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致总统的公开信:物理教育 – 译学馆
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致总统的公开信:物理教育

Open Letter to the President: Physics Education

亲爱的总统先生
Dear Mr. President,
你对物理知道多少?
Do you know much about physics?
我是说 你是美国的总统
I mean, you’re the President of the United States
有着五千核武器的国家
a country with five thousand nuclear weapons
计算机和通讯产业的发源地
birthplace of the world’s computing and telecommunications industry
第一个原子钟的建造地
home of the first atomic clock
全球定位系统的发祥地
and creator of the global positioning system.
但是很有可能 如果你上了普通高中的物理课
But chances are, if you just took regular American high school physics
你对这些事物背后的科学仍然一无所知(无意冒犯)
you don’t know one iota about the science behind these things (No offense).
这是因为全美国几乎所有学高中物理的学生
That’s because high school physics students across most of America
完全不需要学任何1865年至今
are not required to learn about pretty much any physical phenomena
被发现或被解释的科学现象
discovered or explained more recently than 1865.
是的 1865年
Yes, 1865.
南北战争在那年结束
That’s the year the civil war ended
并且在爱因斯坦出生十几年前
and well over a decade before Albert Einstein was even born!
亲爱的总统 你知道一百五十年可以发生什么吗?
You know what can happen in 150 years, Mr. President?
很多
A lot.
举个例子 Velcro
Velcro, for one.
让我来说说这一百五十年产生出的有用并且重要的科学想法
But let me list some useful and important ideas of the last 150 years of physics
它们在标准美国高中的课程里面都不是必须学的
that aren’t a required part of most standard US high school physics courses
光子
Photons.
原子结构
The structure of atoms.
反物质的存在
The existence of Antimatter.
全球定位系统
GPS.
激光
Lasers.
晶体管
Transistors.
二极管和LED灯管
Diodes and LEDs.
夸克
Quarks.
混沌理论
Chaos Theory.
电子显微镜
Electron Microscopy.
核磁共振成像扫描
MRI scanning.
大爆炸理论
The Big Bang.
黑洞
Black Holes.
恒星的形成
Star formation.
重力使光线弯曲
The fact that gravity bends light.
宇宙在扩张
The fact that the universe is expanding.
希格斯玻色子 或强或弱的核力量 和剩下的量子力学
The Higgs Boson and the weak and strong nuclear forces and all the rest of quantum mechanics
相对论 还有所有诺贝尔物理奖获得者的理论
and relativity and the topic of every single Nobel Prize in Physics since… always.
基本上 所有重要的东西
Basically, most of the important stuff.
我是说 总统先生 想象一下历史课上老师不讲
I mean, Mr. President, imagine if history classes didn’t talk about
废除奴隶制 两次世界大战 经济大萧条
the abolition of slavery, world wars I or II, the great depression
美国成为世界强国
the rise of the US as a global superpower
冷战或者民权运动
the cold war or the civil rights movement
或者 但愿不是 第一个黑人总统
or heaven forbid the first African American President.
或者想象生物课不教DNA 荷尔蒙 或者细胞繁殖
Or imagine if biology classes didn’t talk about DNA, or hormones, or cell reproduction
或是现代微生物理论下的疾病或是生态
or the modern germ theory of disease or ecology.
或者地质学家不讲板块构造学说
Or if geologists didn’t talk about plate tectonics.
或者计算机科学家 在1865年计算机
And computer scientists… well… in 1865 a computer
是计算税金的人
was a person who computed your taxes.
如果你很幸运得遇到一个有雄心的老师
Now, if you were lucky enough to have an ambitious teacher
或者上了美国大学预修物理
or take Advanced Placement Physics,
你就可能能学到爱因斯坦在1905年发现的东西
then you might have learned about some of Einstein’s discoveries of 1905!
是的
Yes!
简直是时事新闻
Current events!
但是学习爱因斯坦的理论
But learning about how Einstein’s work
是如何帮助我们在这个世纪的发展中
helped set the stage for a century of amazing development
奠定对宇宙理解的基础的
in our understanding of the universe
不在标准课程中
is not a part of the standard curriculum.
总统先生 所以为什么我要给你这封信呢?
So why, Mr. President, am I addressing this letter to you?
你任命了教育部长
Well, you appoint the Secretary of Education, for one – and I do believe
并且我觉得高中物理和教育有一定联系
that high school physics is somewhat related to education.
现在 可能你的教育部长说
Now, maybe your education secretary says
“古代物理对高中生已经很难了
ancient physics is already hard to teach to high schoolers.
你想让我们把更难的现代物理教给他们吗?
And you want us to teach them modern physics which is even harder?!
学生们没有大学数学的基础
Students can’t really appreciate the beauty of modern physics
理解不了现代物理的美”
without fancy college level mathematics.
垃圾
RUBBISH.
听说过Carl Sagan吗?
Ever heard of Carl Sagan?
Richard Feynman呢?
Richard Feynman?
或是Neil deGrasse Tyson?
Or Neil deGrasse Tyson?
这些伟人完全致力于鉴别和传播
These great men have been 100% committed to the appreciation and dissemination
宇宙的美丽
of the awesomeness of the universe.
我们也该这么做
And we should be too.
我们还应该怎么培养和寻找未来杰出的
How else are we supposed to foster and find our future
创新者 发明家和探险家呢?
brilliant innovators, inventors and explorers?
我们怎么能期待下个世纪对民众的教育
How can we expect to educate our citizens for the next century
如果我们不倾囊相授呢?
if we don’t teach about the last?
这不是说我们应该不重视数学
And that’s not to say that we should ignore math, either
相反的 数学是世界上最美好的事物之一
on the contrary, math is one of the most beautiful and awesome things in the universe
尤其是它能让我们理解世界
especially because it allows us to understand the universe.
特别是 过去150年间开花结果
In particular, the last 150 years have borne fruit to
让我们对宇宙的理解 产生了可能最戏剧性的改变
perhaps the most drastic changes in our understanding of the universe, ever
这些崭新的视角和解决问题的方式
and these new ways of thinking and solving problems
应该是物理教育的核心
should be the centerpiece of an education in physics.
说句悄悄话 总统先生 我觉得我们
Between you and me, Mr. President, I think we’d better
应该开始让美国的物理教育变得更好
start making physics education more awesome here in the US
不然下个Carl Sagan或者Richard Feynman
otherwise the next Carl Sagan or Richard Feynman
会来自更有教育远见的地方
will come from somewhere with more educational foresight
甚至可能 会是网络
maybe even, the Internet.
真诚的
Sincerely,
一堆叫做Henry的原子
A collection of atoms known as Henry
注 你可能非常忙
ps you’re probably super busy
但是如果你愿意听大西洋另一边的物理教育
but if you’d like to hear about physics education across the Atlantic
我高度建议去看Brandy的栏目 六十符号
I highly recommend heading over to Brady’s channel, Sixty Symbols
去看看英国的前景图
for a perspective from the UK.
我相信你会喜欢
I bet you’ll enjoy it.

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