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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第174期:爱因斯坦的宇宙(17)

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When a journalist asked the British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington
有一位记者问英国天文学家阿瑟·爱丁顿,
if it was true that he was one of only three people in the world who could understand Einstein’s relativity theories,
他是不是真的就是世界上仅有的三个能理解爱因斯坦的相对论的人之一。
Eddington considered deeply for a moment and replied: “I am trying to think who the third person is.”
爱丁顿认真地想了片刻,然后回答说:“我正在想谁是第三个人呢。”
In fact, the problem with relativity wasn’t that it involved a lot of differential equations, Lorentz transformations, and other complicated mathematics
实际上,相对论的问题并不在于它涉及许多微分方程、洛伦兹变换和其他复杂的数学
(though it did—even Einstein needed help with some of it),
(虽然它确实涉及——有的方面连爱因斯坦也需要别人帮忙),
but that it was just so thoroughly nonintuitive.
而是在于它不是凭直觉所能完全搞懂的。
In essence what relativity says is that space and time are not absolute, but relative to both the observer and to the thing being observed,
实质上,相对论的内容是:空间和时间不是绝对的,而是既相对于观察者,又相对于被观察者;
and the faster one moves the more pronounced these effects become.
一个人移动得越快,这种效果就越明显。
We can never accelerate ourselves to the speed of light,
我们永远也无法将自己加速到光的速度;
and the harder we try (and faster we go) the more distorted we will become, relative to an outside observer.
相对于旁观者而言,我们越是努力(因此我们走得越快),我们的模样就越会失真。
图解相对论Almost at once popularizers of science tried to come up with ways to make these concepts accessible to a general audience.
几乎同时,从事科学普及的人想要设法使广大群众弄懂这些概念。
One of the more successful attempts—commercially at least—was The ABC of Relativity by the mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell.
数学家和哲学家罗素写的《相对论ABC》就是一次比较成功的尝试——至少在商业上可以这么说。
In it, Russell employed an image that has been used many times since.
罗素在这本书里使用了至今已经多次使用过的比喻。
He asked the reader to envision a train one hundred yards long moving at 60 percent of the speed of light.
他让读者想像一列100米长的火车在以光速的60%行驶。
To someone standing on a platform watching it pass, the train would appear to be only eighty yards long and everything on it would be similarly compressed.
对于立在站台上望着它驶过的人来说,那列火车看上去会只有80余米长,车上的一切都会同样缩小。
If we could hear the passengers on the train speak, their voices would sound slurred and sluggish,
要是我们听得见车上的人在说话,他们的声音听上去会含糊不清,十分缓慢,
like a record played at too slow a speed, and their movements would appear similarly ponderous.
犹如唱片放得太慢,他们的行动看上去也会变得很笨拙。
Even the clocks on the train would seem to be running at only four-fifths of their normal speed.
连车上的钟也会似乎只在以平常速度的4/5走动。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
essence ['esns]
想一想再看
n. 本质,精髓,要素,香精
 
differential [.difə'renʃəl]
想一想再看
adj. 差别的,特定的,微分的 n. 两路线的运费差额
 
complicated ['kɔmplikeitid]
想一想再看
adj. 复杂的,难懂的
动词complica
 
pronounced [prə'naunst]
想一想再看
adj. 显著的,断然的,明确的 pronounce的过
联想记忆
ponderous ['pɔndərəs]
想一想再看
adj. 笨重的,笨拙的,乏味的
联想记忆
sluggish ['slʌgiʃ]
想一想再看
adj. 懒惰的,迟钝的,无精打采的
联想记忆
envision [in'viʒən]
想一想再看
vt. 想象,设想
 
distorted [dis'tɔ:tid]
想一想再看
adj. 歪曲的;受到曲解的 v. 扭曲(distort
 
understand [.ʌndə'stænd]
想一想再看
vt. 理解,懂,听说,获悉,将 ... 理解为,认为<
 
astronomer [ə'strɔnəmə]
想一想再看
n. 天文学家
 
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