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世界观科普系列5:生命的目的是什么? – 译学馆
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世界观科普系列5:生命的目的是什么?

What is the Purpose of Life? (Big Picture Ep. 5/5)

天体生物学家Michael Russell曾说
Astrobiologist Michael Russell once said that
生命的目的在于氢化二氧化碳
the purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide.
诺贝尔奖得主Albert Szent-Györgyi也曾说
Or as Nobel prize-winning physiologist AlbertSzent-Györgyi put it,
生命就像电子
life is nothing but an electron
寻找一个休息的地方
looking for a place to rest.
虽然这些答案并不能
While these aphorisms might not capture the“meaning of life”
使我们满足 但
that most of us look for
这些观点旨在说明 生物体最终依赖于
their point is the living organisms ultimately depend on and facilitate
并促进宇宙熵增的趋势
the universe’s tendency to increase entropy
这似乎违反常理 因为生物本身是高度组织化的
That may seem counter-intuitive, since living beings are themselves highly organized,
而熵却是测量混乱程度的
while entropy is a measure of disorder.
但是我们都知道 复杂和秩序不一样
But as we know, complexity is not the same thing as order.
每个有机体单单靠活着及呼吸
Every organism, just by living and breathing,
就可以增加宇宙的熵
acts to increase the entropy of the universe.
试想 从太阳来的光子
Think of a photon arriving from the Sun,
含有有用能量
packed with useful energy.
这种能量能被植物或微生物吸收
It can be captured by a plant or microorganismthat uses photosynthesis
并进行光合作用以糖的形式储存起来
to store that energy in the form of sugar.
但这种糖含有的有用的能量
But the sugar doesn’t contain quite as much useful energy
并不如原始光子多
as the original photon
一些能量被用来为植物和环境提供热量
some of the energy ends up heating the plant andits environment.
动物(如人类)吃这种糖 并用糖的能量
An animal like us eats the sugar, and uses its energy
创造ATP分子 即三磷酸腺苷
to create molecules of ATP, adenosine triphosphate.
ATP就像能量的动力单元
ATP is like a little power-pack of energy
可以被送到身体需要的部位
that can be sent to a part of the body
但ATP含有的能量
where it might be helpful, but ATP doesn’t have
也不如转变为它的糖多
quiet as much useful energy as the sugar
因为一些有用的能量
that went into making in. some of useful energy got lost
用于促进细胞生成ATP
pushing around all the cell machinery that makes the ATP.
肌肉中的蛋白质利用ATP的能量收缩
The proteins in your muscles utilize the energy in ATP to contract,
所以 你才能举起杠铃或拿起一片披萨
so that you can lift a barbell or a slice of pizza.
但是并不是所有ATP里的有用能量
But not all of the useful energy of the ATP
都用于拿起披萨 和之前一样
goes into lifting the pizza – as before,
一些能量被分解成噪音和热量
some of it is degraded into noise and heat.
不只如此 ATP的有用能量还可以用于
Not only that, ATP’s useful energy can also
修复受损细胞或组织
be used to repair broken-down cells or organs,
并在修复过程中有用能量变少
again becoming less useful in the process.
模式已经很明显了:
The pattern here is obvious:
每一步过程中 原始光子能量逐渐被分解
every step along the way, the energy in that original photon
熵逐渐增加
is gradually degraded, entropy increases,
最终所剩的只有有机的、
and at the end all that’s left is an organized
温度稍微上升的植物 细胞 肌肉
but slightly warmer plant and cell and muscle,
以及高熵红外线
plus some high-entropy infrared light that
被辐射到宇宙中
gets radiated out into the universe.
能量从有到无的过程
Energy transforms from useful to useless
是为了使有机体(比如我们)维持生存
in the cause of keeping organisms like us alive.
实际上 生命可能就是由于熵才出现的
In fact, life itself might have arisen because of entropy.
地球早期有小范围的低熵状态
The early Earth had pockets of low-entropy conditions
富有能量 比如海床的碱性通风口
full of useful energy, like warm alkaline vents on the ocean floor.
但那时可能没有简单的化学反应
But there may have been no simple chemical reaction
可以利用这些能量
that could take advantage of that energy
并用光这些能量 增加熵值
use up its usefulness, and allow theentropy to increase.
不过 那时是有更复杂的反应链
There were, however, more complicated chainsof reactions
可以完成这项工作
that could do the job.
在刚刚好的条件下
In just the right circumstances,
一个合适的化学反应网可以
an appropriate network of chemical reactions might find a
通过利用环境中
way to sustain itself
有用能量的方式维持自身生存
by tapping into the useful energy in its environment.
一些网可能嵌入了
Some networks might have become embedded in
分子膜 细胞壁的前身中
molecular membranes, the precursors of cell wall
并从起源点脱离出来
and broken away from their point oforigin,
成为了第一批“活”物体
becoming the first “living” organisms.
也许这就是生命如何开始的:
Maybe that’s how life began:
一个复杂的化学反应的组合
a complex combination of chemical reactions that figured out how
弄清了如何利用原本难以获得的有用能
how to tap into otherwise unavailable useful energy.
恒星闪烁的原理是类似的
We can tell a similar story about why stars shine.
氢原子核有无数有用且低熵的核能量可释放
Hydrogen nuclei have a ton of useful, low-entropy nuclear energy to release
前提是你能同时融合它们形成氦
if you can get them to fuse together into helium.
但是有一个很大的阻碍
But there’s a big barrier to getting that
核聚变很困难!
to happen – fusion is hard!
不过 恒星的核却能出色的完成核聚变
And yet, the cores of stars do the job marvelously,
所以恒星如生命一样
so stars, like life, also survive because of
因宇宙中熵的增加而存在
the increase of entropy throughout theuniverse.
太阳吸收低熵燃料源——氢原子核
Our sun takes a low-entropy fuel source
并转换为高熵的能量
hydrogen nuclei and converts it into higher entropy energy.
即可见光的光子
photon of visible light
生命吸收这些高熵能量作为燃料源
Life takes that higher-entropy energy as a fuel source
并转换为更高熵的能量
and converts it into even higher-entropy
即红外线光子
energy, photon of infrared light
确切的说 生命的意义
In a very real sense, the purpose of lifeis
就是延续恒星的使命
to continue the mission of the stars.
大家好 我是Henry 谢谢观看
Hey, Henry here, thanks for watching.
这是与物理学家Sean Carroll合作的
This is the fifth video in a series abouttime and entropy
《时光与熵》系列节目的第五个视频
made in collaboration with physicist Sean Carroll.
这最后一个视频由网站Audible.com支持
This final video is supported by Audible.com,
网站提供虚构类 非虚构类及期刊类的有声读物
a leading provider of audiobooks including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals.
本系列视频的根据是Sean所著的
The videos in this series are based off of Sean’s book
《大图景:关于生命的起源、意义以及宇宙本身》
The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
可在Audible网站找到由Sean朗读的有声读物
which is available, read by him, on Audible.
你可以选择听《大图景》也可以听别的
You can listen to “The Big Picture” oranother book of your choice
但你为何不选《大图景》呢
but why wouldn’t you choose The Big Picture
在Audible.com/minutephysics 30天试用期内免费
for free,with a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/minutephysics.
重复一遍 网站audible.com/minutephysics
Again, that’s audible.com/minutephysics.

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生命的目的在于促进宇宙熵增的趋势

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