Test yourself. Cover the dictionary meanings and look at the words. What are the meanings?

Student B

Match the definitions/explanations in A (1–7) with the words in B (a–g):

1 main, most important a diffident
2 something at which one works or to which one gives one’s time b conscientious
3 working hard and careful to do things well c primary
4 the state of being very interested in something or attracted by something d pursuit
5 very keen to do something, desiring much e voraciously
6 something done successfully with effort and skill f fascination
7 shy, lacking in self-confidence g achievements

Read the article below and complete it with a word from the task 5 (column B).

Tim Berners-Lee

    Tim Berners-Lee, the 1_____ inventor of the World Wide Web, was born in London in 1955. He is a scientist in the true sense of the word – idealistic, interested in the pure 2_____of knowledge, and uncomfortable in the media spotlight. Yet his invention, which provides an easy way to access the Internet, has made a huge impact on modern business and communications.

    The Web has become a way for many businesses to sell themselves or their products and has made money for some computer scientists. Berners-Lee, however, refused to cashin on his invention. He remained a 3_____scientist, and an advocate for using the Web as a way to link the world for the benefit of all.

    Berners-Lee developed a hunger for knowledge and a 4_____with computers early in his life. His English parents helped design the first computer that was commercially available worldwide, the Ferranti Mark I. As a boy, he spent his time making toy computers out of boxes. He remembers conversations at the dinner table as centering on mathematics; it was more likely to be about the square root of four than the neighbors down the block.

    As a teenager, Berners-Lee read science fiction 5_____ and was fascinated with Arthur Clarkes short story ‘Dial F for Frankenstein’, in which computers are networked together to form a living, breathing human brain. It was only a short step from this type of fiction to his study of physics and computers at Oxford University’s Queen’s College. There he built his first computer with a soldering iron, an M6800 processor and an old television.

    After graduating from Queens College in 1976, with a degree in physics, Berners-Lee got his first job with Plessey Telecommunications, Ltd., in Dorset. In 1980 he worked as an independent consultant at the European particle physics laboratory, CERN for half a year. When he realized that he had to master the lab’s huge and confusing information system in six months, he created a software program called Enquire. It allowed him to put words in a document that, when clicked, would send the user on to other documents with a fuller explanation. This device, which Berners-Lee used to assist his memory, is now known as ‘hypertext’. It was not until the birth of the Internet in 1989, that Berners-Lee proposed that CERN’s computer resources – whether graphics, text, or video – should be linked with software based on Enquire. Eventually the system could go worldwide, he proposed.

    It wasn’t long before it did. Berners-Lee wrote the original Web software himself in 1990. The software, accompanied by a simple browser (a device that helps the user cruise the Web, looking for subject matter) was put on the Internet in 1991.

    In 1994, as the popularity of the Web really began growing, he joined the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There he became director of the W3 Consortium. Berners-Lee is most proud of the 6_____ of his W3 Consortium over the last few years. It has made the encoding language HTML 3.2 a widely used standard, which helps make traveling the Web easy for the average computer user. It has also proposed a chip that would let parents keep offending Web sites from their computers – and their children’s eyes.

    Berners-Lee has received numerous awards for his work on the Web. Yet in public he remains a 7_____man, who reveals very little personal information in interviews. He is married to Nancy Carlson, an American. They met in Europe while both were taking an acting class; she was then working for the World Health Organization. They have two children. Despite his diffidence with the press, he is a warm, artistic man who can be the life of a party, his friends say.


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