IELTS Recent Actual Test With Answers Volume 3 Reading Practice Test 6 READING PASSAGE 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 , which are based on Reading Passage 1 below. Thomas Young The Last True Know-It-All Thomas Young (1773-1829) contributed 63 articles to the Encyclopedia Britannica, including 46 biographical entries (mostly on scientists and classicists) and substantial essays on "Bridge," "Chromatics," "Egypt," "Languages" and "Tides". Was someone who could write authorita-tively about so many subjects a polymath, a genius or a dilettante? In an ambitious new biog-raphy, Andrew Robinson argues that Young is a good contender for the epitaph "the last man who knew everything." Young has competition, however: The phrase, which Robinson takes for his title, also serves as the subtitle of two other recent biographies: Leonard Warren's 1998 life of paleontologist Joseph Leidy (1823-1891) and Paula Findlen's 2004 book on Athanasius Kircher (1602- 1680), another polymath. page 1 Access for more practices
Young, of course, did more than write encyclopedia entries. He presented hisfirst paper to the Royal Society of London at the age of 20 and was elected aFellow a week after his 21st birthday. In the paper, Young explained theprocess of accommodation in the human eye —on how the eye focusesproperly on objects at varying distances. Young hypothesised that this wasachieved by changes in the shape of the lens. Young also theorised that lighttraveled in waves and ho believed that, to account for the ability to see incolor, there must be three receptors in the eye corresponding to the three"principal colors" to which the retina could respond: red, green, violet. All thesehypotheses Were subsequently proved to be correct.Later in his life, when he was in his forties, Young was instrumental in crackingthe code that unlocked the unknown script on the Rosetta Stone, a tablet thatwas "found" in Egypt by the Napoleonic army in 1799. The stone contains textin three alphabets: Greek, something unrecognisable and Egyptianhieroglyphs. The unrecognisable script is now known as demotic and, as Youngdeduced, is related directly to hieroglyphic. His initial work on this appearedin his Britannica entry on Egypt. In another entry, he coined the term Indo-European to describe the family of languages spoken throughout most ofEurope and northern India. These are the landmark achievements of a manwho was a child prodigy and who, unlike many remarkable children, did notdisappear into oblivion as an adult.Bom in 1773 in Somerset in England, Young lived from an early age with hismaternal grandfather, eventually leaving to attend boarding school. He haddevoured books from the age of two, and through his own initiative he excelledat Latin, Greek, mathematics and natural philosophy. After leaving school, hewas greatly encouraged by his mother's uncle, Richard Brock-lesby, a physicianand Fellow of the Royal Society. Following Brocklesby's lead, Young decided topursue a career in medicine. He studied in London, following the medical
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