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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第269期:砰!(4)

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The story begins in the early 1950s when a bright young geologist named Eugene Shoemaker paid a visit to Meteor Crater in Arizona. Today Meteor Crater is the most famous impact site on Earth and a popular tourist attraction. In those days, however, it didn't receive many visitors and was still often referred to as Barringer Crater, after a wealthy mining engineer named Daniel M. Barringer who had staked a claim on it in 1903. Barringer believed that the crater had been formed by a ten-million-ton meteor, heavily freighted with iron and nickel, and it was his confident expectation that he would make a fortune digging it out. Unaware that the meteor and everything in it would have been vaporized on impact, he wasted a fortune, and the next twenty-six years, cutting tunnels that yielded nothing.
故事始于20世纪50年代之初。当时,有一位名叫尤金·苏梅克的年轻有为的地质学家对亚利桑那州的陨石坑作了一次考察。今天,陨石坑是地球上最著名的撞击现场,也是个很热门的旅游胜地。然而,在那个年代,那里没有多少游客,陨石坑仍然经常被称做巴林杰坑,以有钱的采矿工程师丹尼尔·M·巴林杰的名字命名。1903年,巴林杰出资买下了它的所有权。他认为,大坑是由一块1000万吨重的陨石造成的,里面含有大量铁和镍。他信心十足地指望,他要把铁和镍掘出来,从而发一笔大财。他不知道,在撞击的那一刻,陨石会连同里面所含的一切通通化成蒸气。在随后的26年里,他挖了许多坑道,结果一无所获,倒是浪费了一大笔钱。
impactBy the standards of today, crater research in the early 1900s was a trifle unsophisticated, to say the least. The leading early investigator, G. K. Gilbert of Columbia University, modeled the effects of impacts by flinging marbles into pans of oatmeal. (For reasons I cannot supply, Gilbert conducted these experiments not in a laboratory at Columbia but in a hotel room.) Somehow from this Gilbert concluded that the Moon's craters were indeed formed by impacts—in itself quite a radical notion for the time—but that the Earth's were not. Most scientists refused to go even that far.To them, the Moon's craters were evidence of ancient volcanoes and nothing more.
按照今天的标准,20世纪初对大坑的研究起码可以说是比较简单。最初的主要研究人员是哥伦比亚大学的G·K·吉尔伯特,他通过向几锅燕麦粥里投掷弹子的办法来模仿撞击的作用。(出于我也说不清的理由,这些实验不是在哥伦比亚大学的实验室里做的,而是在旅馆房间里做的。)不知怎的,吉尔伯特从中得出结论,认为月球上的坑确实是由撞击形成的──这种说法本身在当时就有点激进,而地球上的坑不是。大多数科学家连这一点都拒不赞同。他们认为,月球上的坑表明了古代的火山活动,仅此而已。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
confident ['kɔnfidənt]
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adj. 自信的,有信心的,有把握的
a
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fortune ['fɔ:tʃən]
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n. 财产,命运,运气
 
unsophisticated ['ʌnsə'fistikeitid]
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adj. 质朴无华的,天真无邪的
 
popular ['pɔpjulə]
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adj. 流行的,大众的,通俗的,受欢迎的
联想记忆
impact ['impækt,im'pækt]
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n. 冲击(力), 冲突,影响(力)
vt.
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radical ['rædikəl]
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adj. 激进的,基本的,彻底的
n. 激进分
 
expectation [.ekspek'teiʃən]
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n. 期待,期望
联想记忆
evidence ['evidəns]
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n. 根据,证据
v. 证实,证明
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claim [kleim]
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n. 要求,要求权;主张,断言,声称;要求物
 
supply [sə'plai]
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n. 补给,供给,供应,贮备
vt. 补给,供
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