2019-01-30 14:13:00 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:余诗泉
核心提示:写到这里,他跳到另一个结论,认为考虑到恒星近乎无穷的数量,肯定有其他世界完全复制了我们的境况,以至于“十有八九,我们每个人在宇宙中都有无数个复制品”。

Why Does This Book Turn Science into Mystery?为什么说这本书把科学变成谜

Sometimes science aligns with the lyrical. “Perhaps poetry is another of science's deepest roots: the capacity to see beyond the visible,”writes quantum physicist Carlo Rovelli in his remarkable book “The Order of Time.”

Science writer Stefan Klein sets out to prove a similar point in his new book, “How to Love the Universe,” but he does not affiliate himself with the poets so much as attempt to correct them. As he explains, he hopes to assuage “sensitive people” — by which he means poets and their like — who supposedly worry that learning about the nature of things makes reality less mysterious.

Klein assures us: Poets need only recognize that nature's wonder is evident in the enigmas that emerge from new discoveries, enigmas that show just how complex our world can be. Borrowing an example from Richard Feynman, he writes that the botanist's gaze does not wilt the rose's beauty but amplifies it, leading us back to the dazzling origins of life itself and ultimately to the realization that the flower's delicate petals are “metamorphosed stardust.” Pushing ahead, Klein proposes to demonstrate “how twenty-first-century physics changes our thinking, the way we see the world.”

If he hopes to substantiate his central premise that science makes the world stranger, Klein must do two things. First, he has to explain challenging scientific discoveries. Second, he has to show us that new puzzles ensue once we make sense of those revelations. Over the course of 10 chapters, he tries to do just that, leading us through an array of topics, from the big bang to the seemingly limitless scope of the cosmos, touching on dark matter, the organization of time and the immateriality of matter.

Many of these topics already exude an inherent gee-whiz quality, but Klein wants to show us that they are even more peculiar than they seem. Tackling the immensity of space, he writes that there must be countless earthlike planets orbiting sun-like stars. From here, he leaps to another conclusion, arguing that, given the near-infinite multitude of stars, there must be other worlds that exactly duplicate the conditions of our own, such that “with a probability close to certainty, each one of us has an infinite number of doubles in the cosmos.”

Here we see Klein's method at work: Yes, there are a lot of stars. And yes, many of those stars have planets orbiting them. Once we acknowledge these established facts, we can let our minds wander. Are we alone in the universe? Almost certainly not. If not, is it possible that there are other worlds like our own, even if they are very far away? Almost certainly! If there are, is it possible that some of those worlds exactly re-create the conditions of our own, down to the precise details of our individual lives? Maybe! Always squinting at the fuzzy edge of the horizon, Klein insists we should be most amazed by the things we suspect but can never fully know.

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