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In the summer of 1905, a young man was sitting at home after a day’s work. While playing with his baby, he thought something over. Suddenly, it came to him! The equation e = mc2 was born, the equation which would change our understanding of the universe but would help to create the nuclear bomb. Albert Einstein knew about the recent developments, such as Marie Curie’s research into radioactivity, but he had been working on his own. His equation showed how a small piece of mass could produce an unbelievable amount of energy.

By the time Einstein had become world-famous, a young ex-lawyer returning from the First World War started to work at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. Using the most high-powered telescope of its time, he began a slow observation of nebulae, small patches of light that appeared outside the galaxy. Edwin Hubble was on the brink of making the greatest astronomical breakthrough of the century. He discovered that these nebulae were in fact galaxies like our own, millions of light years away from us, which proved that the universe was much larger than had previously been thought.

Just before Hubble’s Law was published in 1929, another remarkable finding was made by the son of a Scottish shepherd. Before going on holiday, he left a dish with bacteria near the window of his laboratory. When he came back, he was going to throw the dish away when he noticed something out of the ordinary. He saw a blue mould in the dish around which the bacteria was destroyed. It was the natural form of penicillin which Fleming realized was an effective way of killing bacteria. A few years later, penicillin became mass-produced and helped to save the lives of millions.

During the Second World War when penicillin was first being used, the US Navy were looking for ways of improving the accuracy of their artillery shells. They turned to Eckert, an engineer, and Mauchly, a physicist to produce a machine to do these complex calculations. Although they did not finish the machine until after the war, in February 1946, it did not matter. They had produced the world’s first computer. It was named Eniac.

Notes: nebulae – туманности a shepherd –- пастух

a patch – небольшой участок a shell – снаряд

mould – плесень

6.22 Are these statements true (T) or false (F) according to the text or is there no information (NI)?

1. Einstein was at work when he thought of the formula e = mc2.

2. Einstein took part in the programme that developed the nuclear bomb.

3. Hubble studied the nebulae for over twenty years.

4. Hubble discovered that our galaxy is bigger than we thought it was.

5. Fleming was studying bacteria in his laboratory when the discovery


6. There was a blue mould around the bacteria in the dish.

7. Fleming developed the process for manufacturing penicillin.

8. The Eniac project failed to fulfil its original purposes.

6.23 Exam Task. Reading Comprehension. Read the text and do tasks A and B after it.

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