The Reading / Listening - A Zeptosecond - Level 3

In today's world, many things are getting shorter and shorter. Scientists have just measured something incredibly short. They recorded the shortest unit of time ever measured. It is called a zeptosecond. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of one second. It is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. This is a decimal point followed by 20 zeros and then a 1. The scientists study atomic physics at the Goethe University in Germany. They used special high-tech equipment to measure how long it takes a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule. The scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for this to happen. This is too small for the human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for humans to sense.



In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian chemist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the speed at which molecules change their shape. He found that one femtosecond equals 0.000000000000001 seconds. This is a decimal point followed by 14 zeros and then a 1, or a millionth of a billionth of one second. The zeptosecond measures things in terms of the speed of light. It is difficult for the human mind to understand these measurements. One millisecond is a thousandth of one second. This is the time for a neuron in the human brain to fire. One nanosecond is one billionth of one second. The shortest unit of time it may be possible to measure is one Planck. This is a decimal point followed by 44 zeros and a 1.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    A Zeptosecond - Level 0 A Zeptosecond - Level 1   or  A Zeptosecond - Level 2

Sources
  • https://interestingengineering.com/new-smallest-time-measurement-how-long-it-takes-a-photon-to-cross-a-hydrogen-molecule
  • https://www.livescience.com/zeptosecond-shortest-time-unit-measured.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(time)


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. ONE ZEPTOSECOND: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about one zeptosecond. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       today's world / scientists / short / fraction / decimal point / equipment / hydrogen /
       chemist / molecules / shape / billionth / human mind / measurements / brain / fire
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. PHYSICS: Students A strongly believe all students should study physics at school; Students B strongly believe this is unnecessary. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. TIME: How important are these periods of tie to you? What can you do? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

Hoe important

What Can You Do?

A second

 

 

A minute

 

 

An hour

 

 

A day

 

 

A month

 

 

A year

 

 

A decade

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. TINY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "tiny". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. MATHS: Rank these with your partner. Put the most important areas of maths at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • fractions
  • arithmetic
  • algebra
  • geometry
  • statistics
  • number theory
  • logic
  • computer science

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. incredibly a. A small or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something.
      2. unit b. A dot placed after a number in a fraction.
      3. tiny c. To a great degree; extremely or unusually.
      4. fraction d. Be aware of.
      5. decimal point e. A quantity chosen as a standard in terms of which other quantities may be expressed.
      6. equipment f. Very, very, very small.
      7. sense g. The necessary items for a particular purpose.

    Paragraph 2

      8. molecule h. Find the size, amount, or degree of something.
      9. in terms of i. A group of atoms representing the smallest unit of a chemical.
      10. equal j. Regarding.
      11. mind k. A nerve cell.
      12. neuron l. A person's mental processes rather than their physical action.
      13. billion m. Be the same as in number or amount.
      14. measure n. 1,000,000,000

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The article said things in tomorrow's world are getting shorter.     T / F
  2. A zeptosecond is a billionth of a trillionth of a second.     T / F
  3. A zeptosecond has 21 zeros after the decimal point.     T / F
  4. It took a photon 247 zeptoseconds to cross a hydrogen molecule.     T / F
  5. An Egyptian physicist won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.     T / F
  6. A femtosecond measures how fast molecules change their shape.     T / F
  7. The time it takes for a neuron in the human brain to fire is a millisecond. T / F
  8. The time unit called a Planck is a decimal point followed by 100 zeros.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. measured
  2. incredibly
  3. tiny
  4. equipment
  5. sense
  6. speed
  7. shape
  8. difficult
  9. fire
  10. zero
  1. understand
  2. hard
  3. calculated
  4. rate
  5. minute
  6. nought
  7. unbelievably
  8. start
  9. tools
  10. form

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. In today's world, many things are getting
  2. measured something incredibly
  3. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny
  4. a decimal point
  5. This is too small for the
  6. the speed at which molecules
  7. a millionth of a
  8. in terms of the speed
  9. the human
  10. the shortest unit of time it may
  1. billionth of one second
  2. fraction of one second
  3. human eye to see
  4. be possible to measure
  5. short
  6. of light
  7. followed by 20 zeros
  8. mind
  9. shorter and shorter
  10. change their shape

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
point
takes
shorter
sense
fraction
small
shortest
physics

In today's world, many things are getting (1) _____________________ and shorter. Scientists have just measured something incredibly short. They recorded the (2) _____________________ unit of time ever measured. It is called a zeptosecond. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny (3) _____________________ of one second. It is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. This is a decimal (4) _____________________ followed by 20 zeros and then a 1. The scientists study atomic (5) _____________________ at the Goethe University in Germany. They used special high-tech equipment to measure how long it (6) _____________________ a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule. The scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for this to happen. This is too (7) _____________________ for the human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for humans to (8) _____________________.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
fire
shape
mind
followed
terms
shortest
decimal
time

In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian chemist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the speed at which molecules change their (9) _____________________. He found that one femtosecond equals 0.000000000000001 seconds. This is a (10) _____________________ point followed by 14 zeros and then a 1, or a millionth of a billionth of one second. The zeptosecond measures things in (11) _____________________ of the speed of light. It is difficult for the human (12) _____________________ to understand these measurements. One millisecond is a thousandth of one second. This is the (13) _____________________ for a neuron in the human brain to (14) _____________________. One nanosecond is one billionth of one second. The (15) _____________________ unit of time it may be possible to measure is one Planck. This is a decimal point (16) _____________________ by 44 zeros and a 1.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1) In today's world, many things are getting ______
     a.  shorter and shorten
     b.  shorter and shorts
     c.  shorter and shorter
     d.  shorter and shortens
2)  They recorded the shortest unit of ______
     a.  time never measured
     b.  time every measured
     c.  time ever measured
     d.  time even measured
3)  This is a tiny, tiny, tiny ______ second
     a.  fraction of one
     b.  fiction of one
     c.  faction of one
     d.  function of one
4)  They used special high-tech equipment to measure how ______
     a.  long it take
     b.  long they takes
     c.  long these takes
     d.  long it takes
5)  human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for ______
     a.  humans to cents
     b.  humans two cents
     c.  humans too sense
     d.  humans to sense

6)  the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the speed at which molecules ______
     a.  changes their shape
     b.  change their shape
     c.  changed their shape
     d.  charge their shape
7)  This is a decimal point ______ zeros
     a.  followed of 14
     b.  followed by 14
     c.  followed at 14
     d.  followed on 14
8)  and then a 1, or a millionth of a ______ second
     a.  billionth of one
     b.  billionth of one
     c.  billion of one
     d.  billionth oft one
9)  This is the time for a neuron in the human ______
     a.  brain to fired
     b.  brain to fires
     c.  brain to fire
     d.  brainy to fire
10)  The shortest unit of time it may be possible to ______ Planck
     a.  measured is one
     b.  measures is one
     c.  measure is one
     d.  measuring is one

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

In today's world, (1) ____________________ getting shorter and shorter. Scientists have just measured something incredibly short. They recorded the shortest unit of time ever measured. It is called a zeptosecond. This is a tiny, tiny, (2) ____________________ one second. It is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. This is (3) ____________________ followed by 20 zeros and then a 1. The scientists study atomic physics at the Goethe University in Germany. They used (4) ____________________ equipment to measure how long it takes a photon (5) ____________________ hydrogen molecule. The scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for this to happen. This is too small for the human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for (6) ____________________.

In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian (7) ____________________ Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the (8) ____________________ molecules change their shape. He found that one femtosecond equals 0.000000000000001 seconds. This is a decimal (9) ____________________ 14 zeros and then a 1, or a millionth of a billionth of one second. The zeptosecond measures things (10) ____________________ the speed of light. It is difficult for the human mind to understand these measurements. One millisecond is a thousandth of one second. This is the time for a neuron in the human (11) ____________________. One nanosecond is one billionth of one second. The shortest unit of time it may (12) ____________________ measure is one Planck. This is a decimal point followed by 44 zeros and a 1.

Comprehension questions

  1. What did the article say is getting shorter and shorter in today's world?
  2. How many zeros are after a decimal point in a zeptosecond?
  3. What do the scientists in the article study?
  4. How long does it take for a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule?
  5. What did the article say a process was too small for us to do?
  6. What is the nationality of the winner of the 1999 Nobel Chemistry Prize?
  7. What does a femtosecond measure the speed of change in?
  8. What does a zeptosecond measure things in terms of?
  9. How long does it take for a neuron in the brain to fire?
  10. What time unit has a decimal point followed by 44 zeros?




Multiple choice quiz

1)  What did the article say is getting shorter and shorter in today's world?
a) everything
b) many things
c) time
d) one second
2)  How many zeros are after a decimal point in a zeptosecond?
a) 22
b) 21
c) 20
d) 19
3)  What do the scientists in the article study?
a) particle physics
b) quantum physics
c) astrophysics
d) atomic physics
4)  How long does it take for a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule?
a) 247 femtoseconds
b) 247 zeptoseconds
c) 247 nanoseconds
d) 247 milliseconds
5)  What did the article say a process was too small for us to do?
a) see
b) feel
c) react to
d) touch

6)  What is the nationality of the winner of the 1999 Nobel Chemistry Prize?
a) Egyptian
b) American
c) Japanese
d) Indian
7)  What does a femtosecond measure the speed of change in?
a) time
b) the weather
c) the blink of an eye
d) molecules changing shape
8)  What does a zeptosecond measure things in terms of?
a) relativity
b) space
c) the speed of light
d) the speed of sound
9)  How long does it take for a neuron in the brain to fire?
a) a tenth of a second
b) a nanosecond
c) a zeptosecond
d) a millisecond

10)  What time unit has a decimal point followed by 44 zeros?
a) a Steppe
b) a Planck
c) a Pluto
d) a Mayu

Role play

Role  A – Fractions
You think fractions is the most important area of maths. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their areas. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): arithmetic, algebra or statistics.

Role  B – Arithmetic
You think arithmetic is the most important area of maths. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their areas. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): fractions, algebra or statistics.

Role  C – Algebra
You think algebra is the most important area of maths. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their areas. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): arithmetic, fractions or statistics.

Role  D – Statistics
You think statistics is the most important area of maths. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their areas. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): arithmetic, algebra or fractions.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'short'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'time'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • world
    • tiny
    • 20
    • study
    • equipment
    • happen
    • prize
    • speed
    • 14
    • mind
    • fire
    • 44




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - A Zeptosecond

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'time'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Do you ever waste time?
    5. What do you think of wasting time?
    6. What do you know about molecules?
    7. What do you know about the speed of light?
    8. What do you know about neurons in the brain?
    9. What would you like to know about time?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the scientists?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'time'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Do you ever waste time?
    5. What do you think of wasting time?
    6. What do you know about molecules?
    7. What do you know about the speed of light?
    8. What do you know about neurons in the brain?
    9. What would you like to know about time?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the scientists?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    In today's world, many (1) ____ are getting shorter and shorter. Scientists have just measured something (2) ____ short. They recorded the shortest unit of time ever measured. It is called a zeptosecond. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny (3) ____ of one second. It is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. This is a decimal point followed by 20 zeros and then a 1. The scientists study atomic (4) ____ at the Goethe University in Germany. They used special high-tech equipment to measure how long it takes a photon to (5) ____ a hydrogen molecule. The scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for this to happen. This is too small for the human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for humans (6) ____ sense.

    In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian (7) ____ won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the speed at which molecules change (8) ____ shape. He found that one femtosecond equals 0.000000000000001 seconds. This is a decimal point followed by 14 zeros and then a 1, or a millionth of a billionth of one second. The zeptosecond measures things in (9) ____ of the speed of light. It is difficult for the human mind to understand (10) ____ measurements. One millisecond is a thousandth of one second. This is the time for a neuron in the human brain (11) ____ fire. One nanosecond is one billionth of one second. The shortest unit of time it may be possible to measure is one Planck. This is a decimal (12) ____ followed by 44 zeros and a 1.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     shorted     (b)     shorter     (c)     shorten     (d)     shorts    
    2. (a)     incredible     (b)     incredibly     (c)     inedible     (d)     incredulous    
    3. (a)     faction     (b)     fiction     (c)     function     (d)     fraction    
    4. (a)     physical     (b)     physics     (c)     physique     (d)     physicality    
    5. (a)     less     (b)     cross     (c)     plus     (d)     over    
    6. (a)     for     (b)     by     (c)     to     (d)     as    
    7. (a)     chemistry     (b)     chemical     (c)     chemist     (d)     chemically    
    8. (a)     them     (b)     thus     (c)     their     (d)     though    
    9. (a)     looks     (b)     relates     (c)     means     (d)     terms    
    10. (a)     third     (b)     that     (c)     them     (d)     these    
    11. (a)     to     (b)     as     (c)     of     (d)     on    
    12. (a)     punt     (b)     paint     (c)     point     (d)     pint

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. just measured something nceiidrbly short
    2. the ostrhest unit of time
    3. a tiny, tiny, tiny caftroin of one second
    4. The scientists study atomic ypishcs
    5. used special high-tech qupeminet
    6. too fast for humans to nesse

    Paragraph 2

    1. lscleemuo change their shape
    2. a aiecmdl point followed by 14 zeros
    3. in rtsme of the speed of light
    4. a tnhausohtd of one second
    5. a nnrueo in the human brain
    6. it may be sopilesb

    Put the text back together

    (...)  a hydrogen molecule. The scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for this to happen. This is too small
    (...)  fraction of one second. It is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. This is a decimal
    (...)  time for a neuron in the human brain to fire. One nanosecond is one billionth of one second. The shortest
    (...)  speed at which molecules change their shape. He found that one femtosecond equals 0.000000000000001
    (...)  billionth of one second. The zeptosecond measures things in terms of the speed of light. It is difficult for the human
    (...)  In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian chemist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the
    (...)  in Germany. They used special high-tech equipment to measure how long it takes a photon to cross
    (...)  for the human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for humans to sense.
    1  ) In today's world, many things are getting shorter and shorter. Scientists have just measured something incredibly
    (...)  unit of time it may be possible to measure is one Planck. This is a decimal point followed by 44 zeros and a 1.
    (...)  mind to understand these measurements. One millisecond is a thousandth of one second. This is the
    (...)  point followed by 20 zeros and then a 1. The scientists study atomic physics at the Goethe University
    (...)  seconds. This is a decimal point followed by 14 zeros and then a 1, or a millionth of a
    (...)  short. They recorded the shortest unit of time ever measured. It is called a zeptosecond. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny

    Put the words in the right order

    1. are   shorter   .   Many   things   getting   shorter   and
    2. unit   recorded   ever   .   shortest   They   of   time   the
    3. A   one   of   tiny,   tiny,   fraction   second   .   tiny
    4. photon   takes   cross   .   How   to   a   it   long
    5. see   .   the   Too   eye   human   small   to   for
    6. change   which   The   molecules   speed   their   at   shape   .
    7. zeros   .   point   decimal   A   followed   by   14
    8. for   mind   understand   Difficult   to   human   these   .   the
    9. of   millisecond   One   one   thousandth   is   a   second   .
    10. human   the   in   fire   .   neuron   brain   A   to

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    In today's world, many things are getting shorten / shorter and shorter. Scientists have just measured something incredible / incredibly short. They recorded the shortest unit of time ever measured / measure. It is called a zeptosecond. This is a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of once / one second. It is a trillionth of a billionth / billion of a second. This is a decimal point following / followed by 20 zeros and then a 1. The scientists study atom / atomic physics at the Goethe University in Germany. They used special high-tech equipment / equipped to measure how long it takes a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule. The scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for them / this to happen. This is too small for the human eye to see, and the time it takes is too fast for humans to / for sense.

    In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian chemistry / chemist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for measuring the speedy / speed at which molecules change their shape. He found that one femtosecond equally / equals 0.000000000000001 seconds. This is a decimal point followed at / by 14 zeros and then a 1, or a millionth of a billionth of one second. The zeptosecond measures things in terms / teams of the speed of light. It is difficult for the human mind to / so understand these measurements. One millisecond is a thousandth of one second. This is a / the time for a neuron in the human brain to fire. One nanosecond is one billionth of one second. The shortest unit of / by time it may be possible / possibly to measure is one Planck. This be / is a decimal point followed by 44 zeros and a 1.

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    In t_day's w_rld, many things _r_ g_tting sh_rt_r _nd sh_rt_r. Sci_ntists hav_ j_st m_as_r_d s_m_thing incr_dibly sh_rt. Th_y r_c_rd_d th_ sh_rt_st _nit _f tim_ _v_r m_as_r_d. It is call_d _ z_pt_s_c_nd. This is _ tiny, tiny, tiny fracti_n _f _n_ s_c_nd. It is _ trilli_nth _f _ billi_nth _f _ s_c_nd. This is _ d_cimal p_int f_ll_w_d by 20 z_r_s _nd th_n _ 1. Th_ sci_ntists st_dy _t_mic physics _t th_ G__th_ _niv_rsity in G_rmany. Th_y _s_d sp_cial high-t_ch _q_ipm_nt t_ m_as_r_ h_w l_ng it tak_s _ ph_t_n t_ cr_ss _ hydr_g_n m_l_c_l_. Th_ sci_ntists said it t__k 247 z_pt_s_c_nds f_r this t_ happ_n. This is t__ small f_r th_ h_man _y_ t_ s__, _nd th_ tim_ it tak_s is t__ fast f_r h_mans t_ s_ns_.

    In 1999, _hm_d Z_wail, _n _gyptian ch_mist w_n th_ N_b_l Priz_ in Ch_mistry f_r m_as_ring th_ sp__d _t which m_l_c_l_s chang_ th_ir shap_. H_ f__nd that _n_ f_mt_s_c_nd _q_als 0.000000000000001 s_c_nds. This is _ d_cimal p_int f_ll_w_d by 14 z_r_s _nd th_n _ 1, _r _ milli_nth _f _ billi_nth _f _n_ s_c_nd. Th_ z_pt_s_c_nd m_as_r_s things in t_rms _f th_ sp__d _f light. It is diffic_lt f_r th_ h_man mind t_ _nd_rstand th_s_ m_as_r_m_nts. _n_ millis_c_nd is _ th__sandth _f _n_ s_c_nd. This is th_ tim_ f_r _ n__r_n in h_man brain t_ fir_. _n_ nan_s_c_nd is _n_ billi_nth _f _n_ s_c_nd. Th_ sh_rt_st _nit _f tim_ it may b_ p_ssibl_ t_ m_as_r_ is _n_ Planck. This is _ d_cimal p_int f_ll_w_d by 44 z_r_s _nd _ 1.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    in todays world many things are getting shorter and shorter scientists have just measured something incredibly short they recorded the shortest unit of time ever measured it is called a zeptosecond this is a tiny tiny tiny fraction of one second it is a trillionth of a billionth of a second this is a decimal point followed by 20 zeros and then a 1 the scientists study atomic physics at the goethe university in germany they used special hightech equipment to measure how long it takes a photon to cross a hydrogen molecule the scientists said it took 247 zeptoseconds for this to happen this is too small for the human eye to see and the time it takes is too fast for humans to sense

    in 1999 ahmed zewail an egyptian chemist won the nobel prize in chemistry for measuring the speed at which molecules change their shape he found that one femtosecond equals 0000000000000001 seconds this is a decimal point followed by 14 zeros and then a 1 or a millionth of a billionth of one second the zeptosecond measures things in terms of the speed of light it is difficult for the human mind to understand these measurements one millisecond is a thousandth of one second this is the time for a neuron in the human brain to fire one nanosecond is one billionth of one second the shortest unit of time it may be possible to measure is one planck this is a decimal point followed by 44 zeros and a 1

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Intoday'sworld,manythingsaregettingshorterandshorter.Scientists
    havejustmeasuredsomethingincrediblyshort.Theyrecordedtheshort
    estunitoftimeevermeasured.Itiscalledazeptosecond.Thisisatiny,tin
    y,tinyfractionofonesecond.Itisatrillionthofabillionthofasecond.Thisi
    sadecimalpointfollowedby20zerosandthena1.Thescientistsstudyato
    micphysicsattheGoetheUniversityinGermany.Theyusedspecialhigh-
    techequipmenttomeasurehowlongittakesaphotontocrossahydroge
    nmolecule.Thescientistssaidittook247zeptosecondsforthistohappe
    n.Thisistoosmallforthehumaneyetosee,andthetimeittakesistoofastf
    orhumanstosense.In1999,AhmedZewail,anEgyptianchemistwonth
    eNobelPrizeinChemistryformeasuringthespeedatwhichmoleculesch
    angetheirshape.Hefoundthatonefemtosecondequals0.0000000000
    00001seconds.Thisisadecimalpointfollowedby14zerosandthena1,o
    ramillionthofabillionthofonesecond.Thezeptosecondmeasuresthing
    sintermsofthespeedoflight.Itisdifficultforthehumanmindtoundersta
    ndthesemeasurements.Onemillisecondisathousandthofonesecond.
    Thisisthetimeforaneuroninthehumanbraintofire.Onenanosecondiso
    nebillionthofonesecond.Theshortestunitoftimeitmaybepossibletom
    easureisonePlanck.Thisisadecimalpointfollowedby44zerosanda1.

    Free writing

    Write about zeptosecond for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    We must never, ever waste time. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. ONE ZEPTOSECOND: Make a poster about one zeptosecond. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. TIME: Write a magazine article about all of us having to spend our time in better ways. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on one zeptosecond. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your ideas on what we could do better with our time. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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