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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第152期:基本物质(20)

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For most of us, the periodic table is a thing of beauty in the abstract, but for chemists it established an immediate orderliness and clarity that can hardly be overstated. "Without a doubt, the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements is the most elegant organizational chart ever devised," wrote Robert E. Krebs in The History and Use of Our Earth's Chemical Elements, and you can find similar sentiments in virtually every history of chemistry in print. Today we have "120 or so" known elements—ninety-two naturally occurring ones plus a couple of dozen that have been created in labs. The actual number is slightly contentious because the heavy, synthesized elements exist for only millionths of seconds and chemists sometimes argue over whether they have really been detected or not. In Mendeleyev's day just sixty-three elements were known, but part of his cleverness was to realize that the elements as then known didn't make a complete picture, that many pieces were missing. His table predicted, with pleasing accuracy, where new elements would slot in when they were found.
对我们大多数人来说,周期表是一件美丽而抽象的东西,而对化学家来说,它顿时使化学变得有条有理,明明白白,怎么说也不会过分。“毫无疑问,化学元素周期表是人类发明出来的最优美、最系统的图表。”罗伯特·E.克雷布斯在《我们地球上的化学元素:历史与应用》一书中写道--实际上,你在每一部化学史里都可以看到类似的评价。 今天,已知的元素有“120种左右”--92种是天然存在的,还有20多种是实验室里制造出来的。实际的数目稍有争议,那些合成的重元素只能存在百万分之几秒,是不是真的测到了,化学家们有时候意见不一。在门捷列夫时代,已知的元素只有63种。之所以说他聪明,在一定程度上是因为他意识到当时已知的还不是全部元素,许多元素还没有发现。他的周期表准确地预言,新的元素一旦发现就可以各就各位。
化学元素No one knows, incidentally, how high the number of elements might go, though anything beyond 168 as an atomic weight is considered "purely speculative," but what is certain is that anything that is found will fit neatly into Mendeleyev's great scheme.
顺便说一句,没有人知道元素的数目最多会达到多少,虽然原子量超过168的任何东西都被认为是“纯粹的推测”;但是,可以肯定,凡是找到的元素都可以利索地纳入门捷列夫那张伟大的图表。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
clarity ['klæriti]
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n. 清楚,透明
 
abstract ['æbstrækt]
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n. 摘要,抽象的东西
adj. 抽象的,理论
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scheme [ski:m]
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n. 方案,计划,阴谋
v. 计画,设计,体系
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immediate [i'mi:djət]
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adj. 立即的,即刻的,直接的,最接近的
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incidentally [.insi'dentəli]
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adv. 附带地,偶然地,顺便地
 
established [is'tæbliʃt]
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adj. 已被确认的,确定的,建立的,制定的 动词est
 
slightly ['slaitli]
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adv. 些微地,苗条地
 
contentious [kən'tenʃəs]
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adj. 好辩的,好争吵的,有争议的
 
speculative ['spekju.lətiv]
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adj. 推测的,推理的,思索的,投机的
 
elegant ['eligənt]
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adj. 优雅的,精美的,俊美的
联想记忆
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