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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第84期:敲石头的人们(6)

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Luckily Hutton had a Boswell in the form of John Playfair, a professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh and a close friend, who could not only write silken prose but—thanks to many years at Hutton's elbow—actually understood what Hutton was trying to say, most of the time. In 1802, five years after Hutton's death, Playfair produced a simplified exposition of the Huttonian principles, entitled Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth. The book was gratefully received by those who took an active interest in geology, which in 1802 was not a large number. That, however, was about to change. And how.
还算运气,赫顿在约翰•普莱费尔身上找到了一个鲍斯韦尔式的人物。普莱费尔是爱丁堡大学的数学教授,赫顿的一位密友。他不但写得出漂亮的散文,而且--幸亏多年在赫顿身边--在大多数情况下知道赫顿其实想要说些什么。1802年,在赫顿去世5年以后,普莱费尔推出了赫顿原理的简写本,题目叫做《关于赫顿地球论的说明》。这本书受到了对地质学感兴趣的人的欢迎。这种人在1802年还为数不多。然而,情况快要发生变化。那么,情况是怎么发生变化的?
敲石头的人们.jpgIn the winter of 1807, thirteen like-minded souls in London got together at the Freemasons Tavern at Long Acre, in Covent Garden, to form a dining club to be called the Geological Society. The idea was to meet once a month to swap geological notions over a glass or two of Madeira and a convivial dinner.
1807年,伦敦13个志同道合的人在科文特加登广场朗埃克街的共济会酒店聚会,成立了一个餐饮俱乐部,后来取名为地质学会。学会每月碰一次头,一边喝一两杯马德拉白葡萄酒,吃一顿交际饭,一边交换对地质学的看法。
The price of the meal was set at a deliberately hefty fifteen shillings to discourage those whose qualifications were merely cerebral. It soon became apparent, however, that there was a demand for something more properly institutional, with a permanent headquarters, where people could gather to share and discuss new findings. In barely a decade membership grew to four hundred—still all gentlemen, of course—and the Geological was threatening to eclipse the Royal as the premier scientific society in the country.
这顿饭的价钱故意定在昂贵的15先令,以便使那些没有头脑的人望而却步。然而,事情很快就变得一清二楚,需要有个设有永久性总部的合适机构,人们可以在那里分享和讨论新的发现。不到10年,成员就发展到400名——当然仍都是绅士--地质学会看来要使皇家学会相形见绌,成为该国的首要科学社团。
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threatening ['θretniŋ]
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adj. 威胁(性)的,凶兆的 动词threaten的现
 
prose [prəuz]
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adj. 散文的
n. 散文
 
elbow ['elbəu]
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n. 手肘,急弯,扶手
v. 用手肘推开,推挤
联想记忆
gather ['gæðə]
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v. 聚集,聚拢,集合
n. 集合,聚集
 
deliberately [di'libəritli]
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adv. 慎重地,故意地
 
decade ['dekeid]
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n. 十年
联想记忆
merely ['miəli]
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adv. 仅仅,只不过
 
institutional [.insti'tju:ʃənəl]
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adj. 制度上的,惯例的,机构的
 
gratefully
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adv. 感激地;感谢地
 
apparent [ə'pærənt]
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adj. 明显的,表面上的
 
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