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科学研究的态度 – 译学馆
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科学研究的态度

The secret to scientific discoveries? Making mistakes | Phil Plait

人们对于科学有很多误解——
Now, people have a lotof misconceptions about science —
关于科学原理以及科学含义
about how it works and what it is.
一个最大的误解是
A big one is that
科学只是一大堆陈旧的事实
science is just a big old pile of facts.
但并非如此——这甚至连科学的目的都算不上
But that’s not true — that’s not even the goal of science.
科学是一个过程
Science is a process.
它是一种思考方式
It’s a way of thinking.
收集事实只是其中一步 但并非目的
Gathering facts is just a piece of it, but it’s not the goal.
科学的终极目标是用我们知道的最优方法
The ultimate goal of scienceis to understand objective reality
来厘清客观现实 即要以证据为基础
the best way we know how, and that’s based on evidence.
问题在于 人无完人 我们有可能被愚弄
The problem here is that people are flawed,we can be fooled.
我们真的很擅长欺骗自己
— we’re really good at fooling ourselves.
所以 融入科学的探究过程是一种将偏见最小化的方法
And so baked into this process is a way of minimizing our own bias.
总的来说可能更好
So sort of boiled downmore than is probably useful,
科学的原理如下
here’s how this works.
如果你想做点儿科学研究
If you want to do some science,
观察一些事物……
what you want to do is you want to observe something…
比如 “天空是蓝色的 我想知道为什么?”
say,”The sky is blue. Hey, I wonder why?”
你提出了疑问
You question it.
接下来 你会想到一个 可以解释该问题的想法: 一个假设
The next thing you do is you come up with an idea that may explain it: a hypothesis.
你知道吗?海都是蓝色的
Well,you know what? Oceans are blue.
也许天空反射了海洋的蓝色
Maybe the sky is reflectingthe colors from the ocean.
很好 但现在你就要验证它
Great,but now you have to test it
你要预测这意味着什么
so you predict what that might mean.
你的预测会是
Your prediction would be,
哦 如果天空反射了海洋的蓝色
“ Well, if the sky is reflecting the ocean color,
那么天空在海边的颜色
it will be bluer on the coasts
要比在国家内陆地区更蓝
than it will bein the middle of the country.”
好 这很合理 但你得验证那个预测
Ok,that’s fair enough, but you’ve got to test that prediction.
于是你登上一架飞机
So you get on a plane,
在一个灰蒙蒙的好日子里 离开丹佛
you leave Denver on a nice gray day,
飞往洛杉矶 望向天空 天空映衬着壮丽的蔚蓝色
you fly to LA, you look up and the sky is gloriously blue.
太好了!你的预测被证明了
Hooray,your thesis is proven.
真的吗?
But is it really?
不 你只进行了一次观察
No,you’ve made one observation.
你得对这个假设进行思考
You need to think about your hypothesis,
思考如何检验它
think about how to test it
还要重复多次
and do more than just one.
也许你可以去这个国家的其他地方
Maybe you could goto a different part of the country
或是在一年的不同时间去 看看那时的天气如何
or a different part of the year and see what the weather’s like then.
另一个好办法就是 和其他人聊聊
Another good ideais to talk to other people.
他们有不同的想法 不同的角度
They have different ideas,different perspectives,
他们能帮助你
and they can help you.
这就是我们所称的同行评议
This is what we call peer review.
事实上 这也会帮你省下很大一笔钱和时间
And in fact that will probably also save you a lot of money and a lot of time,
不必只为了看看天气两头飞
flying coast-to-coastjust to check the weather.
那么如果你的假设很好 但不是很完美怎么办?
Now,what happens if your hypothesis does a decent job but not a perfect job?
这不是大问题
Well,that’s OK,
因为你可以
because what you can do is
对它进行一点修正
you can modify it a little bit
然后再把整个流程走一遍——
and then go throughthis whole process again —
做预测 检验它——
make predictions, test them —
随着你一遍又一遍地重复
and as you do that over and over again,
你的假设便会被优化
you will hone this idea.
如果假设变得足够好了
And if it gets good enough,
可能会被科学界采纳
it may be accepted by the scientific community,
至少暂时性的 作为一种对此自然现象的合理解释
at least provisionally, as a good explanation of what’s going on,
直到更好的解释 或一些与之相矛盾的数据出现
at least until a better idea or some contradictory evidence comes along.
科学探究过程的一部分就是犯错时认错
Now,part of this processis admitting when you’re wrong.
这真的非常 非常难
And that can be really, really hard.
科学有优势亦有劣势
Science has its strengths and weaknesses
而它依赖于承认错误
and they depend on this.
科学的优势之一是 它是由人来完成的
One of the strengths of science is that it’s done by people,
长久以来 我们获得的科学成就也毋庸置疑
and it’s proven itselfto do a really good job.
因为科学 我们对宇宙有非常不错的认知
We understand the universepretty well because of science.
而科学的一个劣势也恰恰在于 它是由人来完成的
One of science’s weaknessesis that it’s done by people,
当我们调查研究时 会背上很多包袱
and we bring a lot of baggage along with us when we investigate things.
我们是任性主观的 我们固执且迷信
We are egotistical, we are stubborn, we’re superstitious,
我们是群聚动物 我们是人类——
we’re tribal, we’re humans —
这些都是人类的特点 而科学家也是人
these are all human traitsand scientists are humans.
所以在研究和做出假设时
And so we have to be aware of that when we’re studying science
我们要意识到这一点
and when we’re tryingto develop our theses.
但这整件事情的一部分
But part of this whole thing,
整个科学过程的一部分 整个科学方法的一部分
part of this scientific process, part of the scientific method,
在于犯了错误要承认
is admitting when you’re wrong.
我曾有过这样的经历
I know, I’ve been there.
多年以前 我在哈勃太空望远镜项目工作
Many years ago I was workingon Hubble Space Telescope,
有一个共事的科学家
and a scientist I worked
带着数据来找我
with came to me with some data,
他说:“我认为这个数据表明 可能有颗行星围绕另一颗恒星运行”
and he said,”I think there may be a picture of a planet orbiting another star in this data.”
人们当时还没有拍到行星绕其他恒星运行的照片
We had not had any pictures taken of planets orbiting other stars yet,
如果这是真的
so if this were true,
就会是世界上的首次发现 而我们就是发现它的人
then this would be the first one and we would be the ones who found it.
这可了不得
That’s a big deal.
我无比激动 然后我就一头扎进数据里
I was very excited, so I just dug right into this data.
我花了很长的时间去推算
I spent a long time trying to figure out
这个东西是不是行星
if this thing were a planet or not.
问题是行星很暗 恒星很亮
The problem is planets are faintand stars are bright,
所以试图从这些数据中获取信号
so trying to getthe signal out of this data
就像在重金属音乐会上听到耳语一样
was like trying to hear a whisper in a heavy metal concert —
真的很难
it was really hard.
我想尽了一切办法
I tried everything I could,
但忙了一个月后
but after a month of working on this,
我意识…… 我做不到
I came to a realization…couldn’t do it.
我不得不放弃
I had to give up.
而且我还要告诉其他科学家
And I had to tell this other scientist,
“数据实在太乱了
“The data’s too messy.
我们难以判断这是不是一颗行星”
We can’t say whetherthis is a planet or not.”
那挺难的
And that was hard.
之后不久 我们用哈勃望远镜做了后续观察
Then later on we gotfollow-up observations with Hubble,
结果发现它并不是一颗行星
and it showed that it wasn’t a planet.
只是个背景恒星或星系 类似的东西
It was a background staror galaxy, something like that.
我不想说得太专业 但那真是糟透了
Well,not to get too technical,but that sucked.
(笑)
(Laughter)
我对此真的十分失落
I was really unhappy about this.
但这就是科学的一部分
But that’s part of it.
你得承认:看吧
You have to say,” Look, you know,
我们无法用现有数据进行分析
we can’t do this with the data we have.”
之后我还要面对
And then I had to face up to the fact
后续数据证明 我们是错的这个事实
that even the follow-up data showed we were wrong.
情感上 我十分失落
Emotionally I was pretty unhappy.
但如果一个科学家正确的进行了研究
But if a scientistis doing their job correctly,
犯了错误并不是什么坏事
being wrong is not so bad
因为这说明还有更多的东西
because that meansthere’s still more stuff out there —
等着我们去探索
more things to figure out.
科学家不喜欢出错 但我们喜欢谜题
Scientists don’t love being wrongbut we love puzzles,
而宇宙就是谜题之最
and the universe isthe biggest puzzle of them all.
话虽如此
Now having said that,
如果你有一小块拼图 但怎么摆弄都拼不上
if you have a piece and it doesn’t fit no matter how you move it,
硬塞进去也没有用
jamming it in harder isn’t going to help.
如果你想要
There’s going to be a time
了解更大的局面
when you have to let go of your idea
就得放弃目前所持有的观点
if you want to understandthe bigger picture.
做科研的代价就是当你犯错时要承认
The price of doing scienceis admitting when you’re wrong,
但认错的回报是顶好的:
but the payoff is the best there is:
知识和理解
knowledge and understanding.
我可以给你上千个科学案例
And I can give you a thousand examples of this science
有一个我特别喜欢
but there’s one I really like.
它和天文学有关
It has to do with astronomy,
这个问题一直困扰着天文学家达几个世纪
and it was a question that had been plaguing astronomers literally for centuries.
太阳看起来很特别
When you look at the Sun,it seems special.
它是天上最亮的物体
It is the brightest object in the sky,
但经天文学 物理学 化学 热力学几个世纪的研究后
but having studied astronomy, physics,chemistry, thermodynamics for centuries,
我们发现一件十分重要的事
we learned somethingvery important about it.
太阳并没那么特别
It’s not that special.
和其他无数恒星一样 它只是一颗恒星
It’s a star just likemillions of other stars.
那么另一个有趣的问题就出现了
But that raises an interesting question.
如果太阳是颗恒星 并且太阳有行星(围绕其运行)
If the Sun is a star and the Sun has planets,
那么其他恒星也有行星吗?
do these other stars have planets? Well,
就像我提过的 我个人寻找“行星”的失败经历
like I said with my own failurein the”planet” I was looking for,
发现行星 超级难
finding them is super hard,
但科学家越来越聪明
but scientists tend to be pretty clever people
他们应用不同的技术
and they used a lotof different techniques
观察恒星
and started observing stars.
数十年后 他们开始发现一些真正有趣的东西
And over the decades they started finding some things that were pretty interesting,
就在他们能够探测到的最最边缘
right on the thin, hairy edge of what they were able to detect.
但事实一再证明 这是错的
But time and again,it was shown to be wrong.
情况在1991年才完全改变
That all changed in 1991.
几位天文学家 — 亚历山大•莱恩
A couple of astronomers — Alexander Lyne —
安德鲁•莱恩 对不起
Andrew Lyne, pardon me —
还有马修•佰利 宣布了一个重大消息
and Matthew Bailes, had a huge announcement.
他们发现了一个绕着另一颗恒星运行的行星
They had found a planetorbiting another star.
而且不是一般的恒星 是一颗脉冲星
And not just any star, but a pulsar,
它是恒星由于之前的爆炸而剩下的残骸
and this is the remnant of a star that has previously exploded.
它在爆炸时释放了大量辐射
It’s blasting out radiation.
这是宇宙中你最不可能
This is the last place
找到行星的地方
in the universe you would expect to find a planet,
但他们相当系统地观察了这颗脉冲星
but they had very methodicallylooked at this pulsar,
当这颗行星绕脉冲星运行时 他们探测到了它的引力
and they detected the gravitational tug of this planet as it orbited the pulsar.
这看起来真的很棒
It looked really good.
第一颗绕另一颗恒星运行的行星被发现了……
The first planet orbitinganother star had been found…
只是没有那么多
except not so much.
(笑)
(Laughter)
他们宣布后
After they made the announcement,
其他一些天文学家对此发表了评论
a bunch of other astronomers commented on it,
于是乎 他们回头再看数据
and so they went backand looked at their data
才发现他们犯了个相当令人难堪的错误
and realized they had madea very embarrassing mistake.
他们没有考虑到地球绕太阳的运动中
They had not accountedfor some very subtle characteristics
一些非常不明显的特征
of the Earth’s motion around the Sun,
这些特征影响了他们测量这颗行星绕脉冲星运行的方式
which affected how they measuredthis planet going around the pulsar,
结果 当他们做了正确的计算时
and it turns out that when they did account for it correctly,
“噗”—他们的行星不翼而飞了
poof — their planet disappeared.
它不是真的
It wasn’t real.
安德鲁•莱恩有一个非常艰巨的任务
So Andrew Lyne had a very formidable task.
他得承认这个错误
He had to admit this.
于是在1992年美国天文学会会议
So in 1992 at the AmericanAstronomical Society meeting,
这个全世界最大的
which is one of the largest gatherings
天文学会议上
of astronomers on the planet,
他站起来并宣布他犯了个错误
he stood up and announcedthat he had made a mistake
那个行星根本不存在
and that the planet did not exist.
接下来发生的 哦
And what happened next — oh,
我喜欢这部分 后来发生的事棒极了
I love this — what happened next was wonderful.
他得到了满堂喝彩
He got an ovation.
天文学家们并没有生他的气
The astronomers weren’t angry at him;
他们不想责怪他
they didn’t want to chastise him.
他们赞扬他的诚实 他的正直
They praised himfor his honesty and his integrity.
我非常喜欢这一点!
I love that!
科学家也是人
Scientists are people.
(笑)
(Laughter)
事情变得越来越好!
And it gets better!
(笑)
(Laughter)
莱恩走下讲台
Lyne steps off the podium.
下一位上台的人是
The next guy to come up
亚历山大•沃尔兹森
is a man named Aleksander Wolszczan
他拿起麦克风说道“很遗憾
He takes the microphone and says, “Yeah,
莱恩的团队没有发现脉冲行星
so Lyne’s teamdidn’t find a pulsar planet,
但我的团队发现了不止一个
but my team found not just one
而是两颗行星围绕不同的脉冲星运行
but two planetsorbiting a different pulsar.
我们知道莱恩存在的问题
We knew about the problem that Lyne had,
我们仔细核实了自己的结果 我们的结果是真的”
we checked for it,and yeah, ours are real.”
结果他是对的
And it turns out he was right.
事实上 几个月后
And in fact, a few months later,
他们发现了第三颗绕该脉冲星的行星
they found a third planet orbiting this pulsar,
这是迄今为止发现的第一个系外星系统 ——
and it was the firstexoplanet system ever found —
我们称之为外星世界 —— 系外行星
what we call alien worlds — exoplanets.
它对我来说 简直妙极了
That to me is just wonderful.
就在那时 闸门被打开了
At that point the floodgates were opened.
1995年 一个行星被发现绕着类似太阳的恒星运行
In 1995 a planet was found around a star more like the Sun,
然后我们又发现了一个又一个
and then we found another and another.
这是一颗围绕恒星运行的行星图像
This is an image of an actual planet orbiting an actual star.
我们不断进步
We kept getting better at it.
我们开始成批成批地发现它们
We started finding them by the bucketload.
数以千计的行星被发现
We started finding thousands of them.
我们建造了专门搜寻它们的天文台
We built observatoriesspecifically designed to look for them.
利用这些天文台 我们发现了数千颗行星
And now we know of thousands of them.
我们甚至了解了行星系统
We even know of planetary systems.
这是真实的数据 动画显示了
That is actual data, animated,
围绕另一颗恒星运行的四颗行星
showing four planets orbiting another star.
真是难以置信 想想看吧
This is incredible. Think about that.
纵观人类历史
For all of human history,
用两只手就可以算出
you could count all the known planets
宇宙中所有的行星 ——
in the universe on two hands —
9… 8?9?
nine — eight? Nine?
8…8
Eight — eight.
(笑)
(Laughter)

Eh.
(笑)
(Laughter)
但是现在 我们知道它们遍布宇宙
But now we know they’re everywhere.
每一颗恒星
Every star —
你在空中看到的每颗恒星 都有3 5 10 颗行星环绕
for every star you see in the sky there could be three, five, ten planets.
它们布满了天空
The sky is filled with them.
我们认为行星也许比银河系的恒星还要多
We think that planetsmay outnumber stars in the galaxy.
这是一个意义深远的论断
This is a profound statement,
这全要归功于科学
and it was made because of science.
得出这一结论
And it wasn’t made just because
不止要归功于科学研究和数据观测
of science and the observatories and the data;
能得出这个结论要归功于建造了天文台的科学家
it was made because of the scientistswho built the observatories,
他们得到了数据
who took the data,
他们犯了错误并承认了错误 然后让其他科学家在他们的错误上前进
who made the mistakes and admitted them and then let other scientists build on their mistakes
这样 他们就能做他们该做的
so that they could do what they do
并去弄清楚我们在宇宙中的位置
and figure out where our place is in the universe.
这是你发现真相的方式
That is how you find the truth.
敢于为人的科学才是最好的
Science is at its bestwhen it dares to be human.
谢谢
Thank you.

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视频概述

菲尔•普莱特曾是哈勃太空望远镜的天文学家团队成员,他们认为自己可能捕捉到了有史以来第一张直接拍摄到系外行星的照片。但证据真的支持这一点吗?来看看普莱特展示科学研究是如何进步的 —— 通过大量的犯错和纠正错误,但回报是最好的:“知识和理解,”菲尔道。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

甪里

审核员

审核员 V

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY6aAPhs0tE

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