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  • One of the funny things about owning a brain

    擁有大腦的有趣之處在於

  • is that you have no control over the things that it gathers and holds onto,

    你無法控制大腦如何收集與保留

  • the facts and the stories. And as you get older, it only gets worse.

    事實和故事。而當你越來越老, 事情只會變得更糟

  • Things stick around for years sometimes

    有些事情會留在你的腦袋裡很多年

  • before you understand why you're interested in them,

    你根本不知道為什麼會一直記著這些事

  • before you understand their import to you.

    也不清楚到底是怎麼把它記起來的。

  • Here's three of mine.

    以下我有三個例子

  • When Richard Feynman was a young boy in Queens,

    當理查 · 費曼還是一個小男孩, 住在皇后區

  • he went for a walk with his dad and his wagon

    有一次他和他的父親去散步, 拉著他的玩具拖車

  • and a ball. And he noticed that when he pulled the wagon,

    上面放了一個球。他注意到,當他拉車的時候

  • the ball went to the back of the wagon.

    球會往拖車後面跑

  • And he asked his dad, "Why does the ball go to the back of the wagon?"

    他問他的爸爸, "為什麼球會跑到拖車的後面呢?"

  • And his dad said, "That's inertia."

    他的父親說, "這是慣性。"

  • He said, "What's inertia?" And his dad said, "Ah.

    他問說, "慣性是什麼?" 他的父親說, "啊。

  • Inertia is the name that scientists give

    慣性是科學家們給的名稱

  • to the phenomenon of the ball going to the back of the wagon.

    用來描述球跑去拖車後面的這種現象。

  • But in truth, nobody really knows."

    但事實是, 沒有人真正知道這現象到底是怎麼一回事。"

  • Feynman went on to earn degrees

    費曼後來取得了學位

  • at MIT, Princeton, he solved the Challenger disaster,

    在麻省理工學院、 普林斯頓大學, 他還解決了挑戰者號太空梭爆炸的謎團,

  • he ended up winning the Nobel Prize in Physics

    他還得到了諾貝爾物理學獎,

  • for his Feynman diagrams describing the movement of subatomic particles.

    因為他在描述亞原子粒子的運動方面的成就

  • And he credits that conversation with his father

    他把一切歸功於那次與他父親的對話

  • as giving him a sense

    給了他一個啟發:

  • that the simplest questions could carry you out to the edge of human knowledge,

    從最簡單的問題開始, 可以帶領你探索到人類知識的前鋒,

  • and that that's where he wanted to play.

    這就是他想做的

  • And play he did.

    而他也如此做到了

  • Now Eratosthenes was the third librarian at the great Library at Alexandria,

    第二個例子, 艾拉托斯特尼是亞歷山大 一個偉大圖書館的第三任館長

  • and he made many contributions to science.

    他在科學方面有很多貢獻。

  • But the one he is most remembered for

    其中最讓人津津樂道的

  • began in a letter that he received as the librarian,

    是在他當圖書館館長時, 收到了一封信

  • from the town of Swenet, which was south of Alexandria.

    寄自亞歷山大城南邊的斯威尼特鎮。

  • The letter included this fact that stuck in Eratosthenes' mind,

    這封信提到的一件事, 一直在艾拉托斯特尼的心中揮之不去

  • and the fact was that the writer said at noon

    寫信的人說, 當他在夏至的中午

  • on the solstice, when he looked down this deep well,

    望進一口深井的時候

  • he could see his reflection at the bottom, and he could also see that his head

    他可以看到井底的水面, 有陽光反射, 而且他的頭

  • was blocking the sun.

    正好可以擋住太陽。

  • Now, I should tell you -- the idea that Christopher Columbus discovered that the world is spherical

    而我應該告訴你, 關於克里斯多夫 · 哥倫布 發現地球是球形的這回事

  • is total bull. It's not true at all.

    根本就是胡扯。完全不正確。

  • In fact, everyone who was educated understood that the world was spherical

    事實上, 受過教育的人都知道地球是圓的

  • since Aristotle's time, and Aristotle had proved it

    因為在亞里斯多德的年代, 他就已證明了這事

  • with a simple observation.

    只靠簡單的觀察。

  • He noticed that every time you saw the Earth's shadow on the Moon

    他注意到, 每次在月亮上看到地球的影子(月食)

  • it was circular,

    影子是圓的

  • and the only shape that constantly creates a circular shadow

    而唯一能每次都造成圓影的形狀

  • is a sphere, Q.E.D. the Earth is round.

    就是一個球體, 所以證明地球是圓的。

  • But nobody knew how big it was

    但沒有人知道地球有多大

  • until Eratosthenes got this letter with this fact.

    直到艾拉托斯特尼有了這封信跟井的這回事。

  • So he understood that the sun was directly above the city of Swenet,

    他想到太陽是斯威尼特鎮的正上方

  • because looking down a well, it was a straight line

    因為向井下頭看, 這是一條直線

  • all the way down the well, right past the guy's head up to the sun.

    從太陽經過寫信者的頭, 一路到井底。

  • Eratosthenes knew another fact.

    艾拉托斯特尼知道另一個事實。

  • He knew that a stick stuck in the ground in Alexandria

    他知道在亞歷山大城當地立了一根棍子

  • at the same time and the same day, at noon,

    在同一時間、 同一天中午,

  • the sun's zenith, on the solstice,

    太陽正在天頂的時候

  • the sun cast a shadow that showed that it was 7.2 degrees off-axis.

    陽光照出的棍子的陰影與鉛直線偏了 7.2 度。

  • Now, if you know the circumference of a circle,

    現在, 如果你知道一個圓的圓心角

  • and you have two points on it,

    還有圓上的兩個點

  • all you need to know is the distance between those two points,

    你只要知道這兩點之間的距離

  • and you can extrapolate the circumference.

    就可以推算出圓周長。

  • Three hundred and sixty degrees divided by 7.2 equals 50.

    360 度除以 7.2 度等於 50。

  • I know it's a little bit of a round number, and it makes me suspicious of this story too,

    我知道正好整除有些太巧了, 讓人有點懷疑這個故事的可信度

  • but it's a good story, so we'll continue with it.

    但這是一個好故事, 所以我們會繼續談下去。

  • He needed to know the distance between Swenet and Alexandria,

    他需要知道斯威尼特鎮 和亞歷山大城之間的距離

  • which is good because Eratosthenes was good at geography.

    這是容易的, 因為艾拉托斯特尼很擅長地理學。

  • In fact, he invented the word geography.

    事實上, 地理學這個名詞就是他發明的。

  • The road between Swenet and Alexandria

    斯威尼特鎮 和亞歷山大之間的道路

  • was a road of commerce,

    是一條經商者常走的路,

  • and commerce needed to know how long it took to get there.

    經商者需要知道路程要多久。

  • It needed to know the exact distance, so he knew very precisely

    所以實際的距離很重要, 所以他也非常精確地知道

  • that the distance between the two cities was 500 miles.

    這兩個城市之間的距離是 500 英哩。

  • Multiply that times 50, you get 25,000,

    乘上 50 倍, 就是 25,000 英哩,

  • which is within one percent of the actual diameter of the Earth.

    這跟地球實際的大小只有 1% 的誤差。

  • He did this 2,200 years ago.

    在二千二百年前, 他就能做到這樣的事。

  • Now, we live in an age where

    現在, 我們生活在一個時代,

  • multi-billion-dollar pieces of machinery are looking for the Higgs boson.

    價值數十億元的設備正在尋找希格斯玻色子。

  • We're discovering particles that may travel faster than the speed of light,

    我們發現可能比光速更快的粒子

  • and all of these discoveries are made possible

    而所有的這些發現都是靠著

  • by technology that's been developed in the last few decades.

    在過去幾十年中所發展出來的科技。

  • But for most of human history,

    但在人類歷史的大多數時間,

  • we had to discover these things using our eyes and our ears and our minds.

    我們只能靠我們的眼睛和耳朵, 還有思考能力, 來發現新事物。

  • Armand Fizeau was an experimental physicist in Paris.

    阿曼德斐索是在巴黎的實驗物理學家。

  • His speciality was actually refining and confirming other people's results,

    他的專長是精煉和確認其他人的研究結果,

  • and this might sound like a bit of an also-ran,

    這聽起來可能有點的遜,

  • but in fact this is the soul of science,

    但事實上, 這就是科學的靈魂

  • because there is no such thing as a fact that cannot be independently corroborated.

    因為若不能獨立的被重複驗證, 就不能被稱為科學事實。

  • And he was familiar with Galileo's experiments

    他很熟悉伽利略的一個實驗

  • in trying to determine whether or not light had a speed.

    是關於光是不是有速度的。

  • So, Galileo had worked out this really wonderful experiment

    伽利略曾做了這個特別的實驗

  • where he and his assistant had a lamp,

    他和他的助手各拿了一盞燈,

  • each one of them was holding a lamp. And Galileo would open his lamp, and his assistant would open his lamp.

    當伽利略打開他的燈, 他的助手看到光後, 也同樣地打開燈。

  • And they got the timing down really good.

    他們把時間抓得很準。

  • They just knew their timing. And then they stood at two hilltops,

    他們只管自己的開燈時機。 然後他們站在兩個山頭

  • two miles distant, and they did the same thing, on the assumption

    相距兩英里, 兩人做一樣的事情,

  • from Galileo that if light had a discernable speed,

    伽利略的假設是, 如果光有一個特定的速度,

  • he'd notice a delay in the light coming back from his assistant's lamp.

    他應該會注意到在從他的助手燈回來的光的延遲。

  • But light was too fast for Galileo.

    但光的速度對伽利略來說太快了。

  • He was off by several orders of magnitude when he assumed

    他對光的速度的臆測差了好幾個數量級 (10的n次方)

  • that light was roughly 10 times as fast as the speed of sound.

    他猜測光大概只比聲音的速度快 10 倍。

  • Fizeau was aware of this experiment. He lived in Paris,

    斐索聽說了這個實驗。他住在巴黎,

  • and he set up two experimental stations,

    他設立了兩個實驗站

  • roughly five and a half miles distant,

    相距大約五英里半,

  • in Paris. And he solved this problem of Galileo's,

    在巴黎。他解決了伽利略的實驗中的問題,

  • and he did it with a really relatively trivial piece of equipment.

    他只用了一塊相對來說很小的設備。

  • He did it with one of these.

    他用的就像這個。

  • I'm going to put away the clicker for a second

    我先把遙控器收起來,

  • because I want to engage your brains in this.

    因為我想讓你的大腦也來思考一下。

  • So this is a toothed wheel. It's got a bunch of notches

    這就是齒輪的樣子。它有一大堆的凹槽

  • and it's got a bunch of teeth.

    還有一堆的凸齒。

  • This was Fizeau's solution to sending discrete pulses of light.

    這是斐索用來發送離散脈衝光的作法。

  • He put a beam behind one of these notches.

    他讓一束光穿過這些凹口之一。

  • If I point a beam through this notch at a mirror,

    射到另一個實驗站的鏡子反射

  • five miles away, that beam is bouncing off the mirror

    來回各五英里, 這束光回來後

  • and coming back to me through this notch.

    會通過這個凹口被看到。

  • But something interesting happens as he spins the wheel faster.

    但當他把齒輪轉得更快時, 有趣的事情發生了。

  • He notices that it seems like a door is starting to close

    他觀察到如同反射的光被關上的門擋住了

  • on the light beam that's coming back to his eye.

    眼睛看不到反射回來的光了。

  • Why is that?

    這是為什麼?

  • It's because the pulse of light, it's not coming

    這是因為反射的光並沒有

  • back through the same notch. It's actually hitting a tooth.

    通過發射時相同的凹口。 實際上是擊中一顆凸齒。

  • And he spins the wheel fast enough

    他把齒輪轉得夠快

  • and he fully occludes the light. And then,

    對光的現象充分的觀察

  • based on the distance between the two stations

    再依據兩個地點之間的距離

  • and the speed of his wheel and the number of notches in the wheel,

    還有他的齒輪的轉速與齒數

  • he calculates the speed of light to within two percent of its actual value.

    他計算出與實際光速誤差不到 2% 的數值。

  • And he does this in 1849.

    他在 1849 年作出了這樣的實驗。

  • This is what really gets me going about science.

    這也是為什麼讓我對科學一直有興趣的緣故。

  • Whenever I'm having trouble understanding a concept, I go back and I research the people that discovered that concept.

    每當我在理解一個概念時遇到了問題, 我會回去研究發現了這個概念的研究者。

  • I look at the story of how they came to understand it.

    我觀察他們如何逐漸搞懂整件事情。

  • And what happens when you look at what the discoverers were thinking about

    當你看到了研究者如何思考,

  • when they made their discoveries, is you understand

    看到他們如何發現事物, 你就會知道

  • that they are not so different from us.

    其時他們跟我們沒有什麼不同。

  • We are all bags of meat and water. We all start with the same tools.

    我們都是血肉之軀。我們都能使用相同的工具。

  • I love the idea that different branches of science are called fields of study.

    我很喜歡把科學的不同分支稱做研究領域的說法。

  • Most people think of science as a closed, black box,

    大多數人認為科學是封閉的黑箱,

  • when in fact it is an open field.

    當事實上它是一個開放的領域。

  • And we are all explorers.

    而且我們大家都是探險家。

  • The people that made these discoveries just thought a little bit harder

    貢獻出這些發現的人只是想得比我們努力些

  • about what they were looking at, and they were a little bit more curious.

    對於他們所研究的事情, 有著更多的好奇心

  • And their curiosity changed the way people thought about the world,

    他們的好奇心改變了人們對這個世界的觀點,

  • and thus it changed the world.

    也因此而改變了世界。

  • They changed the world, and so can you.

    他們能改變這個世界, 當然你也可以。

  • Thank you.

    謝謝。

  • (Applause)

    (掌聲)

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