The importance of reading editorials of reputed newspapers is not hidden from anybody. What causes obstruction are difficult words which act like speed-breakers forcing you to either refer to a dictionary for its meaning or to simply guess its meaning. While getting the meaning from the dictionary is the best way to understand it, sometimes a dictionary is not within your reach. Also, a number of aspirants get confused when they see more than one meaning next to a word in a dictionary. It becomes a difficult process for them to pick the relevant meaning. We at PracticeMock understand this and that’s why we have come up with a series of Editorials’ Difficult Words where we shortlist the important editorials of the day and pick the difficult words/phrases therein.
Let’s check out today’s editorial which discusses the recent Noble Prize winners and their contributions.
|Difficult Word/Phrase||Contextual Meaning|
|ingeniously||in a clever, original, and inventive manner|
|symmetries||the quality of having parts that match each other|
|supermassive||having a mass many times (typically between 10^6 and 10^9 times) that of the sun|
|light year||a unit of astronomical distance equivalent to the distance that light travels in one year, which is 9.4607 × 10^12 km (nearly 6 million million miles)|
|tackle||make determined efforts to deal with a difficult task|
|pursue||continue or proceed along|
|string||to tie a number of things|
|conviction||a firmly held belief or opinion|
|reiterate||say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis|
|twinkle||a light which appears continually to grow brighter and fainter|
The hole in the middle: On Physics Nobel
The physics Nobel celebrates both theoretical work and observational studies
This year’s Nobel prize in physics awards studies that established the existence of black holes. It celebrates theoretical work as much as it does dedicated observation. Andrea Ghez is only its fourth woman recipient. Roger Penrose, now at Oxford, who gets half the prize, ingeniously (in a clever, original, and inventive manner) used mathematics in the 1960s to theorise under what conditions black holes must form. This was a time when the reality of black holes as a solution to Albert Einstein’s field equations of the General Theory of Relativity was not accepted by many prominent physicists. Within a couple of months after Einstein proposed his General Theory of Relativity in 1915, Karl Schwarzschild published a solution to the field equations that exhibited singularities, or points where physical quantities grew infinitely large or vanished. Today, this is understood as the event horizon — the point of no return beyond which even light cannot escape the black hole’s gravitational attraction. While more solutions were found to Einstein’s equations that suggested black holes, they all required special symmetries (the quality of having parts that match each other) and their realisation under general astrophysical conditions was doubtful. Penrose, through the singularity theorems, identified the formation of trapped surfaces as the condition for the formation of black holes in a generic manner. In this climate came observational hints of supermassive (having a mass many times (typically between 10^6 and 10^9 times) that of the sun) black holes, through the discovery of what were initially called quasars that were supermassive and found at the centre of galaxies.
The other half of the prize is jointly awarded to Reinhard Genzel, at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany, and Prof. Ghez, of the UCLA, U.S., for showing that the dense region in the centre of our galaxy — the Milky Way — is indeed a black hole. Towards the end of the 1960s it was clear that the region named Sagittarius A* occupies the centre of the Milky Way, which is about 26,000 light years (a unit of astronomical distance equivalent to the distance that light travels in one year, which is 9.4607 × 10^12 km (nearly 6 million million miles)) away. Around this, all stars in the galaxy orbit. In the 1990s, when telescopes and equipment were developed that could tackle (make determined efforts to deal with a difficult task) this distance, Prof. Genzel and Prof. Ghez set up independent groups to explore this region. They built unique instruments and pursued (continue or proceed along) research from Very Large Telescope, in Chile, and the Keck Observatory, Hawaii, respectively. For three decades, the groups tracked nearly 30 stars, in particular one named S-2 (or S-O2). This star’s orbit has been nearly completely tracked. These stars followed elliptical, Keplerian, orbits, which can only imply a central concentrated massive object — a supermassive black hole. Thus, the prize strings (to tie a number of things) together theoretical research from the 1960s driven by conviction (a firmly held belief or opinion), and a three-decade long observational study that started in the 1990s. It reiterates (say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis) that in the pursuit of truth, time is but a twinkle (a light which appears continually to grow brighter and fainter).
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