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五件由女性发明的东西

2017-10-24 16:07

来源:BBC

作者:

随身英语

Five things invented by women 五件由女性发明的东西

计算机程序设计应该是个男性工作的领域,对吗?仅从目前的从业人数来看,男性程序员的人数超过女性从业人数,但曾经一度可不是这样的。本集《随身英语》带你认识50年代的一位女性先锋程序员,同时介绍那些由女性发明的日用品。

课文内容

Vocabulary: Innovation 词汇: 创造

Here’s a simple challenge: name a famous inventor. Perhaps Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci springs to mind. Or the pioneer of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell. But you might be hard-pressed to name many female inventors, even though women are behind some of the most widely used technologies in the modern world.

For example, where would we be without the windscreen wiper? Back on a freezing winter’s day in 1902, Mary Anderson was travelling by tram through New York city. Snow was falling, forcing the driver to stop repeatedly and get out to clear it. Each time the door opened, Mary suffered a gust of sub-zero air. She had a brainwave: why not make some kind of a rubber blade that could be operated from inside the vehicle? And that’s exactly what she did. 

Let’s step in from freezing New York for our next invention. The dishwasher dates back even earlier to the 19th Century, and to the dinner parties thrown by a lady called Josephine Cochrane. As a frequent host, she wanted a machine that could wash dishes faster than people. Her response was to develop what was to become the first commercially successful dishwasher. Interestingly, innovation was in her blood: her grandfather had invented the steamboat. 

Need something to do while the dishwasher is whirring away? How about a round of Monopoly? One of the most popular board games around, the rules were first drawn up by a lady called Elizabeth Magie, and patented in 1904. Her intention was to create a game to highlight what she saw as the pitfalls of capitalism. It was originally called The Landlord’s Game. 

To an altogether different kind of innovation: Kevlar is the lightweight fibre used in bulletproof vests. The material is used by millions every day and has saved countless lives. The super tough fabric is also used in objects ranging from gloves to aeroplanes to wind turbines. Incredibly, its strength-to-weight ratio is five times higher than steel. Again, it was invented by a woman, the American chemist Stephanie Kwolek, in 1964. 

Finally, one of the most important inventions of the 20th Century must surely be the computer programme. The world of programming is notoriously unbalanced in terms of gender. Men vastly outnumber women, and take home around 30% more pay than their female counterparts on average. But back in the 1940s and 50s, women were at the forefront of this new field. Grace Hopper is credited with inventing the first compiler in 1952, which serves as the bridge between code and the binary ones and zeros understood by computers.

词汇表

polymath 博学者,博学的人
spring to mind 突然呈现在脑海中
pioneer 先锋
hard-pressed (由于缺少时间)面临困难的
where would we be without… 假如没有…我们将会是怎样的?
windscreen wiper 雨刷器
sub-zero 温度在零度以下的
brainwave (突发的)灵感,妙计
dishwasher 洗碗机
throw (a party) 举办(聚会)
in someone’s blood 在某人的血液中,在骨子里
whirr (洗衣机)发出嗡嗡声
patent 注册专利权
pitfall 陷阱
bulletproof vest 防弹背心
wind turbine 风力发电机
notoriously 出了名地(负面),声名狼藉地
gender 性别
outnumber 在数量上压倒
binary 二进位制

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。 

1. How did a cold day cause the windscreen wiper to be invented? 

2. Why did Cochrane invent the dishwasher?  

3. Which word expresses the relationship between two amounts?    

4. Which word refers to something lone with a sharp edge?    

5. Which industry used to employ comparatively more women in the past than today?

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. I’ve just had a ______. Why don’t we invent a machine that answers questions in Take Away English?

brainwave       innovation       invention       idea

2. Where would we be without you, Matt? Your quick thinking ______ our company.

hard-pressed       whirred       ruined       saved          

3. There are a number of ______ to consider when starting a business. Do your research so you don’t face these problems.

polymaths       pitfalls       patents       opportunities 

4. What’s that whirring sound? It’s just the ______.

drill       television       washing machine       cat  

5. This area is ______ for violence. Take care on the streets.

notorious       pitfall       in the blood       outnumbered

答案  

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。 

1. How did a cold day cause the windscreen wiper to be invented? 
Every time the driver opened the door, freezing air came inside. Mary Anderson thought there had to be a better way of cleaning the window from inside – which exactly what her invention does.

2. Why did Cochrane invent the dishwasher?
Josephine Cochrane wanted a machine that could wash dishes quicker than humans could, so she could continue to host large parties for her guests.    

3. Which word expresses the relationship between two amounts?
Ratio    

4. Which word refers to something lone with a sharp edge?
Blade. 

5. Which industry used to employ comparatively more women in the past than today?
Computing. Women were at the forefront in the 1940s and 50s, but now the field is dominated by men.

2.  请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. I’ve just had a brainwave. Why don’t we invent a machine that answers questions in Take Away English? 

2. Where would we be without you, Matt? Your quick thinking saved our company. 

3. There are a number of pitfalls to consider when starting a business. Do your research so you don’t face these problems. 

4. What’s that whirring sound? It’s just the washing machine

5. This area is notorious for violence. Take care on the streets.

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