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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第155期:基本物质(23)

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In the spring of 1904, Rutherford traveled to London to give a lecture at the Royal Institution—the august organization founded by Count von Rumford only 105 years before, though that powdery and periwigged age now seemed a distant eon compared with the roll-your-sleeves-up robustness of the late Victorians. Rutherford was there to talk about his new disintegration theory of radioactivity, as part of which he brought out his piece of pitchblende. Tactfully—for the aging Kelvin was present, if not always fully awake—Rutherford noted that Kelvin himself had suggested that the discovery of some other source of heat would throw his calculations out. Rutherford had found that other source. Thanks to radioactivity the Earth could be—and self-evidently was—much older than the twenty-four million years Kelvin’s calculations allowed.
1904年春,卢瑟福来到伦敦给英国皇家科学研究所开了一个讲座——该研究所是伦福德伯爵创建的,只有150年历史,虽然在那些卷起袖子准备大干一场的维多利亚时代末期的人看来,那个搽白粉、戴假发的时代已经显得那么遥远。卢瑟福准备讲的是关于他新发现的放射现象的蜕变理论;作为讲课内容的一部分,他拿出了那块沥青铀矿石。卢瑟福很机灵地指出——因为年迈的开尔文在场,虽然不总是全醒着——开尔文本人曾经说过,要是发现某种别的热源,他的计算结果会被推翻。卢瑟福已经发现那种别的热源。多亏了放射现象,可以算出地球很可能——不言而喻就是——要比开尔文最终计算出的结果2400万年古老得多。
为科学献身,被烧死在罗马鲜花广场的布鲁诺!Kelvin beamed at Rutherford’s respectful presentation, but was in fact unmoved. He never accepted the revised figures and to his dying day believed his work on the age of the Earth his most astute and important contribution to science—far greater than his work on thermodynamics.
听到卢瑟福怀着敬意的陈述,开尔文面露喜色,但实际上无动于衷。他拒不接受那个修改的数字,直到临终那天还认为自己算出的地球年龄是对科学最有眼光、最重要的贡献——要比他在热力学方面的成果重要得多。
As with most scientific revolutions, Rutherford’s new findings were not universally accepted. John Joly of Dublin strenuously insisted well into the 1930s that the Earth was no more than eighty-nine million years old, and was stopped only then by his own death. Others began to worry that Rutherford had now given them too much time. But even with radiometric dating, as decay measurements became known, it would be decades before we got within a billion years or so of Earth’s actual age. Science was on the right track, but still way out.
与大多数科学革命一样,卢瑟福的新发现没有受到普遍欢迎。都柏林的约翰·乔利到20世纪30年代还竭力认为地球的年龄不超过8900万年,坚持到死也没有改变。别的人开始担心,卢瑟福现在说的时间是不是太长了点。但是,即使利用放射性测定年代法,即后来所谓的衰变计算法,也要等几十年以后我们才得出地球的真正年龄大约是在10亿年以内。科学已经走上正轨,但仍然任重而道远。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
source [sɔ:s]
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n. 发源地,来源,原始资料
 
decay [di'kei]
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v. (使)衰退,(使)腐败,腐烂
n. 衰退
联想记忆
disintegration [dis.inti'greiʃən]
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n. 瓦解
 
contribution [.kɔntri'bju:ʃən]
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n. 贡献,捐款(赠)
 
track [træk]
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n. 小路,跑道,踪迹,轨道,乐曲
v. 跟踪
 
presentation [.prezen'teiʃən]
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n. 陈述,介绍,赠与
n. [美]讲课,报告
联想记忆
respectful [ri'spektfəl]
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adj. 表示尊敬的,有礼貌的,谦恭的
联想记忆
unmoved
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adj. 不动摇的;无动于衷的
 
institution [.insti'tju:ʃən]
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n. 机构,制度,创立
联想记忆
astute [əs'tju:t]
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adj. 机敏的,精明的,狡猾的
 
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