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Выпуск 38

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Выходит с 18.11.2004

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Тема: Science-Research-Education/Наука-Исследования-Образование

Практика: Упражнение + Видео "Science and Faith" (with lyrics)

Блог: Озвученные слова каждую неделю



 Тема: Science - Research - Education

Feted to succeed

WHAT the swanky Copernicus Science Centre is to 21st-century eyes, the imposing pale-violet edifice of Warsaw University's Geology Department may well have been to onlookers fifty years back. The building was erected in 1960, at the height of communist architecture's socialist-realist craze, and testifies to the then prevailing penchant for the monumental. Nowadays, it houses not just geologists but also researchers from other fields. One such is Maciej Geller. In his day job, Dr Geller teaches biophysics. But he moonlights as the director of the Warsaw Science Festival, now in its 14th year.

The annual 10-day event, held in September, attracts some 60,000 visitors to its 500-odd lectures, workshops and exhibits on topics ranging from anthropology to astronomy. As with the Copernicus, the idea is to offer a hands-on experience of science at its quirkiest and most amusing, with the tacit aim of spurring more bright young things to plump for a career in research. Poland could surely do with a few more researchers. With just around 2,500 researchers per one million inhabitants, it ranks third lowest in the 32-member OECD, according to UNESCO.

swanky - шикарный, роскошный

imposing - производящий сильное впечатление, внушительный, импозантный

edifice - здание, сооружение

onlooker - зритель, наблюдатель

craze - мания

penchant for - склонность к

quirky - причудливый

tacit - подразумеваемый, не выраженный словами

spur to - побуждать к

Other recent attempts to make science more palatable have included a television ad campaign extolling the virtues of mathematics. This was conceived to coincide with another supposedly maths-friendly move, this time by the educational authorities: the subject's re-introduction as an obligatory item on the matura, a series of exams Polish pupils sit at the end of high school. The clips, aired over several months earlier this year, had prominent Polish athletes, artists, architects, and other professionals explain how maths impinges on their areas of expertise. And so, for instance,  a pole-vaulter spoke of the centre of gravity, and a photographer expounded on the geometry of perspective. Though somewhat contrived, since neither the pole-vaulter nor the photographer are likely to think in mathematical terms as they ply their trade, the ads were at least catchy.

palatable - приятный, вкусный

extol - превозносить

conceive - задумывать

obligatory item - обязательный раздел

impinge on - ударять по, сильно влиять на

pole-vaulter - прыгун с шестом

centre of gravity - центр тяжести

expound - разъяснять, толковать

contrive - справляться, ухитряться

ply one's trade - заниматься делом

catchy - привлекательный, запоминающийся


Such ploys may well inspire some students, put off scientific subjects by the dry, unappealing and often impenetrable way they continue to be presented in class (largely due to underfunded school labs, or lack thereof). However laudable, these initiatives are unlikely to make a difference on their own. They will have to be backed up by more money. The science festival's credo warns that "not investing in science means investing in ignorance." A tad histrionic perhaps, but the organisers have a point. Poland still lags behind its European peers in spending on research and development (R&D), with a mere 0.64% of GDP, against 1.85% in the European Union (EU) as a whole. And the EU isn't exactly splurging compared with, say, America's 2.8% or Japan's 3.5%. Just over a half of the Polish total comes directly from the public purse. The EU and industry account for the rest. The government's professed aim is for gross R&D spending to reach between 1.45-1.9% of GDP by 2020.

ploy - дело, работа, проделка

impenetrable - недоступный, непонятный

laudable - похвальный

ignorance - невежество

histrionic - театрально неестественный, лицемерный

splurge - хвастать

professed - открыто заявленный


One way to achieve this would be to make investing in R&D more attractive to business. In America, the private sector accounts for three-quarters of all R&D spending, compared to just a third in Poland. According to Deloitte (link in Polish), a consultancy, Polish tax incentives for every dollar invested in R&D are among the lowest in the OECD. And firms appear reticent to make full use of the tax tools already at their disposal, discouraged by onerous formalities (in Polish).

tax incentives - налоговые стимулы

reticent - сдержанный, скрытый, умалчивающий

at one's disposal - в чьем-либо распоряжении

discourage by - обескураживать, отпугивать чем-либо

onerous - обременительный, тягостный

Cultural change may be needed, too. Dr Geller bemoans the ossified hierarchical structure of many Polish faculties. The country's antiquated academic career track is more akin to Japan's salaryman model, than to the merit-based sort practised at the best American universities. Lack of money and prospects has been a sure-fire way to discourage promising young researchers from sticking around, prompting them instead to seek more lucrative jobs in industry, finance or consulting. Little wonder that only two Polish institutions made the 2010 ranking of top 500 research universities compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Warsaw University and Jagiellonian University in Cracow both placed in the fourth 100).

bemoan - стенать, оплакивать

ossified - закостенелый

antiquated - устарелый

akin to - сродни чему-либо

sure-fire - верный, безошибочный

lucrative - доходный, прибыльный


These obstacles notwithstanding, Polish scientists do notch up notable successes in some very modern quarters. For instance, they consistently come atop the field in CASP, an international competition in predicting the three-dimensional structure of proteins, the particular province of Dr Geller and his biophysicist colleagues. Poland's computer scientists and astrophysicists also win plaudits. One could almost venture the claim that Poles excel at theoretical disciplines which require little more by way of equipment than pen and paper, or these days, a half-decent computer. But there is no denying that the country remains a scientific underachiever. As Dr Geller puts it, this will have to change if Poland wants to be more than Europe's manual labourer or technician.

The Economist

notch up - прорезать, пробивать

quarter - место, сторона

three-dimensional - трехмерный

plaudits - аплодисменты

excel at - превосходить, выделяться в




Найдите в правой колонке текста слова к следующим определениям:

1. making a strong impression

2. rigid, unprogressive

3. similar to, like

4. burdensome, needing effort

5. work at

6. building

7. signs of approval

8. reserved, saying little

9. do better than others


Видео 'Science and Faith'



Блог: По 20 активных слов и вокабуляра TOEFL каждую неделю

Если вы хотите получать каждую неделю по 20 самых активных английских слов и 20 слов из лексического минимума международного экзамена TOEFL, подписывайтесь на мой блог "1000 английских слов на каждый день".                                                                                        


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