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VOA慢速英语[科技报道]科学家发现重力波

2016-04-15    来源:普特英语听力    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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It took 100 years, but finally, scientists proved Albert Einstein’s theory that gravitational waves exist.

The waves were predicted as part of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago. It was the theory of the physics behind the workings of our world and the universe.

The idea was that the waves are like ripples in space, caused by some of the violent and energetic processes in the Universe. For example, two black holes crashing into each other.

Now a group of scientists, including ones from from CalTech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration finally found the gravitational waves.

David Reitze is the executive director of the LIGO observatory at CalTech.

“We have detected gravitational waves. We did it! (applause)”

Reitze spoke with others at a press conference in Washington, DC this past week. The scientists announced they were able to see ripples in the fabric of spacetime.

This is what the waves sounded like. Listen for the “chirp” sound at the end:

What are these gravitational waves? Well, imagine throwing a rock into a pond. When the rock hits the flat surface of the water, it creates ripples or waves. Spacetime is like the surface of the water. So that means gravitational waves are like the ripples moving out from where the rock hits the water.

It might be hard to understand, but those gravitational waves expand and contract space and time as they move through space. And when they get to the Earth, the waves pass through, and contract and expand the planet as the wave goes by.

It was Einstein who said these gravitational waves should be observable.

But these are not huge waves. They are very, very small, which is why it took so long to find them. You cannot see them with your eyes. They are smaller than the size of an atom.

How did the scientists find them?

They used a giant scientific tool called LIGO—which stands for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. The billion-dollar LIGO project is two L-shaped observatories. One is in Louisiana and one in Washington state.

Their job was to watch for these gravitational waves. They have been looking on and off since 2002.

For years, scientists have been watching two black holes in another galaxy faraway. The two were spinning around each other, moving closer and closer together. When they finally crashed into each other, it was with such power and force, that gravitational waves rang throughout the universe, like a giant bell.

Those waves, traveling at the speed of light, finally reached the Earth, some 1.3 billion years later. They are the same waves that the scientists announced this past week.

The National Science Foundation tweeted that each of the black holes was thought to be 29 to 36 times the mass of our sun.

So, what does this discovery mean?

Abhay Ashtekar is a Penn State physicist, who was not on the discovery team. He said:

“Our understanding of the heavens changed dramatically.”

I’m Anne Ball.
 


100年时间过去了,科学家最终证明了爱因斯坦的理论,重力波的存在。

重力波是爱因斯坦近100年前提出的广义相对论的一部分。广义相对论是我们的世界和宇宙相关的物理学理论。

爱因斯坦认为重力波就像宇宙里的涟漪,由宇宙中激烈的,能量巨大的震动所引起。比如两个黑洞之间相互碰撞。

如今,包括来自加州理工大学,麻省理工大学和LIGO科学合作联盟最终发现了重力波。

David Reitze是加州理工学院LIGO天文台的执行董事。
 
“我们探测到了重力波。我们做到了!(掌声)”

上周,在华盛顿特区Reitze和其他同事开了新闻发布会。科学家们宣布,他们能在时空中看到涟漪。

重力波听起来就是这样的:听听最后的“唧唧声”

这些重力波是什么呢?设想把一个石头扔进池塘。当石头打到水面上,就会产生波纹。时空就像水的表面。也就是说,重力波就像石块打到水面上产生的涟漪一样。

这可能很难理解,但是在穿越太空时,重力波会扩大和收缩时空。并且当重力波抵达并穿过地球时会令地球收缩和扩张。

爱因斯坦说重力波是可以观察到的。

但是重力波不是巨大的波纹。他们非常非常的小,这就是为什么花了这么长时间才发现重力波的原因。你用肉眼是看不见它的。重力波比原子还要小。

科学家是如何发现重力波的?

他们用了一种巨大的科学工具LIGO,也就是激光干涉引力波天文台。这个耗资数十亿美元的LIGO项目是由连根L形状天文台。其中一个是路易斯安那州,另外一个是华盛顿州。

他们的工作就是观察重力波。从2002年开始他们就陆陆续续开始观察了。

多年来,科学家一直在观测另外一个遥远星系的两个黑洞。这两个黑洞相互旋转,彼此之间越来越近。最后两者相撞,产生的巨大力量使得重力波像巨大的鸣钟一样穿透宇宙。

这些以光速传播的波最后大约在13亿年后抵达地球。上周科学家门宣布发现的就是重力波。

全国科学基金会发表推文表示,每个黑洞都是太阳的29到36倍。

所以这项发现意味着什么?

Abhay Ashtekar是宾州大学物理学家,他不是发现重力波团队的一员。他说到:

“我们队宇宙的了解彻底的改变了。”

我是Anne Ball



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