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宇宙的声音

发布者: 五毒 | 发布时间: 2022-6-20 06:30| 查看数: 53| 评论数: 0|



Space, we all know what it looks like. We've been surrounded by images of space our whole lives, from the speculative images of science fiction to the inspirational visions of artists to the increasingly beautiful pictures made possible by complex technologies. But whilst we have an overwhelmingly vivid visual understanding of space, we have no sense of what space sounds like.

太空,我们都知道它是什么样子的。太空的景象围绕着我们整个生活,从科幻小说中推测的景象,到艺术家充满灵感的想象,再到可能由复杂科技制作出来的越来越多的美丽图片。但我们对太空有一个无法抗拒的美丽的视觉理解的同时,我们对太空听起来是什么样的却一无所知。

And indeed, most people associate space with silence. But the story of how we came to understand the universe is just as much a story of listening as it is by looking. And yet despite this, hardly any of us have ever heard space. How many of you here could describe the sound of a single planet or star? Well, in case you've ever wondered, this is what the Sun sounds like. This is the planet Jupiter.

实际上,多数人都认为太空是寂静的。但我们对宇宙的认识过程中倾听和观察所占的比重是同样多的。然而尽管如此,我们却几乎没人聆听过太空的声音。各位中有多少人能描绘一下一个行星或恒星的声音?如果你们想知道的话,这是太阳的声音。这是木星。

And this is the space probe Cassini pirouetting through the ice rings of Saturn. This is a a highly condensed clump of neutral matter, spinning in the distant universe. So my artistic practice is all about listening to the weird and wonderful noises emitted by the magnificent celestial objects that make up our universe. And you may wonder, how do we know what these sounds are?

这是航天探测器卡西尼号旋转着通过土星冰环时收到的声音。这是中子物质高度压缩的重击声,在遥远的宇宙中不停地旋转回放。因此我的艺术实践就是到处倾听这些组成我们宇宙的由这些壮丽的天体所发出的神秘的神奇的噪声。各位也许想知道,我们是怎么知道这些声音的呢?

How can we tell the difference between the sound of the Sun and the sound of a pulsar? Well, the answer is the science of radio astronomy. Radio astronomers study radio waves from space using sensitive antennas and receivers, which give them precise information about what an astronomical object is and where it is in our night sky.

我们如何区分太阳的声音和脉冲星的声音?答案是射电天文学。射电天文学家们用灵敏的天线和接收器研究来自太空的无线电波,这能给他们准确信息,了解一个天体是什么以及它在夜空中的何处。

And just like the signals that we send and receive here on Earth, we can convert these transmissions into sound using simple analog techniques. And therefore, it's through listening that we've come to uncover some of the universe's most important secrets -- its scale, what it's made of and even how old it is. So today, I'm going to tell you a short story of the history of the universe through listening.

正如那些我们在地球上发送和接收的信号一样,我们使用简单的模拟技术就能把这些电波转换为声音。因此,通过倾听我们揭开了一些宇宙中最终要的秘密——它的规模,它由什么组成,甚至是它的年龄。因此今天,我要通过聆听向各位讲述一个关于宇宙历史的小故事。

It's punctuated by three quick anecdotes, which show how accidental encounters with strange noises gave us some of the most important information we have about space. Now this story doesn't start with vast telescopes or futuristic spacecraft, but a rather more humble technology --and in fact, the very medium which gave us the telecommunications revolution that we're all part of today: the telephone.

其穿插的三段轶事,展示了与奇怪声音的偶然相遇是怎样给我们带来了关于太空的一些最重要的信息的。这一故事并不以天文望远镜或是宇宙飞船开始,而是以一种更不起眼的方式,实际上,这种方式带来了我们正置身其中的远距离通信的革命:电话。

It's 1876, it's in Boston. And this is Alexander Graham Bell who was working with Thomas Watson on the invention of the telephone. A key part of their technical set up was a half-mile long length of wire, which was thrown across the rooftops of several houses in Boston. The line carried the telephone signals that would later make Bell a household name. But like any long length of charged wire, it also inadvertently became an antenna.

1876年,在波士顿。这是亚历山大·格拉汉姆·贝尔,他与托马斯·沃森一起发明了电话。他们技术的关键部分是一条半英里长的电线,它穿越了波士顿中数座房屋的屋顶。这条传输电话信号的电线后来让贝尔家喻户晓。但如同任何长度的带电导线一样,它也意外地成为了天线。

Thomas Watson spent hours listening to the strange crackles and hisses and chirps and whistles that his accidental antenna detected. Now you have to remember, this is 10 years before Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of radio waves --15 years before Nikola Tesla's four-tuned circuit -- nearly 20 years before Marconi's first broadcast. So Thomas Watson wasn't listening to us.

托马斯·沃森花费许多时间来倾听奇怪的爆裂声、嘶嘶声、唧唧声和哨声,这些都是由他的天线检测到的。现在请各位注意,这是在海因里希·赫兹证实无线电波存在之前十年——在尼古拉·特斯拉发明四调谐电路前十五年——在马尔科尼的第一次发明电报之前要近二十年。因此托马斯·沃森不是在听人为的声音。

We didn't have the technology to transmit. So what were these strange noises? Watson was in fact listening to very low-frequency radio emissions caused by nature. Some of the crackles and pops were lightning, but the eerie whistles and curiously melodious chirps had a rather more exotic origin. Using the very first telephone, Watson was in fact dialed into the heavens.

我们还没有发射这种信号的技术。那这些奇怪的噪声是什么呢?沃森实际上在听的是由自然界发出的极低频的无线电信号。有些爆裂声和砰砰声是闪电,但是奇异的哨声和旋律美妙的唧唧声则更多的是来自外层空间。其实沃森使用最早的电话拨通了通往天际的电话。

As he correctly guessed, some of these sounds were caused by activity on the surface of the Sun. It was a solar wind interacting with our ionosphere that he was listening to --a phenomena which we can see at the extreme northern and southern latitudes of our planet as the aurora.

正如他所猜中的那样,其中一些声音是由太阳表面的活动产生的。他聆听的是太阳风和地球电离层的交互作用——这是个神奇的现象,就像我们能在地球的南极和北极所看到的极光一样。

So whilst inventing the technology that would usher in the telecommunications revolution, Watson had discovered that the star at the center of our solar system emitted powerful radio waves. He had accidentally been the first person to tune in to them. Fast-forward 50 years, and Bell and Watson's technology has completely transformed global communications.

因此在发明了这项引发了远距离通信革命的技术的同时,沃森发现了我们太阳系中心的恒星发射出强大的无线电波。他意外地成为了第一个收听到它们的人。快进五十年,贝尔和沃森的技术完全改变了全球通信。

But going from slinging some wire across rooftops in Boston to laying thousands and thousands of miles of cable on the Atlantic Ocean seabed is no easy matter. And so before long, Bell were looking to new technologies to optimize their revolution. Radio could carry sound without wires. But the medium is lossy -- it's subject to a lot of noise and interference.

但从在波士顿跨越数个屋顶的电线到铺设于大西洋海底数千英里长的线缆,这不是件容易的事。因此不久后,贝尔就在寻找新的技术以优化他们的这次重大变革。无线电波不需电线就能携带声音。但载体会有损耗——由于许多噪音和干扰。

So Bell employed an engineer to study those noises, to try and find out where they came from, with a view towards building the perfect hardware codec, which would get rid of them so they could think about using radio for the purposes of telephony. Most of the noises that the engineer, Karl Jansky, investigated were fairly prosaic in origin.

因此贝尔雇佣了一名工程师来研究这些噪音,尝试弄清楚它们从何而来,朝着建立完美硬件解码的前景努力,这将摆脱掉这些噪音,这样他们就能考虑把无线电波用于电话通信用途。工程师卡尔·央斯基调查的多数噪音的来源都相当平淡无奇。

They turned out to be lightning or sources of electrical power. But there was one persistent noise that Jansky couldn't identify, and it seemed to appear in his radio headset four minutes earlier each day. Now any astronomer will tell you, this is the telltale sign of something that doesn't originate from Earth. Jansky had made a historic discovery, that celestial objects could emit radio waves as well as light waves.

可能是闪电或是电源。但有一个央斯基无法识别的持续的噪音,这一噪音似乎在他的无线电耳机中每天早出现四分钟。如今任何一名天文学家都能告诉你,这是讯号并非源自地球的明显标识。央斯基历史性地发现了天体能够发出无线电波及光波。

Fifty years on from Watson's accidental encounter with the Sun, Jansky's careful listening ushered in a new age of space exploration: the radio astronomy age. Over the next few years, astronomers connected up their antennas to loudspeakers and learned about our radio sky, about Jupiter and the Sun, by listening. Let's jump ahead again.

自从沃森无意中收听到太阳声音的五十年后,央斯基的仔细倾听开启了太空探索的新纪元:射电天文学时代。在后续数年间,天文学家把天线连到扩音器上,了解我们的无线电波的天空,了解木星和太阳,通过聆听。让我们再往前跳一段时间。

It's 1964, and we're back at Bell Labs. And once again, two scientists have got a problem with noise. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were using the horn antenna at Bell's Holmdel laboratory to study the Milky Way with extraordinary precision. They were really listening to the galaxy in high fidelity. There was a glitch in their soundtrack.

这是1964年,我们回到贝尔实验室。再一次,两名科学家遇到了一个与噪音有关的问题。阿诺·彭齐亚斯和罗伯特·威尔逊用喇叭形天线在贝尔的霍尔姆德尔实验室以非凡的精度研究银河系。他们确实在以高保真度倾听着银河系。他们的音轨上有个小故障。

A mysterious persistent noise was disrupting their research. It was in the microwave range, and it appeared to be coming from all directions simultaneously. Now this didn't make any sense, and like any reasonable engineer or scientist, they assumed that the problem must be the technology itself, it must be the dish. There were pigeons roosting in the dish.

一个神秘的持续噪音干扰了他们的研究。这一噪音处于微波频段,它同时出现在各个方向。这在当今没有任何意义,如同任何明智的工程师或科学家一样,他们假设问题处在他们的技术上,问题一定在蝶盘状天线上。有鸽子在碟盘状天线上安家。

And so perhaps once they cleaned up the pigeon droppings, get the disk kind of operational again, normal operations would resume. But the noise didn't disappear. The mysterious noise that Penzias and Wilson were listening to turned out to be the oldest and most significant sound that anyone had ever heard. It was cosmic radiation left over from the very birth of the universe.

也许一旦他们清理了鸽子粪便,仪器就能重新运转,恢复正常。但噪音并没有消失。彭齐亚斯和威尔逊聆听的神秘噪音成了人们听到过的最古老最重要的声音。它是宇宙诞生之时遗留下来的宇宙辐射。

This was the first experimental evidence that the Big Bang existed and the universe was born at a precise moment some 14.7 billion years ago. So our story ends at the beginning -- the beginning of all things, the Big Bang.

这是最初的实验证据,它证实了宇宙大爆炸的存在,证实了宇宙诞生于147亿年前的某个确切时刻。那么我们的故事就要在这个最开始结束了——一切一切的开始,宇宙大爆炸。

This is the noise that Penzias and Wilson heard -- the oldest sound that you're ever going to hear, the cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the Big Bang. Thanks.

这就是彭齐亚斯和威尔逊听到的噪音——你能听到的最古老的声音,自宇宙大爆炸后留下的宇宙射线背景辐射。谢谢。


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