爱因斯坦和悠悠球

悦贝兰因小编:我们因为能克服困难而提升自己的能力。 然而,我们仍然需要向爱因斯坦学习:不要触碰你智力和能力外的世界。

Seen through the eyes of a young friend Einstein was a simple,modest and ordinary man.

 

在一个年轻朋友的心目中,爱因斯坦是个纯朴、谦虚的普通人。

 

The Professor and the Yo-YoThomas Lee Bucky with Joseph P.Blank

 

教授与溜溜球 托马斯·李·巴基 和 约瑟夫·P·布兰克

 

My father was a close friend of Albert Einstein. As a shy young visitor to Einstein’s home, I was made to feel at ease when Einstein said, “I have something to show you.” He went to his desk and returned with a Yo-Yo. He tried to show me how it worked but he couldn’t make it roll back up the string. When my turn came, I displayed my few tricks and pointed out to him that the incorrectly looped string had thrown the toy off balance. Einstein nodded, properly impressed by my skill and knowledge. Later, I bought a new Yo-Yo and mailed it to the Professor as a Christmas present, and received a poem of thanks.

 

我父亲是阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦的密友。小时候有一次我去爱因斯坦家拜访时很腼腆,他说,“我有样东西拿给你看,”于是我便感到无拘无束了。他走到书桌旁,拿回来一只溜溜球。他试图做给我看这种玩具怎么个玩法,但他没法使它顺着线再转上去。轮到我时,我露了几手并向他指出,绕错的线圈使玩具失去了平衡。爱因斯坦点点头,我的技能和知识给他留下了颇深的印象。后来,我买了一只溜溜球,把它作为圣诞礼物送给了教授,并收到他一首表示感谢的诗。

 

As a boy and then as an adult, I never lost my wonder at the personality that was Einstein. He was the only person I knew who had come to terms with himself and the world around him. He knew what he wanted and he wanted only this: to understand within his limits as a human being the nature of the universe and the logic and simplicity in its functioning. He knew there were answers beyond his intellectual reach. But this did not frustrate him. He was content to go as far as he could.

 

作为一个孩子,以后又作为一个成人,我一直对爱因斯坦的个性惊叹不已。他是我所认识的人中唯一能跟自己及周围世界达成妥协的人。他知道自己想要什么,而他想要的只是:在他作为一个人的能力范围之内理解宇宙的性质以及宇宙运行的逻辑和单纯。他知道有许多问题的答案超出了他智力所及的范围。但这并不使他感到灰心丧气。只要在能力许可的范围内取得最大的成功他就心满意足了。

 

In the 23 years of our friendship, I never saw him show jealousy, vanity, bitterness, anger, resentment, or personal ambition. He seemed immune to these emotions. He was beyond any pretension. Although he corresponded with many of the world’s most important people, his stationery carried only a watermark — W — for Woolworth’s.

 

在我们二十三年的友谊中,我从未见他表现出妒忌、虚荣、痛苦、愤怒、怨恨或个人野心。他好像对这些感情具有免疫能力似的。他毫无矫饰之心,虚荣之意。虽然他与世界上的许多要人通信,他用的却是有W水印字母的信笺,水印字母W——五分钱商店伍尔沃思的缩写。

 

To do his work he needed only a pencil and a pad of paper. Material things meant nothing to him. I never knew him to carry money because he never had any use for it. He believed in simplicity, so much so that he used only a safety razor and water to shave. When I suggested that he try shaving cream, he said, “The razor and water do the job.”

 

为了做他的工作他只需要一支笔和一本拍纸簿。物质的东西对他毫无意义。我知道他身上从不带钱,因为他从来不需要用钱。他信奉简朴,甚至于只用一把安全剃刀和清水刮胡子。当我建议他用一下刮胡膏时,他说:“剃刀和水就够了。”

 

“But Professor, why don’t you try the cream just once?” I argued. “It makes shaving smoother and less painful.”

 

“但是,教授,为什么你就不能仅仅试用一次刮胡膏呢?”我争辩说。“它可以让你刮起胡子来又平滑又不痛。”

 

He shrugged. Finally, I presented him with a tube of shaving cream. The next morning when he came down to breakfast, he was beaming with the pleasure of a new, great discovery. “You know, that cream really works,” he announced. “It doesn’t pull the beard. It feels wonderful.” Thereafter, he used the shaving cream every morning until the tube was empty. Then he reverted to using plain water.

 

他耸了耸肩。最后,我终于送给他一管刮胡膏。第二天早上,当他下楼来用早餐时,他因为有了一大新发现而高兴得满脸含笑。“你知道,那种刮胡膏还真有效,”他说。“它不扯胡子,感觉好极了。”打那以后,他每天早晨都用那管刮胡膏,直到那一管用完为止。然后他又回复到只用清水刮胡子了。

 

Einstein was purely and exclusively a theorist. He didn’t have the slightest interest in the practical application of his ideas and theories. His E=mc2 is probably the most famous equation in history — yet Einstein wouldn’t walk down the street to see a reactor create atomic energy. He won the Nobel Prize for his Photoelectric Theory, a series of equations that he considered relatively minor in importance, but he didn’t have any curiosity in observing how his theory made TV possible.

 

爱因斯坦完完全全是个理论家。他对自己的思想和理论的实际应用丝毫不感兴趣。他提出的E=mc2也许是有史以来最著名的公式——然而爱因斯坦却不愿费举足之劳去看反应堆产生原子能。他因其光电理论——他认为这是比较次要的一系列公式——而获得诺贝尔奖金,但对于观察他的理论怎样使得电视得以产生却没有一点好奇心。

 

My brother once gave the Professor a toy, a bird that balanced on the edge of a bowl of water and repeatedly dunked its head in the water. Einstein watched it in delight, trying to deduce the operating principle. But he couldn’t.

 

我兄弟曾送给教授一个玩具,那是一只立在盛水的碗边保持平衡并反复把头浸入水中的鸟。爱因斯坦高兴地注视着它,试图推断出它的运动原理,但他没能推断出。

 

The next morning he announced, “I had thought about that bird for a long time before I went to bed and it must work this way …” He began a long explanation. Then he stopped, realizing a flaw in his reasoning. “No, I guess that’s not it,” he said. He pursued various theories for several days until I suggested we take the toy apart to see how it did work. His quick expression of disapproval told me he did not agree with this practical approach. He never did work out the solution.

 

第二天早晨他宣布说:“关于那只鸟我睡觉前思索了很长时间,它一定是这样运转的……”他开始做起了长篇解释。后来他意识到自己推理中的一个漏洞便停了下来。“不,我想不是那么回事。”他连续几天试着用各种理论来加以解释,后来我建议他把玩具拆开来看看它是怎样运转的。他迅速显出的不赞成的表情告诉我,他并不同意这种切实可行的作法。他一直没有研究出这个答案。

 

Another puzzle that Einstein could never understand was his own fame. He had developed theories that were profound and capable of exciting relatively few scientists. Yet his name was a household word across the civilized world. “I’ve had good ideas, and so have other men,” he once said. “But it’s been my good fortune that my ideas have been accepted.” He was bewildered by his fame: people wanted to meet him; strangers stared at him on the street; scientists, statesmen, students, and housewives wrote him letters. He never could understand why he received this attention, why he was singled out as something special.

 

爱因斯坦一直没能理解的另一个谜是他自己的名望。他提出的理论都是些非常深奥、只能使比较少的科学家感兴趣的理论。然而他的名字在整个文明世界却家喻户晓,尽人皆知。有一次他说:“我有一些很好的思想,别人也有一些很好的思想。只是由于我运气好,我的思想才被人接受了。”他的名望使他感到迷惑不解:人们都想见他;陌生人在街上盯着他看;科学家、政治家、学生和家庭主妇都给他写信。他一直不能理解,为什么他会受到这种注意,为什么单单把他挑出来当作特殊人物对待。

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