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天才门捷列夫的元素周期表 – 译学馆
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天才门捷列夫的元素周期表

The genius of Mendeleev's periodic table - Lou Serico

元素周期表一眼就能认出来
The periodic table is instantly recognizable.
不仅在全世界的每一个化学实验室
It’s not just in every chemistry lab worldwide,
在t恤,咖啡杯和卫浴窗帘都可以看到元素周期表
it’s found on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and shower curtains.
但元素周期表不仅仅是一种时尚标签
But the periodic table isn’t just another trendy icon.
它还是人类智慧积累的结晶
It’s a massive slab of human genius,
就像泰姬陵 蒙娜丽莎 冰淇淋三明治
up there with the Taj Mahal, the Mona Lisa, and the ice cream sandwich —
周期表的创造者 德米特 门捷列夫 是科学名人堂的一员
and the table’s creator, Dmitri Mendeleev, is a bonafide science hall of famer.
但是为什么呢?他和他的周期表有什么了不起的呢?
But why? What’s so great about him and his table?
就因为他把已知元素整合成了一张表
Is it because he made a comprehensive list of the known elements?
不 你不会仅仅做个表就进科学的瓦尔哈拉殿堂
Nah, you don’t earn a spot in science Valhalla just for making a list.
除此之外 门捷列夫远不是第一个这样做的。
Besides, Mendeleev was far from the first person to do that.
那是因为门捷列夫把性质相近的元素放在一起了么
Is it because Mendeleev arranged elements with similar properties together?
也不是 那也已经有人做过了
Not really, that had already been done too.
所以他的天才体现在哪里呢
So what was Mendeleev’s genius?
我们来看1870年左右的第一版元素周期表
Let’s look at one of the first versions of the periodic table from around 1870.
我们可以看到两个符号表示的元素 被放到了一张表中
Here we see elements designated by their two-letter symbols arranged in a table.
看看第五行第三列
Check out the entry of the third column, fifth row.
这里有条横线
There’s a dash there.
这个低调的占位符就能体现出门捷列夫聪明过人
From that unassuming placeholder springs the raw brilliance of Mendeleev.
这条横线就是科学
That dash is science.
门捷列夫把横线画在这 同时做了一个粗体的标注
By putting that dash there, Dmitri was making a bold statement.
他说 – 我转述一下 –
He said — and I’m paraphrasing here —
你们都还没有发现这个元素吧 现在 我给它起个名字
Y’all haven’t discovered this element yet. In the meantime, I’m going to give it a name.
既然它离铝元素只差一级 我们就叫它类铝元素(eka-铝)
It’s one step away from aluminum, so we’ll call it eka-aluminum,
eka是梵文里的数字1
‘eka’ being Sanskrit for one.
既然尚无人发现类铝元素 那么我们就对它一无所知 对吧?
Nobody’s found eka-aluminum yet, so we don’t know anything about it, right?
错!根据它的位置 我能告诉你们它的特性
Wrong! Based on where it’s located, I can tell you all about it.
首先 类铝的原子量是68
First of all, an atom of eka-aluminum has an atomic weight of 68,
质量是氢原子的68倍
about 68 times heavier than a hydrogen atom.
类铝单质在室温环境下会是固体形态
When eka-aluminum is isolated, you’ll see it’s a solid metal at room temperature.
有金属光泽 导热能力很好
It’s shiny, it conducts heat really well,
它可以被压扁为一张纸片 拉成一条丝线
it can be flattened into a sheet, stretched into a wire,
但是它的熔点很低 罕见的低
but its melting point is low. Like, freakishly low.
其一立方厘米的重量是6克
Oh, and a cubic centimeter of it will weigh six grams.
门捷列夫可以根据这个空白位 以及围绕着它的其它元素
Mendeleev could predict all of these things simply from where the blank spot was,
就能轻松推测出它的所有特征
and his understanding of how the elements surrounding it behave.
在做出这个预测若干年之后
A few years after this prediction,
一个名叫Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran的法国人
a French guy named Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran
在一种矿石样本中发现了一个新元素
discovered a new element in ore samples
并用高卢人的名字将其命名为镓 这是一个来自法国历史中的名字
and named it gallium after Gaul, the historical name for France.
镓在元素表中挨着铝
Gallium is one step away from aluminum on the periodic table.
这是一种类铝元素 所以门捷列夫的预言是对的吗
It’s eka-aluminum. So were Mendeleev’s predictions right?
镓的相对原子质量为69.72
Gallium’s atomic weight is 69.72.
一立方厘米的重量是5.9g
A cubic centimeter of it weighs 5.9 grams.
室温下是一种固体金属
it’s a solid metal at room temperature,
但它在不到30摄氏度就会熔化
but it melts at a paltry 30 degrees Celcius,
也就是85华氏度
85 degrees Fahrenheit.
它可以在你的嘴里以及你的手上熔化掉
It melts in your mouth and in your hand.
门捷列夫不仅完全弄清了镓
Not only did Mendeleev completely nail gallium,
他那时还预言了许多未曾发现的元素
he predicted other elements that were unknown at the time:
比如钪 锗 铼
scandium, germanium, rhenium.
他曾说的一种类锰元素现在被称为作锝
The element he called eka-manganese is now called technetium.
锝很稀有 在它1937年被粒子回旋加速器合成以前它还没有单质形态
Technetium is so rare it couldn’t be isolated until it was synthesized in a cyclotron in 1937,
那是将近Dmitri(门捷列夫)预言它存在后的70年
almost 70 years after Dmitri predicted its existence,
也是Dmitri逝去后的30年
30 years after he died.
Dmitri在得到诺贝尔奖前就去世了 否则他将得到更多的荣誉
Dmitri died without a Nobel Prize in 1907, but he wound up receiving a much more exclusive honor.
在1955年 UC Berkeley的科学家成功地造出了17个一种被预言过但未曾被发现的元素的原子
In 1955, scientists at UC Berkeley successfully created 17 atoms of a previously undiscovered element.
在元素周期表中101号位置 这种元素被一个空心点所替代
This element filled an empty spot in the perodic table at number 101,
并在1963年被正式命名为钔
and was officially named Mendelevium in 1963.
得过诺贝尔奖的人数超过800
There have been well over 800 Nobel Prize winners,
但只有15个科学家得以有一个元素用自己的名字命名
but only 15 scientists have an element named after them.
所以当你下次看到元素周期表
So the next time you stare at a periodic table,
无论它是在一间大学教室的墙上 或是在一杯五美元咖啡的杯子上
whether it’s on the wall of a university classroom or on a five-dollar coffee mug,
德米特 门捷列夫 这个元素周期表的创造者 也同时在被你注视着
Dmitri Mendeleev, the architect of the periodic table,will be staring back.

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