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英国物理学家、《时间简史》作者霍金逝世 丨双语阅读

卫报双语阅读 2020-07-31 16:19:08

英国物理学家、《时间简史》作者霍金逝世

Stephen Hawking Dies at 76; His Mind Roamed the Cosmos


DENNIS OVERBYE


Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, has died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.

曾在轮椅上漫游宇宙,思考万有引力的本质和宇宙的起源,成为人类意志和好奇心象征的剑桥大学物理学家、畅销书作家斯蒂芬·W·霍金(Stephen W. Hawking),于周三凌晨在英国剑桥的家中去世,享年76岁。

His death was confirmed by a spokesman for Cambridge University.

剑桥大学一名发言人证实了他的死讯。

“Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, said in an interview.

“自阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦之后,没有哪位科学家能如此吸引公众的想象,并得到全世界几十亿人的喜爱,”纽约市立大学(City University of New York)理论物理学教授加来道雄(Michio Kaku)在一次采访中说。

Dr. Hawking did that largely through his book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” published in 1988. It has sold more than 10 million copies and inspired a documentary film by Errol Morris. The 2014 film about his life, “The Theory of Everything,” was nominated for several Academy Awards and Eddie Redmayne, who played Dr. Hawking, won the best-actor Oscar.

而这些,都主要归功于霍金1988年出版的《时间简史——从大爆炸到黑洞》(A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes)。这本书卖出了1000多万册,并启发了埃罗尔·莫里斯(Errol Morris)的一部纪录片。关于他的生平的2014年电影《万物理论》(The Theory of Everything)获奥斯卡多项提名,霍金的扮演者埃迪·雷德梅恩(Eddie Redmayne)还赢得了奥斯卡最佳男主角。

Scientifically, Dr. Hawking will be best remembered for a discovery so strange that it might be expressed in the form of a Zen koan: When is a black hole not black? When it explodes.

在科学上,霍金给人们留下最深的印象是一个十分奇怪的发现,奇怪到可以用一则禅宗公案的形式来表达:黑洞何时不再黑?在它爆炸之时。

What is equally amazing is that he had a career at all. As a graduate student in 1963, he learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuromuscular wasting disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was given only a few years to live.

他能创出一番事业本身就是奇迹。1963年,还在攻读研究生的霍金发现自己患上了肌萎缩性侧索硬化症,这种神经肌肉萎缩疾病也被称为葛雷克氏症。他被告知只有几年可活。

The disease reduced his bodily control to the flexing of a finger and voluntary eye movements but left his mental faculties untouched.

这种疾病减少了他的身体控制力,甚至是一根手指的弯曲或自主眼动,但并未影响他的心智机能。

He went on to become his generation’s leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits so deep and dense that not even light can escape them.

他继而成为了他这一代的领军人物,探索着万有引力和深不见底且密度大到连光都无法逃脱的引力凹陷——黑洞的特性。

That work led to a turning point in the history of modern physics, one that played itself out in the closing months of 1973 on the walls of his brain when Dr. Hawking set out to apply quantum theory, the weird laws that govern subatomic reality, to black holes. In a long and daunting calculation, Dr. Hawking discovered to his befuddlement that black holes — those mythological avatars of cosmic doom — were not really black at all. In fact, he found, they would eventually fizzle, leaking radiation and particles, and finally explode and disappear over the eons.

这项研究后来成为了现代物理学史上的一个转折点。在1973年的最后几个月,当霍金开始将量子理论——关乎亚原子世界一切的古怪法则——应用在黑洞上时,它就在脑中自然而然地显现了。在一场漫长而艰巨的计算中,霍金困惑地发现,黑洞——那些传说中的宇宙末日化身——并非真的就是黑的。实际上,他发现,它们最终会熄灭,泄露出辐射和粒子,最终会爆炸,并在永恒的时间中消失。

Nobody, including Dr. Hawking, believed it at first — that particles could be coming out of a black hole. “I wasn’t looking for them at all,” he recalled in an interview in 1978. “I merely tripped over them. I was rather annoyed.”

一开始,没人相信粒子会从黑洞中出来,也包括霍金自己在内。“我根本就没有在找它们,”他在1978年的一次采访中回忆道。“我只是被它们绊了一跤。我还挺生气的。”

That calculation, in a thesis published in 1974 in the journal Nature under the title “Black Hole Explosions?,” is hailed by scientists today as the first great landmark in the struggle to find a single theory of nature — to connect gravity and quantum mechanics, those warring descriptions of the large and the small, to explain a universe that seems stranger than anybody had thought.

这项计算在1974年以《黑洞爆炸?》(Black Hole Explosions?)为题发表于《自然》(Nature)期刊的论文中,至今仍为科学家们称颂,在对自然统一理论的艰苦追寻中,霍金的研究成为第一个重大里程碑。这种理论意在将引力与量子力学——那些对大与小的相互冲突的描述——连接起来,从而解释一个看起来比所有人所想的更为陌生的宇宙。

The discovery of Hawking radiation, as it is known, turned black holes upside down. It transformed them from destroyers to creators — or at least to recyclers — and wrenched the dream of a final theory in a strange, new direction.

被称为霍金辐射的发现彻底颠覆了黑洞。把它从一个破坏者变成了创造者——或者至少是回收者,让终极理论的梦想转向了陌生的新方向。

“You can ask what will happen to someone who jumps into a black hole,” Dr. Hawking once said in an interview in 1978. “I certainly don’t think he will survive it.

“你可以问问,一个人跳进黑洞会发生什么,”霍金在1978年的一次采访中说。“我肯定不认为他能活下来。”

“On the other hand,” he added, “if we send someone off to jump into a black hole, neither he nor his constituent atoms will come back, but his mass energy will come back. Maybe that applies to the whole universe.”

“但是另一方面,”他又说,“如果我们把某个人送出去让他跳进黑洞,不论是他还是组成他的原子都是回不来的,但他的质能会回来。或许这适用于整个宇宙。”

Dennis W. Sciama, a cosmologist and Dr. Hawking’s thesis adviser at Cambridge, called Hawking’s Nature paper “the most beautiful paper in the history of physics.”

宇宙学家、霍金的剑桥论文导师丹尼斯·W·夏马(Dennis W. Sciama)把霍金在《自然》上发表的论文称为“物理学史上最美的文章”。

Edward Witten, a theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, said: “Trying to understand Hawking’s discovery better has been a source of much fresh thinking for almost 40 years now, and we are probably still far from fully coming to grips with it. It still feels new.”

普林斯顿高等研究院(Institute for Advanced Study)的理论家爱德华·威登(Edward Witten)表示:“为了更好地理解霍金而做的努力,在将近40年的实践中一直是许多新鲜思想的来源,而我们可能还远远没能完全理解它。感觉仍然是新的。”

In 2002, Dr. Hawking said that he wanted the formula for Hawking radiation to be engraved on his tombstone.

2002年,霍金表示他希望能把霍金辐射的公式刻在自己的墓碑上。

He was a man who pushed the limits — in his intellectual life, to be sure, but also in his professional and personal lives. He traveled the globe to scientific meetings, visiting every continent, including Antarctica; wrote best-selling books about his work; married twice; fathered three children; and was not above appearing on “The Simpsons,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” or “The Big Bang Theory.”

他是一个超越了极限的人——在他的智力生活中当然如此,然而在他职业和个人生活中也一样。他环游全球参加科学会议,到访过包括南极洲在内的所有大洲;写过有关自己的研究的畅销书;结过两次婚;养育了三个孩子;还曾出现在《辛普森一家》(The Simpsons)、《星际迷航:下一代》(Star Trek: The Next Generation)以及《生活大爆炸》(The Big Bang Theory)等剧集中。

He celebrated his 60th birthday by going up in a hot-air balloon. The same week, he also crashed his electric-powered wheelchair while speeding around a corner in Cambridge, breaking his leg.

为了庆祝自己的60岁生日,他乘上了热气球。同在那一周,他又在剑桥“高速”驶过一个拐角,撞坏了他的电动轮椅,摔断了腿。

In April 2007, a few months after his 65th birthday, he took part in a zero-gravity flight aboard a specially equipped Boeing 727, a padded aircraft that flies a roller-coaster trajectory to produce fleeting periods of weightlessness. It was a prelude to a hoped-for trip to space with Richard Branson’s VirginGalactic company aboard SpaceShipTwo.

2007年4月,他的65岁生日刚刚过去几个月,他登上了一架特殊改装的波音727零重力飞机,这种安装了衬垫的飞行器会沿着过山车式的轨迹飞行,创造暂时的失重。这是他为了实现登上理查德·布兰森(Richard Branson)的维珍银河(Virgin Galactic)公司太空船二号(SpaceShipTwo)进行太空之旅的愿望而进行的准备。

 Asked why he took such risks, Dr. Hawking said, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”

当被问及为何要冒这个风险的时候,霍金说,“我想让人们看到,只要精神没有残疾,人就不应被身体的残疾限制。”