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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第72期:事物的测定(20)

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With Mason refusing to survey the mountain, the job fell to Maskelyne. So for four months in the summer of 1774, Maskelyne lived in a tent in a remote Scottish glen and spent his days directing a team of surveyors, who took hundreds of measurements from every possible position. To find the mass of the mountain from all these numbers required a great deal of tedious calculating, for which a mathematician named Charles Hutton was engaged.
由于梅森不愿意测量那座山,这个工作落在了马斯基林身上。1774年夏天,有4个月时间,马斯基林在一个遥远的苏格兰峡谷的帐篷里指挥一组测量员。他们从每个可能的位置作了数百次测量。要从这么一大堆的数据中得出那座大山的质量,需要进行大量而又枯燥的计算。承担这项工作的是一位名叫查尔斯·赫顿的数学家。
苏格兰峡谷.jpgThe surveyors had covered a map with scores of figures, each marking an elevation at some point on or around the mountain. It was essentially just a confusing mass of numbers, but Hutton noticed that if he used a pencil to connect points of equal height, it all became much more orderly. Indeed, one could instantly get a sense of the overall shape and slope of the mountain. He had invented contour lines.
测量员们在地图上写满了几十个数据,每一个都表示山上或山边某个位置的高度。这些数字真是又多又乱。但是,赫顿注意到,只要用铅笔把高度相等的点连起来,一切就显得很有次序了。实际上,你马上可以知道这座山的整体形状和坡度。于是,他发明了等高线。
Extrapolating from his Schiehallion measurements, Hutton calculated the mass of the Earth at 5,000 million million tons, from which could reasonably be deduced the masses of all the other major bodies in the solar system, including the Sun. So from this one experiment we learned the masses of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the other planets and their moons, and got contour lines into the bargain—not bad for a summer's work.
根据斯希哈林山的测量结果,赫顿计算出地球的质量为5000万亿吨。在此基础上,可以推算出太阳系里包括太阳在内的所有主要天体的质量。因此,我们从这一次实验知道了地球、太阳、月球和其他行星及其卫星的质量,另外还发明了等高线——这一个夏天的收获真是不小。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
survey [sə:'vei]
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v. 调查,检查,测量,勘定,纵览,环视
n.
 
mass [mæs]
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n. 块,大量,众多
adj. 群众的,大规模
 
essentially [i'senʃəli]
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adv. 本质上,本来
 
calculated ['kælkjuleitid]
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adj. 计算出的;适合的;有计划的 v. 计算;估计;
 
elevation [.eli'veiʃən]
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n. 提拔,海拔,提高
[计算机] 标高
联想记忆
confusing [kən'fju:ziŋ]
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adj. 使人困惑的,令人费解的 动词confuse的现
 
tent [tent]
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n. 帐篷
v. 住帐篷,宿营
 
fell [fel]
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动词fall的过去式
n. 兽皮
v
联想记忆
mason ['meisn]
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n. 泥瓦匠 Mason: 共济会会员
联想记忆
engaged [in'geidʒd]
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adj. 忙碌的,使用中的,订婚了的
 
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