Welcome to Developing Scientific and Technical Literacy!

The following tool has been prepared by a "Guest Mentor," who is a professional technical translator and teacher. The tool includes basic introductory modules to help students learn to read and interpret authentic Russian texts in Physics and Chemistry.

Scientific and technical Russian differs from the everyday language, including journalistic prose, in many ways: the specialized vocabulary, grammatical constructions and syntax. However, unlike journalists and other prose writers who often try to impress their readers with their cleverness and literary talents, technical writers WANT and NEED to make their concepts clear. To be useful, science and technology REQUIRES comprehension on the part of the readers. The syntax and grammar are highly formated. And in terms of vocabulary, technical writers are a "self-conscious" lot, meaning they realize that difficulties may be encountered, so the texts are filled with synonyms and parenthetic explanations designed to assist readers. In addition - and quite fortunate for the novice - Russian scientific and technical lexicon is filled with Greek, Latin and English cognates and borrowings.

In order to prepare you for each module, the Guest Mentor has written a brief introduction in English to the topic at hand - with Russian glosses for important terms and concepts. The author also guides you each step of the way through the texts - providing key vocabulary, translations and helpful annotations.

One additional suggestion before beginning: read an article from a basic English language encyclopedia to familiarize yourself with each topic - The World Book Encyclopedia will do. Your efforts will pay off very quickly when you get to the Guest Mentor's introductions and the Russian texts.


Click on the SET-UP button to be sure your system is set-up properly for these exercises.