IELTS Academic Reading Practice 70

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 1-13.

Questions 1-7

Look at the following Descriptions (Questions 1-7) and The list of statements below.

Match each description with the correct scientist.

Write the correct number A-H in boxes Questions 1-7 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

The list of statements
  1. John Dalton
  2. Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier
  3. Louis-Joseph Proust
  4. Jacob Berzelius
  5. Humphry Davy
  6. Johann Dobereiner
  7. John Newlands
  8. Dmitri Mendeleev

1. Originated a system that the writer of the article feels is contrived
2. Contemporary innovation was used to assist his work
3. Took an earlier idea and adapted it to work more efficiently
4. The writer believes that his work is still as relevant today
5. Theorized correctly that the blanks in his table represented elements as yet unrecognised
6. His work lead to the discovery of a fundamental order in elements
7. Conceived the idea that each element was made up of tiny, inseparable pieces
Questions 8-13

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this

8. Until 1789 there had not been a wide ranging list of elements
9. The weight of atoms is based on hydrogen because it was one of the first elements to be discovered
10. Davy was responsible for the invention of more powerful batteries
11. The writer likens the ‘law of triads’ to that of the musical scale
12. Aluminium lead to the discovery of many other elements
13. The periodic table used today differs from the original table

Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
N/A
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


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Periodic Table

Where the story of the periodic table of the elements really starts is debatable. But Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier’s laboratory is as good a place as any to begin, for it was Lavoisier who published the first putatively comprehensive list of chemical elements—substances incapable of being broken down by chemical reactions into other substances. Lavoisier’s list of elements, published in 1789, had 33 entries. Of those, 23—a fifth of the total now recognised—have stood the test of time. Some, like gold and sulphur, had been known since ancient days. Others, like manganese and tungsten, were recent discoveries. What the list did not have was a structure. It was a stamp collection. But the album was missing. Creating that album, filling it and understanding why it is the way it is took a century and a half. It is now, though, a familiar feature of every high-school science laboratory.

The Lavoisier’s careful measurements had discovered something now thought commonplace—the law of conservation of matter. Chemistry transforms the nature of substances, but not their total mass. That fact established, another Frenchman, Louis-Joseph Proust, extended the idea with the law of definite proportions. This law, published in 1794, states that the ratio by weight of the elements in a chemical compound is always the same. It does not depend on that compound’s method of preparation. From there, it might have been a short step for Proust to arrive at the idea of compounds being made of particles of different weights, each weight representing a specific element. But he did not take it. That insight had to wait for John Dalton.

In the 19th century John Dalton took Proust’s concept and showed not only that elements reacted in fixed proportions by weight, but also that those proportions were ratios of small whole numbers. The simplest way to explain this—and indeed the way that Dalton lit upon—was to suppose each element to be composed of tiny, indivisible particles, all of the same weight. The Greek word for indivisible is “atomos”. Thus was the atom born.

Dalton based his system of relative atomic weights on hydrogen, the atoms of which he found to be the lightest. And it was quickly picked up by someone who, though less famous than Lavoisier, perhaps because of his grisly end, was arguably the greater man. Jacob Berzelius, a Swede, furnished chemistry with its language. It was he who came up with the idea of the abbreviations that now occupy the periodic table’s rectangles. It was he who combined those abbreviations with numbers, indicating the proportions involved, to make formulae for chemical compounds: H2O (water), H2SO4 (sulphuric acid), NaCl (table salt). Though Dalton invented atomic theory, it was Berzelius who embedded it at the heart of the subject. And Berzelius did more. He used Alessandro Volta’s recently invented battery, which created electricity from a chemical reaction, to do the reverse. He employed electricity to drive chemical reactions in solutions , a process called electrolysis.

Back in England, Humphry Davy, inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, picked up the idea of electrolysis and supercharged it. He employed a more powerful version of Volta’s battery to decompose molten materials, rather than solutions. In this way he discovered sodium and potassium in 1807. He also showed that chlorine, previously thought to be a compound of oxygen, was actually an element. After Davy’s work new elements began to flow in thick and fast.

It had been apparent from the time of their discovery that sodium and potassium were similar, as were calcium, strontium and barium. Lithium, when discovered, proved similar to sodium and potassium. Likewise, bromine and iodine proved similar to chlorine. In 1829 Johann Dobereiner, a German discovered that if the members were arranged in order of atomic weight, the middle element (sodium, strontium, bromine, selenium) had a weight that was the average of the lightest and the heaviest of the three. Dobereiner called this the law of triads. It was the first hint of some underlying pattern.

As more and more elements turned up, so the search for order intensified. In 1864 John Newlands, a Briton, almost got it. He published what he called the law of octaves. Arranging the known elements in order of atomic weight, he believed he had discerned that, like a musical scale, every eighth element “rhymed” in the ways that sodium rhymed with potassium, and chlorine with bromine. The trouble with Newlands’ scheme was that an awful lot of the rhymes were forced.

In 1869, just five years after John Newlands put forward his Law of Octaves, a Russian chemist called Dmitri Mendeleev published a periodic table. Mendeleev realized that the physical and chemical properties of elements were related to their atomic mass in a 'periodic' way, and arranged them so that groups of elements with similar properties fell into vertical columns in his table. Sometimes this method of arranging elements meant there were gaps in his horizontal rows or 'periods'. But instead of seeing this as a problem, Mendeleev thought it simply meant that the elements which belonged in the gaps had not yet been discovered. He was also able to work out the atomic mass of the missing elements, and so predict their properties. And when they were discovered, Mendeleev turned out to be right. For example, he predicted the properties of an undiscovered element that should fit below aluminum in his table. When this element, called gallium, was discovered in 1875 its properties were found to be close to Mendeleev's predictions.

Modern day periodic tables are expanded beyond Mendeleev's initial 63 elements. Most of the current periodic tables include 108 or 109 elements. It is also important to notice how the modern periodic table is arranged. Although we have retained the format of rows and columns, which reflects a natural order, the rows of today's tables show elements in the order of Mendeleev's columns. In other words the elements of what we now call a 'period' were listed vertically by Mendeleev. Chemical 'groups' are now shown vertically in contrast to their horizontal format in Mendeleev's table.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
Periodic Table

Where the story of the periodic table of the elements really starts is debatable. But Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier’s laboratory is as good a place as any to begin, for it was Lavoisier who published the first putatively comprehensive list of chemical elements—substances incapable of being broken down by chemical reactions into other substances. Lavoisier’s list of elements, published in 1789, had 33 entries. Of those, 23—a fifth of the total now recognised—have stood the test of time. Some, like gold and sulphur, had been known since ancient days. Others, like manganese and tungsten, were recent discoveries. What the list did not have was a structure. It was a stamp collection. But the album was missing. Creating that album, filling it and understanding why it is the way it is took a century and a half. It is now, though, a familiar feature of every high-school science laboratory.

The Lavoisier’s careful measurements had discovered something now thought commonplace—the law of conservation of matter. Chemistry transforms the nature of substances, but not their total mass. That fact established, another Frenchman, Louis-Joseph Proust, extended the idea with the law of definite proportions. This law, published in 1794, states that the ratio by weight of the elements in a chemical compound is always the same. It does not depend on that compound’s method of preparation. From there, it might have been a short step for Proust to arrive at the idea of compounds being made of particles of different weights, each weight representing a specific element. But he did not take it. That insight had to wait for John Dalton.

In the 19th century John Dalton took Proust’s concept and showed not only that elements reacted in fixed proportions by weight, but also that those proportions were ratios of small whole numbers. The simplest way to explain this—and indeed the way that Dalton lit upon—was to suppose each element to be composed of tiny, indivisible particles, all of the same weight. The Greek word for indivisible is “atomos”. Thus was the atom born.

Dalton based his system of relative atomic weights on hydrogen, the atoms of which he found to be the lightest. And it was quickly picked up by someone who, though less famous than Lavoisier, perhaps because of his grisly end, was arguably the greater man. Jacob Berzelius, a Swede, furnished chemistry with its language. It was he who came up with the idea of the abbreviations that now occupy the periodic table’s rectangles. It was he who combined those abbreviations with numbers, indicating the proportions involved, to make formulae for chemical compounds: H2O (water), H2SO4 (sulphuric acid), NaCl (table salt). Though Dalton invented atomic theory, it was Berzelius who embedded it at the heart of the subject. And Berzelius did more. He used Alessandro Volta’s recently invented battery, which created electricity from a chemical reaction, to do the reverse. He employed electricity to drive chemical reactions in solutions , a process called electrolysis.

Back in England, Humphry Davy, inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, picked up the idea of electrolysis and supercharged it. He employed a more powerful version of Volta’s battery to decompose molten materials, rather than solutions. In this way he discovered sodium and potassium in 1807. He also showed that chlorine, previously thought to be a compound of oxygen, was actually an element. After Davy’s work new elements began to flow in thick and fast.

It had been apparent from the time of their discovery that sodium and potassium were similar, as were calcium, strontium and barium. Lithium, when discovered, proved similar to sodium and potassium. Likewise, bromine and iodine proved similar to chlorine. In 1829 Johann Dobereiner, a German discovered that if the members were arranged in order of atomic weight, the middle element (sodium, strontium, bromine, selenium) had a weight that was the average of the lightest and the heaviest of the three. Dobereiner called this the law of triads. It was the first hint of some underlying pattern.

As more and more elements turned up, so the search for order intensified. In 1864 John Newlands, a Briton, almost got it. He published what he called the law of octaves. Arranging the known elements in order of atomic weight, he believed he had discerned that, like a musical scale, every eighth element “rhymed” in the ways that sodium rhymed with potassium, and chlorine with bromine. The trouble with Newlands’ scheme was that an awful lot of the rhymes were forced.

In 1869, just five years after John Newlands put forward his Law of Octaves, a Russian chemist called Dmitri Mendeleev published a periodic table. Mendeleev realized that the physical and chemical properties of elements were related to their atomic mass in a 'periodic' way, and arranged them so that groups of elements with similar properties fell into vertical columns in his table. Sometimes this method of arranging elements meant there were gaps in his horizontal rows or 'periods'. But instead of seeing this as a problem, Mendeleev thought it simply meant that the elements which belonged in the gaps had not yet been discovered. He was also able to work out the atomic mass of the missing elements, and so predict their properties. And when they were discovered, Mendeleev turned out to be right. For example, he predicted the properties of an undiscovered element that should fit below aluminum in his table. When this element, called gallium, was discovered in 1875 its properties were found to be close to Mendeleev's predictions.

Modern day periodic tables are expanded beyond Mendeleev's initial 63 elements. Most of the current periodic tables include 108 or 109 elements. It is also important to notice how the modern periodic table is arranged. Although we have retained the format of rows and columns, which reflects a natural order, the rows of today's tables show elements in the order of Mendeleev's columns. In other words the elements of what we now call a 'period' were listed vertically by Mendeleev. Chemical 'groups' are now shown vertically in contrast to their horizontal format in Mendeleev's table.

 
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