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非典型性学校日常-地球无人能回答的问题

Questions No One Knows the Answers to

学校典型的日常便是
On a typical day at school,
无穷尽地学习各种问题的答案,但是现在,我们
endless hours are spent learning the answers to questions,
反其道而行之。
but right now, we’ll do the opposite.
我们将聚焦你找不到答案的问题,
We’re going to focus on questions where you can’t learn the answers
因为没人知道答案。
because they’re unknown.
当我是个小男孩的时候,经常对许多事情感到困惑,比如:
I used to puzzle about a lot of things as a boy, for example:
当只小狗是什么感觉?
What would it feel like to be a dog?
鱼会感到疼痛么?
Do fish feel pain?
昆虫呢?
How about insects?
大爆炸只是个偶然么?
Was the Big Bang just an accident?
上帝真的存在么?
And is there a God?
还有,我们对性别的界定为何那么明确?
And if so, how are we so sure that it’s a He and not a She?
为什么如此多的无辜的人和动物经历着灾难?
Why do so many innocent people and animals suffer terrible things?
我的人生真的是注定了?
Is there really a plan for my life?
未来尚未被书写完成还是
Is the future yet to be written,
早已书写完成只是我们看不到?
or is it already written and we just can’t see it?
但是,我有自由的意志么?我的意思是,我到底是谁呢?
But then, do I have free will? I mean, who am I anyway?
我只是一个生物机器么?
Am I just a biological machine?
还有,我有意识么?什么是意识呢?
But then, why am I conscious? What is consciousness?
机器人会在某天拥有意识么?
Will robots become conscious one day?
就是说,我可以想象有一天
I mean, I could assume that some day
会有人告知我这些问题的答案。
I would be told the answers to all these questions.
总有人知道,对吧?
Someone must know, right?
猜猜看?其实没人知道。
Guess what? No one knows.
这些问题中的大部分从未像现在这样使我困惑。
Most of those questions puzzle me more now than ever.
但是沉浸其中令人兴奋
But diving into them is exciting
因为它们将你带到知识的边缘。
because it takes you to the edge of knowledge,
你永远不知道自己会发现什么。
and you never know what you’ll find there.
所以,两个问题,同样是地球上无人能回答的问题。
So, two questions,questions that no one on Earth knows the answer too.
(音乐)
(Music)
到底有几个宇宙呢?
[How many universes are there?]
有时候我会在长途航班上
Sometimes when I’m on a long plane flight,
凝视着窗外的高山和沙漠
I gaze out at all those mountains and deserts
不禁感慨我们的地球多么辽阔。
and try to get my head around how vast our Earth is.
然后我会想起我们每天所见的物体
And then I remember that there’s an object we see every day
可以完全容纳一百万个
that would literally fit one million Earths inside it:
地球的物体:太阳。
the Sun.
太阳简直大得不可思议。
It seems impossibly big.
但是在浩瀚的宇宙,太阳也显得微不足道
But in the great scheme of things, it’s a pinprick,
仅是银河系四千亿星球之一
one of about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy,
你可以在晴朗的夜晚看见的银河系
which you can see on a clear night
如浅色白雾延伸于苍穹。
as a pale white mist stretched across the sky.
太阳甚至可以显得更渺小。
And it gets worse.
天文望远镜观测出,约有一千亿星系存在。
There are maybe 100 billion galaxies detectable by our telescopes.
所以,如果每一颗星球都如同一粒沙,
So if each star was the size of a single grain of sand,
仅仅银河系就有足够多的星星
just the Milky Way has enough stars
去填补30*30英尺的海滩,
to fill a 30-foot by 30-foot stretch of beach
足有三英尺深的沙子。
three feet deep with sand.
在整个地球上也没有足够多的海滩
And the entire Earth doesn’t have enough beaches
去代表整体宇宙的星星。
to represent the stars in the overall universe.
这样的海滩将延连数百万英里。
Such a beach would continue for literally hundreds of millions of miles.
天啊,史蒂芬·霍金,这可真多星星。
Holy Stephen Hawking, that is a lot of stars.
但现在他和其他物理学家相信一个事实,
But he and other physicists now believe in a reality
那就是宇宙是难以想象的大。
that is unimaginably bigger still.
我的意思是,首先,
I mean, first of all, the 100 billion galaxies
在望远镜测量范围内的1000亿个星系
within range of our telescopes
可能只是总量中极小的一部分。
are probably a minuscule fraction of the total.
空间本身在不断加速扩张。
Space itself is expanding at an accelerating pace.
绝大多数的星系
The vast majority of the galaxies
在快速远离我们,以至于它们的光可能永远不会达到我们。
are separating from us so fast that light from them may never reach us.
不过,我们地球上的物理现象
Still, our physical reality here on Earth
与那些遥远的看不见的星系关系密切。
is intimately connected to those distant, invisible galaxies.
我们可以认为它们是我们宇宙的一部分。
We can think of them as part of our universe.
它们组成一个单独的巨大建筑,
They make up a single, giant edifice
遵守着相同的物理定律,也由同样组成你和我的原子、
obeying the same physical laws and all made from the same types of atoms,
电子,质子,夸克,中微子组成。
electrons, protons, quarks, neutrinos, that make up you and me.
然而,最近的物理学理论,包括一个叫做弦理论,
However, recent theories in physics, including one called string theory,
告诉我们,世界上可能有无数的宇宙
are now telling us there could be countless other universes
由不同于我们的宇宙的微粒组成,
built on different types of particles,
具有不同的属性,遵循不同的规律。
with different properties, obeying different laws.
大多数这些宇宙可能不支持生命,
Most of these universes could never support life,
也可能在纳秒内闪现和闪失。
and might flash in and out of existence in a nanosecond.
但是,他们构成了一个巨大的多元宇宙,
But nonetheless, combined, they make up a vast multiverse
有可能多达十一维度,
of possible universes in up to 11 dimensions,
形成超乎我们想象的奇迹。
featuring wonders beyond our wildest imagination.
弦理论的主要理论是预测一个多元宇宙
The leading version of string theory predicts a multiverse
由10到500个宇宙组成。
made up of 10 to the 500 universes.
这是在1后面加500个零,
That’s a one followed by 500 zeros,
数量如此之大,以至于如果
a number so vast that if every atom
在可观测宇宙里的每个原子都有自己的宇宙,
in our observable universe had its own universe,
而且这些宇宙里的所有原子都有
and all of the atoms in all those universes each had
自己的宇宙,
their own universe,
你再如此重复两次,
and you repeated that for two more cycles,
你仍在数着总数里的一小部分,
you’d still be at a tiny fraction of the total,
也就是说,一万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿
namely, one trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion
万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿万亿。
trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillionth.
(笑)
(Laughter)
但这个数字与另一个数字相比,还是极小的:
But even that number is minuscule compared to another number:
无穷大。
infinity.
一些物理学家认为时空是无限的,
Some physicists think the space-time continuum is literally infinite
它包含了无数个所谓的具有不同属性的
and that it contains an infinite number of so-called pocket universes
口袋宇宙,
with varying properties.
你的大脑是怎样运作的?
How’s your brain doing?
量子理论增添了一个全新的想法。
Quantum theory adds a whole new wrinkle.
我的意思是,这个理论已被无疑地证实了,
I mean, the theory’s been proven true beyond all doubt,
但解释却令人困惑,
but interpreting it is baffling,
一些物理学家认为能解释清楚它,
and some physicists think you can only un-baffle it
只有你想象大量的平行宇宙
if you imagine that huge numbers of parallel universes
每时每刻在形成中,
are being spawned every moment,
许多这样的宇宙会很像我们所处的世界,
and many of these universes would actually be very like the world we’re in,
也包括许多个你。
would include multiple copies of you.
在其中一个宇宙,你以优异成绩毕业,
In one such universe, you’d graduate with honors
和你梦想的人结婚,而在另一个,却不是这样。
and marry the person of your dreams, and in another, not so much.
也有些科学家会这是荒谬。
Well, there are still some scientists who would say, hogwash.
对于有多少个宇宙这个问题,唯一有意义的回答就是只有一个。
The only meaningful answer to the question of how many universes there are is one.
只有一个宇宙。
Only one universe.
一些哲学家和神秘主义者可能会说
And a few philosophers and mystics might argue
也许我们自己的宇宙也只是一个错觉。
that even our own universe is an illusion.
所以,如你所见,现在
So, as you can see, right now
在这个问题上还没有达成一致,相近的答案也没有。
there is no agreement on this question, not even close.
我们所知的是答案介于0和无穷大。
All we know is the answer is somewhere between zero and infinity.
我想我们还知道另一件事。
Well, I guess we know one other thing.
学习物理是一件非常好玩的事情。
This is a pretty cool time to be studying physics.
我们可能会遭遇人类所遇见中最大的对知识
We just might be undergoing the biggest paradigm shift in knowledge
的思考模式转变。
that humanity has ever seen.
(音乐)
(Music)
(为什么我们找不到外星生命的迹象?)
[Why can’t we see evidence of alien life?]
在浩瀚宇宙的某处,
Somewhere out there in that vast universe
肯定有无数个充满生命的星球。
there must surely be countless other planets teeming with life.
但是为什么我们看不到任何迹象呢?
But why don’t we see any evidence of it?
这就是由恩里科·费米于1950年提出的著名问题:
Well, this is the famous question asked by Enrico Fermi in 1950:
每个人都在哪里?
Where is everybody?
阴谋论者声称,不明飞行物无时无刻不在到访,
Conspiracy theorists claim that UFOs are visiting all the time
报道只是被掩盖了,
and the reports are just being covered up,
但老实说,他们并不是很令人信服。
but honestly, they aren’t very convincing.
但这的确留下了一个谜。
But that leaves a real riddle.
在过去一年,开普勒太空天文台
In the past year, the Kepler space observatory
发现了附近恒星周围数以百计的行星。
has found hundreds of planets just around nearby stars.
如果你推算这些数据,
And if you extrapolate that data,
它看起来像是有五千亿颗行星,
it looks like there could be half a trillion planets
仅仅在我们自己的星系。
just in our own galaxy.
如果有万分之一的机会
If any one in 10,000 has conditions
有可能支持生命,
that might support a form of life,
仍有五千万个适合生命生存的行星,
that’s still 50 million possible life-harboring planets
就在银河系中。
right here in the Milky Way.
这就有个谜:
So here’s the riddle:
我们的地球未曾形成
our Earth didn’t form
直到在大爆炸后的约九十亿年后。
until about nine billion years after the Big Bang.
在银河系中的其他无数行星早已形成,
Countless other planets in our galaxy should have formed earlier,
并给予生命生存的机会,
and given life a chance to get underway
或许早数百万或十亿光年于地球。
billions, or certainly many millions of years earlier than happened on Earth.
如果有几颗行星催生了智能生命
If just a few of them had spawned intelligent life
并开始创造科技,
and started creating technologies,
这些技术有数百万年时间
those technologies would have had millions of years
去变得更复杂和更具力量。
to grow in complexity and power.
在地球上,
On Earth,
我们已经看到技术是如何可以显著地
we’ve seen how dramatically technology can accelerate
在短短100年内发展。
in just 100 years.
在数百万年内,一个智能的外星文明
In millions of years, an intelligent alien civilization
可以很容易地传播整个星系,
could easily have spread out across the galaxy,
也许创造大型能量采集的机器,
perhaps creating giant energy-harvesting artifacts
或殖民飞船舰队,
or fleets of colonizing spaceships
或充满整个夜空的辉煌的艺术作品。
or glorious works of art that fill the night sky.
至少,你会认为他们故意地暴露他们的存在,
At the very least, you’d think they’d be revealing their presence,
或者
deliberately or otherwise,
通过这样或那样的电磁信号。
through electromagnetic signals of one kind or another.
然而,我们还没有看到任何令人信服的证据。
And yet we see no convincing evidence of any of it.
为什么?
Why?
它有很多种可能的答案,其中些还很邪恶。
Well, there are numerous possible answers, some of them quite dark.
也许有个超智能的文明
Maybe a single, superintelligent civilization
已真正掌控星系,
has indeed taken over the galaxy
并严格要求无线电静默,
and has imposed strict radio silence
因为它是担心任何潜在的竞争对手。
because it’s paranoid of any potential competitors.
它只需坐在那里准备去消灭
It’s just sitting there ready to obliterate
任何一个威胁。
anything that becomes a threat.
或者他们还没有那么聪明,
Or maybe they’re not that intelligent,
或者智力进化到
or perhaps the evolution of an intelligence
能发展复杂科技的可能
capable of creating sophisticated technology
远比我们猜想的低。
is far rarer than we’ve assumed.
毕竟,在四十亿年里只在地球上出现过一次。
After all, it’s only happened once on Earth in four billion years.
或许只是太过的幸运。
Maybe even that was incredibly lucky.
也许我们是银河系中第一个这样的文明。
Maybe we are the first such civilization in our galaxy.
或者,也许文明本就带有自身毁灭的种子,
Or, perhaps civilization carries with it the seeds of its own destruction
无法控制它所创建的技术。
through the inability to control the technologies it creates.
但这有更有希望的答案。
But there are numerous more hopeful answers.
首先,我们不要把它看得那么认真,
For a start, we’re not looking that hard,
已经在花些冤枉钱在上面了。
and we’re spending a pitiful amount of money on it.
在我们的银河系中,只有很小一部分
Only a tiny fraction of the stars in our galaxy
被一直密切观察是否有生命的迹象。
have really been looked at closely for signs of interesting signals.
也许我们用错了方法。
And perhaps we’re not looking the right way.
也许随着文明的发展,
Maybe as civilizations develop,
他们发现的通信技术
they quickly discover communication technologies
远比电磁波更复杂和有用。
far more sophisticated and useful than electromagnetic waves.
也许所有的活动都发生在
Maybe all the action takes place inside the mysterious
最近发现的神秘的暗物质
recently discovered dark matter,
或暗能量中,它们似乎组成了宇宙大半的质量。
or dark energy, that appear to account for most of the universe’s mass.
或者,也许是我们想错了范围的问题。
Or, maybe we’re looking at the wrong scale.
可能智能文明意识到了
Perhaps intelligent civilizations come to realize
生活只是复杂的信息,
that life is ultimately just complex patterns of information
通过一种优美的方式与对方交流,
interacting with each other in a beautiful way,
这在小范围内能更有效地出现。
and that that can happen more efficiently at a small scale.
所以,就像在地球,笨重的立体声音响系统已经缩小
So, just as on Earth, clunky stereo systems have shrunk
成精致小巧的ipods;也许是智能生物本身
to beautiful, tiny iPods, maybe intelligent life itself,
为减少对环境的改变
in order to reduce its footprint on the environment,
已将他们本身变得微观。
has turned itself microscopic.
所以太阳系有可能充满了外星人,
So the Solar System might be teeming with aliens,
只是我们没有注意到。
and we’re just not noticing them.
也许在我们脑海里的奇怪想法也是一种外来生命。
Maybe the very ideas in our heads are a form of alien life.
好了,好了,这只是个疯狂的想法。
Well, okay, that’s a crazy thought.
是外星人让我说出来的。
The aliens made me say it.
想法似乎有自己的生命,这的确很酷,
But it is cool that ideas do seem to have a life all of their own
他们比他们的创造者活得更久。
and that they outlive their creators.
也许生物生命只是一个过去式。
Maybe biological life is just a passing phase.
在接下来的15年里,
Well, within the next 15 years,
我们开始看到真正的光谱学信息
we could start seeing real spectroscopic information
从附近有可能的行星发出,
from promising nearby planets
它们将展现出它们生活得如此融洽。
that will reveal just how life-friendly they might be.
同时,SETI即搜寻地外文明计划
And meanwhile, SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence,
正把自己的数据公之于众,
is now releasing its data to the public
这样成百万计的科学家,可能也包括你,
so that millions of citizen scientists, maybe including you,
可以把群众的力量加入到计划中。
can bring the power of the crowd to join the search.
而且在地球上,惊奇的实验
And here on Earth, amazing experiments
正尝试去从新开始创造生命,
are being done to try to create life from scratch,
这种生命可能与我们所知道的DNA形式完全不同。
life that might be very different from the DNA forms we know.
所有的这些将帮助我们了解宇宙是否充满着生命,
All of this will help us understand whether the universe is teeming with life
还是只有我们。
or whether, indeed, it’s just us.
无论哪个答案,
Either answer, in its own way,
都是令人振奋人心的,
is awe-inspiring,
因为即使只有我们,
because even if we are alone,
我们所想所梦和所问这些问题
the fact that we think and dream and ask these questions
还可能会转变成
might yet turn out to be
关于宇宙的其中一个最重要的真相。
one of the most important facts about the universe.
我还有个好消息告诉你们。
And I have one more piece of good news for you.
在追求知识和寻求真相的路上永远不会枯燥。
The quest for knowledge and understanding never gets dull.
它不会是乏味的。实际上正好相反。
It doesn’t. It’s actually the opposite.
你知道的越多,世界越发变得神奇。
The more you know, the more amazing the world seems.
正是这些稀奇古怪的可能性,悬而未决的问题
And it’s the crazy possibilities, the unanswered questions,
促使我们前进。所以,保持好奇心吧。
that pull us forward.So stay curious.

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