Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy, in 1564. He was a mathematician, astronomer and physicist and made valuable discoveries in all these fields. For example, he discovered sunspots for the first time. Galileo was a student at the University of Pisa, when he was young and later a professor at different universities in Italy. He was famous for his lectures and students came from all over Europe to hear them. He began his education in a monastery, where he studied medicine and philosophy. He wasn’t interested in medicine and he discovered he had a talent for mathematics. He was appointed professor of mathematics and became convinced of the truth of the theory, proposed by the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, that all the planets, including the earth revolve around the sun. He built his first telescope and made his most sensational discovery, when he discovered four moons circling Jupiter.
Amelia Earhart was a famous aeroplane pilot. She was born in Atchison, Kansas in 1898.When she was 22; she stopped her studies at Columbia University, NY, to learn to pilot a plane. Flying lessons were expensive and she took several jobs to pay for the lessons. Once she worked as a lorry driver because the pay was good. In 1932, she was the first woman to fly her own plane across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Ireland. Even as a child she didn’t behave in a conventionally feminine way. She climbed trees and hunted rats with her rifle, but she wasn’t interested in flying. During the First World War she worked as a nursing assistant in a military hospital. In 1920 Amelia’s life changed. She went to an aviation fair with her father and had a 10- minute flight in a plane. She took all sorts of odd jobs to pay for the lessons, and also saved and borrowed enough money to buy a second hand plane. In 1922 she took her “Canary” up to a height of 14000 feet, breaking the women’s altitude record.
When she was forty, Amelia decided that she was ready for a final challenge –to be the first woman to fly around the world. In 1937 Earhart and her navigator, attempted to fly around the world. On the most difficult leg of the trip, their plane vanished in the central Pacific Ocean. A rescue search was started immediately but nothing was found. Amelia Earhart is remembered as a brave pioneer for aviation.
Maria Sklodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867.She later went to Paris, where she met and married Pierre Curie. The Curies were both physicist, and became famous for their work. One of their first discoveries was the element radium. They were both professors of physics at the Sorbonne, and they shared the Nobel Prize for physics in1903.
One of them was wearing high-heeled shoes. She was an old American lady with white hair. I didn´t say anything. Her husband had four or five cameras and a big hat. There were two English ladies in their seventies ,three boys from New Zealand and a young Canadian couple. They got into the boat. Ray wasn´t there . He was late again. It was hot, very hot -about 32 degrees Celsius-and it was only ten o´clock.
“When are we leaving?” said the American lady . “I don´t know,” I said. “We are waiting for the captain.”
They found seats and waited in the sun. The Canadians didn´t have any hats. I got two old hats from the back of the boat. “Here,” I said, “you are going to need these. It´s going to be hot out there”. They put them on. “The advertisement said ten o´clock,” said the American man. “Yes?” I said. “Well, we usually leave at ten. Today we are late . Sorry”
Then I saw Ray. He was running towards the boat. He was wearing white suit , and his face was red. He got onto the boat, and it went down a long way into the water. Ray´s a very fat man.
“G´day”, he said. It´s a nice morning.”
“Good day,”said the tourists. I smiled. In Australian films people always say ”G´day”,but the tourists didn´t have the right accent. “G´day Ray,” I said. I was doing my job. Tourists want to see Australia, and hear Australians. That´s my job. I´m professional Australian. What next? Yeah, a joke. Australians always make jokes. “Did you have a good breakfast, Ray,” I said. “Yeah”, said “ Why?”
“I can see on your jacket. You had eggs, tomatoes, and coffee, right?”
Ray was angry about that one. His jacket was dirty. His clothes are always dirty. His boat´s dirty , too. Last month I said. “ Ray, why don´t you clean the boat?” “Look”, he said, tourists want a journey through the jungle. A dirty boat has got the right …the right …. ambience. “What´s ambience?” I said. “ You know me, Ray. I´m just a crocodile hunter. I don´t understand difficult words. Ray doesn´t like me , but then I don´t like him. But it´s a job. I started the old engine and we went up the river.
It´s a two-hour journey into the jungle. The tourists bought drinks from Ray. He always sells warm Pepsi-Cola at a very high price. Ray talks about the jungle on the journey. And me? I sit at the back of the boat and sleep.
“There they are!” shouted the American woman. I opened one eye. There were some big crocs at the side of the river. They were asleep. The always wake up when the boat goes past. One big croc came into the river. All the tourists had their cameras. The American man was taking photographs. Ray was in the middle of the talk. “Yes, crocodiles sometimes eat people?” he said ” In this part of Australia they eat three or four people every year.” I smiled. Was it true? I don´t know. But the tourists love the stories.
We got to the Tickabaree River, and Ray turned the boat into it. “But don´t worry”,he said. Mr Preston is a professional crocodile hunter. He´s got his gun. Ray was looking at me.
“He´s got his gun” he said again. I found the gun at the bottom of the boat. The tourists looked at me. “Do you need that gun?” said one of the Canadians.
“Oh, yes,”said Ray. “Sometimes the crocodiles attack small boats.” The tourists went quiet, very quiet.
I saw the big tree. We were at the right place. I put my hand on a small electric control next to the engine. The crocodile came out of the water right in front of the boat. Water came into the boat. ”Aargh!” It was the American woman. “The gun!”said Ray.”Quick!” I pulled the trigger. “ Oh no!” I shouted. “The gun! There´s something wrong with the gun!” Then I was in the water I had my knife in my hand. I put my arm round the crocodile. We went under the water. Then I came out of the water with the crocodile and then went under again. The tourists were screaming and shouting. I came out of the water again, and smiled. I had the crocodile foot in my hand. It was the end of the show.
Tourists always love it. The electric control operates the plastic crocodile. They are afraid, but then they see it´s a joke. But Ray was shouting. “Get her! Get her! “I´ve got her !” I said. ”Not the crocodile,” he said, The American woman! Look.”
The old American woman was in the river. The high-heeled shoes! You never wear high-heeled shoes on a small boat. I went towards her. “ She can´t swim!” shouted her husband. The water in the Tickabaree River is only about one metre deep, but she was afraid. I got her arms, then I heard Ray again. “Preston! Be careful! There´s a crocodile!”
“Very funny” I shouted. “No, behind you!” There´s a crocodile. It wasn´t a joke. There it was, a big old croc about two metres away, and it wasn´t a plastic one this time. The American woman was in my arms. Then the crocodile was next to us. I didn´t have my knife now. I saw its cold eyes and its big teeth. It had a lot of teeth. Then I hit the crocodile . I hit it once on the nose. Was Ray´s story true? Do they eat three or four people a year? Was I on the menu for today?
Then the crocodile went. It turned and went away. I was at a boat. They helped us into the boat. Perhaps that old croc just wasn´t hungry , or maybe it didn´t like me. I don´t know, but I was a hero. Me a hero!
The plastic crocodile isn´t in the Tickabaree River any more. The next day Ray put it outside his office. It´s an advert for the boat journeys. I don´t go in the river now. I was lucky that time, but maybe next time….who knows?
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