新概念英语 - 第4册 - 第032课

Galileo reborn 伽利略的复生


What has modified out traditional view of Galileo in recent times?

新概念英语 - 小编笔记


新概念英语 - 教材原文


In his own lifetime Galileo was the centre of violent controversy; but the scientific dust has long since settled, and today we can see even his famous clash with the Inquisition in something like its proper perspective. But, in contrast, it is only in modern times that Galileo has become a problem child for historians of science.

The old view of Galileo was delightfully uncomplicated. He was, above all, a man who experimented: who despised the prejudices and book learning of the Aristotelians, who put his questions to nature instead of to the ancients, and who drew his conclusions fearlessly. He had been the first to turn a telescope to the sky, and he had seen there evidence enough to overthrow Aristotle and Ptolemy together. He was the man who climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped various weights from the top, who rolled balls down inclined planes, and then generalized the results of his many experiments into the famous law of free fall.

But a closer study of the evidence, supported by a deeper sense of the period, and particularly by a new consciousness of the philosophical undercurrents in the scientific revolution, has profoundly modified this view of Galileo. Today, although the old Galileo lives on in many popular writings, among historians of science a new and more sophisticated picture has emerged. At the same time our sympathy fro Galileo's opponents ahs grown somewhat. His telescopic observations are justly immortal; they aroused great interest at the time, they had important theoretical consequences, and they provided a striking demonstration of the potentialities hidden in instruments and apparatus. But can we blame those who looked and failed to see what Galileo saw, if we remember that to use a telescope at the limit of its powers calls for long experience and intimate familiarity with one's instrument? Was the philosopher who refused to look through Galileo's telescope more culpable than those who alleged that the spiral nebulae observed with Lord Rosse's great telescope in the eighteen-forties were scratches left by the grinder? We can perhaps forgive those who said the moons of Jupiter were produced by Galileo's spyglass if we recall that in his day, as for centuries before, curved glass was the popular contrivance for producing not truth but illusion, untruth; and if a single curved glass would distort nature, how much more would a pair of them?

--MICHAEL HOSKIN Galileo Reborn from The Listener--


controversy n. 争议,争论
dust n. 纠纷,骚动
clash n. 冲突
Inquisition n. (罗马天主教的)宗教法庭
perspective n. 观点,看法
despise v. 蔑视
generalize v. 归纳
undercurrent n. 潜流
theoretical adj. 理论上的
potentiality n. 潜能
intimate adj. 详尽的
familiarity n. 熟悉的
culpable adj. 应受遣责的
Aristotelian n. 亚里士多德学派的人
Aristotle n. 亚里士多德(公元前384-322,古希腊哲学家)
Ptolemy n. 托勒密(公元90-168,古希腊天文学家)
Leaning Tower of Pisa 比萨斜塔
spiral adj. 螺旋状的
nebula n. 星云
scratch n. 擦痕
contrivance n. 器械
distort v. 歪曲


伽利略在世时是激烈论战的中心。但是,自他逝世以来, 那场科学上的纷争早已平息了下来,甚至他和宗教法庭的著名冲突,我们今天也能正确如实地看待。但是相比之下,对于科学史家来说, 伽利略只是在现代才变成了一个新的难题。



新概念英语 - 自学导读