a contrast between helium's chemical properties and how non-scientists think

yuhilda

Senior Member
chinese
Dear all, I have been doing IELTS Reading on this passage (please see IELTS Academic reading sample), and for Question 31 the answer is in Paragraph A.

' In recent years we have all been exposed to dire media reports concerning the impending demise of global coal and oil reserves, but the depletion of another key non-renewable resource continues without receiving much press at all. Helium – an inert, odourless, monatomic element known to lay people as the substance that makes balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled – could be gone from this planet within a generation.'

I don't understand very much, because I see helium's chemical properties, and I also see nonscientist's (lay people) view, but I think the two are the same, I don't see the contrast, could you please tell me where is the contrast in Paragraph A? Thank you very much in advance.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If you read it as two sentences, it may become clear. I don't think there is any strong contrast intended.

    Helium is an inert, odourless, monatomic element. It is known to lay people as the substance that makes balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Making voices squeak isn't a chemical property. Nor is filling balloons. For many people, this is all they known about helium. They don't think of it at all as a scientist does, an inert monatomic molecule (and the stuff of stars, and a quarter of the universe).
     

    yuhilda

    Senior Member
    chinese
    If you read it as two sentences, it may become clear. I don't think there is any strong contrast intended.

    Helium is an inert, odourless, monatomic element. It is known to lay people as the substance that makes balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled.
    Thank you very much indeed for the reply, and you are also suggesting that the answer must be wrong, right? But if the answer is wrong, which Paragraph should I choose? I don't think there are any other paragraphs which mentioned the contrast betweeen helium's chemical properties and how non-scientists think. What do you think, heypresto?
     
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