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我是如何从数学渣变成量子物理学家的 – 译学馆
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我是如何从数学渣变成量子物理学家的

From being terrible at math to a quantum physicist - my journey

嗨 大家好 我叫Mithuna
Hi everyone my name is Mithuna
我是一名剑桥大学在读博士 目前正攻读博士第三年
and I’m a third year PhD student studying quantum
专业方向是量子物理
physics at the University of Cambridge.
在这个短片里 我将给你讲述
In this video I just wanted to explain
我是如何一步一步来到这里的
how I got here
刚进高中的时候
since what I started off in high school
我对科学并不感十分兴趣
I really wasn’t into science.
实际上我当时更喜欢美术
In fact Iquite liked art.
也许你无法
I mean you probably can’t
从我目前的绘画水平看出我还会美术
tell from the quality of my illustrations these days,
但在高中时我的绘画水平还是不错的
but back then I wasn’t so bad,
而且我真的很喜欢画画
and I really enjoyed it and
也喜欢看英语文学
I also really enjoyed English literature and
还喜欢学习第二外语 基本上当时的我就是一个文科生
learning a second language and basically I really identified as a humanities student.
那么到底发生了什么 让我最终来剑桥学习物理呢?
So what changed and how on earth did I get here eventually?
其实我的人生重大转折
So the big turnaround came
发生在16岁时候
for me when I was 16 suddenly I understood what was
有一天 我突然听懂了科学课
going on in science class.
也许是因为当时班上来一位很棒的科学老师
Maybe it wasbecause I had a really great teacher at
抑或是因为当时我们
the time or maybe it was
正在开始研究一个很有意思的科学课题
because we were learning some really cool topics at
而我能理解
the time, but it made sense for the firsttime.
我第一次发现觉科学
I realized that science was about
是通过学习一些简单的基础法则
coming up with basic laws that
然后却可以拿这些基础知识
are simple and yet can explain so much
去解释许多复杂的自然现象
complex phenomena. So then
所以 打那以后我开始阅读这本著名的科学读物
after that I picked up this popular science book
或许你们也曾听说过这本书
which you might have heard of.
书的作者是比尔·布莱森
It’s byBill Bryson and it’s called a Short
书名叫作《万物简史》
History of Nearly Everything.
我很喜欢看这本书 在这也向大家大力推荐
I love thatbook and I totally recommend it.
我清晰地记得 当我刚读完这本书
finished that book I have this distinct memory
合上书本的时候 我就想
of closing it and thinking I’m
将来我成为一名物理学家
gonna be a physicist.
但后来证明那不是一件简单的事
And yet it wasn’tsuch an easy path.
首先
For one thing I was
我当时还是很怕做数学题
still absolutely terrible at maths.
在我13岁升入高中时
Atthe age of 13 when we start high school
学校组织了一场测试
we had taken a test that would show us
来判断每名学生是否擅长数学
whether we were good at maths or not apparently,
然后根据考试结果
and then according to
我们最终会被分到不同等级的
that we would end up in different levels of
数学班级 而我被分到了其中一个
maths class, and I was placed in one
最低等级数学班 事实上几乎是
of the lowest maths levels- in fact almost
等级最低的数学班 那些年 我都在那里学习
the lowest maths level -and I’d stayed there for all these years.
突然间
Suddenly I
我意识到 如果我想当一位
realized that if I wanted to be a
物理学家 我必须得掌握大量的数学知识
physicist I would have to do quite a lot
所以 我决定
of maths, so I decided
我要上我们学校最高等级的
that I would take the highest level of maths that they
数学班
offered at my school and I
那时我去问我的数学老师
asked my maths teacher at the time whether he
是否认为我有能力做到
thought I would be able to do it.
他听后笑着走开了…… 但是这并没有阻止我
Helaughed and walked away… but he couldn’t
反正我做到了
stop me and so I did it anyway -even
即使第二年
though my teacher the next year really
我的数学老师的确尝试劝说我退出高等级数学班
really tried to persuade me to drop theclass.
在我高中最后一学年
In my final year though I had a
我遇到一位超棒的数学老师
fantastic maths teacher and I finally realized
我最终意识到 事实上
that actually a lot of the
我对物理的大部分喜爱很大程度
things that I liked
与数学是相通的
about physics were the same things that I could like about
那就是你可以学会一些简单的定理
maths – that you can take simple rules
并用逻辑推导
and use logic to be able to solve
去解决复杂的难题
complicated problems. I still struggled a bit
我的数学还是不好
with maths and so it wasn’t my very
但它已不是我最喜欢的学科了 我最喜欢的仍然是物理
favourite subject. That was stilldefinitely physics. At this point I
从那时起 我记得我经常不和朋友们
remember I often would skip having lunch
一起吃午饭 而去利用这段时间去图书馆
with my friends so I could go to the
阅读物理学书籍
library and read physics textbooks.
在我大学的第一学年
In my first year
我选修了物理课和化学课
of university I did physics and chemistry along with a
以及外语课和数学课
second language and a maths course.
我所选修的数学课
The maths course that I picked though wasn’t
不是为那些想成为数学家的人而设的
the one meant for people who wanted to become mathematicians,
它是一门为
it was the one who
那些其他专业感兴趣的人设立的 比方说工程学
meant for people who were interested inengineering, let’s say.
我当时决定
I decided to do
选这门课是因为我仍然
that course because I was still
对自己的数学能力
not feeling super confident about my
没有特别大的信心在那门课上 我们学习了
mathematical abilities.In that course we learned about linear
超级优美的线性代数
algebra which is super beautiful- I love
我喜欢这种可以把问题具象化的感觉
that you can just visualize what’s going on.
与此同时
At the same time
我逐渐开始
though I was starting to feel more and more
对物理感到越来越迷茫
disillusioned with physics.
具有讽刺意味的是 第二学年的量子力学课程
Ironicallythe final nail in that coffin was
成了我棺材上的最后一颗钉子
quantum mechanics in second year.
量子力学让我感到超级兴奋
Quantum mechanics was this course that I was
因为它就像
super excited to do because it was meant to be
支配物理学的
about like the strange laws that
神秘法则……
govern physics… and yet quantum
但是在量子力学课上大部分是求解
mechanics class was mostly about solving this
不同边界条件下偏微分方程
partial differential equation fordifferent boundary conditions. I’d come
我学习物理的目的是
to physics because I thought
我可以学会如何解决问题
that I’d learned how to solve problems
但是相反地
but instead I felt
我感觉自己只学会如何使用数学公式
that I was just learning how to use mathematical formulas.
在那个时候 我感到十分失落
At that point I was feeling quite lost
但万幸的是
but I got very lucky
因为在下学期 我决定选修
because the next semester I decided to take a course in
抽象代数课 不为别的
abstract algebra for no other reason than
只因为它听起来像我真正喜欢的
that it sounded similar to linear algebra,
线性代数课
which I really enjoyed.
这门课程是针对那些数学家设立的
Thiscourse was meant for mathematicians and
尤其针对那些
so in particular it was meant
上学年选了高难度数学课的人而设的
for people who had taken the hard math courses the
而我上学期却没有选修
year before and in the semester before which I hadn’t,
所以当时我是完全没有准备好
so I was completely unprepared.
无论如何 我还是选修了这门课它 并最终喜欢上它
I took the course anyway and Iended up loving it.
这是我平生第一次接触纯数学
This was the first time that I’d met pure maths,
而纯数学都是关于
and pure maths is all about
利用描绘特定类型的系统的原理
taking axioms that describe a particular type
再从那些公理中
of system and then from those
找出该系统中许多隐含的属性
axioms driving lots of properties ofthat system that aren’t obvious.
纯数学中有很多内容
It had a lot
真的很像物理
of these elements that are really liked about physics but it was
但是非常非常枯燥 这对我是一个挑战
very very rigorous which was actually quite a challenge for me,
直到那时 我还是一个十分信赖直觉的人
until this point I was a very intuitivekind of person.
即使是在学习物理时
Even in physics I would
我也经常不愿多解释
give very hand-wavy arguments
我常认为有些事情
for things and I would just think that certain
一看就是对的
things are obviously true and
因为对我来说一看就是对的
because it’s obvious to me but they’re true I
我就不需要去证明它们的正确性
wouldn’t need to show that they’re true.
然而数学却是完全相反的一回事
Whereas maths is the complete opposite,
我因为这种文化冲突而挣扎良久
and I really really did struggle becauseof that culture clash.
但这个历程教会我许多
But it taught me
自此以后 我完全养成了
so much and I after that was completely hooked
纯数学的思维方式
on the pure maths way of thinking
于是我决定将我的注意力由物理转到数学上
and I decided to switch my focus fromphysics to maths.
理学学士的学习过程
The Bachelor of Science
选课非常灵活的 因此我也上了很多
was very very flexible and so I did a bunch
其他的课程
of other subjects as well.
我决定去上信息理论课
decided to take a course in information theory
因为热力学里
because thermodynamics has this
有一种叫熵的变量 而信息理论中也有这种叫熵的变量
quantity called entropy in it andinformation had this quantity called
我想弄明白
entropy in it and I was just wondering,
它们是否是同一样东西呢?
are they the same thing or not?
这门课程是为
this class that was meant
计算机科学家设立的 而我这个班上
for computer scientists I was the only not computer
唯一一个非计算机专业的学生
scientists in the class and it
这种感觉真的很酷 无论你是在学什么学科的
was so cool -no matter what discipline you’re in
我都推荐你们去上信息理论课
I would recommend information theory.
因为它对几乎每种人文知识的专业
Ithas such deep consequences for basically
都有很深的因果关系
every other subject of human knowledge.
毕业前一年
In my final year of undergraduate I took
我参加了泛函分析 这门课基本是数学中的量子力学
a course in functionalelseis which is basically the maths of
基本是类固醇中的线性代数
quantum mechanics and it’s basicallylinear algebra on steroids. I really
我很喜欢这门课
loved that and so I had
我突然有个疯狂的想法 我想成为一名数学物理学家
this crazy idea that I would become a mathematical
专注于量子力学的数学研究
physicist who focuses on the maths ofquantum mechanics.
因而 我能成为
So basically I would
物理学家基本上只是为了
become a physicist just to have
找个理由去拿数学知识
an excuse to be able to do maths that
应用在“现实世界”当中去
applies to the’real world’.
我很欣慰我并未在此止步
I’m so gladthat I didn’t end up there and the
而未止步的原因是这个频道
reason I didn’t end up there is becauseof this channel.
由于某些原因我在这个频道里
For some reason I made
制作了许多关于量子力学相关的视频
a couple of videos about quantummechanics.
我觉得 之所以我的这些视频都是关于量子力学的
I made them about quantum mechanics, I think,
只是因为我对量子力学知识理解得较好
just because I thought well I
我上过量子力学相关的所有课程
understand quantum mechanics. I’ve beendoing all these courses on quantum mechanics,
因而我能很好地给观众们解释其中的内容
surely I could explain it.
并且 我也很喜欢向人解释疑惑
AndI loved explaining things so I just kind
因此我完成了一些视频
of made some videos.
最初的两片视频绝对令人振奋
Those first twovideos were absolutely shocking and not
并不仅仅因为制作质量……
just because of the quality…
不过现在看来很难很出来了
although that is pretty hard to look at now, but
也因为其中的内容
also because of the content. See,
我决定这些视频中将不包含任何
Idecided that these videos wouldn’t have
数学内容 这样可以
any maths in them because they were meant
让普通人也能看得懂
for laypeople but when I have to
但当我必须把数学相关的知识抽离时 我发现
take away the mathsI realized I didn’t understand quantum
其实我一点也不懂量子力学
mechanics at all.
当然 我知道怎样求解薛定谔方程
Sure I knew how tosolve the Schrodinger equation and I
也知道什么时希尔伯特空间
knew what Hilbert space was but,
但是当用量子力学是描绘这个世界的运行机制时
when it came down to what does quantum mechanics
我却一点也不了解
actually say about how the world works, Ihad no idea.
这也是为何当我完成我的学士学位后
That’s why when I finished
我休了六个月的假
my undergraduate degree I took six months
之后再重新开始学习量子力学
off and started learning quantum mechanics.
我开始真正地开始学习这门课
Like properly learning what
学习过程中
it meant and as I learnt things I made
我也做了相关的视频
videos about them.
大多数视频都已经下架了
Most of those videosare now unlisted but I was actually
但那时候的我真的很高产 我好像做了20个视频
really productive at the time I made it like 20 videos or something.
学习量子力学的旅程
journey of learning quantum mechanics
是从我的卧室开始的 在那里我第一次认识贝尔定理开始
from my bedroom I met Bell’s Theorem for
并开始思考量子力学基础框架
the first time and started thinkingabout the foundations of quantum
隐藏变量 还有
mechanics and hidden variables and bohmian
波希米亚力学等等诸如此类的令人疯狂的内容
mechanics and all kinds of crazy
我只是很喜欢这个过程
stuff like that and I just loved it
在这过程中我认识到
so much -and that’s when I realized this is
这才是我一直想要的
what I want to do.
我想要研究量子力学 但要适当地去学它
I want to studyquantum mechanics but properly study
我不想像一个数学家那样去试图操控符号
quantum mechanics. Not as a mathematician trying to
我想真正理解到底是怎么发生的 ?
just manipulate symbols, but to actuallyunderstand what was happening.
这就是我
That’s how
怎样获得物理学荣誉学位
I ended up doing a honours ( which is sort
(这是一种一学年的硕士)
of like a one-year masters ) in physics
而不是数学学位
rather than maths and I had to pick
我还不得不为我的学术论文挑选一个选题
a subject to do my thesis in and I chose
我选择了量子计算(及信息)——这并不是因为我对量子计算有任务了解
quantum computing (and information) -not that I knew anything about quantum computing but
而是因为这个选择的名字里带有
because it had the words quantum
量子和信息两个
and information which I already told you I
我说过我很喜欢的词
was very interested
而且我在一门逻辑学的课程中学习过的信息处理技术
in but also computing which I’d learnt about in a
觉得信息处理也是超级有意思的
course on logic and thought was super fascinating as well,
于是我想
so I thought the
二者相结合也一定非常的酷
combination of these must be cool.
事实上结果证明 我的想法是对的
Andit turned out I was totally right.
量子计算是一个令人着迷的领域
computing is a fascinating field.
看来量子计算机就是一种
Seequantum computers are computers that use
使用量子力学中不可思议的法则
the spooky laws
来运算的计算机 其运算速率高于
of quantum mechanics to do calculations faster than it should be
传统计算机的运算速率
possible for a classical computer to beable to do them.
当此事被公之于众时
When this was discovered
人们都很惊讶
people were really surprised
因为制造一台传统计算机可以有很多种方法
because there are many different ways to build a
但是它们其实殊途同归
classical computer and yet they all
两种计算机都能
end up being equivalent -they can all solve
用同样效率去解决同一等级的难题
the same class of problems to the same sort of efficiency –
所以无论你用
and so it doesn’t
哪种类型的计算机都可以
really matter what kind of model you’relooking at.
然而当你使用
And yet when you make this
其他的类型的计算机来算量子力学
other model of computing using quantum
突然间
mechanics suddenly it does matter and
就影响很大了
the class of computations
你能做的将是不一样的
that you can do is different and so this means that
这就意味着 量子力学遵循一些和经典力学相比本质不同的逻辑
quantum mechanics obeys somefundamentally different logic to regular
因而量子计算究竟是什么
classical mechanics. So there’s this
是一个很大的开放性问题
big open question in quantum computing which
量子力学为何如此与众不同?
is why? What exactly is so special aboutquantum mechanics?
究竟量子力学的哪部分
Exactly which part of
能使加速发生?
quantum mechanics is allowing for thespeed up to happen?
这就是我在我的荣誉硕士论文中
That was what I was
所感兴趣的
interested in in my honours thesis.
很明显我还没解决这个难题
Iobviously didn’t solve it but I decided
但我决心要继续努力研究
that I wanted to keep studying
这个特殊的课题
this particular topic and that’s why I ended
那也是为何我最终来到几乎是世界的另一面来求学的原因
up on almost the literal other side of the world,
我在剑桥大学的导师
because my supervisor here in
是对这个问题很感兴趣的几个人之一
Cambridge is one of the people who’sreally interested in
他过去在这个领域做了很多的工作
the question and has done a lot of work
我也想在今后与他共同工作
on it in the past and I wanted to work with him,
因此我提交了入职申请并最终来到了这里
so I applied and somehow ended uphere.
以上就是我如何
So that’s my story of how I went
从一个被认为是
from someone who thought that she was terrible
数学和科学学渣的人 最终
at maths and science and ended
成为一名量子物理学家的过程
up as a quantum physicist.
如果我有任何座右铭或是建议的话
If I have any moral or any advice
我会说
at all it’s that I
我希望大家能够对自己喜欢的事物
want you to be open-minded about the kind
报有一颗开放的心
of things that you could enjoy if
并放手一试
you gave them a go,
对你所擅长的领域 也请保持开放的思想去实践
but also be open to minded about what you could get good at
最后 感谢大家观看本次视频
with practice.So thanks for watching this video this
这是我第一次在YouTube上前露脸
is the first time I’ve had my face
我也对底下的评论感到焦虑
on these YouTube videos and I’m really
请大家不要留下一些奇怪的留言
nervous about the comments.. so please don’t leave me anything too weird.
我妈妈会看到的 开玩笑的啦 我妈甚至都不看我的视频
reads them. I’m just kidding she doesn’teven watch my videos.
无论如何
Anyway you know
你懂得我的意思啦
what I mean.
此外 视频中
Also the video
关于希尔伯特空间 狄拉克符号以及
about Hilbert space and Dirac notation and the maths
量子力学中的数学知识
of quantum mechanics- I’m writing it
我正在制作相关的视频当中
right now and that means that it should
也就是说不久之后将与大家见面
be coming out soon which means that it should be coming
大概未来两个月之内播放吧
out within the next two months,
希望我能快点啦
probably. Hopefully sooner!

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视频概述

介绍作者如何一步一步从一个文科生逐渐喜欢上数学和物理的过程。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

Symic

审核员

审核员_BZ

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEhhQtq9gp4

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