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最伟大的失败实验

The Greatest Failed Experiment Ever

There were lots of things scientists believed a century or two ago
很多一两百年前的科学家坚信的事物
that might sound weird to us today.
在我们现在看来是很奇怪的
For one thing, they once thought atoms looked like plum pudding.
比如 他们曾经觉得原子应该像梅子布丁
But over time, as researchers have done more experiments
但是之后 研究人员做了更多的实验
and developed new theories,
并提出了新的理论
those ideas have evolved into the science we know today.
这些想法已经发展成为 我们今天所知的科学了
One of the most game-changing experiments ever
其中一个最具颠覆性的实验
was what’s known as the Michelson-Morley Experiment
被称作迈克尔逊-莫雷实验
not because of what it did find,
它的颠覆性不是在于它发现了什么
but because of what it didn’t.
而是在于它没有发现什么
You see, physicists used to think that all of space and time
科学家曾经认为宇宙和空间
was filled with what they called the aether:
全都充斥着一种他们称作以太的物质
an invisible material that wasn’t interacting with anything,
一种不与任何物质反应的不可见物质
but was giving light its speed.
但是它给光提供速度
No one had ever detected this either,
从没有人真的检测到以太
but scientists figured it had to be there
但是科学家们认为一定存在这种物质
they knew that light acted like a wave,
他们知道光是一种波
and waves seemed to need a material to travel through.
而波应该需要介质才能传播
Throughout the 19th century,
在整个19世纪中
evidence was piling up that light was a wave.
证明光是一种波的证据不断出现
It reflected like a wave,
光按波的规律反射
it interfered with itself like a wave,
光与光的接触遵循波的规律
So it would make sense for light to get around like other waves too
所以光应该像其他波一样
by moving particles back and forth.
通过粒子的来回运动而传播
In ocean waves, for example, the water molecules move up and down.
例如在海浪中 水分子上下移动
And in sound waves, air particles move back and forth.
而在声波中 空气粒子前后移动
So it would make sense for light to be moving around something,
所以光也需要介质来传播的理论也很合理
even if it was invisible
即使这种介质是不可见的
— and physicists called that something the aether.
科学家称这种介质为以太
In the spring of 1887, in Cleveland Ohio,
1887年春天在俄州克利夫兰市
Albert Michelson and Edward Morley set up an experiment
阿尔伯特•迈克尔逊和爱德华•莫雷进行了一个实验
to learn more about the aether
想要通过研究以太风的效果
by looking for the effects of something called the aether wind.
来了解更多以太的知识
You know how when you try to yell into a particularly strong gust of wind,
你知道当你在面对强风时大喊
your voice won’t get very far,
你的声音并不会传出去太远
but if you yell with the wind, it’ll go much farther.
但是如果你顺着风喊 声音就会传得很远
Scientists assumed that as Earth moved through this aether,
科学家们假设当地球穿过以太时
it would create a similar kind of wind
会产生一种类似的风
but one that would affect the speed of light from Earth’s perspective.
而这种风可以影响相对于地球的光速
So Michelson and Morley set up beams of light in a way
所以迈克尔逊和莫雷以不同的方式发射光束
that should have given them different speeds,
根据光束与以太风
depending on whether they were traveling with, against,
是顺向 逆向 还是垂直
or perpendicular, to the aether wind.
它们的速度应当是不同的
Then they bounced the two beams off of mirrors
他们用镜子反射两束光
so that they eventually reunited with each other,
以确保两束光最终可以会合
and predicted the beams would arrive at slightly different times
他们预测两束光到达的时间会稍有不同
since they’d been sped up or slowed down by the wind.
因为以太风会使它们加速或减速
But the result?
但是结果呢?
One of the greatest failed experiments of all time.
成为了有史以来最伟大的失败实验之一
There seemed to be no difference between the two beams.
这两束光似乎并没有任何差异
It was like Earth wasn’t moving through any kind of aether at all.
就像地球根本没有在以太中运动
Over the next few years,
在之后的几年里
physicists tried to figure out how that could possibly make sense.
科学家们一直想要找出其中的缘由
Some said that the experiment just wasn’t accurate enough
一些人说这只是因为实验不够精确
and tried repeating it with better and better equipment.
并且用越来越好的设备重复实验
But they still didn’t find anything.
但依旧没有任何发现
But eventually,
最终
they had to accept that it seemed like there was no such thing as an aether.
他们只能接受并没有以太这种物质
Instead, light is just… different from other waves.
相反 光只是不同于其他的波
Turns out that the speed of light isn’t affected by an invisible aether,
实验证明光速并没有受到不可见的以太影响
and light speed through a vacuum is always the same.
而真空状态下的光速总是一样的
Space and time will even bend themselves to fit
空间和时间甚至扭曲自身来保证光速不变
which is where Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity comes in.
这就是爱因斯坦狭义相对论的由来
He helped put all these pieces together,
他将以前科学家们的努力整合起来
showing that physics could work even without the aether.
证明了物理没有以太的假设仍能运转
It just meant that completely mind-bending things had to be happening,
这就意味着会发生完全令人费解的事情
like time slowing itself down.
例如时间会自己慢下来
And unlike with the aether,
与以太不同
experiments have shown that Einstein was right.
实验证明了爱因斯坦是正确的
Meanwhile, more physicists were working on some of the other questions
同时 更多物理学家在研究 由以太不存在这一事实
raised by the fact that the aether didn’t exist.
引发的其他一些问题
Mainly: if light wasn’t like a regular wave,
其中主要有:如果光不是普通的波
what was it?
那么它是什么?
After a whole lot of experimenting,
他们经过大量的实验认识到
they realized that even though light did act like a wave sometimes
虽然光有时具有波动特性
sometimes, it also acted like a particle
但它也有粒子特性
— what’s known as the wave-particle duality.
这就是著名的波粒二象性
It was another brain-melting idea,
这是另一个让人震惊的概念
and one that eventually led to a whole new field in physics
它最终将物理学带入了一个全新的领域
— quantum mechanics, the science of the very small.
——量子力学 一个研究微观世界的科学
So, the Michelson-Morley Experiment might have banished
因此 尽管迈克尔逊-莫雷实验可能已经把以太
the aether to the history books,
逐出了历史书
But its failure also led to some of the most important ideas in science.
但它的失败也带来了一些最重要的科学思想
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow Space,
感谢观看本期《太空科学秀》
and thanks especially to our patrons on Patreon who help make this show possible.
特别感谢Patreon对本节目的大力支持
If you want to help us keep making episodes just like this,
如果你想我们继续制作此类节目
go to patreon.com/scishow to learn more.
就登录patreon. com/scishow 了解更多信息吧
And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishowspace and subscribe!
不要了去youtube.com/scishowspace 点击订阅!

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视频概述

科学家们曾经假设一种会改变光速的物质-以太的存在,当迈克尔逊和莫立想要证明以太存在而进行实验后,实验的失败反而证明了以太根本不存在

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGp3FZSi900

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