Tổng hợp topic Technology (Computer, Science,...) IELTS READING (PDF)(Phần 3)

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II. Tổng hợp topic Technology (Computer, Science,...) IELTS READING (PDF) (Phần 3)

30. Bài 30

Information Theory - the Big Idea

Information theory lies at the heart of everything - from DVD players and the genetic code of DNA to the physics of the universe at its most fundamental. it has been central to the development of the science of communication, which enables data to be sent electronically and has therefore had a major impact on our lives.

A. In April 2002 an event took place which demonstrated one of the many applications of information theory. The space probe, Voyager I, launched in 1977, had sent back spectacular images of Jupiter and Saturn and then soared out of the Solar System on a one-way mission to the stars. After 25 years of exposure to the freezing temperatures of deep space, the probe was beginning to show its age, Sensors and circuits were on the brink of failing and NASA experts realized that they had to do something or lose contact with their probe forever. The solution was to get a message to Voyager I to instruct it to use spares to change the failing parts. With the probe 12 billion kilometers from Earth, this was not an easy task. By means of a radio dish belonging to NASA’s Deep Space Network, the message was sent out into the depths of space. Even travelling at the speed of light, it took over II hours to reach its target, far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Yet, incredibly, the little probe managed to hear the faint call from its home planet, and successfully made the switchover.

B. It was the Ingest·distance repair job in history, and a triumph for the NASA engineers. But it also highlighted the astonishing power of the techniques developed by American communications engineer Claude Shannon, who had died just a year earlier. Born in 1916 in Petoskey, Michigart. Shannon showed an early talent for maths and for building gadgets, and made breakthroughs in the foundations of computer technology when still a student. While at Bell laboratories, Shannon developed information theory, but shunned the resulting acclaim. In the 1940s. he singlehandedly created an entire science of communication which has since inveigled its way into a host of applications, from DVDs to satellite communication to bar codes - any area, in short, where data has to be conveyed rapidly yet accurately.

C. This all seems light years away from the down to-earth uses Shannon originally had for his work, which began when he was a 22-year—old graduate engineering student at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939. He set out with an apparently simple aim: to pin down the precise meaning of the concept of ‘information'. The most basic form of information, Shannon argued, is whether something is true or false - which can be captured in the binary unit, or 'bit', of the form 1 or 0. Having identified this fundamental unit, Shannon set about defining otherwise vague ideas about information and how to transmit it from place to place. ln the process he discovered something surprising: it is always possible to guarantee information will gel through random interference - ‘noise' — intact.

D. Noise usually means unwanted sounds which interfere with genuine information. information theory generalizes this idea via theorems that capture the effects of noise with mathematical precision. In particular, Shannon showed that noise sets a limit on the rate at which information can pass along communication channels while remaining error-free. This rate depends on the relative strengths of the signal and noise travelling down the communication channel, and on its capacity  (its' bandwidth'). The resulting limit, given in units of bits per second, is the absolute maximum rate of error-free communication given signal strength and noise level. The trick, Shannon showed, is to find ways of packaging up - ‘coding' - information to cope with the ravages of noise, while staying within the information carrying capacity ‘bandwidth' - of the communication system being used.

E. Over the years scientists have devised many such coding methods, and they have proved crucial in many technological feats. The Voyager spacecraft transmitted data using codes which added one extra bit for every single bit of information; the result was an error rate of just one bit in 10,000 — and stunningly clear pictures of the planets. Other codes have become parts of everyday life - such as the Universal Product Code, or bar code, which uses a simple error-detecting system that ensures supermarket check-out lasers can read the price even on, say, a crumpled bag of crisps. As recently as 1993, engineers made a major breakthrough by discovering so-called turbo codes - which come very close to Shannon’s ultimate limit for the maximum rate that data can be transmitted reliably, and now play a key role in the mobile videophone revolution.

F. Shannon also laid the foundations of more efficient ways of storing information, by stripping out superfluous (‘redundant') bits from data which contributed little real information. As mobile phone text messages like 'l CN C U' show, it is often possible to leave out a lot of data without losing much meaning, As with error correction, however, there's a limit beyond which messages become too ambiguous. Shannon showed how to calculate this limit, opening the way to the design of compression methods that cram maximum information into the minimum space.

Questions 27-32
Reading Passage 3 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-E in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.
27. an explanation of the factors affecting the transmission of information
28. an example of how unnecessary information can be omitted
29. a reference to Shannon`s attitude to fame
30. details of a machine capable of interpreting incomplete information
31. a detailed account of an incident involving information theory
32. a reference to what Shannon initially intended to achieve in his research

Questions 33-37
Complete the notes below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 33—37 on your answer sheet.

The Voyager l Space Probe

  • The probe transmitted pictures of both 33 ..................., and ................ , then left the 34 ................ 
  • The freezing temperatures were found to have a negative effect on parts of the space probe. 
  • Scientists feared that both the 35 ............. and .............. were about to stop working. 
  • The only hope was lo tell the probe to replace them with 38 ................ - but distance made communication with the probe difficult.
  • A 37, ................ was used to transmit the message at the speed of light.
  • The message was picked up by the probe and the switchover took place.

Questions 38-40
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

38. The concept of describing something as true or false was the starting point for Shannon in his attempts to send messages over distances.
39. The amount of information that can be sent in a given time period is determined with reference to the signal strength and noise level.
40. Products have now been developed which can convey more information than Shannon had anticipated as possible.

31. Bài 31

The Life & Work of Marie Curie

Marie Curie is probably the most famous woman scientist who has ever lived. Born Maria Sklodowska in Poland in 1867, she is famous for her work on radioactivity, and was twice a winner of the Nobel A Prize. With her husband, Pierre Curie. and Henri Raeqiierel, she was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics, and was then sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

From childhood, Marie was remarkable for her prodigious memory, and at the age of 16 won a gold medal on completion of her secondary education. Because her father lost his savings through bad investment, she then had to take work as a teacher. From her earnings, she was able to finance her sister Bronia's medical studies in Paris, on the understanding that Bronia would, in turn, later help her to get an education.

ln 1891 this promise was fulfilled and Marie went to Paris and began to study at the Sorbonne (the University of Paris). She often worked far into the night and lived on little more than bread and butter and tea. She came first in the examination in the physical sciences in 1893, and in 1894 was placed second in the examination in mathematical sciences It was not until the spring of that year that she was introduced to Pierre Curie.

Their marriage in 1895 marked the start of a partnership that was soon to achieve results of world significance. Following Henri BecquereI‘s discovery in 1896 of a new phenomenon, which Marie later called 'radioactivity', Marie Curie decided to rind out if the radioactivity discovered in uranium was to be found in other elements. She discovered that this was true for thorium.

Tuming her attention to minerals, she found her interest drawn to pitchblende, a mineral whose radioactivity, superior to that of pure uranium, could be explained only by the presence in thc orc of small quantities of an unknown substance of very high activity. Pierre Curie joined her in the work that she had undertaken to resolve this problem. and that led to the discovery of the new elements, polonium and radium. While Pierre Curie devoted himself chiefly to the physical study of the new radiations, Marie Curie struggled to obtain pure radium in the metallic state. This was achieved with the help of the chemist André-Louis Debierne, one of Pierre Curie's pupils. Based on the results of this research. Marie Curie received her Doctorate of Science, and in 1903 Marie and Pierre shared with Becquerel the Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of radioactivity.

The births of Marie's two daughters, Irene and Eve, in 1897 and 1904 failed to internrpt her scientific work. She was appointed lecturer in physics at the Ecole Nor-male Supérieure for girls in Sevres, France (1900), and introduced a method of teaching based on experimental demonstrations. In December 1904 she was appointed chief assistant in the laboratory directed by Pierre Curie.

The sudden death of her husband in 1906 was a bitter blow to Marie Curie, but was also a turning point in her career: henceforth she was to devote all her energy to completing alone the scientific work that they had undertaken. On May 19, 1906, she was appointed to the professorship that had been left vacant on her husband's death, becoming the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne. In 1911 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the isolation of a pure form of radium.

During World War I, Marie Curie, with the help of her daughter Irene, devoted herself to the development of the use of X—radiography, including the mobile units which came to be known as 'little Curies', used for the treatment of wounded soldiers. ln 1918 the Radium Institute, whose staff Irene had joined, began to operate in earnest, and became a centre for nuclear physics and chemistry. Marie Curie, now at the highest point of her fame and, from 1922, a member of the Academy of Medicine, researched the chemistry of radioactive substances and their medical applications

ln 1921, accompanied by her two daughters, Marie Curie made a triumphant journey to the United States to raise funds for research on radium. Women there presented her with a gram of radium for her campaign. Marie also gave lectures in Belgium. Brazil, Spain and Czechoslovakia and, in addition, had the satisfaction of seeing the development of the Curie Foundation in Paris. and the inauguration in 1932 in Warsaw of the Radium Institute, where her sister Bronia became the director.

One of Marie Curie's outstanding achievements was to have understood the need to accumulate intense radioactive sources. not only to treat illness but also to maintain an abundant supply for research. The existence in Paris at the Radium Institute of o stock of grams of radium made a decisive contribution to the success of the experiments undertaken in the years around 1930. This work prepared the way for the discovery of the neutron by Sir James Chadwick and, above all, for the discovery in 1934 by Irene and Frédéric Joliot- Curie of artificial radioactivity. A few months after this discovery, Marie Curie died as a result of leukaemia caused by exposure to radiation. She had often carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket, remarking on the pretty blue-green light they gave off.

Her contribution to physics had been immense, not only in her own work. the importance of which had been demonstrated by her two Nobel Prizes, but because of her influence on subsequent generations of nuclear physicists and chemists.

Questions 1-6
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE it the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

1. Marie Curie's husband was a joint winner of both Marla‘s Nobel Prizes.
2. Marie became interested in science when she was a child.
3. Marie was able to attend the Sorbonne because of her sister’s financial contribution.
4. Marie stopped doing research for several years when her children were born.
5. Marie took over the teaching position her husband had held.
6. Marie‘s sister Bronia studied the medical uses of radioactivity.

Question 7-13
Complete the notes below. Choose ONE WORD from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet.

Marie Curie's research on radioactivity

  • When uranium was discovered to be radioactive. Marie Curie found that the element called 7 ........................ had the same property.
  • Marie and Pierre Curie‘s research into the radioactivity of the mineral known as 8 ........................ led to the discovery of two new elements.
  • In 1911, Marie Curie received recognition for her work on the element 9 ........................
  • Marie and Irene Curie developed X-radiography which was used as a medical technique for 10 ........................
  • Marie Curie saw the importance of collecting radioactive material both for research and for cases of 11 ........................
  • The radioactive material stocked in Paris contributed to the discoveries in the 1930s of the 12 ........................ and of what was known as artificial radioactivity.
  • During her research. Marie Curio was exposed to radiation and as a result, she suffered from 13 ........................

32. Bài 32

The Birdmen

Will people finally be able to fly long distances without a plane? John Andres investigates

People have dreamt of flying since written history began. In the 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci drew detailed plans for human flying machines. You might have thought the invention of mechanised flight would have put an end to such ideas. Far from it. For many enthusiasts, the ultimate flight fantasy is the jet pack, a small piece of equipment on your back which enables you to climb vertically into the air and fly forwards, backwards and turn. Eric Scott was a stuntman in Hollywood for about a decade and has strapped jet packs to his back more than 600 times and propelled himself hundreds of metres into the air. Now he works for an energy-drink company that pays him to travel around the world with his jet pack. As Scott says: ‘I get to do what I love and wherever I go I advertise Go Fast drinks. Existing packs work for little more than 30 seconds, but people are working on designs which let you fly around for 20 minutes. ‘That would be amazing,’ says Scott.
Paramotoring is another way of getting into the air. It combines the sort of parachute used in paragliding with a small engine and propeller and is now becoming popular. Chris Clarke has been flying a paramotor for five years. ‘Getting about is roughly comparable with driving a petrol-powered car in terms of expense. The trouble is that paramotoring is ill-suited to commuting because of the impossibility of taking off in strong winds,’ says Clarke.
Another keen paramotorist recently experienced a close call when in the air. ‘I started to get a warm feeling in my back,’ says Patrick Vandenbulcke. I thought I was just sweating. But then I started to feel burning and I realized I had to get to the ground fast. After an inspection of the engine later, I noticed that the exhaust pipe had moved during the flight and the harness had started melting.’ This hasn’t put Vandenbulcke off, however, and he is enthusiastic about persuading others to take up paramotoring. However he warns: Although it seems cheaper to try to teach yourself, you will regret it later as you won’t have a good technique.’ A training course will cost over £1,000, while the equipment costs a few thousand pounds. You may pick up cheaper equipment secondhand, however. There was one pre-used kit advertised on a website, with a bit of damage to the cage and tips of the propellers due to a rough landing. ‘Scared myself to death,’ the seller reported, ‘hence the reason for this sale.’
Fun though it is, paramotoring is not in the same league as the acrobatics demonstrated by Yves Rossy. He has always enjoyed being a daredevil showman. He once parachuted from a plane above Lake Geneva and, intentionally skimming the top of a fountain as he landed, he descended to the lake where he grabbed some water ski equipment and started waterskiing while the crowd watched open-mouthed.
Rossy, who has been labelled ‘the Birdman’, was born in 1959 in Switzerland. After flying planes for the air force from the ages of 20 to 28, he went on to do a job as a pilot with a commercial airline from 1988 to 2000. ‘The cockpit of a plane is the most beautiful office in the world,’ he says, ‘but I didn’t have any contact with the air around me. It was a bit like being in a box or a submarine under water.’ From then on, he therefore concentrated on becoming the first jet-powered flying man.
In May 2008, he stepped out of an aircraft at about 3000 metres. Within seconds he was soaring and diving at over 290 kph, at one point reaching 300 kph, about 104 kph faster than the typical falling skydiver. His speed was monitored by a plane flying alongside. Rossy started his flight with a free fall, then he powered four jet turbines to keep him in the air before releasing a parachute which enabled him to float to the ground. The jet turbines are attached to special wings which he can unfold. The wings were manufactured by a German firm called JCT Composites. Initially he had approached a company called Jet-Kit which specialised in miniature planes, but the wings they made for him weren’t rigid enough to support the weight of the engines. Rossy says he has become the first person to maintain a stable horizontal flight, thanks to aerodynamic carbon foldable wings.’ Without these special wings, it is doubtful he would have managed to do this.
Rossy’s ambitions include flying down the Grand Canyon. To do this, he will have to fit his wings with bigger, more powerful jets. The engines he currently uses already provide enough thrust to allow him to climb through the air, but then he needs the power to stay there. In terms of the physical strength involved, Rossy insists it’s no more difficult than riding a motorbike. ‘But even the slightest change in position can cause problems. I have to focus hard on relaxing in the air, because if you put tension in your body, you start to swing round.’ If he makes it, other fliers will want to know whether they too will someday be able to soar. The answer is yes, possibly, but it is unlikely to be more than an expensive hobby.

Questions 28-30
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 28-30 on your answer sheet.
28. What information is given about Vandenbulcke in paragraph 3?
A. He narrowly avoided a dangerous situation.
B. He did not understand the equipment he was using.
C. He did not react fast enough to the situation.
D. He was fortunate to get the help he needed.
29. When the writer refers to some second-hand paramotoring equipment which was for sale, he is emphasising that
A. paramotoring equipment is in short supply.
B. paramotoring equipment needs to be carefully tested.
C. paramotoring is a very expensive hobby.
D. paramotoring can be a dangerous pastime.
30. The description of what happened at Lake Geneva is given to suggest that Rossy
A. frequently changes his plans.
B. likes to do what appears impossible.
C. is an excellent overall sportsman.
D. knows the area very thoroughly.
Questions 31-35
Complete the summary below. Choose ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER from the text for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 31-35 on your answer sheet.

Yves Rossy

Yves Rossy was born in 1959. He worked as both a military and 31 ……………….. pilot before focusing on his ambition of becoming a jet-powered flying man. First he asked a firm which made 32 ……………….. planes to construct some 33 ……………….. for him, but these proved unsuitable. The second company he approached was able to help him, however. On a flight in May 2008, he managed to achieve a top speed of 34 ……………….. easily exceeding the speed achieved by the average 35 ……………….. He had engines to keep him in the air and then used a parachute when it was time to come down.
Questions 36-40
Look at the following statements (Questions 36-40) and the list of people below. Match each statement with the correct person, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter, A, B, C or D, in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
36. He acknowledges the role of his equipment in enabling him to set a flying record.
37. He explains how he uses his flying expertise to promote a product.
38. He explains what led him to experiment with different ways of flying.
39. He describes a mistake some beginners might make.
40. He mentions circumstances which prevent you from leaving the ground.
A. Eric Scott
B. Chris Clarke
C. Patrick Vandenbulcke
D. Yves Rossy

33. Bài 33

Museums of fine art and their public

The fact that people go to the Louvre museum in Paris to see the original painting Mona Lisa when they can see a reproduction anywhere leads us to question some assumptions about the role of museums of fine art in today’s world.

One of the most famous works of art in the world is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Nearly everyone who goes to see the original will already be familiar with it from reproductions, but they accept that fine art is more rewardingly viewed in its original form.

However, if Mona Lisa was a famous novel, few people would bother to go to a museum to read the writer’s actual manuscript rather than a printed reproduction. This might be explained by the fact that the novel has evolved precisely because of technological developments that made it possible to print out huge numbers of texts, whereas oil paintings have always been produced as unique objects. In addition, it could be argued that the practice of interpreting or ‘reading’ each medium follows different conventions. With novels, the reader attends mainly to the meaning of words rather than the way they are printed on the page, whereas the ‘reader’ of a painting must attend just as closely to the material form of marks and shapes in the picture as to any ideas they may signify.

Yet it has always been possible to make very accurate facsimiles of pretty well any fine art work. The seven surviving versions of Mona Lisa bear witness to the fact that in the 16th century, artists seemed perfectly content to assign the reproduction of their creations to their workshop apprentices as regular ‘bread and butter’ work. And today the task of reproducing pictures is incomparably more simple and reliable, with reprographic techniques that allow the production of high-quality prints made exactly to the original scale, with faithful colour values, and even with duplication of the surface relief of the painting.

But despite an implicit recognition that the spread of good reproductions can be culturally valuable, museums continue to promote the special status of original work. Unfortunately, this seems to place severe limitations on the kind of experience offered to visitors.

One limitation is related to the way the museum presents its exhibits. As repositories of unique historical objects, art museums are often called ‘treasure houses’. We are reminded of this even before we view a collection by the presence of security guards, attendants, ropes and display cases to keep us away from the exhibits. In many cases, the architectural style of the building further reinforces that notion. In addition, a major collection like that of London’s National Gallery is housed in numerous rooms, each with dozens of works, any one of which is likely to be worth more than all the average visitor possesses. In a society that judges the personal status of the individual so much by their material worth, it is, therefore, difficult not to be impressed by one’s own relative ‘worthlessness’ in such an environment.

Furthermore, consideration of the ‘value’ of the original work in its treasure house setting impresses upon the viewer that, since these works were originally produced, they have been assigned a huge monetary value by some person or institution more powerful than themselves. Evidently, nothing the viewer thinks about the work is going to alter that value, and so today’s viewer is deterred from trying to extend that spontaneous, immediate, self-reliant kind of reading which would originally have met the work.

The visitor may then be struck by the strangeness of seeing such diverse paintings, drawings and sculptures brought together in an environment for which they were not originally created. This ‘displacement effect’ is further heightened by the sheer volume of exhibits. In the case of a major collection, there are probably more works on display than we could realistically view in weeks or even months.

This is particularly distressing because time seems to be a vital factor in the appreciation of all art forms. A fundamental difference between paintings and other art forms is that there is no prescribed time over which a painting is viewed. By contrast, the audience encourages an opera or a play over a specific time, which is the duration of the performance. Similarly, novels and poems are read in a prescribed temporal sequence, whereas a picture has no clear place at which to start viewing, or at which to finish. Thus artworks themselves encourage us to view them superficially, without appreciating the richness of detail and labour that is involved.

Consequently, the dominant critical approach becomes that of the art historian, a specialised academic approach devoted to ‘discovering the meaning’ of art within the cultural context of its time. This is in perfect harmony with the museum's function, since the approach is dedicated to seeking out and conserving ‘authentic’, original, readings of the exhibits. Again, this seems to put paid to that spontaneous, participators criticism which can be found in abundance in criticism of classic works of literature, but is absent from most art history.

The displays of art museums serve as a warning of what critical practices can emerge when spontaneous criticism is suppressed. The museum public, like any other audience, experience art more rewardingly when given the confidence to express their views. If appropriate works of fine art could be rendered permanently accessible to the public by means of high-fidelity reproductions, as literature and music already are, the public may feel somewhat less in awe of them. Unfortunately, that may be too much to ask from those who seek to maintain and control the art establishment.

Questions 27-31

Complete the summary using the list of words, A-L, below. Write the correct letter, A-L, in boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet.

The value attached to original works of art

People go to art museums because they accept the value of seeing an original work of art. But they do not go to museums to read original manuscripts of novels, perhaps because the availability of novels has depended on 27 .................... for so long, and also because with novels, the 28 .................... are the most important thing.

However, in historical times artists such as Leonardo were happy to instruct 29 .................... to produce copies of their work and these days new methods of reproduction allow excellent replication of surface relief features as well as colour and 30 ....................

It is regrettable that museums still promote the superiority of original works of art, since this may not be in the interests of the 31 .................... .

A. institution

B. mass production

C. mechanical processes
D. public

E. paints

F. artist
G. size

H. underlying ideas

I. basic technology
J readers

K. picture frames

L. assistants

Questions 32-35

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 32—35 on your answer sheet.

32. The writer mentions London’s National Gallery to illustrate

A. the undesirable cost to a nation of maintaining a huge collection of art.
B. the conflict that may arise in society between financial and artistic values.
C. the negative effect a museum can have on visitors’ opinions of themselves.
D. the need to put individual well-being above large-scale artistic schemes.

33. The writer says that today, viewers may be unwilling to criticise a because

A. they lack the knowledge needed to support an opinion.
B. they fear it may have financial implications.
C. they have no real concept of the work’s value.
D. they feel their personal reaction is of no significance.

34. According to the writer, the ‘displacement effect’ on the visitor is caused by

A. the variety of works on display and the way they are arranged.
B. the impossibility of viewing particular works of art over a long period.
C. the similar nature of the paintings and the lack of great works.
D. the inappropriate nature of the individual works selected for exhibition.

35. The writer says that unlike other forms of art, a painting does not

A. involve direct contact with an audience.
B. require a specific location for a performance.
C. need the involvement of other professionals.
D. have a specific beginning or end.

Questions 36-40

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet, write:
YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN if the is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

36. Art history should focus on discovering the meaning of art using a range of media.
37. The approach of art historians conflicts with that of art museums.
38. People should be encouraged to give their opinions openly on works of art.
39. Reproductions of fine art should only be sold to the public if they are of high quality.
40. In the future, those with power are likely to encourage more people to enjoy art.

34. Bài 34

Serendipity – accidental discoveries in science

What do photography, dynamite, insulin and artificial sweetener have in common? Serendipity! These diverse discoveries, which have made our everyday living more convenient, were discovered partly by chance. However, Louis Pasteur noted the additional requirement involved in serendipity when he said, ‘… chance favours only the prepared mind’.

The discovery of modern photography provides an example of serendipity. In 1838, L.J.M Daguerre was attempting to ‘fix’ images onto a copper photographic plate. After adding a silver coating to the plate and exposing it to iodine vapour he found that the photographic image was improved but still very weak. Desperate after an investigation lasting several months, Daguerre placed a lightly exposed photographic plate in the cupboard in which laboratory chemicals such as alcohol and collodion were stored. To his amazement, when he removed the plate several days later, Daguerre found a strong image on its surface.
This image had been created by chance. It was at this point that Louis Pasteur’s ‘additional requirement’ came into play: Daguerre’s training told him that one or more of the chemicals in the cupboard was responsible for intensifying the image. After a break of two weeks, Daguerre systematically placed new photographic plates in the cupboard, removing one chemical each day. Unpredictably, good photographic images were created even after all chemicals had been removed. Daguerre then noticed that some mercury had spilled onto the cupboard shelf, and he concluded that the mercury vapour must have improved the photographic result. From this discovery came the universal adoption of the silver-mercury process to develop photographs.

Daguerre’s serendipitous research effort was rewarded, a year later, with a medal conferred by the French government. Many great scientists have benefited from serendipity, including Nobel Prize winners. In fact the scientist who established the Nobel Prize was himself blessed with serendipity. In 1861 the Nobel family built a factory in Stockholm to produce nitroglycerine, a colourless and highly explosive oil that had first been prepared by an Italian chemist fifteen years earlier. Nitroglycerine was known to be volatile and unpredictable, often exploding as a result of very small knocks. But the Nobel family believed that this new explosive could solve a major problem facing the Swedish State Railways – the need to dig channels and tunnels through mountains so that the developing railway system could expand.

However, as turnover increased, so did the number of accidental explosions resulting from the use of nitroglycerine. Some people blamed the people who used the explosive more than the substance itself, because nitroglycerine had become popular for inappropriate purposes such as polishing the leather of shoes.

At the age of thirty, Alfred Nobel made the first of his major inventions: an innovative blasting cap, a device designed to control the nitroglycerine explosion. Nobel was also determined to discover a way to make this explosive safer to manufacture, transport and use. Firstly he experimented with adding chemicals to nitroglycerine, but because the chemicals required huge amounts of resources and energy to wash out, this process was considered to be impractical. He then tried to use fibrous material such as sawdust, charcoal or paper to stabilise the explosive, but these combustible materials tended to catch fire when placed near nitroglycerine. As an alternative, he added powdered brick dust to tame the explosive as he knew that brick dust would not catch fire. However, the brick dust reduced the explosive power of the product, and so was also found to be unsatisfactory.
According to one version of how the eventual solution was found, a metal container of nitroglycerine sprang a leak and some of the liquid soaked into packaging material that lay around the container. Nobel immediately set to work to examine the connection between the two materials and found that when the packaging material was mixed with nitroglycerine it could be pressed into a compact solid. This solid retained the explosive power of the liquid but was entirely safe and reliable because it would not ignite until set off by a blasting cap.

As a scientist who had worked systematically towards a solution for a number of years, Nobel immediately understood the importance of this discovery. But the discovery had only come about because of his perseverance. Through Nobel’s clear vision, systematic research and his quick grasp of the significance of his discovery, he set himself apart from the many scientists who were not ‘fortunate’ enough to create new products that would make them famous.
Alfred Nobel, a lifelong pacifist, hoped that his explosive would be a powerful deterrent to warfare. Nobel sought to achieve permanent worldwide peace. In setting up the Nobel Foundation and the Nobel Peace Prizes, he hoped to accomplish what he had not been able to do during his lifetime: to encourage research and activities that would bestow the ‘greatest benefit to mankind’, especially peace and fraternity between nations. His vision was of a peaceful world.

Questions 28-31
Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-G, below. Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 28-31 on your answer sheet.

28. Nobel found that adding chemicals ………………
29. Nobel found that adding sawdust and paper ………………
30. Nobel found that adding brick dust ………………
31. Nobel found that mixing nitroglycerine with packaging ………………

A. decreased the energy of the explosion
B. lengthened the time required.
C. made the process unworkable.
D. reduced the manufacturing costs.
E. made the process safer.
F. increased the flammability of the mixture.
G. resulted in lower reliability.
Questions 32-37
Look at the following statements (Questions 32-37) and the list of options below. Match each statement with the correct option, A, B or C. Write the correct letter, A, B or C, in boxes 32-37 on your answer sheet.
NB You may use any letter more than once.

32. He recognised the significance of an unexpected result.
33. He depended on the help of colleagues to solve a problem.
34. He used different methods to find a solution to the problem.
35. He was encouraged to do this research by his government.
36. He received an award in recognition of his scientific work.
37. He worked for a long time to find a way of keeping a process under control.

List of Options
A. true of both Daguerre and Nobel
B. true of neither Daguerre nor Nobel
C. true of only one of them
Questions 38-40
Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 38-40 on your answer sheet.

Daguerre’s Experiments

Daguerre’s work illustrated the comment made by Louis Pasteur that in order to take full advantage of a lucky discovery, scientists need to have a 38 ……………… . He found that exposure to 39 ……………… had the desired effect on a silver-coated photographic plate, but only to a very limited extent. To his great surprise the image then became much clearer when it was stored in a cupboard. By a process of elimination, he discovered that collodion and alcohol were not responsible for this improvement. In fact, the removal of all the 40 ……………… did not affect the quality of the image. It was some spilt mercury that had produced the effect.

35. Bài 35

The Falkirk Wheel

A unique engineering achievement

The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland is the world's first and only rotating boat lift. Opened in 2002, it is central to the ambitious £84.5m Millennium Link project to restore navigability across Scotland by reconnecting the historic waterways of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals.

The major challenge of the project lays in the fact that the Forth & Clyde Canal is situated 35 metres below the level of the Union Canal. Historically, the two canals had been joined near the town of Falkirk by a sequence of 11 locks - enclosed sections of canal in which the water level could be raised or lowered - that stepped down across a distance of 1.5 km. This had been dismantled in 1933, thereby breaking the link. When the project was launched in 1994, the British Waterways authority were keen to create a dramatic twenty-first-century landmark which would not only be a fitting commemoration of the Millennium, but also a lasting symbol of the economic regeneration of the region.

Numerous ideas were submitted for the project, including concepts ranging from rolling eggs to tilting tanks, from giant seesaws to overhead monorails. The eventual winner was a plan for the huge rotating steel boat lift which was to become The Falkirk Wheel. The unique shape of the structure is claimed to have been inspired by various sources, both manmade and natural, most notably a Celtic double headed axe, but also the vast turning propeller of a ship, the ribcage of a whale or the spine of a fish.

The various parts of The Falkirk Wheel were all constructed and assembled, like one giant toy building set, at Butterley Engineering's Steelworks in Derbyshire, some 400 km from Falkirk. A team there carefully assembled the 1,200 tonnes of steel, painstakingly fitting the pieces together to an accuracy of just 10 mm to ensure a perfect final fit. In the summer of 2001, the structure was then dismantled and transported on 35 lorries to Falkirk, before all being bolted back together again on the ground, and finally lifted into position in five large sections by crane. The Wheel would need to withstand immense and constantly changing stresses as it rotated, so to make the structure more robust, the steel sections were bolted rather than welded together. Over 45,000 bolt holes were matched with their bolts, and each bolt was hand-tightened.

The Wheel consists of two sets of opposing axe-shaped arms, attached about 25 metres apart to a fixed central spine. Two diametrically opposed water-filled 'gondolas', each with a capacity of 360,000 litres, are fitted between the ends of the arms. These gondolas always weigh the same, whether or not they are carrying boats. This is because, according to Archimedes' principle of displacement, floating objects displace their own weight in water. So when a boat enters a gondola, the amount of water leaving the gondola weighs exactly the same as the boat. This keeps the Wheel balanced and so, despite its enormous mass, it rotates through 180° in five and a half minutes while using very little power. It takes just 1.5 kilowatt-hours (5.4 MJ) of energy to rotate the Wheel -roughly the same as boiling eight small domestic kettles of water.

Boats needing to be lifted up enter the canal basin at the level of the Forth & Clyde Canal and then enter the lower gondola of the Wheel. Two hydraulic steel gates are raised, so as to seal the gondola off from the water in the canal basin. The water between the gates is then pumped out. A hydraulic clamp, which prevents the arms of the Wheel moving while the gondola is docked, is removed, allowing the Wheel to turn. In the central machine room, an array of ten hydraulic motors then begins to rotate the central axle. The axle connects to the outer arms of the Wheel, which begin to rotate at a speed of 1/8 of a revolution per minute. As the wheel rotates, the gondolas are kept in the upright position by a simple gearing system. Two eight-metre-wide cogs orbit a fixed inner cog of the same width, connected by two smaller cogs travelling in the opposite direction to the outer cogs - so ensuring that the gondolas always remain level. When the gondola reaches the top, the boat passes straight onto the aqueduct situated 24 metres above the canal basin.

The remaining 11 metres of lift needed to reach the Union Canal is achieved by means of a pair of locks. The Wheel could not be constructed to elevate boats over the full 35-metre difference between the two canals, owing to the presence of the historically important Antonine Wall, which was built by the Romans in the second century AD. Boats travel under this wall via a tunnel, then through the locks, and finally on to the Union Canal.

Questions 14 - 19
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage? In boxes 14-19 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

14. The Falkirk Wheel has linked the Forth & Clyde Canal with the Union Canal for the first time in their history.
15. There was some opposition to the design of the Falkirk Wheel at first.
16. The Falkirk Wheel was initially put together at the location where its components were manufactured.
17. The Falkirk Wheel is the only boat lift in the world which has steel sections bolted together by hand.
18. The weight of the gondolas varies according to the size of boat being carried.
19. The construction of the Falkirk Wheel site took into account the presence of a nearby ancient monument.

Questions 20-26

Label the diagram below. Choose ONE WORD from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 20-26 on your answer sheet.

The Falkirk Wheel

36. Bài 36

Raising the Mary Rose

How a sixteenth-century warship was recovered from the seabed

On 19 July 1545, English and French fleets were engaged in a sea battle off the coast of southern England in the area of water called the Solent, between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Among the English vessels was a warship by the name of Mary Rose. Built in Portsmouth some 35 years earlier, she had had a long and successful fighting career, and was a favourite of King Henry VIII. Accounts of what happened to the ship vary: while witnesses agree that she was not hit by the French, some maintain that she was outdated, overladen and sailing too low in the water, others that she was mishandled by undisciplined crew. What is undisputed, however, is that the Mary Rose sank into the Solent that day, taking at least 500 men with her. After the battle, attempts were made to recover the ship, but these failed.

The Mary Rose came to rest on the seabed, lying on her starboard (right) side at an angle of approximately 60 degrees. The hull (the body of the ship) acted as a trap for the sand and mud carried by Solent currents. As a result, the starboard side filled rapidly, leaving the exposed port (left) side to be eroded by marine organisms and mechanical degradation. Because of the way the ship sank, nearly all of the starboard half survived intact. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the entire site became covered with a layer of hard grey clay, which minimised further erosion.

Then, on 16 June 1836, some fishermen in the Solent found that their equipment was caught on an underwater obstruction, which turned out to be the Mary Rose. Diver John Deane happened to be exploring another sunken ship nearby, and the fishermen approached him, asking him to free their gear. Deane dived down, and found the equipment caught on a timber protruding slightly from the seabed. Exploring further, he uncovered several other timbers and a bronze gun. Deane continued diving on the site intermittently until 1840, recovering several more guns, two bows, various timbers, part of a pump and various other small finds.

The Mary Rose then faded into obscurity for another hundred years. But in 1965, military historian and amateur diver Alexander McKee, in conjunction with the British Sub-Aqua Club, initiated a project called ‘Solent Ships’. While on paper this was a plan to examine a number of known wrecks in the Solent, what McKee really hoped for was to find the Mary Rose. Ordinary search techniques proved unsatisfactory, so McKee entered into collaboration with Harold E. Edgerton, professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1967, Edgerton’s side-scan sonar systems revealed a large, unusually shaped object, which McKee believed was the Mary Rose.

Further excavations revealed stray pieces of timber and an iron gun. But the climax to the operation came when, on 5 May 1971, part of the ship’s frame was uncovered. McKee and his team now knew for certain that they had found the wreck, but were as yet unaware that it also housed a treasure trove of beautifully preserved artefacts. Interest ^ in the project grew, and in 1979, The Mary Rose Trust was formed, with Prince Charles as its President and Dr Margaret Rule its Archaeological Director. The decision whether or not to salvage the wreck was not an easy one, although an excavation in 1978 had shown that it might be possible to raise the hull. While the original aim was to raise the hull if at all feasible, the operation was not given the go-ahead until January 1982, when all the necessary information was available.

An important factor in trying to salvage the Mary Rose was that the remaining hull was an open shell. This led to an important decision being taken: namely to carry out the lifting operation in three very distinct stages. The hull was attached to a lifting frame via a network of bolts and lifting wires. The problem of the hull being sucked back downwards into the mud was overcome by using 12 hydraulic jacks. These raised it a few centimetres over a period of several days, as the lifting frame rose slowly up its four legs. It was only when the hull was hanging freely from the lifting frame, clear of the seabed and the suction effect of the surrounding mud, that the salvage operation progressed to the second stage. In this stage, the lifting frame was fixed to a hook attached to a crane, and the hull was lifted completely clear of the seabed and transferred underwater into the lifting cradle. This required precise positioning to locate the legs into the stabbing guides’ of the lifting cradle. The lifting cradle was designed to fit the hull using archaeological survey drawings, and was fitted with air bags to provide additional cushioning for the hull’s delicate timber framework. The third and final stage was to lift the entire structure into the air, by which time the hull was also supported from below. Finally, on 11 October 1982, millions of people around the world held their breath as the timber skeleton of the Mary Rose was lifted clear of the water, ready to be returned home to Portsmouth.

Questions 1-4

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-4, on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

1. There is some doubt about what caused the Mary Rose to sink
2. The Mary Rose was the only ship to sink in the battle of 19 July 1545
3. Most of one side of the Mary Rose lay undamaged under the sea.
4. Alexander McKee Knew that the wreck would contain many valuable historical objects.

Questions 5-8
Look at the following statement (Questions 5-8) and the list of dates below. Match each statement with the correct date, A-G. Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 5-8 on your answer sheet.

5. A search for the Mary Rose was launched.
6. One person’s exploration of the Mary Rose site stopped
7. It was agreed that the hull of the Mary Rose should be raised.
8. The site of the Mary Rose was found by chance.

List of Dates

A. 1836
B. 1840
C. 1965
D. 1967
E. 1971
F. 1979
G. 1982

Questions 9-13

Label the diagram below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

Raising the Mary Rose

37. Bài 37


An emerging discipline called neuroaesthetics is seeking to bring scientific objectivity to the study of art, and has already given us a better understanding of many masterpieces. The blurred imagery of Impressionist paintings seems to stimulate the brain's amygdala, for instance. Since the amygdala plays a crucial role in our feelings, that finding might explain why many people find these pieces so moving.

Could the same approach also shed light on abstract twentieth-century pieces, from Mondrian's geometrical blocks of colour, to Pollock's seemingly haphazard arrangements of splashed paint on canvas? Sceptics believe that people claim to like such works simply because they are famous. We certainly do have an inclination to follow the crowd. When asked to make simple perceptual decisions such as matching a shape to its rotated image, for example, people often choose a definitively wrong answer if they see others doing the same. It is easy to imagine that this mentality would have even more impact on a fuzzy concept like art appreciation, where there is no right or wrong answer.

Angelina Hawley-Dolan, of Boston College, Massachusetts, responded to this debate by asking volunteers to view pairs of paintings - either the creations of famous abstract artists or the doodles of infants, chimps and elephants. They then had to judge which they preferred. A third of the paintings were given no captions, while many were labelled incorrectly -volunteers might think they were viewing a chimp's messy brushstrokes when they were actually seeing an acclaimed masterpiece. In each set of trials, volunteers generally preferred the work of renowned artists, even when they believed it was by an animal or a child. It seems that the viewer can sense the artist's vision in paintings, even if they can't explain why.

Robert Pepperell, an artist based at Cardiff University, creates ambiguous works that are neither entirely abstract nor clearly representational. In one study, Pepperell and his collaborators asked volunteers to decide how 'powerful' they considered an artwork to be, and whether they saw anything familiar in the piece. The longer they took to answer these questions, the more highly they rated the piece under scrutiny, and the greater their neural activity. It would seem that the brain sees these images as puzzles, and the harder it is to decipher the meaning, the more rewarding is the moment of recognition.

And what about artists such as Mondrian, whose paintings consist exclusively of horizontal and vertical lines encasing blocks of colour? Mondrian's works are deceptively simple, but eye-tracking studies confirm that they are meticulously composed, and that simply rotating a piece radically changes the way we view it. With the originals, volunteers'eyes tended to stay longer on certain places in the image, but with the altered versions, they would flit across a piece more rapidly. As a result, the volunteers considered the altered versions less pleasurable when they later rated the work.

In a similar study, Oshin Vartanian of Toronto University asked volunteers to compare original paintings with ones which he had altered by moving objects around within the frame. He found that almost everyone preferred the original, whether it was a Van Gogh still life or an abstract by Miro. Vartanian also found that changing the composition of the paintings reduced activation in those brain areas linked with meaning and interpretation.

In another experiment, Alex Forsythe of the University of Liverpool analysed the visual intricacy of different pieces of art, and her results suggest that many artists use a key level of detail to please the brain. Too little and the work is boring, but too much results in a kind of 'perceptual overload', according to Forsythe. What's more, appealing pieces both abstract and representational, show signs of 'fractals' - repeated motifs recurring in different scales, fractals are common throughout nature, for example in the shapes of mountain peaks or the branches of trees. It is possible that our visual system, which evolved in the great outdoors, finds it easier to process such patterns.

It is also intriguing that the brain appears to process movement when we see a handwritten letter, as if we are replaying the writer's moment of creation. This has led some to wonder whether Pollock's works feel so dynamic because the brain reconstructs the energetic actions the artist used as he painted. This may be down to our brain's 'mirror neurons', which are known to mimic others' actions. The hypothesis will need to be thoroughly tested, however. It might even be the case that we could use neuroaesthetic studies to understand the longevity of some pieces of artwork. While the fashions of the time might shape what is currently popular, works that are best adapted to our visual system may be the most likely to linger once the trends of previous generations have been forgotten.

It's still early days for the field of neuroaesthetics - and these studies are probably only a taste of what is to come. It would, however, be foolish to reduce art appreciation to a set of scientific laws. We shouldn't underestimate the importance of the style of a particular artist, their place in history and the artistic environment of their time. Abstract art offers both a challenge and the freedom to play with different interpretations. In some ways, it's not so different to science, where we are constantly looking for systems and decoding meaning so that we can view and appreciate the world in a new way.

Questions 27-30

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 27-30 on your answer sheet.

27. In the second paragraph, the writer refers to a shape- matching test in order to illustrate

A. the subjective nature of art appreciation.
B. the reliance of modern art on abstract forms.
C. our tendency to be influenced by the opinions of others.
D. a common problem encountered when processing visual data.

28. Angelina Hawley-Dolan’s findings indicate that people

A. mostly favour works of art which they know well.
B. hold fixed ideas about what makes a good work of art.
C. are often misled by their initial expectations of a work of art.

D. have the ability to perceive the intention behind works of art.

29. Results of studies involving Robert Pepperell’s pieces suggest that people

A. can appreciate a painting without fully understanding it.
B. find it satisfying to work out what a painting represents.
C. vary widely in the time they spend looking at paintings.
D. generally prefer representational art to abstract art.

30. What do the experiments described in the fifth paragraph suggest about the paintings of Mondrian?

A. They are more carefully put together than they appear.
B. They can be interpreted in a number of different ways.
C. They challenge our assumptions about shape and colour.
D. They are easier to appreciate than many other abstract works.

Questions 31-33

Complete the summary using the list of words, A-H, below. Write the correct letters, A-H, in boxes 31-33 on your answer sheet.

Art and the Brain

The discipline of neuroaesthetics aims to bring scientific objectivity to the study of art. Neurological studies of the brain, for example, demonstrate the impact which Impressionist paintings have on our 31 .................... Alex Forsythe of the University of Liverpool believes many artists give their works the precise degree of 32 .................... which most appeals to the viewer’s brain. She also observes that pleasing works of art often contain certain repeated 33 .................... which occur frequently in the natural world.

A. interpretation

B. complexity

C. emotions

D. movements

E. skill

F. layout

G. concern

H. images

Questions 34-39

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 34-39 on your answer sheet, write:

YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

34. Forsythe’s findings contradicted previous beliefs on the function of ‘fractals’ in art.
35. Certain ideas regarding the link between ‘mirror neurons’ and art appreciation require further verification.
36. People’s taste in paintings depends entirely on the current artistic trends of the period.
37. Scientists should seek to define the precise rules which govern people’s reactions to works of art.
38. Art appreciation should always involve taking into consideration the cultural context in which an artist worked.
39. It is easier to find meaning in the field of science than in that of art.

Question 40

Choose the correct letter; A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in box 40 on your answer sheet.

40. What would be the most appropriate subtitle for the article?

A. Some scientific insights into how the brain responds to abstract art
B. Recent studies focusing on the neural activity of abstract artists
C. A comparison of the neurological bases of abstract and representational art
D. How brain research has altered public opinion about abstract art

38. Bài 38

The Story of Silk

The history of the world’s most luxurious fabric, from ancient China to the present day

Silk is a fine, smooth material produced from the cocoons - soft protective shells - that are made by mulberry silkworms (insect larvae). Legend has it that it was Lei Tzu, wife of the Yellow Emperor, ruler of China in about 3000 BC, who discovered silkworms. One account of the story goes that as she was taking a walk in her husband’s gardens, she discovered that silkworms were responsible for the destruction of several mulberry trees. She collected a number of cocoons and sat down to have a rest. It just so happened that while she was sipping some tea, one of the cocoons that she had collected landed in the hot tea and started to unravel into a fine thread. Lei Tzu found that she could wind this thread around her fingers. Subsequently, she persuaded her husband to allow her to rear silkworms on a grove of mulberry trees. She also devised a special reel to draw the fibres from the cocoon into a single thread so that they would be strong enough to be woven into fabric. While it is unknown just how much of this is true, it is certainly known that silk cultivation has existed in China for several millennia.

Originally, silkworm farming was solely restricted to women, and it was they who were responsible for the growing, harvesting and weaving. Silk quickly grew into a symbol of status, and originally, only royalty were entitled to have clothes made of silk. The rules were gradually relaxed over the years until finally during the Qing Dynasty (1644—1911 AD), even peasants, the lowest caste, were also entitled to wear silk. Sometime during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), silk was so prized that it was also used as a unit of currency. Government officials were paid their salary in silk, and farmers paid their taxes in grain and silk. Silk was also used as diplomatic gifts by the emperor. Fishing lines, bowstrings, musical instruments and paper were all made using silk. The earliest indication of silk paper being used was discovered in the tomb of a noble who is estimated to have died around 168 AD.

Demand for this exotic fabric eventually created the lucrative trade route now known as the Silk Road, taking silk westward and bringing gold, silver and wool to the East. It was named the Silk Road after its most precious commodity, which was considered to be worth more than gold. The Silk Road stretched over 6,000 kilometres from Eastern China to the Mediterranean Sea, following the Great Wall of China, climbing the Pamir mountain range, crossing modern-day Afghanistan and going on to the Middle East, with a major trading market in Damascus. From there, the merchandise was shipped across the Mediterranean Sea. Few merchants travelled the entire route; goods were handled mostly by a series of middlemen.

With the mulberry silkworm being native to China, the country was the world’s sole producer of silk for many hundreds of years. The secret of silk-making eventually reached the rest of the world via the Byzantine Empire, which ruled over the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East during the period 330—1453 AD. According to another legend, monks working for the Byzantine emperor Justinian smuggle silkworm eggs to Constantinople (Istanbul in modern-day Turkey) in 550 AD, concealed inside hollow bamboo walking canes. The Byzantines were as secretive as the Chinese, however, and for many centuries the weaving and trading of silk fabric was a strict imperial monopoly. Then in the seventh century, the Arabs conquered Persia, capturing their magnificent silks in the process.

Silk production thus spread through Africa, Sicily and Spain as the Arabs swept, through these lands. Andalusia in southern Spain was Europe’s main silk-producing centre in the tenth century. By the thirteenth century, however, Italy had become Europe’s leader in silk production and export. Venetian merchants traded extensively in silk and encouraged silk growers to settle in Italy. Even now, silk processed in the province of Como in northern Italy enjoys an esteemed reputation.

The nineteenth century and industrialisation saw the downfall of the European silk industry. Cheaper Japanese silk, trade in which was greatly facilitated by the opening of the Suez Canal, was one of the many factors driving the trend. Then in the twentieth century, new manmade fibres, such as nylon, started to be used in what had traditionally been silk products, such as stockings and parachutes. The two world wars, which interrupted the supply of raw material from Japan, also stifled the European silk industry. After the Second World War, Japan’s silk production was restored, with improved production and quality of raw silk. Japan was to remain the world’s biggest producer of raw silk, and practically the only major exporter of raw silk, until the 1970s. However, in more recent decades, China has gradually recaptured its position as the world’s biggest producer and exporter of raw silk and silk yarn. Today, around 125,000 metric tons of silk are produced in the world, and almost two thirds of that production takes place in China.

Questions 1-9

Complete the notes below. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1-9 on your answer sheet.


  • Early silk production in China
    • Around 3000 BC, according to legend:
      • silkworm cocoon fell into emperor’s wife’s 1 ....................
      • emperor’s wife invented a 2 .................... to pull out silk fibres
    • Only 3 .................... were allowed to produce silk
    • Only 4 .................... were allowed to wear silk
    • Silk used as a form of 5 ....................
      • e.g. farmers’ taxes consisted partly of silk
    • Silk used for many purposes
      • e.g. evidence found of 6 .................... made from silk around 168 AD
  • Silk reaches rest of world
    • Merchants use Silk Road to take silk westward and bring back 7 .................... and precious metals
    • 550 AD: 8 .................... hide silkworm eggs in canes and take them to Constantinople
    • Silk production spreads across Middle East and Europe
    • 20th century: 9 .................... and other manmade fibres cause decline in silk

Questions 10-13

Do the following statements agree with the information in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

10. Gold was the most valuable material transported along the Silk Road.

11. Most tradesmen only went along certain sections of the Silk Road.

12.. The Byzantines spread the practice of silk production across the West.

13. Silk yarn makes up the majority of silk currently exported from China.

39. Bài 39

An Introduction to Film Sound

Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we really cannot afford to underestimate the importance of film sound. A meaningful sound track is often as complicated as the image on the screen, and is ultimately just as much the responsibility of the director. The entire sound track consists of three essential ingredients: the human voice, sound effects and music. These three tracks must be mixed and balanced so as to produce the necessary emphases which in turn create desired effects.

Topics which essentially refer to the three previously mentioned tracks are discussed below. They include dialogue, synchronous and asynchronous sound effects, and music.

Let us start with dialogue. As is the case with stage drama, dialogue serves to tell the story and expresses feelings and motivations of characters as well. Often with film characterization the audience perceives little or no difference between the character and the actor. Thus, for example, the actor Humphrey Bogart is the character Sam Spade; film personality and life personality seem to merge. Perhaps this is because the very texture of a performer's voice supplies an element of character.

When voice textures fit the performer's physiognomy and gestures, a whole and very realistic persona emerges. The viewer sees not an actor working at his craft, but another human being struggling with life. It is interesting to note that how dialogue is used and the very amount of dialogue used varies widely among films. For example, in the highly successful science-fiction film 2001, little dialogue was evident, and most of it was banal and of little intrinsic interest. In this way the film-maker was able to portray what Thomas Sobochack and Vivian Sobochack call, in An Introduction to Film, the 'inadequacy of human responses when compared with the magnificent technology created by man and the visual beauties of the universe'.

The comedy Bringing Up Baby, on the other hand, presents practically non-stop dialogue delivered at breakneck speed. This use of dialogue underscores not only the dizzy quality of the character played by Katherine Hepburn, but also the absurdity of the film itself and thus its humor. The audience is bounced from gag to gag and conversation to conversation; there is no time for audience reflection. The audience is caught up in a whirlwind of activity in simply managing to follow the plot. This film presents pure escapism - largely due to its frenetic dialogue.

Synchronous sound effects are those sounds which are synchronized or matched with what is viewed. For example, if the film portrays a character playing the piano, the sounds of the piano are projected. Synchronous sounds contribute to the realism of film and also help to create a particular atmosphere.

For example, the 'click' of a door being opened may simply serve to convince the audience that the image portrayed is real, and the audience may only subconsciously note the expected sound.

However, if the 'click' of an opening door is part of an ominous action such as a burglary, the sound mixer may call attention to the 'click' with an increase in volume; this helps to engage the audience in a moment of suspense.

Asynchronous sound effects, on the other hand, are not matched with a visible source of the sound on screen. Such sounds are included so as to provide an appropriate emotional nuance, and they may also add to the realism of the film. For example, a film-maker might opt to include the background sound of an ambulance's siren while the foreground sound and image portrays an arguing couple. The asynchronous ambulance siren underscores the psychic injury incurred in the argument; at the same time the noise of the siren adds to the realism of the film by acknowledging the film's city setting.

We are probably all familiar with background music in films, which has become so ubiquitous as to be noticeable in its absence. We are aware that it is used to add emotion and rhythm. Usually not meant to be noticeable, it often provides a tone or an emotional attitude toward the story and /or the characters depicted. In addition, background music often foreshadows a change in mood. For example, dissonant music may be used in film to indicate an approaching (but not yet visible) menace or disaster.

Background music may aid viewer understanding by linking scenes. For example, a particular musical theme associated with an individual character or situation may be repeated at various points in a film in order to remind the audience of salient motifs or ideas.

Film sound comprises conventions and innovations. We have come to expect an acceleration of music during car chases and creaky doors in horror films. Yet, it is important to note as well that sound is often brilliantly conceived. The effects of sound are often largely subtle and often are noted by only our subconscious minds. We need to foster an awareness of film sound as well as film space so as to truly appreciate an art form that sprang to life during the twentieth century - the modern film.

Questions 14-18
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Write the correct letter in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

14. In the first paragraph, the writer makes a point that

A. the director should plan the sound track at an early stage in filming.

B. it would be wrong to overlook the contribution of sound to the artistry of films.

C. the music industry can have a beneficial influence on sound in film.

D. it is important for those working on the sound in a film to have sole responsibility for it.

15. One reason that the writer refers to Humphrey Bogart is to exemplify

A. the importance of the actor and the character appearing to have similar personalities.

B. the audience’s wish that actors are visually appropriate for their roles.

C. the value of the actor having had similar feelings to the character.

D. the audience’s preference for dialogue to be as authentic as possible.

16. In the third paragraph, the writer suggests that

A. audiences are likely to be critical of film dialogue that does not reflect their own experience.

B. film dialogue that appears to be dull may have a specific purpose.

C. filmmakers vary considerably in the skill with which they handle dialogue.

D. the most successful films are those with dialogue of a high Quality.

17. What does the writer suggest about Bringing Up

A. The plot suffers from the filmmaker’s wish to focus on humorous dialogue.

B. The dialogue helps to make it one of the best comedy films ever produced.

C. There is a mismatch between the speed of the dialogue and the speed of actions.

D. The nature of the dialogue emphasises key elements of the film.

18. The writer refers to the ‘click’ of a door to make the point that realistic sounds

A. are often used to give the audience a false impression of events in the film.

B. may be interpreted in different ways by different members of the audience.

C. may be modified in order to manipulate the audience’s response to the film.

D. tend to be more significant in films presenting realistic situations.

Questions 19-23
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage? In boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

19. Audiences are likely to be surprised if a film lacks background music.

20. Background music may anticipate a development in a film.

21. Background music has more effect on some people than on others.

22. Background music may help the audience to make certain connections within the film.

23. Audiences tend to be aware of how the background music is affecting them.

Questions 24-26
Complete each sentence with the correct letter below. Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

24. The audience’s response to different parts of a film can be controlled

25. The feelings and motivations of characters become clear

26. A character seems to be a real person rather than an actor

A. when the audience listens to the dialogue.

B. if the film reflects the audience’s own concerns.

C. if voice, sound and music are combined appropriately.

D. when the director is aware of how the audience will respond.

E. when the actor s appearance, voice and moves are consistent with each other.

40. Bài 40

Questions 27-32
Reading Passage has six paragraphs, A-F. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-F from the list of headings below. Write the correct number, i-vii, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i. Differences between languages highlight their impressiveness

ii. The way in which a few sounds are organised to convey a huge range of meaning

iii. Why the sounds used in different languages are not identical

iv. Apparently incompatible characteristics of language

v. Even silence can be meaningful

vi. Why language is the most important invention of all

vii. The universal ability to use language

27. Paragraph A

28. Paragraph B

29. Paragraph C

30. Paragraph D

31. Paragraph E

32. Paragraph F

This Marvellous Invention

A. Of all mankinds manifold creations, language must take pride of place. Other inventions -the wheel, agriculture, sliced bread - may have transformed our material existence, but the advent of language is what made us human. Compared to language, all other inventions pale in significance, since everything we have ever achieved depends on language and originates from it. Without language, we could never have embarked on our ascent to unparalleled power over all other animals, and even over nature itself.

B. But language is foremost not just because it came first. In its own right it is a tool of extraordinary sophistication, yet based on an idea of ingenious simplicity: ‘this marvellous invention of composing out of twenty-five or thirty sounds that infinite variety of expressions which, whilst having in themselves no likeness to what is in our mind, allow us to disclose to others its whole secret, and to make known to those who cannot penetrate it all that we imagine, and all the various stirrings of our soul’ This was how, in 1660, the renowned French grammarians of the Port-Royal abbey near Versailles distilled the essence of language, and no one since has celebrated more eloquently the magnitude of its achievement. Even so, there is just one flaw in all these hymns of praise, for the homage to languages unique accomplishment conceals a simple yet critical incongruity. Language is mankind s greatest invention - except, of course, that it was never invented. This apparent paradox is at the core of our fascination with language, and it holds many of its secrets.

C. Language often seems so skillfully drafted that one can hardly imagine it as anything other than the perfected handiwork of a master craftsman. How else could this instrument make so much out of barely three dozen measly morsels of sound? In themselves, these configurations of mouth p,f,b,v,t,d,k,g,sh,a,e and so on - amount to nothing more than a few haphazard spits and splutters, random noises with no meaning, no ability to express, no power to explain. But run them through the cogs and wheels of the language machine, let it arrange them in some very special orders, and there is nothing that these meaningless streams of air cannot do: from sighing the interminable boredom of existence to unravelling the fundamental order of the universe.

D. The most extraordinary thing about language, however, is that one doesn’t have to be a genius to set its wheels in motion. The language machine allows just about everybody from pre-modern foragers in the subtropical savannah, to post-modern philosophers in the suburban sprawl - to tie these meaningless sounds together into an infinite variety of subtle senses, and all apparently without the slightest exertion. Yet it is precisely this deceptive ease which makes language a victim of its own success, since in everyday life its triumphs are usually taken for granted. The wheels of language run so smoothly that one rarely bothers to stop and think about all the resourcefulness and expertise that must have gone into making it tick. Language conceals art.

E. Often, it is only the estrangement of foreign tongues, with their many exotic and outlandish features, that brings home the wonder of languages design. One of the showiest stunts that some languages can pull off is an ability to build up words of breath-breaking length, and thus express in one word what English takes a whole sentence to say. The Turkish word çehirliliçtiremediklerimizdensiniz, to take one example, means nothing less than ‘you are one of those whom we can’t turn into a town-dweller’. (In case you were wondering, this monstrosity really is one word, not merely many different words squashed together - most ol its components cannot even stand up on their own.)

F. And if that sounds like some one-off freak, then consider Sumerian, the language spoken on the banks of the Euphrates some 5,000 years ago by the people who invented writing and thus enabled the documentation of history. A Sumerian word like munintuma'a (‘when he had made it suitable for her’) might seem rather trim compared to the Turkish colossus above. What is so impressive about it, however, is not its lengthiness but rather the reverse - the thrifty compactness of its construction. The word is made up of different slots, each corresponding to a particular portion of meaning. This sleek design allows single sounds to convey useful information, and in fact even the absence of a sound has been enlisted to express something specific. If you were to ask which bit in the Sumerian word corresponds to the pronoun ‘it’ in the English translation ‘when he had made it suitable for her’, then the answer would have to be nothing. Mind you, a very particular kind of nothing: the nothing that stands in the empty slot in the middle. The technology is so fine-tuned then that even a non-sound, when carefully placed in a particular position, has been invested with a specific function. Who could possibly have come up with such a nifty contraption?

Questions 33-36
Complete the summary using the list of words, A-G, below. Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 33-36 on your answer sheet.

The importance of language

The wheel is one invention that has had a major impact on 33 .................. aspects of life, but no impact has been as 34 .......... as that of language. Language is very 35 ..............., yet composed of just a small number of sounds.

Language appears to be 36 ...................... to use. However, its sophistication is often overlooked.

A. difficult
B. complex
C. original
D. admired
E. material
F. easy
G. fundamental
Questions 37-40

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage? In boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet, write:

YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

37. Human beings might have achieved their present position without language.

38. The Port-Royal grammarians did justice to the nature of language.

39. A complex idea can be explained more clearly in a sentence than in a single word.

40. The Sumerians were responsible for starting the recording of events.

41. Bài 41


Cork - the thick bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber) - is a remarkable material. It is tough, elastic, buoyant, and fire-resistant, and suitable for a wide range of purposes. It has also been used for millennia: the ancient Egyptians sealed then sarcophagi (stone coffins) with cork, while the ancient Greeks and Romans used it for anything from beehives to sandals.

And the cork oak itself is an extraordinary tree. Its bark grows up to 20 cm in thickness, insulating the tree like a coat wrapped around the trunk and branches and keeping the inside at a constant 20°C all year round. Developed most probably as a defence against forest fires, the bark of the cork oak has a particular cellular structure - with about 40 million cells per cubic centimetre - that technology has never succeeded in replicating. The cells are filled with air, which is why cork is so buoyant. It also has an elasticity that means you can squash it and watch it spring back to its original size and shape when you release the pressure.

Cork oaks grow in a number of Mediterranean countries, including Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco. They flourish in warm, sunny climates where there is a minimum of 400 millimetres of rain per year, and no more than 800 millimetres. Like grape vines, the trees thrive in poor soil, putting down deep root in search of moisture and nutrients. Southern Portugal’s Alentejo region meets all of these requirements, which explains why, by the early 20th century, this region had become the world’s largest producer of cork, and why today it accounts for roughly half of all cork production around the world.

Most cork forests are family-owned. Many of these family businesses, and indeed many of the trees themselves, are around 200 years old. Cork production is, above all, an exercise in patience. From the planting of a cork sapling to the first harvest takes 25 years, and a gap of approximately a decade must separate harvests from an individual tree. And for top-quality cork, it’s necessary to wait a further 15 or 20 years. You even have to wait for the right kind of summer’s day to harvest cork. If the bark is stripped on a day when it’s too cold - or when the air is damp - the tree will be damaged.

Cork harvesting is a very specialised profession. No mechanical means of stripping cork bark has been invented, so the job is done by teams of highly skilled workers. First, they make vertical cuts down the bark using small sharp axes, then lever it away in pieces as large as they can manage. The most skilful cork- strippers prise away a semi-circular husk that runs the length of the trunk from just above ground level to the first branches. It is then dried on the ground for about four months, before being taken to factories, where it is boiled to kill any insects that might remain in the cork. Over 60% of cork then goes on to be made into traditional bottle stoppers, with most of the remainder being used in the construction trade, Corkboard and cork tiles are ideal for thermal and acoustic insulation, while granules of cork are used in the manufacture of concrete.

Recent years have seen the end of the virtual monopoly of cork as the material for bottle stoppers, due to concerns about the effect it may have on the contents of the bottle. This is caused by a chemical compound called 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), which forms through the interaction of plant phenols, chlorine and mould. The tiniest concentrations - as little as three or four parts to a trillion - can spoil the taste of the product contained in the bottle. The result has been a gradual yet steady move first towards plastic stoppers and, more recently, to aluminium screw caps. These substitutes are cheaper to manufacture and, in the case of screw caps, more convenient for the user.

The classic cork stopper does have several advantages, however. Firstly, its traditional image is more in keeping with that of the type of high quality goods with which it has long been associated. Secondly - and very importantly - cork is a sustainable product that can be recycled without difficulty. Moreover, cork forests are a resource which supports local biodiversity, and prevents desertification in the regions where they are planted. So, given the current concerns about environmental issues, the future of this ancient material once again looks promising.

Questions 1-5

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? In boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

1. The cork oak has the thickest bark of any living tree.

2. Scientists have developed a synthetic cork with the same cellular structure as natural cork.

3. Individual cork oak trees must be left for 25 years between the first and second harvest.

4. Cork bark should be stripped in dry atmospheric conditions.

5. The only way to remove the bark from cork oak trees is by hand.

Questions 6-13

Complete the notes below. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 6-13 on your answer sheet.

Comparison of aluminium screw caps and cork bottle stoppers

Advantages of aluminium screw caps

  • do not affect the 6.......................... of the bottle contents
  • are 7.......................... to produce
  • are 8.......................... to use

Advantages of cork bottle stoppers

  • suit the 9.......................... of quality products
  • made from a 10.......................... material
  • easily 11..........................
  • cork forests aid 12..........................
  • cork forests stop 13.......................... happening

42. Bài 42

The history of glass

From our earliest origins, man has been making use of glass. Historians have discovered that a type of natural glass - obsidian - formed in places such as the mouth of a volcano as a result of the intense heat of an eruption melting sand - was first used as tips for spears. Archaeologists have even found evidence of man-made glass which dates back to 4000 BC; this took the form of glazes used for coating stone beads. It was not until 1500 BC, however, that the first hollow glass container was made by covering a sand core with a layer of molten glass.

Glass blowing became the most common way to make glass containers from the first century BC. The glass made during this time was highly coloured due to the impurities of the raw material. In the first century AD, methods of creating colourless glass were developed, which was then tinted by the addition of colouring materials. The secret of glass making was taken across Europe by the Romans during this century. However, they guarded the skills and technology required to make glass very closely, and it was not until their empire collapsed in 476 AD that glass-making knowledge became widespread throughout Europe and the Middle East. From the 10th century onwards, the Venetians gained a reputation for technical skill and artistic ability in the making of glass bottles, and many of the city’s craftsmen left Italy to set up glassworks throughout Europe.

A major milestone in the history of glass occurred with the invention of lead crystal glass by the English glass manufacturer George Ravenscroft (1632 - 1683). He attempted to counter the effect of clouding that sometimes occurred in blown glass by introducing lead to the raw materials used in the process. The new glass he created was softer and easier to decorate, and had a higher refractive index, adding to its brilliance and beauty, and it proved invaluable to the optical industry. It is thanks to Ravenscroft’s invention that optical lenses, astronomical telescopes, microscopes and the like became possible.

In Britain, the modem glass industry only really started to develop after the repeal of the Excise Act in 1845. Before that time, heavy taxes had been placed on the amount of glass melted in a glasshouse, and were levied continuously from 1745 to 1845. Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace at London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 marked the beginning of glass as a material used in the building industry. This revolutionary new building encouraged the use of glass in public, domestic and horticultural architecture. Glass manufacturing techniques also improved with the advancement of science and the development of better technology.

From 1887 onwards, glass making developed from traditional mouth-blowing to a semi-automatic process, after factory- owner HM Ashley introduced a machine capable of producing 200 bottles per hour in Castleford, Yorkshire, England - more than three times quicker than any previous production method. Then in 1907, the first fully automated machine was developed in the USA by Michael Owens - founder of the Owens Bottle Machine Company (later the major manufacturers Owens- Illinois) - and installed in its factory. Owens’ invention could produce an impressive 2,500 bottles per hour Other developments followed rapidly, but it | was not until the First World War when Britain became cut off from essential glass suppliers, that glass became part of the scientific sector. Previous to this, glass had been seen as a craft rather than a precise science.

Today, glass making is big business. It has become a modem, hi-tech industry operating in a fiercely competitive global market where quality, design and service levels are critical to maintaining market share. Modem glass plants are capable of making millions of glass containers a day in many different colours, with green, brown and clear remaining the most popular. Few of us can imagine modem life without glass. It features in almost every aspect of our lives - in our homes, our cars and whenever we sit down to eat or drink. Glass packaging is used for many products, many beverages are sold in glass, as are numerous foodstuffs, as well as medicines and cosmetics.

Glass is an ideal material for recycling, and with growing consumer concern for green issues, glass bottles and jars are becoming ever more popular. Glass recycling is good news for the environment. It saves used glass containers being sent to landfill. As less energy is needed to melt recycled glass than to melt down raw materials, this also saves fuel and production costs. Recycling also reduces the need for raw materials to be quarried, thus saving precious resources.

Questions 1-8
Complete the notes below. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 1-8 on your answer sheet.

The History of Glass

  • Early humans used a material called 1 ............... to make the sharp points of their 2 .....................
  • 4000 BC: 3 .................. made of stone were covered in a coating of man-made glass.
  • First century BC: glass was coloured because of the 4 ................... in the material.
  • Until 476 AD: Only the 5 ..................... knew how to make glass.
  • From 10th century: Venetians became famous for making bottles out of glass.
  • 17th century: George Ravenscroft developed a process using 6 ............... to avoid the occurrence of 7 ................ in blown glass.
  • Mid-19th century: British glass production developed after changes to laws concerning 8 ....................

Questions 9-13

In boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet, write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

9. In 1887, HM Ashley had the fastest bottle-producing machine that existed at the time.

10.Michael Owens was hired by a large US company to design a fully-automated bottle manufacturing machine for them.

11. Nowadays, most glass is produced by large international manufacturers.

12. Concern for the environment is leading to an increased demand for glass containers.

13. It is more expensive to produce recycled glass than to manufacture new glass.

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