Section A

Conversation one

M: Hey, I just read a great book about physics. I think you'd like it. It is called The Physics of the World. It is written by a scientist named Sylvia Mundus.

W: Oh I read that book. It was great. The writer is a warm and competent guide to the mysteries of physics. I think it promises enrichment for any reader from those who know little about science to the career physicist.

M: And it's refreshing to see a strong curious clever woman adding her voice to the scientific discourse and a field that has been traditionally dominated by men. I think she has to be commended for making an effort to include anecdotes about little known female scientists. You know, they were often victims of a generation firmly convinced that the women’s place was in the home.

W: I like how the book is clearly written with each chapter brought to life by pieces of fascinating knowledge. For example in one chapter, she exposes a myth that I’ve heard taught by university physics professors. I’ve often heard that medieval glass windows are thicker at the bottom because glass flows like fluid. This, she shows, is not true. The distortion is actually thanks to a peculiarity of the glassmakers’ process.

M: Yeah, I like how she cultivates scientific engagement by providing the host of Do It Yourself experiments that bring the same foundation of principles of classical physics that govern everything from the solar system to your kitchen table. From using complex laws of psychics to test whether a spinning egg is cooked, to measuring atmosphere pressure by lifting a piece of cardboard. Her hands-on examples make her book a truly interactive read.

W: Yes, I must say this equation-free book is an ideal read for scientists of all stripes, anyone teaching science and even people who dislike psychics.

Questions 1-4 are based on the conversation you have just heard.

Q1: What does the woman say about the book the man recommended?

Q2: What can we find in the book the man recommended?

Q3: How does the author bring her book to life?

Q4: How does the book cultivate readers’ interest in psychics?


Conversation Two

M: Hi professor! I was hoping I could have a moment of your time, if you are not too busy. I'm having some problems getting started on my dissertation and I was hoping you could give me some advice on how to begin.

W: Sure. I have quite a few students though. So can you remind me what your topic is?

M: The general topic I chose is aesthetics. But that's as far as I've got. I don't really know where to go from there.

W: Yeah, that's much too large a topic. You really need to narrow it down in order to make it more accessible, otherwise you will be writing a book.

M: Exactly. That's what I wanted to ask you about. I was hoping it would be possible for me to change topics. I'm really more interested in nature than beauty.

W: I'm afraid you have to adhere to the assigned topic. Still, if you are interested in nature, then that certainly can be worked into your dissertation. We've talked about Hume before in class right?

M: Oh yeah. He's the philosopher who wrote about where our ideas of beauty come from.

W: Exactly. I suggest you go to the library and get a copy of his biography. Start from there. But remember to stick to the parameters of the assignment. This paper is a large part of your accumulative grade, so make sure to follow the instructions. If you take a look at his biography, you can get a good idea of how his life experiences manifest themselves in his theories of beauty, specifically, the way he looked towards nature as the origin of what we find beautiful.

M: Great! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, professor. I'll let you get back to class now.

W: If there is anything else you need, please come see me in my office anytime.

Questions 5-8 are based on the conversation you have just heard.

Q5: What is the man's problem?

Q6: What does the professor think of the man's topic?

Q7: What is the man really more interested in?

Q8: What does the professor say the man has to do?