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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第54期:事物的测定(1)

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PART II THE SIZE OF THE EARTH
第二部分 地球的大小
Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night;
大自然和大自然的法则藏匿于黑夜之中;
God said, Let Newton be! And all was light.
上帝说,让牛顿出世吧!于是世界一片光明。
-Alexander Pope
--亚历山大·蒲珀
4 THE MEASURE OF THINGS
第四章 事物的测定
IF YOU HAD to select the least convivial scientific field trip of all time, you could certainly do worse than the French Royal Academy of Sciences' Peruvian expedition of 1735. Led by a hydrologist named Pierre Bouguer and a soldier-mathematician named Charles Marie de La Condamine, it was a party of scientists and adventurers who traveled to Peru with the purpose of triangulating distances through the Andes.
要是让你挑出有史以来最不愉快的实地科学考察,你肯定很难挑得出比1735年法国皇家科学院的秘鲁远征更加倒霉的。在一位名叫皮埃尔·布格的水文工作者和一位名叫查理·玛丽·孔达米纳的军人数学家的率领下,一个由科学家和冒险家组成的小组前往秘鲁,旨在用三角测量法测定穿越安第斯山脉的距离。
事物的测定.jpgAt the time people had lately become infected with a powerful desire to understand the Earth—to determine how old it was, and how massive, where it hung in space, and how it had come to be. The French party's goal was to help settle the question of the circumference of the planet by measuring the length of one degree of meridian (or 1/360 of the distance around the planet) along a line reaching from Yarouqui, near Quito, to just beyond Cuenca in what is now Ecuador, a distance of about two hundred miles.
那个时候,人们感染上了一种了解地球的强烈欲望--想要确定地球有多大年龄,多少体积,悬在宇宙的哪个部分,是怎样形成的。法国小组的任务是要沿着一条直线,从基多附近的雅罗基开始,到如今位于厄瓜多尔的昆卡过去一点,测量1度经线(即地球圆周的三百六十分之一)的长度,全长约为320公里,从而帮助解决这颗行星的周长问题。
Almost at once things began to go wrong, sometimes spectacularly so. In Quito, the visitors somehow provoked the locals and were chased out of town by a mob armed with stones. Soon after, the expedition's doctor was murdered in a misunderstanding over a woman. The botanist became deranged. Others died of fevers and falls. The third most senior member of the party, a man named Pierre Godin, ran off with a thirteen-year-old girl and could not be induced to return.
事情几乎从一开始就出了问题,有时候还是令人瞠目的大问题。在基多,访客们不知怎的激怒了当地人,被手拿石头的暴民撵出了城。过不多久,由于跟某个女人产生误解,测量小组的一名医生被谋杀。组里的植物学家精神错乱。其他人或发热死去,或坠落丧命。考察队的第三号人物--一个名叫让·戈丁的男人--跟一位13岁的姑娘私奔,怎么也劝不回来。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
circumference [sə'kʌmfərəns]
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n. 圆周,周围,胸围
联想记忆
settle ['setl]
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v. 安顿,解决,定居
n. 有背的长凳
 
senior ['si:njə]
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adj. 年长的,高级的,资深的,地位较高的
联想记忆
measure ['meʒə]
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n. 措施,办法,量度,尺寸
v. 测量,量
联想记忆
planet ['plænit]
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n. 行星
 
misunderstanding ['misʌndə'stændiŋ]
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n. 误会,误解
misunderstand的
 
academy [ə'kædəmi]
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n. 学院,学术,学会
 
massive ['mæsiv]
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adj. 巨大的,大规模的,大量的,大范围的
 
understand [.ʌndə'stænd]
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vt. 理解,懂,听说,获悉,将 ... 理解为,认为<
 
expedition [.ekspi'diʃən]
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n. 远征,探险队,迅速
联想记忆
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