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纠正了爱因斯坦的人 – 译学馆
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纠正了爱因斯坦的人

The Man Who Corrected Einstein

In the late 1990s,
在20世纪90年代末
Albert Einstein had a new hammer,

艾伯特·爱因斯坦有了一把新“榔头”
And he was in search of nails to hit.
他想找些“钉子”试试“榔头”的作用
He just developed a new and a more powerful mathematical description of gravity,
他刚提出了一个新的数理模型 能有效描述重力
and was using it to make predictions willy-nilly.
并用它来做一些随机推论
First, Einstein checked that his new description matched up with
首先 爱因斯坦发现他的新模型
the previous state-of-the-art description of gravity, Newton’s law,
和当时最权威的重力模型(即牛顿定理)相吻合
for situations where Newton’s law agreed with the experiments.
在该条件下 牛顿定理和实验结果相吻合
And it did.
确实如此
Then Einstein plugged in the orbit of the Mercury,

然后 爱因斯坦代入水星轨道
and got a prediction that correctly matched the experimental observations of the day.
得到了和当时实验观测结果一致的推论
Observations which had an anomaly
但观测结果显示异常
that couldn’t be explained with Newton’s law of gravitation.
无法用牛顿定理解释
He plugged in starlight passing by the sun,
他代入经过太阳的星光轨迹
and got a prediction that it should bend because of the sun’s gravity.
推断轨迹会因为太阳引力发生偏折
This was later confirmed.
这已被证实
He plugged the starlight leaving large stars,
他代入离开大恒星的星光
and got a prediction that the light should be redshifted,
推断在脱离引力层的过程中
as it climbs out of the gravity well.
光线会发生红移
This was later confirmed.
这已被证实
He plugged in empty space,
他代入真空环境
and got a prediction that waves of gravitation should propagate through it.
推断引力波能在其中传播
This, too, was later confirmed.
这一点 后来也得到了证实
And he plugged in the universe
他又代入宇宙
and got a prediction that it should be static and unchanging,
推断宇宙是静止不变的
which was wrong.
这是错误的
Now, the general understanding at the time
当时普遍认为
was that the universe didn’t expand or contract,
宇宙既不会膨胀 也不会缩小
and while there were starting to be rumors
虽然开始有言论认为
that the distant nebulas were moving away from us.
遥远的星云在离我们远去
Einstein was firmly in the “static universe” camp.
但爱因斯坦坚定站在“宇宙静止”阵营
and it just so happened that when Einstein did his calculation about the universe.
一切的源头就在爱因斯坦计算宇宙问题时
He made a small but significant technical mistake
他犯了一个微小但重要的技术错误
that implied that the universe couldn’t be expanding or contracting.
以致得出宇宙不会膨胀也不会缩小的结论
I suspect Einstein probably didn’t catch the mistake for two reasons:
爱因斯坦没有发现错误 我猜可能有两个原因
because tensor calculus is hard and annoyingly subtle,
首先张量计算很难也很繁琐
and because he agreed with the result,
其次他既然同意这个结论
so had no reason to question it.
就没有理由质疑它
This is all the more significant
这至关重要
because the mistake ultimately meant that
因为错误意味着
his equations predicated the universe couldn’t have anything in it at all.
它的模型推断宇宙中不存在任何物质
And Einstein had to find a totally different clever mathematical trick in order for his equation
因此爱因斯坦得找一个完全不同但巧妙的数学技巧
to describe the universe did have stuff in it,
使他的模型能描述确实存在物质的宇宙
despite of his mistaken calculation.
即使存在计算错误
Anyway a few years later,
几年之后
Russian physicist Alexander Friedman plugged the universe into Einstein’s equations,
俄国物理学家亚历山大·弗里德曼将宇宙代入爱因斯坦公式
and he didn’t make the mistake Einstein did.
他没有犯爱因斯坦的计算错误
he got a prediction that the universe could either be expanding or contracting,
他推断宇宙要么正在膨胀 要么正在收缩
depending on how much stuff there was in it,
这取决于宇宙中物质的多少
and the balance of matter and energy.
以及物质和能量之间的平衡
But Einstein still didn’t realize that he had made a mistake.
但爱因斯坦并没有意识到他犯了错
Instead, he published a criticism of Friedman’s work,
相反 他发表了评论驳斥弗里德曼的成果
justifying his critique with the same erroneous calculation as before.
还继续用之前的错误计算支持它的论点
So Friedman wrote Einstein a private letter,
因此弗里德曼私下给爱因斯坦写了信
graciously but firmly explaining to Einstein the correct calculation,
诚恳但坚定地向爱因斯坦解释正确的计算
and again graciously asking Einstein to either show him he was wrong,
并诚恳地要求 要么爱因斯坦指出他的错误
or publish a correction.
要么就发表勘误
And Einstein eventually saw that Friedman was right.
爱因斯坦最终意识到弗里德曼是对的
So he admitted it and published a retraction of his previous criticism.
因此他承认了错误并撤回了之前的评论
Turns out the equations of general relativity
最终广义相对论公式
could describe an expanding or contracting universe.
能够说明宇宙要么膨胀 要么收缩
Silly Einstein think now it was possible.
虽然爱因斯坦一开始不这么认为
Einstein was famously upset about the whole episode.
爱因斯坦对整个事件始终深感遗憾
And the story is typically written to suggest that he simply regretted being wrong.
这则故事也充分说明 他为失误感到遗憾
And maybe that’s the truth.
这可能是真的
But speaking as a physicist,
但作为一个物理学家
and to be clear, this is purely my own speculation,
需要说明 这只是我自己的猜测
I kind of wonder if Einstein was also kicking himself in the pants.
我想知道爱因斯坦会不会捶胸顿足
Because if he hadn’t make that silly math error,
因为如果没有犯愚蠢的数学错误
maybe he could have arrived, years earlier, at the same equations as Friedman,
他可能几年前就得到了和弗里德曼一样的公式
and which are now called the Friedman equations,
也就是现在被称为弗里德曼公式
and are the foundation of our modern understanding of the large-scale structure of the universe.
它是现代人们理解宇宙大尺度结构的基础
What I’m saying is, I wonder if Einstein regretted the mistake
我想说的是 爱因斯坦为失误遗憾
not just because it was a mistake,
不只是因为它是个错误
but because his ego was tendelizing him with what could have been.
更因为他的自大使他失去了本属于他的成就
But I’m not entirely sure Einstein would be able to do what Friedman did,
但我不能保证 爱因斯然能做到和弗里德曼一样
because all people, even scientists, have biases.
因为所有人都有偏见 即使是科学家
And biases tend to be hold so strongly and so deeply
这些偏见根深蒂固
that they no only blind us to alternatives,
偏见让我们看不到其他可能
they blind us to their very existence.
也让我们忽视了偏见的存在
The beauty of keeping an open and rational scientific mindset is that
保持开放理性的科学思维的魅力就在于
when one of your biases are wrong,
当发现有一个偏见是错的
you are more willing to look at the evidence,
你愿意寻找证据
see that you are wrong and admit it.
发现你错了并承认
But that’s really hard to do,
但这真的很难做到
even – or maybe especially – for somebody like Einstein.
即使是像爱因斯坦这样伟大的人物
And I really wonder if Einstein would have been able to
我很好奇 爱因斯坦
see past his bias about the static nature of the universe,
能否审视他关于宇宙静止的偏见
without outside help.
如果没有外界的帮助
Einstein, like all of us, was human after all.
因为和我们一样 爱因斯坦毕竟也是人
What we can take from Einstein’s actions in this story is this :
通过这则故事 我们可以从爱因斯坦身上学到:
we can understand that we can be wrong,
我们能理解 人人都会犯错
and when we are, graciously admit it.
当我们犯错的时候 大方地承认
你有哪些偏见呢?
This video is sponsored by a platform
本视频由平台Brilliant.org赞助播出
that’s all about understanding when you’re wrong and trying to improve.
旨在帮助大家认清错误的时刻并努力改正
Of course, it’s Brilliant.org.
这就是Brilliant.org
Brilliant has courses and quizzes and puzzles
网站有课程 测试和游戏
to master logic, math and science skills in whatever size dose you want.
能满足你学习逻辑 数学和科学技能的各种需求
And they’re sporting a new look.
它最近推出了新界面
What I like about their redesign is that it’s not just cosmetic,
我很喜欢新界面 不只因为外观的改进
the interactive quizzes and problems are getting more and more interactive and animated!
更因为交互测验和问题更有互动性 更生动
Do you know what the angles on the outside of a pentagon add up to?
你知道五边形外角总和是多少度吗?
What about why solar panels are tilted,
为什么太阳能电池板是倾斜的?
and how you pick the right angle?
如何选择合适的角度?
or for something a little more in-depth,
如果想要更有深度的课程
I’d recommend their “mathematical fundamentals” course.
我会推荐他们的《数理基础》课程
To sign up for free, go to brilliant.org/minutephysics.
登陆brilliant.org/minutephysics 免费注册
that lets Brilliant know you came from here.
让它知道你从这里过去的
Plus Brilliant is offering the first 200 people to go that link
同时最早点击链接的200位用户
20% off of a premium subscription
将获得高级订阅服务20%的优惠
Again, that’s brilliant.org/minutephysics, to sign up for free,
再次强调是brilliant.org/minutephysics 免费注册
and thanks to brilliant for supporting MinutePhysics.
再次感谢brilliant对《分钟物理》的支持

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视频概述

爱因斯坦也会犯错,面对错误,他怎么做?我们又该如何面对错误?

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va5T2KcYiOw

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