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  The first outline of The Ascent of Man was written in July 1969and the last foot of film was shot in December 1972. An undertaking aslarge as this, though wonderfully exhilarating, is not entered lightly. It demands an unflagging intellectual and physical vigour, a total immersion, which I had to be sure that I could sustain with pleasure; for instance, Ihad to put off researches that I had already begun; and I ought to explai-n what moved me to do so.

  There has been a deep change in the temper of science in the last20 years: the focus of attention has shifted from the physical to the life sciences. As a result, science is drawn more and more to the study of in-dividuality. But the interested spectator is hardly aware yet how far-reaching the effect is in changing the image of man that science moulds. Asa mathematician trained in physics, I too would have been unaware, had not a series of lucky chances taken me into the life sciences in middle age. I owe a debt for the good fortune that carried me into two seminal fields of science in one lifetime; and though I do not know to whom the debt is due, I conceived The Ascent of Man in gratitude to repay it.

  The invitation to me from the British Broadcasting Corporation was to present the development of science in a series of television programmes to match those of Lord Clark on Civilisation. Television is an admirable medium- for exposition in several ways: powerful and immediate to the eye, able to take the spectator bodily into the places and processes that are described, and conversational enough to make him conscious that what he witnesses are not events but the actions of people. The last of these merits is to my mind the most cogent, and it weighed most with me in agreeing to cast a personal biography of ideas in the form of television essays. The point is that knowledge in general and science in particular does not consist of abstract but of man-made ideas, all the way from its beginnings to its modern and idiosyncratic models. Therefore the underlying concepts that unlock nature must be shown to arise early and in the simplest cultures of man from his basic and specific faculties. And the development of science which joins them in more and more complex conjunctions must be seen to be equally human: discoveries are made by men, not merely by minds, so that they are alive and charged with individuality. If television is not used to make these thoughts concrete, it is wasted.

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  参考答案:

  《人类的进程》一书的提纲初稿是1969年7月完成的,影片的最后一部分是在1972年12月拍摄的。像这样大的一个项目,虽然异常精彩,令人激动,却并不是轻易上马的。它要求我保持旺盛的脑力和体力,专心致志地投入工作。我必须确保持之以恒,并从中得到乐趣;比方说,我不得不停下已经开始的研究工作;我还应当说明一下,究竟是什么促使我承担这项工作的。

  二十年来,科学的发展趋势发生了深刻的变化:关注的焦点已经从自然科转移到生命科学。结果,便把科学越来越吸引到个体特征的研究上来。然而感兴趣的旁观者几乎没有意识到此事对于改变科学塑造的人的形象产生了多么深远的影响。我是一个研究数学的人,以前学过物理学,若不是中年有幸有几次机会涉足生命科学,我也不会有所认识。我应当感谢我交的好运,是它使我在一生中参与了两个启发性的科学领域。尽管我并不知道应该向谁表示感谢,我编写了《人类的进程》一书,以表示我的感激之情。

  英国广播公司邀请我做的是通过一套电视节目来表现科学的发展过程,以与克拉克勋爵制作的关于文明的电视节目相匹配。通过电视来进行解说有几大好处:它有力、直观,能使观众身临其境或亲身参与所描述的过程,它的语言亲切,能使观众觉得他所看到的是人们的行动而不是事件。这些优点之中,我认为最后一点最为突出,它是一股最大的动力促使我同意以电视散文的方式从个人的角度来讲述各种思想的发展史。重要的是知识总体,尤其是科学知识不是由抽象的思想构成的,而是由人的思想构成的,自有知识开始直到现代千奇百怪的模式莫不是如此。所以介绍打开自然界之门的基本思想,必须表现出它们很早就已产生,而且是产生在人类最淳朴的文化之中,产生于人类基本的、具体的感官之中。同时还必须表现出使种种思想形成越来越复杂的结合体的科学的发展也同样是人类的贡献:种种发现都是人的产物,而不仅仅是头脑的产物,因此它们都是有生气的,而且具有个人的特色。如果电视未能把这些思想表现得很具体,那岂不是浪费!

 

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