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经济学人:宇宙学 揭秘宇宙的起源

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社论
Cosmology
宇宙学
Man suddenly sees the start of the universe
揭秘宇宙的起源
The quest to understand reality takes a great leap backwards
科学新突破—探索宇宙诞生之初的真相
IN THE beginning was the word and the word was “inflation”.
宇宙初始皆起源于“膨胀”二字。
That is no blasphemy. It is, rather, a celebration of human curiosity, ingenuity and bloody-minded persistence in the quest to try to find out how the universe actually works.
与其说这是对神明的亵渎,不如说是人类对于宇宙奥秘求知若渴、精密巧思和坚持不懈的颂扬。
No one yet knows how the universe came into existence.
没有人能知晓宇宙是如何从无到有的。

Those who believe it was created by God are as free today as they were a week ago to continue in that belief, as are those who think the whole thing is the chance result of a quantum fluctuation in the nothingness beforehand.

相信神创世论的人们可以像一周前一样继续他们的信仰,而那些相信量子波动创世论的人也可以同样不改初衷。
But results of a study of the early universe using BICEP2, a telescope located near the South Pole, where the air is thin and isolation keeps equipment clean, suggest what happened very shortly afterwards.
然而,科学家们在空气稀薄纯净、能最大限度降低设备杂质的南极建立了 “BICEP2”大型望远镜,并据此研究揭开了宇宙创始后极短时间内发生的事情。
These findings, announced on March 17th, are of signs of primordial gravitational waves.
3月17号公布的最新发现显示了原始引力波存在的迹象。
They confirm the theory, debated among astrophysicists for three decades, that within a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the moment it began the universe got bigger. Immensely bigger.
证实了一个在天体物理学界被争论了三十年的理论:宇宙在诞生之后的一万亿的一万亿的一万亿分之一秒内急速膨胀至超级大。
A volume of space that started off no larger than an atom in the pre-inflation universe would, after inflation, have been about the size of the solar system.
从膨胀前比原子还小的空间扩大至太阳系大小。
Apart from the sheer gobsmackingness of this claim, the BICEP2 team's discovery is important for three reasons.
除了让人感叹上帝创世的无穷威力之外,BICEP2研究团队的发现有三个重要意义。
By confirming inflation it explains why the universe still exists,since it was inflation which stopped it fluctuating back into the void.
首先,通过证实膨胀的发生解释了宇宙为什么依然存在,正是因为膨胀,才避免了宇宙波动回到之前的虚无状态。
By confirming the existence of gravitational waves, it bolsters Einstein's general theory of relativity, which predicts them.
其次,爱因斯坦广义相对论预测了宇宙膨胀的发生,而通过证实引力波的存在为这一理论的提供了支持证据。
And by linking gravitational waves with inflation it provides a chink through which physicists can peer to try to solve one of their field's biggest mysteries: why general relativity, which has passed every test applied to it, cannot be reconciled with quantum theory, which has also passed every test applied to it.
第三,通过把引力波和膨胀联系起来,物理学家们打开了一扇可以解决本领域内最大谜团之一的大门:为什么广义相对论和量子理论这两个已经被无数次证实了的真理始终无法共存。
Quantum theory is the theory of small things.
量子论是研究微观世界的理论。
It describes electromagnetism and two less-familiar forces that operate at the scale of atomic nuclei.
描述了电磁学和另外两个鲜为人知的作用力在原子核层面的相互联系。
Relativity theory is the theory of big things. It describes the force of gravity.
而相对论是研究宏观世界的理论,描述了引力的原理。
Since inflation is the way the universe made the transition from small to big, it is a good place to look for the missing link.
既然膨胀理论是宇宙从微观到宏观的过渡,这就为寻找两者之间尚未发现的联系提供了绝佳的机会。
Not quite as simple as an apple and a persuasive serpent
这可比蛇诱夏娃吃禁果复杂多了
The gravitational waves detected by BICEP2 date from the beginning of the inflationary process and are thus a product of the small, quantum-scale version of the universe.
由BICEP2望远镜发现的引力波产生于膨胀过程的初始,因此这是一个微小的、处于量子层面的宇宙的产物。
This means they are quantum phenomena,the first known manifestations of quantum gravity.
这就表明它们是量子现象,第一个已知存在的量子引力。
That confirms the link between relativity and quantum theory.
也证明了相对论和量子论之间的关联性。
It also gives physicists investigating the link something real to play with in their search for how that link actually works.
同时这也让物理学家们有了进一步研究这种关联性的真实基础。
A little caution is called for. It can be dangerous, in science, to put too much faith in a single set of observations.
但值得警惕的是,在科学世界里,把过多的注意集中到某个单一的观察结果上是很危险的。
The gravity,wave signals that BICEP2 has found,slight fluctuations in the intensity of the cosmic microwave background, an all,pervading bath of radiation that preserves some features of the very early universe,are but a faded palimpsest.
BICEP2天文台发现了引力波信号,在宇宙微波背景强度下的一些轻微波动,但这个信号已经很大程度上被其他信号覆盖。
They have been overwritten time and again by other signals, and these have had to be scraped away to make the gravitational waves visible.
而为了得到最终的引力波,需要把那些干扰信号逐个去除。
Confirmation using other instruments is needed.
因此,我们需要其他设备对引力波的存在性进行再次核实。
Other teams of scientists will now try to find similar evidence; new researchers will get excited about the field.
其他科学家们将会致力于寻找相似的证据;也欢迎新研究者在此领域前赴后继。
This is welcome. The merging of particle physics and cosmology is one of the great intellectual achievements of the past 50 years.
新兴的粒子物理学和宇宙学是过去50年以来最大的科学进步之一。
And in showing that the deepest truths of the material universe are to be found by gazing out into the deepest, earliest recesses of space, it feeds not just the intellect, but the spirit.
凝望最遥远、最原始的空间深处。那里埋藏着关于宇宙物质的最终解答,对这个答案的求索不仅是人类关于知识的渴望,更是灵魂的满足。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
logic ['lɔdʒik]

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n. 逻辑,逻辑学,条理性,推理

联想记忆
sheer [ʃiə]

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adj. 纯粹的,全然的,陡峭的
adv. 完

 
exploit [iks'plɔit]

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vt. 剥削,利用,开拓,开采,开发
n. 功

联想记忆
intellectual [.intil'ektʃuəl]

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n. 知识份子,凭理智做事者
adj. 智力的

联想记忆
operate ['ɔpəreit]

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v. 操作,运转,经营,动手术

 
announced [ə'naunst]

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宣布的

 
universe ['ju:nivə:s]

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n. 宇宙,万物,世界

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intensity [in'tensiti]

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n. 强烈,强度

 
void [vɔid]

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adj. 空的,无效的,空虚的
n. 真空,空

 
solve [sɔlv]

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v. 解决,解答

 

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