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下一个科学界大突破是什么?

What will be the next big scientific breakthrough? | Eric Haseltine

Tonight, I’m going to share with you my passion for science.
今天晚上 我想与大家分享我对科学的热爱
I’m not talking about science that takes baby steps.
我不是想说进展缓慢的那些
I’m talking about science that takes enormous leaps.
而是能带来重大飞跃的
I’m talking Darwin, I’m talking Einstein,
是达尔文、爱因斯坦那一类
I’m talking revolutionary science that turns the world on its head.
能带来翻天覆地变化的、革命性的科学
In a moment, I’m going to talk about two ideas that might do this.
接着 我会提及两个可能做到如此的想法
I say “might”
我说“可能”
because, with revolutionary ideas, most are flat wrong,
因为 革命性的想法里 大多是完全错误的
and even those that are right seldom have the impact
就算它们是正确的
that we want them to have.
也少有能达到目的
To explain why I picked two ideas in particular,
至于为何特意选择两个想法
I’m going to start with a mystery.
我想从一个神秘的故事讲起
1847, Vienna, Austria.
1847年 奥地利的维也纳
Ignaz Semmelweis was a somber, compulsively thorough doctor
伊格纳兹·塞麦尔维斯 一个沉着、缜密的医生
who ran two maternity clinics.
他经营着两家妇产诊所
They were identical except for one thing.
这两家除了一点以外完全相同
Women were dying of high fevers soon after giving birth
其中一家的女性分娩后
three times more often at one of the clinics than at the other.
高烧死亡的病例比另一家高三倍
Trying to figure out what the difference was that caused this,
为了弄清这背后的原因
Semmelweis looked at everything he could.
他仔细排查了 所有可能的情况
Sanitation? No.
卫生条件太差?不是
Medical procedures? No.
诊疗过程有问题?不是
Air flow? No.
空气流通不好?不是
The puzzle went unsolved until he happened to autopsy a doctor
他对此毫无头绪 直到偶然解剖了
who died of an infected scalpel cut.
一名死于手术感染的医生
The doctor’s symptoms were identical to those of the mothers who were dying.
医生症状与去世的母亲们完全相同
How was that possible?
这怎么可能?
How could a male doctor get the same thing as new mothers?
一名男医生怎么会与刚分娩的女性得一样的病症?
Semmelweis reconstructed everything the doctor had done
塞麦尔维斯重现了这名医生
right before he got sick,
感染前做过的每一件事
and he discovered that he’d been autopsying a corpse.
他发现 这名医生之前一直在解剖尸体
Had something gotten in his wound that killed him?
是不是有什么进入了他的伤口 导致他的死亡?
With growing excitement,
怀着不断增强的好奇心
Semmelweis looked for any connection he could
塞麦尔维斯在停尸间的尸体
between dead bodies in the morgue and dead mothers in his delivery room,
和产房里死去的母亲之间 不断找寻可能的联系
and he found it.
就这样 他找到了答案
It turned out that at the hospital with the high death rate,
结果证明 是死亡率高的那家医院
but not the others,
而不是另一家
doctors delivered babies immediately after autopsying corpses in the morgue.
医生们解剖完尸体后 紧接着就去接生婴儿
Aha! Corpses were contaminating the doctors’ hands
啊哈!原来是尸体污染了医生的手
and killing his mothers.
并杀死了那些母亲
So he ordered the doctors to sterilize their hands,
所以他要求医生们给手消毒
and the deaths stopped.
然后这类的死亡症就停止了
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis had discovered infectious disease.
伊格纳兹·塞麦尔维斯医生发现了传染病
But the doctors of the day thought he was crazy,
但当时的医生都认为他疯了
because they knew, and had for hundreds of years,
因为人们几百年来一直都认为
that odorous vapors called miasmas caused disease,
会致病的是一种名为瘴气的有味气体
not these hypothetical particles that you couldn’t see.
而不是那些看不到的假想粒子
It took 20 years for Frenchman Louis Pasteur
法国人路易·巴斯德用了整整20年
to prove that Semmelweis was right.
才证明塞麦尔维斯是正确的
Pasteur was an agricultural chemist
巴斯德是一名农业化学家
who tried to figure out why milk and beer spoiled so often.
他曾试图解释为何牛奶和啤酒会变质
He found that bacteria were the culprits.
他发现细菌是幕后真凶
He also found that bacteria could kill people in exactly the same way
而且细菌会使人像塞麦尔维斯的病人
that Semmelweis’s patients were dying.
一样的方式死去
We now look at what I want to talk about tonight, in two ideas.
我们现在讨论的两个想法 就是我今天想说的
We saw it with Semmelweis, that he was a revolutionary.
我们共同见证了 塞麦尔维斯的革命性发现
He did it for two reasons.
这么说有两点原理由:
One, he opened our eyes to a completely new world.
其一 他为我们打开了新世界的大门
We’d known since the 1680s about bacteria.
我们自17世纪80年代 就知道细菌的存在
We just didn’t know that bacteria killed people.
但是我们不知道细菌还会致命
And he also demolished fond ideas that people kept close to their heart.
他还推翻了人们根深蒂固的传统观念
Miasmas didn’t kill people. Bacteria killed people.
瘴气并不会致命 致命的实际上是细菌
So this brings me to the two ideas I want to talk about tonight.
这将我们带回了 我今晚想要讲到的两个观点
One has opened our eyes to a completely new universe,
一个能够拓宽我们的视野
and the other attacks long-held beliefs.
另一个会颠覆长久以来的观念
Let’s get started with Dr. Eric Betzig.
现在我们来讲一下 埃里克·白兹格博士
He’s a physicist who has opened our eyes to an entirely new world
这个物理学家通过违背物理法则
by violating the laws of physics.
使我们见识到了一个新的世界
Betzig is a true rebel.
他是一个彻头彻尾的叛逆者
He quit a job at prestigious Bell Laboratory
他从著名的贝尔实验室辞职
inventing new microscopes for biology
当时他们正在发明新型生物显微镜
because he thought scientists were taking his brilliant inventions
因为他觉得科学家们正在拿他绝佳的想法
and doing lousy work with them.
去做差劲的工作
So he became a househusband,
所以他变成了一个家庭煮夫
but he never lost his passion for figuring out
但是他从来没有失去过
how to get microscopes to see finer and finer details
想让显微镜提供更清晰图像的热情
than had ever been seen before or ever could be seen.
他想让显微镜的分辨率 达到前所未有的高度
This is crucial if we’re ever going to understand how cells work,
这非常重要 如果我们想要了解细胞如何工作
and how cancer works,
癌症是如何发生的
and how something 150th the size of a head of a pin
还有那些只有针尖150分之1大小的东西
can do all these amazing things,
是怎样做到这些惊人的事情
like make proteins
比如说制造蛋白
and move charges around
还有运输带电粒子
and all of those things.
等等这之类的
There’s just one problem.
但是这里有一个问题
There’s this thing called the law of physics,
有一个名为物理法则的东西
and part of the law of physics is the thing called the diffraction limit.
其中一部分名为衍射极限的
The diffraction limit is kind of like when you go to a doctor’s office,
它差不多是说 当你去诊所查视力的时候
you can only see so far down, no matter how good glasses you have.
不管你有多么好的眼镜 都只能看见最低的那一行
This was a so-called impossible problem.
这是一个所谓的“不可能问题”
But one of Betzig’s friends figured out how to take a tiny molecule
但是白兹格的一个好朋友想到了
that was smaller than the best microscope could see
怎样让一个最好的显微镜 也看不到的小分子
and get it to light up and fluoresce.
生亮发光
“Aha!” Betzig said.
“啊哈!”白兹格说:
“I think maybe the laws of physics are not so unbreakable after all.”
“我觉得物理法则也不是那么坚不可摧”
So he lashed together a microscope in his friend’s living room.
就这样他在朋友的客厅里 组建起一台显微镜
He had no laboratory.
他没有自己的实验室
This revolutionary instrument got different protein molecules
这件杰出的发明使得蛋白分子
to light up in different colors,
发出不同颜色的光
and with a computer, he was able to turn very, very fuzzy blurs
通过计算机 他就能够将非常模糊的色块
into very sharp dots and produce images of unprecedented and startling clarity.
转换成清晰的光点 实现前所未有、惊人的清晰度
For this work, last year,
去年 埃里克·白兹格
Eric Betzig won the Nobel Prize.
因为这项成果获得了诺贝尔奖
Why?
为什么呢?
Because now we can see with unprecedented detail
因为我们现在可以以前所未有的清晰度
things that we never had seen before,
看到从来没有看到过的东西
and now doctors can get a better handle on things like cancer.
现在医生们可以更好的 控制癌症之类的疾病
But do you think Betzig was satisfied there?
但是你以为白兹格会就此满足吗?
No.
大错特错
He wanted movies.
他想要得到动态的图像
The problem was
问题在于
that even the genius microscopes that he invented were just too slow.
即便是他发明的显微镜 也仍然显得太慢了
So what did he do?
那他做了什么呢?
He came up with a 200-year-old idea
他想到了一个两百年前提出的主意:
called moiré patterns.
叫“莫尔条纹”
So the way that works is if you take two very, very fine patterns
这想法的原理是 如果你让两组精细图案
and you move them across each other,
慢慢重合
you will see a gross pattern
就可以看到
that a microscope can see
原本只有显微镜才看得到的
that otherwise you would not be able to see.
杂乱的图形
So he applied this technique to taking a really blurry image of a cell
他将这项技术用于拍摄模糊的细胞图像
and moving lots of structured light patterns across it
然后在上面移动很多光线组合
until this cell became crystal clear.
直到细胞图像变得十分清晰
And here is the result:
结果是这样的:
a mysterious new world,
我们能够看到一个奇妙的新世界
full of strange things zipping around
其中满是动来动去的奇怪东西
doing things that we don’t know what they’re doing.
做着我们不甚了解的事情
But when we figure it out, we’ll have a better handle on life itself.
可一旦弄明白 我们就能更好地理解生命
For example, those green globs that you see?
比如说 你看到的那些绿色的东西
Those things are called clathrins.
它们是网格蛋白
They’re molecules that protect other molecules
这种粒子的职责是
as they move through a cell.
保护其他在细胞间穿梭的粒子
Unfortunately, viruses sometimes hijack those to infect cells.
但是细菌有时候会操纵它们去感染细胞
Also, you see those little squiggly wormlike things moving around?
还有 看到那些弯曲的、虫子似的小东西移动了?
Those are actin molecules.
它们是肌动蛋白
Unfortunately, viruses also climb down those things
病毒同样也可以附着在它们上面
to get into the cell nucleus
进入细胞核并开始复制
to replicate themselves and make you sick.
使你感染疾病
Now that we can look at movies
现在我们可以通过动态图像
of what’s actually going on deep inside a cell,
看到细胞深处到底发生了什么
we have a much better chance of curing viral diseases like AIDS.
让我们能更好地治愈病毒性疾病 比如说艾滋病
So when you look at a movie like this,
所以当你看到这样的小视频的时候
it’s very clear that Betzig has opened our eyes to a completely new world.
白兹格确实为我们打开了新世界的大门
But he hasn’t shattered any cherished beliefs.
但是他并没有打破任何固有的观念
That leads us to Dr. Aubrey de Grey
讲到这里 就要提一下剑桥大学的
at Cambridge.
奥布里·德·格雷博士
De Grey definitely has scientists squirming with an interesting idea:
他有一个让科学家们都跃跃欲试的有趣想法
we can be immortal.
我们是能够永生的
We can beat aging.
我们可以停止老龄化
Now, most scientists think he’s a crackpot.
现在大多数科学家认为他是一个怪人
Any Biology 101 student knows
就连刚开始学习生物学的 学生都知道
that aging is an inevitable consequence of living.
衰老是生命不可避免的结局
For example, when we eat,
比如说 当我们在进食的时候
we take in food and we metabolize it,
我们摄入食物并且开始代谢
and that throws off what we call free radicals.
在这个过程中会释放 我们称作“自由基“的东西
You might have heard of those.
你可能听说过
Also known as oxygen ions,
也叫氧离子
those bind to our DNA, cause it to mutate,
它们会与我们的DNA结合 并造成变异
and cause us to get old and lose our hair.
这就是为什么我们会衰老并掉头发
[Laughter]
[笑声]
It’s just like, no, it’s exactly like
这有点像 不 应该说这和氧与铁结合
oxygen binding to iron and making it rust.
使其生锈是完全相同的道理
So you age because you rust out.
所以说你会衰老是因为你生锈了
[Laughter]
[笑声]
Oh, and scientists also know there is something called immortality:
科学家们同时也知道有东西是不朽的
in cancer cells.
它们存在于癌细胞中
So if you stop aging,
所以如果你停止衰老
all of you are going to turn into giant walking malignant tumors.
等于说你就变成了一个 行走的巨大恶性肿瘤
These are cherished beliefs, but could de Grey be on to something?
这些都是盛行多年的观点 但德·格雷是不是对此有什么洞见?
I think he deserves a closer look.
我觉得人们应该试着去了解他
First of all, I have a really hard time seeing him as a crackpot.
首先 我并不认为他是一个怪人
Yeah, he started off life as a computer scientist,
没错 他最初是一名计算机科学家
not a biologist,
而不是生物学家
but he earned a PhD in biology from Cambridge,
但他得到了剑桥大学生物学博士学位
and he has published some very significant work
他还就线粒体DNA和一些其他领域的研究
on mitochondrial DNA and a bunch of other stuff.
发表了不少重要成果
Secondly, he started an antiaging foundation
除此之外 他还创建了一个抗衰老基金会
that has identified seven different causes of aging,
并发现了七种造成衰老的原因
to me, that seem very plausible,
对我来说 那些原因都是十分合理的
and he is hot in pursuit of fixes for every single one of them.
同时他致力于想出 对每种原因的解决对策
For example, one of the reasons we age is that our mitochondrial DNA mutates,
比如说 其中之一是 我们的线粒体DNA会变异
and we get kind of old and our cells lose energy.
由此使细胞失去能量 让人衰老
He believes, and he’s made a convincing case,
他相信 并且提出了很令人信服的观点
that using viruses we can do gene therapy,
那就是使用病毒来进行基因疗法
fix that DNA
修复DNA
and rejuvenate our cells.
使我们的细胞重新充满活力
One more thing.
另外
We have an existent proof
有证据证明
that extreme longevity is possible.
特别长的寿命是有可能的
Bristlecone pine trees live 5,000 years,
狐尾松树能存活5000年
and some lobsters don’t age at all.
有一些龙虾根本就不会衰老
Now, this doesn’t mean that de Grey is going to revolutionize our lifespans.
当然 这并不意味着德·格雷就能改变我们的寿命
I mean, after all, we’re not trees, and most of us are not lobsters.
毕竟我们不是树 我们中的大多数也不是龙虾
[Laughter]
[笑声]
But I’ve got to believe that there are Darwins and Einsteins out there,
但我相信 世界上还是有达尔文和爱因斯坦的
and I’ll tell you why.
让我来告诉你们为什么
Consider this:
试想一下:
there are seven times more people alive today than during Darwin’s time.
现在的人口数量是达尔文时期的七倍
There are four times as many people alive today as Einstein.
是爱因斯坦时期的四倍
When you consider
当你考虑到
that the proportion of scientists in the population has skyrocketed,
现在科学家占全体人口的比重在激增
there are now seven million scientists.
现在有七百万科学家
I’ve got to believe, and I do believe, that there’s one of them out there
我不得不相信 并且我也的确相信 他们中间有一个
who is working right now in obscurity
正默默无闻地钻研怎样延长
to rock our lives, and I don’t know about you,
我们的寿命 我不知道你们怎么想
but I can’t wait to be rocked.
我可对此迫不及待
Thank you.
谢谢
[Applause]
[掌声]

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视频概述

纵观历史,追寻那些带来革命性突破的科学进展——它们让我们看到了一个全新的世界。“我并不是在谈论那些进展缓慢的科学,”埃里克·哈世廷说,“我说的是能带来巨大飞跃的科学。“在这次演讲中,他热切带领我们探索了追寻智慧前沿的两个观点——创造历史,以及雄心勃勃(还有对其他人的合理怀疑)。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

B11101001

审核员

赖皮

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1MRJrm9Gts

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