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破解元素周期表之谜 – 译学馆
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破解元素周期表之谜

Solving the puzzle of the periodic table - Eric Rosado

我们的地球聚集了迷一样的组成宇宙的碎片
Our Earth is a collection of puzzle pieces that make up the universe.
在太空广阔的黑暗之中
In the vast darkness of space,
无数的恒星将宇宙点亮
the universe is lit by stars,
有一天它们可能会变成超新星
which could one day become a supernova
并创造出了所有我们今天称为元素的
and create all the puzzle pieces that we know today
拼图碎片
as the elements.
恒星爆炸形成了所有的元素
All elements were formed and released
并将它们释放到宇宙当中去
into space by exploding stars.
几个世纪以来 人们努力去发现
For centuries, humans have tried to discover
“是什么组成了他们周围的世界”
what makes up the world around them.
他们并不知道所有他们所需的碎片
Little did they know that all the pieces they needed
就在他们身边
were right under their noses.
这些碎片的发现
The discovery of these pieces revolutionized
给我们对世界的认知带来了一场革命
our understanding of the world
人们开始探索思考
and allowed for the creation of what might be
并创造出了一项有可能是最好的科学发明:
the greatest gift to science:
元素周期表
the periodic table.
那么 这些元素都在哪里呢?
So, where are these elements,
我们又是如何对它们进行排序的呢?
and how do we find a means to order them?
好吧 信不信随你
Well, believe it or not,
其实古文明时期的人们就非常清楚
ancient civilizations were very much aware
围绕在他们身边的许多元素
of many elements around them,
只是他们不会把其当作宇宙中的碎片罢了
but they did not identify them as the pieces of our universe.
发现的元素像Au Ag Cu这3个
Elements like gold, silver, and copper
很容易被古老的文化所发现
were easily spotted by ancient cultures,
并且被用于很多方面比如 珠宝和器械
and were used for multiple purposes like jewelry and tools.
为什么这些元素那么容易被找到呢?
Why were these elements spotted so easily?
你把元素周期表想象成一张拼图
Think of the periodic table as a puzzle.
角落的碎片是拼图的边缘
The corner pieces are edges of a puzzle,
并且一般最容易被找到和摆放
are generally the easiest to find and place
因为它们拥有光滑的边缘
because they stand out with their smooth edges,
而且很显然不和其他碎片关联
and clearly don’t interlock with other puzzle pieces.
跟拼图一样 元素很容易与之相关联的碎片所拼接
Like puzzle pieces, elements can be choosy on who they interact with.
有些喜欢和其它元素相关联
Some like to react with other elements,
然而有些正好相反
while others do not.
不与其他元素相关联的碎片很容易被发现
The elements that do not interact with other elements are easy to pin-point,
而那些具有关联性的碎片却很难被发现
while the ones who like to interact with others are difficult to find.
Au Ag Cu就属于更容易被挑选出的元素
Gold, silver, and copper are some of the choosier elements
所以我们很容易找到他们
so we can find them easier.
让我们把时钟拨到17世纪后期
So let’s fast forward to the late 1600’s
当时的德国一位炼金术士 亨尼希·布兰德
where Hennig Brand, a German alchemist,
正忙于在他的实验室里工作
was busy working in his laboratory.
像当时其他的炼金师一样
Like many other alchemists of his time,
他竭力从人体中提取黄金
Brand was trying to extract gold from the human body.
布兰德 找到了关于他的难题的最直接答案:
Brand hit upon what he thought was the most obvious answer to his problem:
尿-_-||
urine.
尿的颜色是金黄色的 可能里面就含有金
Urine is gold in coloration and could perhaps have gold in it.
于是 布兰德 尽可能多地采集尿液
So, Brand collected as much urine as he possibly could,
这些尿大部分都来自于他本人
much of it being his own,
他决定将这些尿煮沸从而得到他所要的金
then he decided to boil it down in hopes of obtaining gold.
于是他就把他的尿液拿去煮
So Brand boiled his, well, urine,
直到他收集到了一种糊状物
down until he collected a paste
他对该糊状物进行高温加热
and heated the paste to a very high temperature.
最后产生了一股烟雾
Eventually smoke appeared
同时该物质也进行剧烈燃烧
and the material burned brightly and violently.
布兰德 不知不觉的在他的尿中分离出了磷
Brand had unknowingly isolated phosphorous from his urine.
他是首个发现一种元素的人
It was the first time anyone had discovered an element,
但是他并不知道他自己做了啥
but he didn’t really understand what he had done.
当时 元素的概念还没有被定义
At the time of Brand, the concept of element had not been discovered.
然而古希腊人的观念认为 物质主要是由基本物质 如
Instead ancient Greek principles of objects being composed of
“土”
earth,
“水”
water,
“气”
air,
加上“火”
and fire
这些“本原”组成的
were predominant.
直到有了著名的 化学之父
It wasn’t until the work of Antoine Lavoisier,
安托万·拉瓦锡 的努力
who is now known as the father of chemistry,
科学才有了对元素的定义
that science defined what an element was.
拉瓦锡 将元素定义为 一种
Lavoisier defined an element as a substance
无法被任何已知化学手段分解的物质
that cannot be broken down by existing chemical means.
拉瓦锡 列了一张他那个时代已知元素清单
Lavoisier created a list of the known elements of his time
并尝试着以某种规律对元素进行排序
and tried to put the elements in some sort of order
元素得以被分类
in which they could be classified,
比如说 分为气体或固体
such as gases or metals.
拉瓦锡是尝试将拼图拼凑起来的第一人
He was the first one to try to put the puzzle together.
这仅仅是从他那个时代 揭开整理已知元素的
This was just the beginning of a means
方法的序幕
to organize the known elements of his time.
随后出现了很多别的化学家们来把这个谜弄得更清楚
Many other chemists then came along to make the puzzle clearer.
其中一位化学家叫 约翰·道尔顿 测量了元素的质量
One of them, John Dalton, weighed the elements
然后按照质量整理这一拼图
and arranged the puzzle by weight.
后来德国化学家 瓦尔夫冈·德贝莱纳 将元素相互结合起来
German chemist Wolfgang Döbereiner later combined elements
看看它们彼此间是如何反应的
to see how they reacted with one another.
他发现某些元素的属性和反应相似
What he found was that certain elements shared similar properties and reactions.
比如 当纯净的Li Na K
For example, when pure lithium, sodium, and potassium
遇到水的时候
are exposed to water,
它们剧烈反应
they will react violently
并且在水面上到处滑动 发出闪耀的光
and skid across the surface of the water with sparks.
当时的科学家们意识到
The scientists then realized that these similiarities
这些相似点并非巧合
are no coincidence:
元素们属于与一个个具有共同属性的家族
elements belong to families that share similar properties.
但最后化学家 德米特里·门捷列夫 成功了完成拼图
But the chemist who finally put the puzzle together is Dmitri Mendeleev.
他将已知的元素全部都做成了卡片
He created cards of each known element and tried to order them
并尝试根据原子质量和已知属性对它们进行整理
based on atomic weight and their known properties.
故事是这样子的 他一连三天三夜都没有睡觉
The story is that he stayed up 3 days and 3 nights,
最后沉沉地睡着了
and he finally fell into a deep sleep
他梦见了一张用于元素排序的表
and he dreamed about a table to order the elements.
门捷列夫 不仅仅成功创造了元素周期表
Mendeleev was not only able to create the periodic table,
他还成功预知了当时未被发现的元素
but he was able to predict elements that were not yet discovered.
元素周期表的谜题得到了解决
The puzzle of the periodic table of the elements was solved.

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