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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第133期:基本物质(5)

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Someone of insight was needed to thrust chemistry into the modern age, and it was the French who provided him. His name was Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. Born in 1743, Lavoisier was a member of the minor nobility (his father had purchased a title for the family). In 1768, he bought a practicing share in a deeply despised institution called the Ferme Generale (or General Farm), which collected taxes and fees on behalf of the government.
这时候,需要有个目光敏锐的人来把化学推进到现代。法国出了这么个人。他的名字叫安托万—洛朗·拉瓦锡。拉瓦锡生于1743年,是一个小贵族家族的成员(他的父亲为这个家族出钱买了一个头衔)。1768年,他在一家深受人们讨厌的机构里买了个开业股。那个机构叫做“税务总公司”,代表政府负责收取税金和费用。
Although Lavoisier himself was by all accounts mild and fair-minded, the company he worked for was neither. For one thing, it did not tax the rich but only the poor, and then often arbitrarily. For Lavoisier, the appeal of the institution was that it provided him with the wealth to follow his principal devotion, science. At his peak, his personal earnings reached 150,000 livres a year—perhaps $20 million in today's money.
根据各种说法,拉瓦锡本人又温和,又公正,但他工作的那家公司两方面都不具备。一方面,它只向穷人征税,不向富人征税;另一方面,它往往很武断。对拉瓦锡来说,那家机构之所以很有吸引力,是因为它为他提供了大量的钱来从事他的主要工作,那就是科学。最多的时候,他每年挣的钱多达15万里弗赫——差不多相当于今天的1200万英镑。
万物简史.jpgThree years after embarking on this lucrative career path, he married the fourteen-year-old daughter of one of his bosses. The marriage was a meeting of hearts and minds both. Madame Lavoisier had an incisive intellect and soon was working productively alongside her husband. Despite the demands of his job and busy social life, they managed to put in five hours of science on most days—two in the early morning and three in the evening—as well as the whole of Sunday, which they called their jour de bonheur (day of happiness). Somehow Lavoisier also found the time to be commissioner of gunpowder, supervise the building of a wall around Paris to deter smugglers, help found the metric system, and coauthor the handbook Methode de Nomenclature Chimique , which became the bible for agreeing on the names of the elements.
走上这条赚钱很多的职业道路3年之后,他娶了他的老板的一个14岁的女儿。这是一桩心和脑都很匹配的婚事。拉瓦锡太太有着机灵的头脑和出众的才华,很快在她的丈夫身边作出了许多成绩。尽管工作有压力,社交生活很繁忙,在大多数日子里他们都要用5个小时——清晨2个小时,晚上3个小时——以及整个星期天(他们称其为“快活的日子”)来从事科学工作。不知怎的,拉瓦锡还挤得出时间来担任火药专员,监督修建巴黎的一段城墙来防范走私分子,协助建立米制,还和别人合著了一本名叫《化学命名法》的手册。这本书成了统一元素名字的“圣经”。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
incisive [in'saisiv]
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adj. 尖锐的,一针见血的,敏锐的
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insight ['insait]
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n. 洞察力
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supervise ['sju:pəvaiz]
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vt. 监督,管理,指导
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minor ['mainə]
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adj. 较小的,较少的,次要的
n. 未成年
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social ['səuʃəl]
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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会
 
mild [maild]
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adj. 温和的,柔和的
 
deter [di'tə:]
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vt. 阻止,抑制,威吓
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thrust [θrʌst]
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n. 推力,刺,力推
v. 插入,推挤,刺
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intellect ['intilekt]
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n. 智力,理智,才智非凡的人,知识份子
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institution [.insti'tju:ʃən]
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n. 机构,制度,创立
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