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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第101期:敲石头的人们(22)

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Unfortunately for Darwin, and for progress, the question came to the attention of the great Lord Kelvin (who, though indubitably great, was then still just plain William Thomson; he wouldn't be elevated to the peerage until 1892, when he was sixty-eight years old and nearing the end of his career, but I shall follow the convention here of using the name retroactively). Kelvin was one of the most extraordinary figures of the nineteenth century—indeed of any century.
这个问题引起了开尔文勋爵大人(他肯定是一位了不起的人物,但到1892年才被提升为贵族,当时他已经68岁,接近他生命的尽头,但我在这里还是按照惯例,溯及既往地使用这个名称)的注意,这对达尔文以及对进步来说是很不幸的。开尔文是19世纪的——也是任何世纪的——最杰出的人物之一。
The German scientist Hermann von Helmholtz, no intellectual slouch himself, wrote that Kelvin had by far the greatest "intelligence and lucidity, and mobility of thought" of any man he had ever met. "I felt quite wooden beside him sometimes," he added, a bit dejectedly.
德国科学家赫尔曼·冯·亥姆霍茨——他本人也是科学上的高手——写道,开尔文是他遇到过的最“理解力强、洞察事理、思想活跃”的人。“在他的面前,我有时候觉得自己是木头木脑的。”他不无沮丧地说。
开尔文勋爵大人.jpgThe sentiment is understandable, for Kelvin really was a kind of Victorian superman. He was born in 1824 in Belfast, the son of a professor of mathematics at the Royal Academical Institution who soon after transferred to Glasgow. There Kelvin proved himself such a prodigy that he was admitted to Glasgow University at the exceedingly tender age of ten.
这种心态是可以理解的,因为开尔文确实是维多利亚时代的超人。他1824年生于贝尔法斯特,父亲是皇家学院的数学教授,过不多久就调到格拉斯哥。开尔文证明自己是个神童,小小年纪(10岁)就考上了格拉斯哥大学。
By the time he had reached his early twenties, he had studied at institutions in London and Paris, graduated from Cambridge (where he won the university's top prizes for rowing and mathematics, and somehow found time to launch a musical society as well), been elected a fellow of Peterhouse, and written (in French and English) a dozen papers in pure and applied mathematics of such dazzling originality that he had to publish them anonymously for fear of embarrassing his superiors. At the age of twenty-two he returned to Glasgow University to take up a professorship in natural philosophy, a position he would hold for the next fifty-three years.
20岁出头,他已经在伦敦和巴黎的学府学习过,毕业于剑桥大学(他赢得该大学在赛艇和数学两个方面的最高奖,还抽空创建了一个音乐俱乐部),当选为彼得学院的研究员,(以英文和法文)写了10多篇关于纯粹数学和应用数学的论文。这些作品都很有创见,他不得不匿名发表,免得使他的长辈们感到难堪。他22岁回到格拉斯哥,担任自然哲学教授。在此后的53年里,他一直保有这个职位。
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slouch [slautʃ]
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n. 没精打采的样子,耷拉,笨人 v. 没精打采地站,坐
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convention [kən'venʃən]
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n. 大会,协定,惯例,公约
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originality [ə.ridʒi'næliti]
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n. 独创性,创造力,新颖
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intellectual [.intil'ektʃuəl]
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n. 知识份子,凭理智做事者
adj. 智力的
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intelligence [in'telidʒəns]
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n. 理解力,智力
n. 情报,情报工作,情报
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extraordinary [iks'trɔ:dnri]
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adj. 非凡的,特别的,特派的
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sentiment ['sentimənt]
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n. 感情,情趣,意见,观点,多愁善感
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prodigy ['prɔdidʒi]
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n. 惊人的事物,奇迹,神童,天才,预兆
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lucidity [lju:'sidəti]
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n. 明朗;清澈;清醒度
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understandable [.ʌndə'stændəbl]
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adj. 可理解的,能够懂的
 
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