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6个改变历史的化学反应

6 Chemical Reactions That Changed History

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物理学也许为我们展示了宇宙间的基本组成 生物学让宇宙
Physics might show us the universe’s basic building blocks, and biology lets the universe
能够认识自己 而化学二者之间是各种有趣现象的所在
understand itself, but chemistry is where all the fun happens in between.
每一秒 我们体内都会发生成千上万的化学反应
We have thousands of chemical reactions going on inside us every second, but it’s the
但正是那些我们已经掌握的化学反应 它们发生在实验室 车间 工厂 甚至是厨房里
ones we’ve mastered with our hands, in labs and workshops and factories and even kitchens,
造就了我们如今的人类 少数化学技术给我们的生活
that have made humans what we are today. A few chemical technologies have made such an
带来巨大变化 改变人类的发展轨迹
explosive change in how we live that they have altered the very trajectory of humanity.
以下是六大改变历史的化学反应
Here’s 6 chemical reactions that changed history.
火是我们人类对化学的首要尝试 而火的利用有好有坏
Fire was our first foray into chemistry, for better and for worse.
不论是动物 蔬菜 还是其他在热锅里的食物 烹饪令食物
Whether it’s animal, vegetable or whatever’s in hot pockets, cooking our food makes it
更容易被消化 我们花更少工夫获得更多营养 但有一种不同的
easier to digest, we get more nutrition for a lot less work, but there’s a different
化学过程 让食物从简单的营养变得更加有趣
bit of chemistry that turns food from simple nutrition into something fun to eat.
6、美拉德反应
6. Maillard Reaction
1913年 一位名叫路易斯·卡米拉·美拉德的法国化学家 描述了一种我所知的
In 1913, a French chemist named Louis Camille Maillard described the most delicious reaction
最美味的化学反应 我们烹饪的每样食材几乎都含有糖和氨基酸
I know of. Pretty much everything we cook contains sugars and amino acids, and when
它们在高温条件下反应 结果就是··· 恩 成百上千复杂的
they react at high temperatures, the result is… well, hundreds and hundreds of complex
味道混合 就像把布朗家脆脆的汉堡皮放到披萨上
flavor compounds. It’s what browns grilled hamburgers, puts the crispy crust on pizza,
薯条炸黄的边缘 和··· 不好意思 我有点太激动了
the golden edges on french fries, the… sorry, I got a little carried away there.
不管怎样 可以肯定的是 火让食物变得更容易消化 但美拉德反应
Anyway, sure, harnessing fire made food more digestible, but the Maillard reaction made
让人们吃得更有趣 说真的 要是没有烘焙咖啡 我们该怎么办
it more fun to eat, and drink, because really, where would we be without roasted coffee?
猫狗都生活在一起 乱套了
“Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!”
人们都说棍子和石头能敲断骨头 但金属的效果更好
如果你的祖先
They say sticks and stones can break bones, but metal does it much better. If your ancestors
没有发现青铜冶炼 他们很可能会被其他发现青铜冶炼法的人所统治
didn’t figure out the chemistry of bronze, they were probably conquered by someone who did.
地球上现有的大量纯金属只有铜 金 银和铂
The only pure metals that Earth has any good amount of are copper, gold, silver, and platinum,
但它们有的太稀有 有的太重 有的又太软 都不能制作出
but unfortunately they’re all either too valuable, too heavy, or too soft to make good
比较好的金属棒
pokey sticks with.
5000-6000年前 人们开始炼制合金 或是把铜与其他物质混合
Beginning 5 to 6 thousand years ago, people began alloying, or mixing copper with elements
比如和锡混合 制成青铜 提高了纯铜的硬度和耐久度
like tin, to make bronze, a step up in hardness and durability from pure copper.
虽然之后在大多数使用中青铜被铁取代
It was later replaced by iron in most uses,
但青铜是人类重金属时代的开端
but bronze was the beginning of humanity ‘s heavy metal stage.
NO.4 发酵过程
NO.4 Fermentation
你喜欢玩《文明》游戏吗 我是它的狂饭
You like civilization? I’m a big fan myself,
你的操作会让游戏不断进行下去
and one reaction above all others made it possible.
诗人约翰·西阿第曾说过
As the poet John Ciardi put it:
发酵和文明密不可分
“Fermentation and civilization are inseparable.”
我们的祖先逐渐厌倦捕食生活
Our ancestors eventually got tired of chasing dinner
他们通过农业种植而定居下来
and were finally able to put their roots down by putting some roots down. Domesticating
少数人种植农作物就可以让所有人都有粮食
plants led to a nice orderly system where a few people grow enough food for everyone,
这让其他人有机会探索其他事物 比如探索艺术 探索先进的国家体制 甚至探索科学
giving others free time to explore things like art, advanced government, and even science,
至少了解当时的科学是什么
or at least what passed for science at the time.
我们不会直接吃生谷物 如果谷物几周后就会腐烂 那么丰收还有什么意义呢?
But eating raw grain is not our thing, and what good is that harvest if it’ll be rotten in a couple of weeks?
我们的祖先利用发酵 把糖转化成酸 酒精和气体
By harnessing fermentation and converting sugars into acids, alcohol and gas,
让他们都不知道其存在的微小生物
our ancestors let tiny creatures they had no idea even existed
把水果 蔬菜 谷物 甚至牛奶 变成更美味而且可以长期保存的形式
turn fruit, vegetables, grain, and even milk into forms that were tastier and lasted longer.
你知道还有好的是什么吗?是“饮用水” 但在人类历史上 大多数时间
You know what’s also nice? Drinkable water. But for most of human history, drinking from
喝了溪流或井里不干净的水 你的肚子就会经历前所未有的痛楚
the wrong stream or well could get you the last stomach ache you’d ever have.
发酵以及在发酵过程中 物质产生的抗菌酒精 才是你的朋友
Fermentation and its antimicrobial alcoholic by products were your friend.
NO.3 皂化反应
NO.3 Saponification
考虑到水曾经是一个实际的健康危害
Considering water used to be an actual health hazard, it’s no surprise that bathing often
古人们不会经常洗澡也就不奇怪了 但谁也不想坐在一个脏兮兮的孩子身边
wasn’t high on priority lists of the past. But nobody wants to sit with the smelly kid,
即使是在古苏美尔时代 有碑文记载 大约4000年前 人类开始
even in ancient Sumeria. Tablets dating from nearly 4,000 years ago there show formulas
混合水 碱灰 油 或是动物脂肪 制成肥皂
for mixing water, alkali ash, and oil or animal fat to make soap.
植物和动物油是由甘油三酸酯 甘油分子加上三种脂肪酸组成
Plant and animal oils are triglycerides, a glycerol molecule plus three fatty acids.
加入碱基令它们分解 就可以获得脂肪酸盐 这是肥皂的主要成分
Break them in with the alkali base, and you get fatty acid salts, the key ingredient in
它们都会溶解 一个溶于水 另一个溶于
soap, because they dissolve both ways. One end is attracted to water, and the other attracts
非极性油腻物质 两种化学反应混合 再配合上水
greasy nonpolar things, and the resulting chemical mix is perfect for using water to
就能成功洗去衣服上的污渍
pull olive oil stains out of your favorite toga.
简讯 计算机是一个重要的事 而且无论是手机或智能恒温器
News flash: Computers are a big deal, and neither cell phones or smart thermostats would
都离不开硅晶片 硅很容易找到
be possible without silicon chips. Silicon is actually super easy to find, but to be
但如果要做成硅晶片 需要纯度非常高的硅 要多纯呢? 至少要有99.9999999%的纯净度
used in chips it has to be super pure. How pure? At least nine nines pure. But that’s
但这还不是最难的地方
not even the hard part.
纯净的固体硅中有几十亿个独立的晶体 这看起来很酷
Pure solid silicon is a mass of billions of separate crystals. It looks cool, but everywhere
但在任何地方 两个晶体相遇之后 都不能进行导电 通过直拉法
two crystals meet is a place where semiconductor magic can’t happen. The Czochralski process
就能让芯片发挥作用 重新融化固体硅 就能释放其中的晶体
makes that mess chip-worthy. The silicon is remelted, and a single tiny crystal is lowered
并进行提取 首个提取出的结晶体 让不断出现的其他固体结晶重新排列 成为一个单一
in and slowly drawn out. This first crystalline seed aligns the growing solid mass in a single,
完美的硅晶体 能够进行切割加工投入使用
perfect crystal of silicon, ready to be sliced and diced and put to good use.
1、哈伯·博施反应
1. The Harber-Bosch process
所有生物都需要氮来构建生命机体
Everything that’s alive needs nitrogen in order to build the most basic bits of life
比如说氨基酸和DNA 但对于大多数生物 将氮转化为对生物
like amino acids and DNA. But for most of life’s history, converting nitrogen to biologically
有用的形式 只能由土壤里的细菌来完成 它们从空气中提取氮气
useful forms could only be done by bacteria in soil, they pull gas from the air and convert
将其转化为生物所需的物质 如氨和硝酸盐
it to building blocks like ammonia and nitrates.
直到1909年 德国化学家弗里茨·哈伯 在几个朋友的帮助下
That was until 1909, when German chemist Fritz Haber, with the help of a couple friends,
发现进行氮转化的方法 哈伯-博施法通过转化氮气和氢气
figured out how to do it on our own. The Haber-Bosch process converts nitrogen gas and hydrogen
两种寻常的气体 制成氨
gas, two simple ingredients, to make ammonia, which we can then turn into an N-finite list
运用到诸多物质材料中
of useful stuff.
化肥为什么能排在第一位呢 化肥出现后 农民不用再依靠
So why is this #1? Fertilizer. For the first time, farmers didn’t have to rely on crop
轮种作物或通过牛耕使土壤肥沃 这种低价的化学物质
rotation or shovel what the family cow provided them to get nitrogen. Inexpensive chemical
让人们获得前所未有的丰收 世界上
fertilizers let many people grow abundant food for the first time ever. The world grew
有充足的粮食 实际上 这场化学革命后 世界人口增长了四倍多
so much food, in fact, that the global population has more than quadrupled since this chemical
我们每年制造4.5亿吨氮肥
revolution. We make 450 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer this way every year, a full 1 to
我们所用的能源中 有百分之一到百分之二用于制造氮肥
2 percent of all the energy we use goes to this process.
当然 利用工业氮 我们不仅仅是生产沙拉和谷物
Of course salad bars and cereal aren’t the only thing that we make with industrial nitrogen.
硝酸盐是制造爆炸物的必要成分 哈伯·博施法
Nitrates are necessary ingredients in making explosives, and the Haber process allowed
也让德国在一战和二战中 能够对其他国家实现大规模破坏
the nations involved in WWI and II to unleash destruction on scales never seen before.
但不论是在战争中的应用 还是每天饭桌上的早餐 都激励哈伯
But whether it was the battlefield or the breakfast table that really motivated Haber
掌握转化空气中氮气的方法 爆炸不断升级
to harness nitrogen from air, one explosion definitely won out over the other, and it’s
只要有一点化学物质 就能为大脑提供食物
just one delicious bit of chemistry that feeds our brains every day.
如果你对化学反应感兴趣 当然也有很多其他历史性的
Now if you enjoyed these Fine reactions, I know we skipped over a lot of important historical
化学奇迹没有列举出来 希望你能在评论中举出改变人类历史的
chemical wonders, so let us know in the comments what you think changed humanity more than
其他化学反应
any other reaction.
希望你能保持一颗好奇心
Stay curious.

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视频概述

化学反应无处不在,又有哪些化学反应改变了人类历史呢?

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb4CMnT2-ao

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