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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第83期:敲石头的人们(5)

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In 1785, Hutton worked his ideas up into a long paper, which was read at consecutive meetings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. It attracted almost no notice at all. It's not hard to see why. Here, in part, is how he presented it to his audience:
1785年,赫顿把他的看法写成一篇很长的论文,并在爱丁堡皇家学会的几次会议上宣读。它几乎没有引起大家的注意。原因不难找到。一定程度上,他就是这样向听众宣读论文的:
In the one case, the forming cause is in the body which is separated; for, after the body has been actuated by heat, it is by the reaction of the proper matter of the body, that the chasm which constitutes the vein is formed. In the other case, again, the cause is extrinsic in relation to the body in which the chasm is formed. There has been the most violent fracture and divulsion; but the cause is still to seek; and it appears not in the vein; for it is not every fracture and dislocation of the solid body of our earth, in which minerals, or the proper substances of mineral veins, are found.
在一种情况下,形成的力量在独立存在的物体内部。这是因为,这个物体被热激活以后,是通过物体的特有物质的反应,形成了构成脉络的裂口。在另一种情况下,还是一样,相对于在其内部形成脉络的物体来说,原因是外在的。已经发生了最猛烈的断裂和扯裂;但是那个原因还在努力;它不是出现在脉络里,因为它不是在我们地球坚实的物体内部--那里找得到矿物或矿脉的特定物质--的每条缝隙和每个断层里。
敲石头的人们.jpgNeedless to say, almost no one in the audience had the faintest idea what he was talking about. Encouraged by his friends to expand his theory, in the touching hope that he might somehow stumble onto clarity in a more expansive format, Hutton spent the next ten years preparing his magnum opus, which was published in two volumes in 1795.
不用说,听众里几乎谁也不懂他在说些什么。朋友们鼓励他把他的理论展开一下,希望他能在更大的篇幅里碰巧讲得清楚一点。这是很感人的。赫顿花了此后的10年时间准备他的巨著,并且于1795年以两卷本出版。
Together the two books ran to nearly a thousand pages and were, remarkably, worse than even his most pessimistic friends had feared. Apart from anything else, nearly half the completed work now consisted of quotations from French sources, still in the original French. A third volume was so unenticing that it wasn't published until 1899, more than a century after Hutton's death, and the fourth and concluding volume was never published at all. Hutton's Theory of the Earth is a strong candidate for the least read important book in science (or at least would be if there weren't so many others). Even Charles Lyell, the greatest geologist of the following century and a man who read everything, admitted he couldn't get through it.
这两本书加起来有将近1000页,写得比他最悲观的朋友担心的还要糟糕,真是不可思议。此外,这部作品的内容将近一半引自法国的资料,仍然以法文的形式出现。第三卷非常缺少吸引力,直到1899年才出版,那是在赫顿去世一个多世纪以后。第四卷即最后一卷根本没有出版。赫顿的《地球论》很有资格当选为读者最少的重要科学著作(要是没有大量别的这样的书的话,那就可以这样说)。连19世纪最伟大的地质学家、什么书都看过的查尔斯•莱尔也承认,这本书他实在读不下去。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
pessimistic [.pesi'mistik]
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adj. 悲观的,悲观主义的
 
original [ə'ridʒənl]
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adj. 最初的,原始的,有独创性的,原版的
联想记忆
violent ['vaiələnt]
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adj. 暴力的,猛烈的,极端的
 
mineral ['minərəl]
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adj. 矿物的
n. 矿物,矿石
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stumble ['stʌmbl]
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n. 绊倒,失策
vi. 绊倒,失策,踌躇,无
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vein [vein]
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n. 静脉,纹理,叶脉,岩脉
vt. 使有脉络
 
clarity ['klæriti]
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n. 清楚,透明
 
reaction [ri'ækʃən]
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n. 反应,反作用力,化学反应
联想记忆
expand [iks'pænd]
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v. 增加,详述,扩展,使 ... 膨胀,
v
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fracture ['fræktʃə]
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n. 破碎,骨折
vt. 破碎,破裂
联想记忆
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