1.Experts: Colleges Should Invest More in Research
Vaccines. Popular sports drinks. Computers.
Each one of these subjects is different from the others. But all three have something in common: they were all invented by researchers working at a college or university.
Scientific invention and cultural exploration have been connected with higher educationinstitutionsfor hundreds of years.
Victoria McGovern says this is because colleges and universities would be limiting themselves if they only taught existing knowledge. McGovern is a senior program officer with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an organization that supports medical research in the United States and Canada.
McGovern argues that the search for new knowledge is what leads to greater discoveries and better education.
"It's a very good idea to connect the discovery of new things to the teaching of new students," she told VOA, "because you don't want people who come out of their education thinking that the world around them is full of solved problems. You want people to come out of an education excited about solving problems themselves."
Dr. William Hahn, who is working on malaria research, walks through a research lab at the University of Washington's UW Medicine South Lake Union Campus.
But she notes that research costs money and most colleges and universities do not have a lot of extra money for that purpose. Most schools have limited budgets and many competing goals and needs.
So a big part of being a researcher at a college or university is asking for financial support from other places, McGovern says. Such places include private companies and organizations like hers, as well as local and national governments.
The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, is one example. The NIH is the main government agency in the U.S. that supports medical and public health research. The NIH provides about $32 billion a year for health research.
Researchers mustapplyfor this financial support by writing agrantproposal explaining the goals and processes involved in their work. McGovern says the application process for grant money is highly competitive. It can be very difficult for some researchers, especially those who are not skilled at expressing themselves in writing.
"In day to day life, you get too busy...to think about the big picture," McGovern said. "How often do you, in your personal life, say ‘Here's what I want to be doing exactly one year from now?' When you write a grant, that's what you're talking about."
McGovern added: "It's hard for individuals, sometimes, to tell whether what they've written down is the best writing that they could have done."
Kristine Kulage argues that it is now more difficult than ever for university researchers to getfunding. Kulage is the director of research and scholarly development at the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City.
She has been working in university research for 20 years. She says that the grant application process has only gotten longer and more complex.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visits with lab technician Kennidy Takehara in a research lab at the University of Washington's UW Medicine South Lake Union Campus.
Kulage told VOA, "Researchers don't have time toconducttheir research, write their grants and learn how to use all of these new systems through which they have tosubmittheir grants."
She said in addition to all those responsibilities, researchers must make sure they arecompliantwithregulations.
"There are so many rules now...It takes individuals who are now trained as research administrators to know what those rules are...And know whether or not the rules are being followed," she said.
Kulage suggests that schools now must do more to support their researchers if they want to successfully earn grant money. Last November, she published a study of what happened when Columbia's School of Nursing chose to better support its researchers.
The report studied how, between 2012 and 2016, the school chose to invest $127,000 in the creation of a support system. This system includes employing administrators to complete necessary application documents, freeing researchers to spend more time on their research.
The system also provides areviewprocess in which researchers go through several steps before they submit a grant proposal. First, researchers must write a short, clear description of the aims of their project. Researchers often have difficulty explaining their work to people with no special knowledge of the subject matter, Kulage said. So, Columbia administrators with no involvement in the research read the description and offer criticism.
Other researchers also review the description to offer their ideas about whether or not the goals of the research can be reached.
Finally, after changes are made to the proposal, administrators and other researchers meet with the grant writers. They then hold a review meeting similar to what the grant-writers will face once they have submitted their proposal.
Normally, the group offering the grant will meet with the proposal writers and ask them questions. They expect the writers to defend their proposal.
In thispracticemeeting, the grant writers get a chance to think about their project more and better prepare their defense of it.
Kulage says the efforts of Columbia's Schools of Nursing had clear results. Over the five years studied, the proposals that went through the review process were about twice as likely to be accepted as those that did not. The Columbia School of Nursing's investment of $127,000 led to $3 million in grant funding.
McGovern and Kulage both agree that applying for research funding alone is very difficult. So, even having one other person read a proposal and give their opinions can be very important to its success.
Kulage admits that large companies carry out a lot of research and development. But their research usually relates to success in their industry. University researchers are different. They have the freedom to take risks on possibly unpopular ideas.
Those risks can often lead to important discoveries that colleges and universities have a responsibility to share with the world, she says.
I'm Pete Musto. And I'm Susan Shand.
Pete Musto reported this for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor. We want to hear from you. In what ways do universities in your country support their own researchers? How complex is applying for a research grant? Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
institution(s) –n.an established organization
apply–v.to ask formally for something, such as a job, admission to a school or a loan, usually in writing
grant–n.an amount of money that is given to someone by a government or a company to be used for a particular purpose, such as scientific research
funding–n.an amount of money that is used for a special purpose
conduct–v.to plan and do something, such as an activity
submit–v.to give a document, proposal, or piece of writing to someone so that it can be considered or approved
compliant–adj.agreeing with a set of rules, standards, or requirements
regulation(s) –n.an official rule or law that says how something should be done
review –n.an act of carefully looking at or examining the quality or condition of something or someone
practice–n.a regular occasion at which you do something again and again in order to become better at it
Now, Words and Their Stories, a weekly program from VOA Learning English.
现在是每周一期的VOA英语学习“Words and Their Stories”栏目
Today we will be talking about a hated but misunderstood animal – the rat.
The sight of a rat might frighten you. Or it might make you sick to your stomach.
Well, perhaps not everyone.
In some countries, dishes made with rat meat can be rare and sometimes pricey -- what we call adelicacy.
Plus, rats are useful. With their extreme sense of smell, people can train giant rats to find land mines and eventuberculosis.
But do these things make people love rats?
No. For the most part, rats are not beloved animals.
For starters, they're not cute. They have pointed noses and long, thin tails.
They can eat and damage crops. And the world has long blamed rats for spreading diseases, like the Bubonic plague in Europe during the 14th century. It does not help yourreputationwhen you are accused of killing at least one-third of the population of an entire continent.
But, perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to judge.
Scientists now think that it was most likely not rats, but another rodent, thegerbil, that caused the Bubonic plague. They suspect that gerbils traveled to Europe from Asia, some along the Silk Road that traders used. But these animals were not carrying spices and silk, but rather disease.
Today, however, gerbils arepetsin many American homes. Teachers sometimes keep them in classrooms for students to care for. Rats, not so much.
Such is the difficult life of an unwanted, misunderstood animal.
So, scientists can debate the role of rats in spreading disease. But the fact that rats have a really bad reputation in American English is not debatable. It's the truth. None of our rat expressions means anything good.
The simplest way we use this word is to simply say, "Rats!" Americans often use this expression when something goes wrong. The term is common andpolite-- unlike some of our other expressions we might use when we are angry.
As we said earlier, rats may have a good sense of smell. Butsmelling a ratisn't good. When we say, "I smell a rat!" we suspect that something is wrong. If you feel that someone hasbetrayedyou, you can say that you smell a rat.
正如我们之前所说，老鼠有着极强的嗅觉。但是“smelling a rat " 不好。当我们说“我闻到了一只老鼠”其实是说，我们怀疑有些事情出现了问题。如果你感到有人背叛了你你可以说你闻到了一只老鼠。
Apack ratis not good, either. This is a person who keeps useless things. And worse, they live with all the stuff they have collected.
一个pack rat 也不好。这是指一个人总是收藏着无用的东西。更糟糕的是，他可能生活在他所有收集的东西堆里。
So, calling someone a "rat" is never an expression of respect or affection. When describing people, a "rat" is someone who is not loyal or cannot be trusted. A ratsnitcheson someone to anauthorityfigure – a parent, a teacher, a police officer.
As a verb, the word "rat" isn't good either.
To rat on someonemeans to betray a loved one, friend or someone else you know. When you rat on someone, youtell onthem.
作为一个动词，" rat " 也不好.
To rat on someone 意味着背叛亲人朋友或者你认识的人。当你背叛其他人的时候，你告他们的状。
Let's say you know that your brother ate the last piece of cake when he wasn't supposed to. You rat on him to your parents. Or maybe you rat on a colleague at work. Ratting on people, ortattling on them, will not win you friends. It just makes you a rat. Or worse -- arat fink.
The words tattling andtattletalesare often used for children. Butratting someone outor snitching on them can be for any age.
单词tattling 和tattletales 通常用在孩子身上。但是嘲笑某人或者打某人的小报告适用于任何年龄。
No matter what your age, nobody likes to be called a rat, a snitch or a tattletale. However, it is a little different when the police are involved.
Let's say you have information about a crime. When the police begin asking questions, you decide to keep that information to yourself. You may feel you don't want to rat on someone else.
However, nobody would blame you for sharing information with the police if it helps them catch a criminal. Well, another criminal might not approve. Most criminals have a differentcode of conductamong themselves: You don't rat on fellow criminals to the police.
In old police television shows and movies, you may hear one criminal criticize another who snitched to the police. They may say, "You dirty rat!"
You would not say that a hardened, possibly violent criminal tattled on another ... unless you were trying to be funny.
So, when using the word "rat" in English know that the meaning is never a good one. But in life, maybe we should take another look at rats and give them a chance.
And that brings us to the end of this Words and Their Stories.
Do rats have a good reputation in your country? Please tell us! It would be nice to know there is a place on this planet where saying "Rats!" is a good thing.
I'm Anna Matteo.
"You won't tell me where you've been. Whiskey running down your chin. I smell a rat, baby. I smell a rat, baby. You better watch out. I smell a rat, baby."
Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. The song at the end is Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton singing "I Smell a Rat."
Words in This Story
delicacy–n.a food that people like to eat because it is special or rare
tuberculosis–n.a serious disease that mainly affects the lungs : also called TB
reputation–n.overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general
pet–n.a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility
polite–adj.having or showing good manners or respect for other people
betray–v.to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong
snitch–v.to tell someone in authority (such as the police or a teacher) about something wrong that someone has done
authority–n.the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something
code of conduct–n.an agreement on rules of behavior for the members of that group or organization
3.Glacier Bay: A Land Reborn
This week in our travels through America's national parks, we revisit the state of Alaska. The northernmost state is home to eight major national parks.
Today, we visit one of its most famous parks – Glacier Bay. This huge park in the southeastern part of the state covers more than 1 million hectares of Alaskan wilderness. It includes mountains, glaciers, fjords, and even rainforests.
Glacier Bay supports hundreds of kinds of animals, including manyspeciesof birds, fish, bears, whales and sea lions.
As its name suggests, much of Glacier Bay National Park is covered byglaciers. A glacier is a large area of ice that moves slowly down a slope or valley, or over a wide area of land. Glaciers cover more than 5,000 square kilometers of the park.
Glacial ice has shaped the land over the last seven million years. The glaciers found in the park today are what remains from an ice advance known as the Little Ice Age. That period began about 4,000 years ago.
A land reborn
During the Little Ice Age, the cold weather caused the ice to grow and advance. That growth continued until the 1700s, when the climate began to warm. The hotter temperatures caused the ice to start melting. That melting led the huge glacier to separate into more than 1,000 different glaciers.
A fjord in Glacier Bay National Park
The extremely tall andjaggedmountains seen in Glacier Bay National Park were formed by the ice advancing and then melting over time. The melting of the ice also created water that filled in and created the manyfjordswithin the park. Fjords are narrow parts of the ocean that sit between cliffs or mountains.
The huge amounts of water from the melted ice killed off many kinds of plants.Vegetationreturned to the area over the next 200 years. The regrowth in plants also brought back many animals to the land. This return of life to Glacier Bay is why it is sometimes called "a land reborn."
A people of tradition
There is evidence that people have lived in the area for several thousands of years. Glacier Bay is the homeland of the Huna Tlingit people. The Tlingit are an Alaskan Native tribe. They live throughout southeastern Alaska. They began settling in the Glacier Bay area after the last ice age, once the glaciers began toretreat.
The Huna Tlingit tribe of Glacier Bay
Today, the Tlingit people live a modern life. But they also practice traditionsuniqueto their culture. In the past, the Huna Tlingit harvested gull eggs every year. Gulls are large gray and white birds that live near the ocean. Gull eggs are an important type of food for the Huna Tlingit. Family harvest trips served as a way to keep ties with their homeland and to pass on stories, moral codes, and cultural traditions to the younger generation.
In the 1960s, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act forced them to stop collecting gull eggs.
Together with the National Park Service, however, they have worked to create a sustainable way for them to continue practicing this tradition.
Discovery and protection
One of the first major expeditions to the area took place in 1794. Lieutenant Joseph Whidbey arrived near Glacier Bay aboard the HMS Discovery, a British Royal Navy ship. The expedition was led by Captain George Vancouver.
At that time, thebaywas still almost completely filled with ice. The crew described the scene as "acompactsheet of ice as far as the eye could distinguish."
The large ice wall created by the front of a Glacier
In 1879 thenaturalistJohn Muir visited the area to do research. He found that glacial ice had melted back almost 50 kilometers, and had formed a bay.
After his visit, Muir and other conservationists urged Congress to protect this special area.
In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge made Glacier Bay a national monument. It did not become an official national park, however, until 1980.
In 1992, Glacier Bay became part of a huge World Heritage Site along the border of Canada and the United States. The 9.7 million-hectare site is the largest internationally protected area in the world.
One-fifth of Glacier Bay National park is ocean water. And, no point within the park is more than 50 kilometers from the coast. Most animals living here depend on the water or shoreline.
Glacier Bay is home to brown bears and black bears. They are found in the forests, as well as along the coastline. They feed on berries and plants found in the woods. They also feed on the fish found in the waters.
Humpback whales also feed on fish in Glacier Bay's waters. Whales are large mammals that live in the ocean. Humpbacks can weigh more than 35,000 kilograms. They come to Glacier Bay every summer for one main reason: food. They feed on small fish in the water. They eat more than 450 kilograms of food each day. They remain in Glacier Bay for about five months each year.
A breaching Humpback Whale in Glacier Bay
There are also 281 species of birds in Glacier Bay. These include gulls, guillemots, puffins, murrelets, and cormorants. Many of these birds make nests on cliffs. They eat small fish and other sea life.
Other animals found in the park include moose, mountain goats, Stellar sea lions, Harbor seals, Harbor porpoises, and sea otters.
Exploring the Park
Glacier Bay is a popular place for people searching for adventure. Some visitors choose to explore the park by kayak. The small, narrow boats offer visitors a chance to experience the park's many fjords and its hundreds of kilometers of coastline.
Exploring Glacier Bay by kayak
Hiking and camping are also popular activities in the park. But, hikers and campers must have respect for the harsh and remote environment. Weather and water conditions can be extreme. Food can also be limited in this area. There is only one official campground, located in Bartlett Cove. But camping is permitted along any of the shores or forests found in the park. This kind of camping is called backcountry camping.
Another popular way to visit the park is by boat or ship. Cruise ships and tour boats make regular trips into the park. Passengers are able to see the park's glaciers up close. These glaciers are always changing. Visitors may witness huge pieces of ice breaking apart from the glacier. This is known as "calving." When the ice falls into the water, it creates a loud, thunder-like noise.
From glacial fjords to mountain peaks, Glacier Bay holds some of the continent's most awe-inspiringnatural wonders. It is a land reborn, and a place that continues to change with time.
I'm Phil Dierking.
and I'm Ashley Thompson
Phil Dierking wrote this report for Learning English, with materials from the National Park Service. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Who do you think should control public lands? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
bay– n.a large area of water that is part of an ocean or lake and partly surrounded by land
compact– adj.closely or firmly packed or joined together
fjord-n.a narrow part of the ocean between cliffs or steep hills or mountains
glacier–n.a very large area of ice that moves slowly down a slope or valley or over a wide area of land
inspiring–adj. causing people to want to do or create something or to lead better lives
jagged–adj.causing people to want to do or create something or to lead better lives
kayak–n.a long narrow boat that is pointed at both ends and that is moved by a paddle with two blade
naturalist–n.a person who studies plants and animals as they live in nature
retreat–v.the act or process of moving away
species–n.a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants
unique–adj.something or someone is unlike anything or anyone else
vegetation–n.plants in general