Luis Walter Alvarez

“Luis Walter Alvarez: (1911-1988) U.S. experimental physicist. Born in San Francisco, he joined the faculty of UC-Berkeley in 1936, where he would remain until 1978. In 1938 he discovered that some radioactive elements decay when an orbital electron merges with the atom’s nucleus, producing an element with an atomic number smaller by 1, a form of beta decay. In 1939 he and Felix Bloch (1905-1983) made the first measurement of the magnetic movement of the neutron. During World War II he developed a radar guidance system for landing aircraft and participated in the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. He later helped construct the first proton linear accelerator and constructed the first liquid hydrogen bubble chamber. With his son, the geologist Walter Alvarez (b. 1940), he helped develop the theory that links the dinosaur’s extinction with a giant asteroid or comet impact. For work that included the discovery of many subatomic particles, he received a Nobel Prize in 1968.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Alvarez Hypothesis

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Alvarez Hypothesis. This is a half-page worksheet with a three sentence reading and three comprehension questions. For more on Luis Walter Alvarez and his son, Walter Alvarez, see the post immediately above this one.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Bartolome de Las Casas

“Bartolome de Las Casas: (1474-1566) Spanish-born Dominican missionary and historian. Las Casas came to Santo Domingo in 1502 and was the first priest ordained in the New World (1510). In 1514, Las Casas suddenly became aware of the injustice with which the Indians were being treated in America, and subsequently devoted himself entirely to promoting their welfare, usually with the support of the crown, but against the bitter opposition of the Spanish settlers. Brevisma relacion de la destruccion de las Indias (1522), his vivid, but probably exaggerated, account of the Indian sufferings, was instrumental in fostering the long-lived ‘black legend’ which denigrated the colonial policies of Spain in America. His major work, Historia general de las Indias (1875), is an important source for the early period of colonization in Latin America.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Cesar Chavez

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Cesar Chavez, the legendary civil rights activist and labor leader. This is a full-page worksheet with a four-sentence reading and six comprehension questions. As I do with many civil rights leaders, I wonder what Cesar Chavez would make of the current economic and social situation in the United States.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Mateo Aleman

“Mateo Aleman: (1547-1614?) Spanish novelist. Descended from Jews who had been forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism, he expressed many aspects of the experiences and feelings of the new Christians in 16th-century Spain. His most important literary work is Guzman de Alfarache (1599, 1604), one of the earliest picaresque novels, which brought fame throughout Europe, but little profit.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Bogota

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Bogota, Columbia, the capital of that South American Nation. This is a half-page worksheet with a one-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. It identifies Bogota as the capital, and situates it in terms of its physical geography, but not much more than that.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Pablo Picasso on Computers

[Of computers:] “They are useless. They can only give you answers.”

Pablo Picasso, quoted in William Fifeld, In Search of Genius (1982)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is a full-page worksheet with a three-sentence reading and five comprehension questions. As Marquez produced one of the modern landmarks of world literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude, I thought it appropriate to take a deeper dive into his biography. Hence five questions from a three-sentence text.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Tomas Gutierrez Alea

“Tomas Gutierrez Alea: (1928-1996) Cuban film director. After earning a law degree in Cuba, he studied filmmaking in Rome (1951-53). A supporter of Fidel Castro, he helped develop Cuba’s film industry after 1959 and made the Communist regime’s first official feature film, Stories of the Revolution (1960). Later he worked within the restrictions of the regime to satirize and explore various aspects of life in postrevolutionary Cuba in such internationally acclaimed films as Death of a Bureaucrat (1966), Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), The Survivors (1978), and Strawberry and Chocolate (1993). He is regarded as the finest director Cuba has produced.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

The Weekly Text, 24 September 2021, Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Pablo Picasso

On the second Friday of Hispanic History Month 2021, here is a reading on Pablo Picasso with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. These materials join a growing accumulation of documents on the artist on this blog.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.