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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第64期:事物的测定(11)

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Starting with his back against the Tower of London, Norwood spent two devoted years marching 208 miles north to York, repeatedly stretching and measuring a length of chain as he went, all the while making the most meticulous adjustments for the rise and fall of the land and the meanderings of the road. The final step was to measure the angle of the Sun at York at the same time of day and on the same day of the year as he had made his first measurement in London.
诺伍德背靠着伦敦塔踏上了征途,历时两年向北走了450公里来到约克,一边走一边不停地拉直和测量一根链子。在此过程中,他考虑到土地的起伏、道路的弯曲,始终一丝不苟地对数据进行校正。最后一道工序,是在一年的同一天,一天的同一时间,在约克测量太阳的角度。他已经在伦敦做完第一次测量。
事物的测定.jpgFrom this, he reasoned he could determine the length of one degree of the Earth's meridian and thus calculate the distance around the whole. It was an almost ludicrously ambitious undertaking—a mistake of the slightest fraction of a degree would throw the whole thing out by miles—but in fact, as Norwood proudly declaimed, he was accurate to "within a scantling"—or, more precisely, to within about six hundred yards. In metric terms, his figure worked out at 110.72 kilometers per degree of arc.
根据这次测量,他推断,他可以得出地球1度经线的长度,从而计算出地球的整个周长。这几乎是一项雄心勃勃的工作--1度的长度只要算错一点儿,整个长度就会相差许多公里--但实际上,就像诺伍德自豪地竭力声称的那样,他的计算非常精确,相差"微乎其微"--说得更确切一点,相差不到550米。以米制来表达,他得出的数字是每度经线的长度为110.72公里。
In 1637, Norwood's masterwork of navigation, The Seaman's Practice , was published and found an immediate following. It went through seventeen editions and was still in print twenty-five years after his death. Norwood returned to Bermuda with his family, becoming a successful planter and devoting his leisure hours to his first love, trigonometry.
1637年,诺伍德一部在航海方面的杰作《水手的实践》出版,立即赢得一批读者。它再版了17次,他去世25年以后仍在印刷。诺伍德携家人回到了百慕大,成为一名成功的种植园主,空闲时间便以他心爱的三角学来消遣。
He survived there for thirty-eight years and it would be pleasing to report that he passed this span in happiness and adulation. In fact, he didn't. On the crossing from England, his two young sons were placed in a cabin with the Reverend Nathaniel White, and somehow so successfully traumatized the young vicar that he devoted much of the rest of his career to persecuting Norwood in any small way he could think of.
他在那里活了38年。要是对大家说,他这38年过得很幸福,受到了人们的敬仰,大家一定会很高兴。但是,实际上并非如此。在离开英格兰以后的航行途中,他两个年幼的儿子跟纳撒尼尔·怀特牧师同住一个船舱,不知怎的让这位年轻的牧师深受精神创伤,在他余生的许多时间里会想方设法来找诺伍德的麻烦。
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span [spæn]
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n. 跨度,跨距,间距
vt. 横跨,贯穿,估
 
accurate ['ækjurit]
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adj. 准确的,精确的
联想记忆
measurement ['meʒəmənt]
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n. 测量,衡量,尺寸,大小
 
vicar ['vikə]
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n. 教区牧师,教堂牧师,传教牧师
 
fraction ['frækʃən]
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n. 分数,小部分,破片
联想记忆
determine [di'tə:min]
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v. 决定,决心,确定,测定
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
devoted [di'vəutid]
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adj. 投入的,深爱的 v. 投入 vbl. 投入
联想记忆
meticulous [mi'tikjuləs]
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adj. 一丝不苟的,精确的
 
adulation [,ædju'leiʃən]
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n. 谄媚;奉承
 
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