Exercise 1

Lucky discoveries

Some of our most important discoveries happen when we aren’t expecting them at all …

Scientist discovers how to cook food in seconds

Percy LeBaron Spencer, an engineer, was working on radar for the army. One day, he was walking past a machine when the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. He was curious, so he did a test. He put a small bowl of popcorn in front of the machine. As expected, a minute later it started popping and jumping out of the bowl.

Spencer realised the microwaves from the radar were heating the food. Next, he made a metal box and sent microwaves into it through a hole. When he put some food in the box, it cooked. This was the first microwave oven – invented totally by chance.

5,000-year-old body found in the Alps

In 1991, two German tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, were hiking in the mountains in Italy, near the border with Austria. They were coming back down the mountain when one of them saw something in the ice. As they got closer, they realised that they were looking at a man’s body. They reported the body and carried on hiking.

When the police arrived the next day, they tried to get the body out of the ice. Everyone thought that it was the body of an unlucky mountain climber and they weren’t very careful. They accidentally tore the clothes and also broke one arm. But when scientists studied the body they were shocked. Amazingly, the body was 5,000 years old. He was quickly given the name ‘Ötzi the Iceman’. Ötzi is one of the oldest, most complete human bodies ever found.

Farmers uncover ancient army in the fields

In 1974, local farmers were digging in Xi’an, a city in China. They were looking for water, but instead they found a life-size soldier made out of terracotta. Fortunately, the farmers stopped digging before they damaged anything and soon archaeologists arrived to look at the area. Surprisingly, there was not just one, but thousands of clay soldiers. They were made around 2,200 years ago and they were buried on purpose – together with the body of the First Emperor of China.

Archaeologists now believe that there are around 6,000 soldiers and their horses in the Terracotta Army, but most of them are still buried underground. All of the soldiers look different. Some are tall, some are short and they all have different clothes and faces. Archaeologists think 700,000 people helped to make them.

A. Read the stories and answer the questions for each story.

1   Who made the discovery?

2   What were they doing when they made the discovery?

3   What exactly was the invention/discovery?

B. Read the stories again and answer the questions.

 How did Percy LeBaron Spencer test his machine?

 Why weren’t the police careful with Ötzi’s body? What damage did they do?

 Why don’t archaeologists know exactly how many terracotta soldiers there are?



Scientist discovers how to cook food in seconds

1   Percy LeBaron Spencer

2   working on radar for the army

3   the microwave oven

5,000-year-old body found in the Alps

 Helmut and Erika Simon

 hiking in the mountains in Italy

 one of the oldest, most complete human bodies

Farmers uncover ancient army in the fields

 local farmers

 digging and looking for water

 thousands of clay/terracotta soldiers buried underground


1   He put a small bowl of popcorn in front of the machine.

2   They thought that it was the body of an unlucky mountain climber. They tore the clothes and broke one arm.

3   They believe most of them are still buried underground.

Exercise 2

1   Mark Turner

I think the most important invention is the Internet. The ‘world wide web’ was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee and now nearly all of us use it in our daily lives. We haven’t even started to see how much the Internet will change our lives in the future. We still have schools, post offices, newspapers, cinemas, shopping malls, but not for long. All these things will change as a result of the Internet. For example, we may stop using shops or offices as we will do everything from home. Choose any part of the way we live today and it will be completely different in the future – because of the Internet.

2   Eva Sorensen

Around 100 AD, the Chinese invented paper, and by 600 AD paper was used all over Asia. As a result of this, people were able to write down information, keep it and send it over long distances. Paper completely changed the way people communicated, as previously people wrote on clay or stone, which was heavy and broke easily. Later there were printed books and then, in our time, the Internet, but it all started with the invention of paper. So it seems to me that paper is a really important invention, perhaps one of the most important ever.

3   Tomas Valnek

I believe the most important invention is the Hindu-Arabic number system, which was invented around the sixth century in India. It spread throughout the Middle East and was finally brought to Europe in the 13th century. People could add numbers together easily for the first time, so because of this system, science could develop. Numbers are essential to almost all aspects of life, and without this invention there might be no science, engineering or computers.

4   Hiroko Okuzawa

In my opinion, the most important invention has been reading glasses. Reading glasses were invented in Italy around 1280 and they changed the world. Because they had reading glasses, people could read, stay active and work even in old age. In my view, that’s really important, especially as I’m over 60 myself. I can still do lots of things because of my reading glasses. I don’t know where I would be without them.

A. People were asked the question What is the most important invention of the last 2,000 years? Read the web posts and write the names of the inventions.


1   ……………………………

2   ……………………………

3   ……………………………

4   ……………………………

B. Match the inventions 1—4 with their results a—d.


a   Older people can continue to work and learn.

b   All the different sciences could develop.

c   Everyday life will change completely.

d   People could record and send information.

C. Read the web posts again and answer the questions.

 Which of the four inventions was the earliest? Which was the latest?

 In what way might schools, offices etc. change as a result of the Internet?

 How did the invention of paper change communication?

 How would the world be different without numbers?

 How do reading glasses make a difference to the writer of the web post?



 the Internet


 Hindu-Arabic number system

 reading glasses


a 4   b 3   c 1   d 2


 earliest: paper, latest: the Internet

 We might/will do everything from home.

 People were able to write down information, keep it and send it over long distances.

 There might be no science, engineering or computers.

 He can do lots of things (that he couldn’t do without them).

Exercise 3

Amazing but true

There are many true stories about people who have been in a plane crash but didn’t die, but what happened to Juliane Koepcke is one of the most amazing stories.

Juliane and her parents lived in Peru. On Christmas Eve in 1971, 17-year-old Juliane was on a plane that was ­ ying from Lima to Pucallpa in Peru with her mother, Maria. They were travelling to meet Juliane’s father, who was working in Pucallpa.

Unfortunately, the plane never arrived. During the ­flight, it was hit by lightning and broke up above the rainforest. Juliane fell over 3,000 metres to the ground and landed still in her seat, and amazingly, still alive. Everyone else on board died. Juliane had a broken bone in her neck and cuts to her arms, but surprisingly, she could still walk.

First of all, she tried to find her mother. Unfortunately, she couldn’t see her so decided to look for some food instead. Luckily, she found some sweets which passengers had taken with them for the Christmas holidays. This was the only food that she found to eat.

Juliane’s father was a biologist who had spent a lot of time in the rainforests in Peru with his family. Fortunately, he had taught Juliane some important lessons in how to stay alive. The skills that Juliane had learnt helped her in the rainforest. When she found a small river, she knew that if she followed it, it would take her to a village. It also gave her fresh water to drink and a natural path through the forest.

She walked and swam for nine days until, as expected, she found an empty hut made of wood. By chance, she also found a boat. Juliane wanted to leave but she didn’t want to take the boat because it wasn’t hers. So she waited. Luckily, hours later the men who used the hut came back and found Juliane. They helped to look after her and the next day took her in the boat down the river to a place where there was a small aeroplane which could take her to the hospital in Pucallpa. No one really knows why Juliane lived and everyone else died on the ­flight, but everyone agrees that it is an amazing story.

A. Read the story and complete the sentences.

1   Juliane and her …mother… took a flight from Lima to Pucallpa.

2   The ……………. was hit by lightning.

3   The plane crashed in the ……………. .

4   Juliane found some ……………. to eat.

5   Juliane followed a small ……………. through the forest.

6   Some men found Juliane and took her down the river in a ……………. .

7   A small aeroplane flew her to the ……………. in Pucallpa.

B. Read the story again. Are the sentences true or false?

1   Juliane was the only person who did not die in the crash.

2   The food that she found belonged to the other passengers.

3   Juliane was not prepared for life in the rainforest.

4   There were people in the hut that Juliane found.

5   The men who found Juliane had a small aeroplane.

C. Read the story again. Match 1–6 with a–f to make sentences.

1   The flight which

2   The bone that

 The lessons that

4   The boat which

5   The men who

6   The hospital where

a   found Juliane took her down the river.

b   Juliane broke was in her neck.

c   Juliane found belonged to the men who helped her.

d   Juliane was on crashed in the rainforest.

e   Juliane’s father taught her helped her survive.

f   Juliane was taken was in Pucallpa.

D. Imagine you are Juliane. Write a letter to a friend explaining your experience in the forest. Remember to include:

•   what happened to you

•   how you felt at the time

•   how you feel now.



2 plane / aeroplane   3 rainforest / forest   4 sweets

5 river   6 boat   7 hospital


True: 1, 2; False: 3, 4, 5


1 d   2 b   3 e   4 c   5 a   6 f

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