old man, who mocked terribly at softness in any one, and who regarded himself as guard dog to the two young artists in the studio above.
19 Sue found Behrman smelling strongly of gin in his dimly lighted studio below. In one corner was a blank canvas on an easel that had been waiting there for twenty-five years to receive the first line of the masterpiece. She told him of Johnsy's fancy, and how she feared she would, indeed, light and fragile as a leaf herself, float away, when her slight hold upon the world grew weaker. Old Behrman, with his red eyes plainly streaming, shouted his contempt for such foolish imaginings.
20 "What!" he cried. "Are there people in the world foolish enough to die because leafs drop off from a vine? I have never heard of such a thing. Why do you allow such silly ideas to come into that head of hers? God! This is not a place in which one so good as Miss Johnsy should lie sick. Some day I will paint a masterpiece, and we shall all go away. Yes."
21 Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs. Sue pulled the shade down, and motioned Behrman into the other room. In there they peered out the window fearfully at the ivy vine. Then they looked at each other for a moment without speaking. A persistent, cold rain was falling, mingled with snow. Behrman, in his old blue shirt, took his seat as the miner on an upturned kettle for a rock.
22 When Sue awoke from an hour's sleep the next morning she found Johnsy with dull, wide-open eyes staring at the drawn green shade.
23 "Pull it up; I want to see," she ordered, in a whisper.
24 Wearily Sue obeyed.
25 But, Lo! after the beating rain and fierce wind that had endured through the night, there yet stood out against the brick wall one ivy leaf. It was the last on the vine. Still dark green near its stem, but with its edges colored yellow, it hung bravely from a branch some twenty feet above the ground.
26 "It is the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it would surely fall during the night. I heard the wind. It will fall today, and I shall die at the same time."
27 The day wore away, and even through the twilight they could see the lone ivy leaf clinging to its stem against the wall. And then, with the coming of the night the north wind was again loosed.
28 When it was light enough Johnsy, the merciless, commanded that the shade be raised.
29 The ivy leaf was still there.
30 Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it. And then she called to Sue, who was stirring her chicken soup over the gas stove.
31 "I've been a bad girl, Sudie," said Johnsy. "Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how wicked I was. It is a sin to want to die. You may bring me a little soup now, and some milk with a little port in it and -- no; bring me a hand-mirror first, and then pack some pillows about me, and I will sit up and watch you cook."
32 An hour later she said:
33 "Sudie, some day I hope to paint the Bay of Naples."
34 The doctor came in the afternoon, and Sue had an excuse to go into the hallway as he left.
35 "Even chances," said the doctor, taking Sue's thin, shaking hand in his.
36 "With good nursing you'll win. And now I must see another case I have downstairs. Behrman, his name is -- some kind of an artist, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He is an old, weak man, and the attack is acute. There is no hope for him; but he goes to the hospital today to be made more comfortable."
37 The next day the doctor said to Sue: "She's out of danger. You've won. The right food and care now -- that's all."
38 And that afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay and put one arm around her.
39 "I have something to tell you, white mouse," she said. "Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today in the hospital. He was ill only two days. He was found on the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn't imagine where he had been on such a terrible night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and -- look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn't you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it's Behrman's masterpiece -- he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell."
He did not trust the woman to trust him. And he did not trust the woman not to trust him. And he did not want to be mistrusted now.