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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第66期:事物的测定(13)

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To complicate matters, after Picard's death the father-and-son team of Giovanni and Jacques Cassini repeated Picard's experiments over a larger area and came up with results that suggested that the Earth was fatter not at the equator but at the poles—that Newton, in other words, was exactly wrong. It was this that prompted the Academy of Sciences to dispatch Bouguer and La Condamine to South America to take new measurements.
更为复杂的是,皮卡尔死后,乔瓦尼和雅克·卡西尼父子在更大的区域内重复了皮卡尔的实验。他们得出的结果显示,地球鼓起的地方不是在赤道,而是在两极--换句话说,牛顿完全错了。正因为如此,科学院才派遣布格和孔达米纳去南美洲重新测量。
事物的测定.jpgThey chose the Andes because they needed to measure near the equator, to determine if there really was a difference in sphericity there, and because they reasoned that mountains would give them good sightlines. In fact, the mountains of Peru were so constantly lost in cloud that the team often had to wait weeks for an hour's clear surveying. On top of that, they had selected one of the most nearly impossible terrains on Earth.
他们选择了安第斯山脉,因为他们需要测量靠近赤道的地方,以确定那里的圆度是否真有差异,还因为他们认为山区的视野比较开阔。实际上,秘鲁的大山经常云雾笼罩,这个小组常常不得不等上几个星期,才等得上一个小时的晴天来进行测量。不仅如此,他们选了个地球上几乎最难对付的地形。
Peruvians refer to their landscape as muy accidentado—"much accidented"—and this it most certainly is. The French had not only to scale some of the world's most challenging mountains—mountains that defeated even their mules—but to reach the mountains they had to ford wild rivers, hack their way through jungles, and cross miles of high, stony desert, nearly all of it uncharted and far from any source of supplies. But Bouguer and La Condamine were nothing if not tenacious, and they stuck to the task for nine and a half long, grim, sun-blistered years.
秘鲁人称这种地形是"非常少见"的--这话绝对没错儿。两个法国人不仅不得不翻越几座世界上最具挑战性的大山--连他们的骡子也过不去的大山--而且,若要抵达那些大山,他们不得不涉过几条湍急的河流,钻过密密的丛林,穿越几公里高高的卵石沙漠,这些地方在地图上几乎没有标记,远离供给来源。但是,布格和孔达米纳是坚忍不拔的人。他们不屈不挠,不怕风吹日晒,坚持执行任务,度过了漫长的九年半时间。
Shortly before concluding the project, they received word that a second French team, taking measurements in northern Scandinavia (and facing notable discomforts of their own, from squelching bogs to dangerous ice floes), had found that a degree was in fact longer near the poles, as Newton had promised. The Earth was forty-three kilometers stouter when measured equatorially than when measured from top to bottom around the poles.
在这个项目快要完成的时候,他们突然得到消息,说另一个法国考察队在斯堪的纳维亚半岛北部进行测量(面对自己的艰难困苦,从寸步难行的沼泽地,到危机四伏的浮冰),发现1度经线在两极附近果真要长,正如牛顿断言的那样。地球在赤道地区的测量结果,要比环绕两极从上到下测量的结果厚出43公里。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
measure ['meʒə]
想一想再看
n. 措施,办法,量度,尺寸
v. 测量,量
联想记忆
hack [hæk]
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n. 劈,砍,出租马车 v. 劈,砍,干咳
 
academy [ə'kædəmi]
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n. 学院,学术,学会
 
equator [i'kweitə]
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n. 赤道
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notable ['nəutəbl]
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adj. 显著的,著名的
n. 名人
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determine [di'tə:min]
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v. 决定,决心,确定,测定
联想记忆
dispatch [dis'pætʃ]
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v. 派遣,迅速做完,立即处死
n. 派遣,发
联想记忆
challenging ['tʃælindʒiŋ]
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adj. 大胆的(复杂的,有前途的,挑战的) n. 复杂
 
scale [skeil]
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n. 鳞,刻度,衡量,数值范围
v. 依比例决
 
impossible [im'pɔsəbl]
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adj. 不可能的,做不到的
adj.
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