GE|Adults|Upper-Int|14. Suffering for science

pic1_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Answer the questions

  1. Is science important? Why?
  2. Can you remember any scientific discoveries?

You can read about discoveries 🔗here.

  • a lens [lenz] — a piece of glass or other transparent substance with curved sides for concentrating or dispersing light rays
  • Karl Scheele [ˈʃeːlə]
  • phosphorus [‘fɔsf(ə)rəs] — P, a poisonous yellowish-white chemical element
  • an element [‘elɪmənt] — a substance such as gold, oxygen,etc. that consists of only one type of atom
  • chlorine [‘klɔːriːn] — Cl2 , (a chemical element), a strong-smelling gas that is used to clean water
  • substance [‘sʌbst(ə)ns] — a solid, powder, liquid, or gas with particular properties
  • mercury [‘mɜːkjurɪ] — Hg, (a chemical element), a silver-coloured liquid metal that is used especially in thermometers and barometers
  • cyanide [‘saɪənaɪd] — a highly poisonous substance
  • Pierre and Marie Curie [ˈkjʊərɪ]
  • radioactive [ˌreɪdɪəu’æktɪv] — sth that contains a substance that produces energy in the form of powerful and harmful rays
  • a crater [‘kreɪtə] — a very large hole in the ground, which has been caused by something hitting it or by an explosion
  • a comet [‘kɔmɪt] — a bright object with a long tail that travels around the sun


Read and listen to the extracts and label the illustrations


Listen to the audio and do the exercise.

Suffering for science

Throughout history scientists have risked their health and their lives in their search for the truth…

A Sir Isаас Newton, the seventeenth century scientist was a genius, but that didn’t stop him from doing some pretty stupid things. In his laboratory in Cambridge he often did the most bizarre experiments. Once, while investigating how lenses transmit light, he inserted a long needle into his eye, pushed it to the back, and then moved it around just to see what would happen. Miraculously, nothing long-lasting did. On another occasion he stared at the sun for as long as he could bear, to discover what effect this would have on his vision. Again he escaped suffering permanent damage, though he had to spend some days in a darkened room before his eyes recovered.

В In the 1750s the Swedish chemist Karl Scheele was the first person to find a way to manufacture phosphorus. He in fact discovered eight more elements including chlorine, though he didn’t get the credit for any of them. He was a brilliant scientist but his one failing was a curious insistence on tasting a little of each substance he worked with, including mercury and cyanide. This risky practice finally caught up with him, and in 1786 he was found dead in his laboratory surrounded by a large number of toxic chemicals, any of which might have been responsible for his death.

С In the early 1900s when Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radiation, nobody realized what a dangerous and deadly phenomenon it was — in fact most people thought that it was beneficial. There was even a hotel in New York which, in the 1920’s, advertised «the therapeutic effect of its radioactive waters». Both Pierre and Marie Curie experienced radiation sickness and Marie Curie died of leukaemia in 1934. Even now, all her papers from the 1890s, even her cookbooks, are too dangerous to touch. Her laboratory books are kept in special lead boxes and people who want to see them have to wear protective clothing. Marie’s husband Pierre, however, did not die from radiation — he was run over by a carriage while crossing the street in Paris.

D Eugene Shoemaker was a respected geologist. He spent a large part of his life investigating craters on the moon, and how they were formed, and later did research into the comets of the planet Jupiter. In 1997 he and his wife were in the Australian desert where they went every year to search for places where comets might have hit the earth. While driving in the Tanami desert, While driving in the Tanami desert, normally one of the emptiest places in the world, another vehicle crashed into them and Shoemaker was killed instantly. Some of his ashes were sent to the moon aboard the Lunar Prospector spacecraft and scattered there — he is the only person who has had this honour.


Suffering for science

Throughout history scientists have risked their health and their lives in their search for the truth…

A Sir Isаас Newton, the seventeenth century scientist was a genius, but that didn’t stop him from doing some pretty stupid things. In his laboratory in Cambridge he often did the most bizarre experiments. Once, while investigating how lenses transmit light, he inserted a long needle into his eye, pushed it to the back, and then moved it around just to see what would happen. Miraculously, nothing long-lasting did. On another occasion he stared at the sun for as long as he could bear, to discover what effect this would have on his vision. Again he escaped suffering permanent damage, though he had to spend some days in a darkened room before his eyes recovered.

В In the 1750s the Swedish chemist Karl Scheele was the first person to find a way to manufacture phosphorus. He in fact discovered eight more elements including chlorine, though he didn’t get the credit for any of them. He was a brilliant scientist but his one failing was a curious insistence on tasting a little of each substance he worked with, including mercury and cyanide. This risky practice finally caught up with him, and in 1786 he was found dead in his laboratory surrounded by a large number of toxic chemicals, any of which might have been responsible for his death.

С In the early 1900s when Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radiation, nobody realized what a dangerous and deadly phenomenon it was — in fact most people thought that it was beneficial. There was even a hotel in New York which, in the 1920’s, advertised «the therapeutic effect of its radioactive waters». Both Pierre and Marie Curie experienced radiation sickness and Marie Curie died of leukaemia in 1934. Even now, all her papers from the 1890s, even her cookbooks, are too dangerous to touch. Her laboratory books are kept in special lead boxes and people who want to see them have to wear protective clothing. Marie’s husband Pierre, however, did not die from radiation — he was run over by a carriage while crossing the street in Paris.

D Eugene Shoemaker was a respected geologist. He spent a large part of his life investigating craters on the moon, and how they were formed, and later did research into the comets of the planet Jupiter. In 1997 he and his wife were in the Australian desert where they went every year to search for places where comets might have hit the earth. While driving in the Tanami desert, While driving in the Tanami desert, normally one of the emptiest places in the world, another vehicle crashed into them and Shoemaker was killed instantly. Some of his ashes were sent to the moon aboard the Lunar Prospector spacecraft and scattered there — he is the only person who has had this honour.

  • a lens [lenz] — a piece of glass or other transparent substance with curved sides for concentrating or dispersing light rays
  • Karl Scheele [ˈʃeɪlə]
  • phosphorus [‘fɔsf(ə)rəs] — F, a poisonous yellowish-white chemical element
  • an element [‘elɪmənt] — a substance such as gold, oxygen,etc. that consists of only one type of atom
  • chlorine [‘klɔːriːn] — Cl2 , (a chemical element), a strong-smelling gas that is used to clean water
  • substance [‘sʌbst(ə)ns] — a solid, powder, liquid, or gas with particular properties
  • mercury [‘mɜːkjurɪ] — Hg, (a chemical element), a silver-coloured liquid metal that is used especially in thermometers and barometers
  • cyanide [‘saɪənaɪd] — a highly poisonous substance
  • Pierre and Marie Curie [ˈkjʊərɪ]
  • radioactive [ˌreɪdɪəu’æktɪv] — sth that contains a substance that produces energy in the form of powerful and harmful rays
  • a crater [‘kreɪtə] — a very large hole in the ground, which has been caused by something hitting it or by an explosion
  • a comet [‘kɔmɪt] — a bright object with a long tail that travels around the sun


pic2_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Read the extracts again and answer the questions

Which scientist…?


Suffering for science

Throughout history scientists have risked their health and their lives in their search for the truth…

A Sir Isаас Newton, the seventeenth century scientist was a genius, but that didn’t stop him from doing some pretty stupid things. In his laboratory in Cambridge he often did the most bizarre experiments. Once, while investigating how lenses transmit light, he inserted a long needle into his eye, pushed it to the back, and then moved it around just to see what would happen. Miraculously, nothing long-lasting did. On another occasion he stared at the sun for as long as he could bear, to discover what effect this would have on his vision. Again he escaped suffering permanent damage, though he had to spend some days in a darkened room before his eyes recovered.

В In the 1750s the Swedish chemist Karl Scheele was the first person to find a way to manufacture phosphorus. He in fact discovered eight more elements including chlorine, though he didn’t get the credit for any of them. He was a brilliant scientist but his one failing was a curious insistence on tasting a little of each substance he worked with, including mercury and cyanide. This risky practice finally caught up with him, and in 1786 he was found dead in his laboratory surrounded by a large number of toxic chemicals, any of which might have been responsible for his death.

С In the early 1900s when Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radiation, nobody realized what a dangerous and deadly phenomenon it was — in fact most people thought that it was beneficial. There was even a hotel in New York which, in the 1920’s, advertised «the therapeutic effect of its radioactive waters». Both Pierre and Marie Curie experienced radiation sickness and Marie Curie died of leukaemia in 1934. Even now, all her papers from the 1890s, even her cookbooks, are too dangerous to touch. Her laboratory books are kept in special lead boxes and people who want to see them have to wear protective clothing. Marie’s husband Pierre, however, did not die from radiation — he was run over by a carriage while crossing the street in Paris.

D Eugene Shoemaker was a respected geologist. He spent a large part of his life investigating craters on the moon, and how they were formed, and later did research into the comets of the planet Jupiter. In 1997 he and his wife were in the Australian desert where they went every year to search for places where comets might have hit the earth. While driving in the Tanami desert, While driving in the Tanami desert, normally one of the emptiest places in the world, another vehicle crashed into them and Shoemaker was killed instantly. Some of his ashes were sent to the moon aboard the Lunar Prospector spacecraft and scattered there — he is the only person who has had this honour.

Listen to the words, which are all related to science

pic3_GE|Upper-Int|L14


lenses / phosphorus / elements / chlorine / substance mercury / cyanide / toxic / radiation / radioactive / lead craters / comets

Match the words with their definitions

Match different kinds of scientists with what they study

pic4_GE|Upper-Int|L14 pic5_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Complete the table


In some word «families» the stressed syllable changes in the different parts of speech,

e.g. photograph, photographer, photographic.


1. scientist scientific science
2. chemist chemical chemistry
3. biologist biological biology
4. physicist physical physics
5. geneticist genetic genetics
6. geologist geological geology

Complete the sentences with the correct form of a verb from the list

pic6_GE|Upper-Int|L14



  • a laboratory [lə’bɔrət(ə)rɪ]
  • a theory [‘θɪərɪ]
  • pharmaceutical [ˌfɑːmə’sjuːtɪk(ə)l]
  • a guinea pig [‘gɪnɪ]


Listen and check. Practise saying the sentences.

Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radiation in 1900. Scientists do experiments in a laboratory. Archimedes made an important discovery in his bath. Isaac Newton’s experiments proved his theory that gravity existed. The telephone was invented in the 1870s. Pharmaceutical companies try to develop new drugs to cure illnesses and diseases. Scientists have to do a lot of research into the possible side effects of new drugs. Before a company can sell a new drug they have to do tests and trials to make sure they are safe. People can volunteer to be guinea pigs in clinical trials.

Answer the questions

pic7_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Talk about science

1. Which scientific subjects do / did you study at school?

2. Which did you enjoy the most / least?

3. Which ones do you think have actually taught you something useful?

4. Is there a scientist (living or dead) who you admire?

5. What do you think is the most important scientific discovery of recent years?

6. Are there any scientific discoveries that you wich hadn’t been made?

7. Would you ever agree to be a volunteer in a clinical trial of a new drug?

8. If you were ill, would you agree to be a guinea pig for a new kind of treatment?

9. What scientific stories are in the news at the moment?

10. Are you worried about any of the things scientists are currently experimenting with?

11. What would you most like scientists to discover in the near future?

pic8_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Match the phrasal verbs with their definitions

Reorder the letters to name the animals

pic9_GE|Upper-Int|L14



Look at the sentences. Decide if the sentences are True and which are False

pic10_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Complete the sentences with the right forms of the words from the boxes


Match each verb with a suitable noun


Complete the sentences with the correct form of a verb phrase

pic10_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Complete the sentences with the words from the box

pic11_GE|Upper-Int|L14


Listen to two people talking about these inventions that never became popular. Number the pictures in the order they are mentioned

Simon | Maggie

Simon: Hey Maggie, have you seen these inventions?
Maggie: No. Let me have a look.
Simon: They’re really funny.
Maggie: Oh yes. Oh look,that one’s useful, isn’t it?
Simon: Yes, it’s always too hot when you take it out of the saucepan, isn’t it?
Maggie: Yes, and you can’t take the top off straight away.I think that could be handy. I’d quite like to have one.
Simon: Oh and look at these.
Maggie: What are they?
Simon: Oh, they’ve got a light to help you see when you go to the bathroom!
Maggie: Oh, I think they’re great! You wouldn’t have to wake everyone up any more.
Simon: How about this one?
Maggie: What’s that? Do you think it keeps it cold?
Simon: Yes, it looks like that’s what it’s for. To keep it cold when you go for a picnic.
Maggie: It could be useful I suppose. Oh! Look at this one! How silly!
Simon: You mean you never get it all over your face?
Maggie: No, I don’t actually. I never wear the stuff! But I know it can be difficult to put on sometimes.
Simon: What’s that box for?
Maggie: I don’t know. What are they doing?
Simon: I know! Those are onions! It’s to stop you crying when you chop them up. What a good idea!
Maggie: It can’t possibly work, though. I find the best thing is to open the window and get a bit of fresh air.
Simon: Yes, I suppose so. Look at the last one!
Maggie: Oh, that’s ridiculous! How on earth can he ride it?
Simon: I’ve got no idea! I can’t work out how the wheel goes round.
Maggie: No. Good point. I really can’t see how it would work.
Simon: They’re good though, aren’t they?
Maggie: Absolutely fantastic! I love them.


Look at the pictures and read the article. Match each pictures with the paragraphs. Look up the highlighted phrases in the dictionary


Unknown inventors

For most of us, the word «inventor» makes us think of names like Alexander Graham Bell or Guglielmo Marconi, the men behind the telephone and the radio. But what about the people whose inventions we use so often that we forget someone had to think them up in the first place? Read on to find out about five of the unknown inventors of our times.

A. An American woman called Margaret Knight was working in a paper bag factory when she noticed how difficult it was to put things into the bags. So, she decided to invent a machine that folded and glued paper to make a flat-bottomed bag. She made a lot of sketches of her machine, but before she could actually make it, another employee called Charles Annan stole her idea. Knight took Annan to court and eventually won the case. In 1858 Knight set up her own paper bag company and received large sums of royalties for her invention when other companies made her bags under licence.

B. In 1910, a Russian-born sweet manufacturer called Sam Born emigrated to the USA and set up a business there. One day, when he was wondering how to make the sweet making process more efficient, he thought up an idea for a new machine. It was called the Born Sucker Machine and its job was to quickly and mechanically insert the sticks into lollipops. The new machine helped make the sweets and Sam’s company into a huge success and in 1916, he was awarded «the key to San Francisco». In 1923, he founded the Just Born company, which is still going strong in the USA today.

C. In 1959, Ernie Fraze, the owner of a successful American engineering company, was at a picnic when he went to fetch the drinks. In those days, drinks were in sealed cans which were opened with a can opener. Unfortunately, Ernie had forgotten to bring the opener. This started him thinking, and one night, when he was having trouble sleeping, he solved the can dilemma. His idea was a new can that could be easily opened with a ring pull. Ernie’s company began manufacturing a system of mass producing these cans and by 1980, he was making over $500 million dollars a year from his invention.

D. Once the banks had decided they wanted to install cash machines, the next problem was how to confirm a customer’s identity to allow money to be withdrawn. It was a Scottish man by the name of James Goodfellow who came up with the solution. In 1966, Goodfellow realized he could link a set of numbers, known only to the account owner, to an encoded card. If the two numbers matched, the person would receive their cash. This number became known as a Personal Identification Number or PIN. Goodfellow didn’t get a penny for his idea, but he did receive an OBE* from the Queen in 2006.

E. When takeaway cups of coffee became popular, the Solo Cup Company, a leading producer of disposable cups, saw a gap in the market for a new container. Jack Clements was the man they asked to design it. In 1985, Clements designed a new lid for the cup in the shape of a dome. The lid rested comfortably between the mouth and nose when the user took a sip and it also helped prevent spilling. Since then, the Solo Traveller Lid has been adopted by many of America’s coffeehouses and it has helped Clements’ company earn $2 billion of annual income.

*OBE — An award given in Britain for a special achievement.


Read the article again and answer the questions. Choose the letter of the paragraph. Which inventor…

pic13_GE|Upper-Int|L1


Complete the sentences with the highlighted words and phrases from the text (in the previous step)

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Suffering for science
  • Which scientist...?
  • Lenses, phosphorus ...
  • Science
  • Science verbs
  • Talk about science
  • Phrasal verbs
  • Biology quiz
  • Science
  • Quantifiers challenge
  • Popular inventions
  • Unknown inventors
  • Words, words