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JOHN SNOW DEFEATS “KING CHOLERA
John Snow was a famous doctor in London—so expert, indeed, that he attended Queen Victoria as her personal physician. But he became inspired when he thought about helping ordinary people exposed to cholera. This was the deadly disease of its day. Neither its cause nor its cure was understood. So many thousands of terrified people died every time there was an outbreak. John Snow wanted to face the challenge and solve this problem. He knew that cholera would never be controlled until its cause was found.
He became interested in two theories that possibly explained how cholera killed people. The first suggested that cholera multiplied in the air. A cloud of dangerous gas floated around until it found its victims. The second suggested that people absorbed this disease into their bodies with their meals. From the stomach the disease quickly attacked the body and soon the affected person died.
John Snow suspected that the second theory was correct but he needed evidence. So when another outbreak hit London in 1845, he was ready to begin his enquiry. As the disease spread quickly through poor neighborhoods, he began to gather information. In two particular streets, the cholera outbreak was so severe that more than 500 people died in ten days. He was determined to find out why.
斯洛推测第二种说法是正确的，但他需要证据。因此，在 1854 年伦敦再次暴发霍乱的时候，约翰·斯洛着手准备对此进行调研。当霍乱在贫民区迅速蔓延的时候，约翰·斯洛就开始收集资料。他发现特别在两条街道上霍乱流行的很严重，在 10 天之内就死去了 500 多人。他决心要查明原因。
First he marked on a map the exact places where all the dead people had lived. This gave him a valuable clue about the cause of the disease. Many of the deaths were near the water pump in Broad Street (especially numbers 16,37, 38 and 40) . He also noticed that some houses (such as 20 and 21 Broad Street and 8 and 9 Cambridge Street) had had no deaths. He had not foreseen this, so he made further investigations. He discovered that these people worked in the pub at 7 Cambridge Street. They had been given free beer and so had not drunk the water from the pump. It seemed that the water was to blame.
首先，他在一张地图上标明了所有死者住过的地方。这提供了一条说明霍乱起因的很有价值的线索。许多死者是住在宽街的水泵附近(特别是这条街上 16、37、38、40 号)。他发现有些住宅(如宽街上 20 号和 21 号以及剑桥街上的 8 号和 9 号)却无人死亡。他以前没预料到这种情况，所有他决定深入调查。他发现，这些人都在剑桥街 7 号的酒馆里打工，而酒馆为他们免费提供啤酒喝，因此他们没有喝从宽街水泵抽上来的水。看来水是罪魁祸首。
Next, John Snow looked into the source of the water for these two streets. He found that it came from the river polluted by the dirty water from London. He immediately told the astonished people in Broad Street to remove the handle from the pump so that it could not be used. Soon afterwards the disease slowed down. He had shown that cholera was spread by germs and not in a cloud of gas.
In another part of London, he found supporting evidence from two other deaths that were linked to the Broad Street outbreak. A woman, who had moved away from Broad Street, liked the water from the pump so much that she had it delivered to her house every day. Both she and her daughter died of cholera after drinking the water. With this extra evidence John Snow was able to announce with certainty that polluted water carried the virus.
To prevent this from happening again, John Snow suggested that the source of all the water supplies be examined. The water companies were instructed not to expose people to polluted water any more. Finally “King Cholera” was defeated.
COPERNICUS’ REVOLUTIONARY THEORY
Nicolaus Copernicus was frightened and his mind was confused. Although he had tried to ignore them, all his mathematical calculations led to the same conclusion: that the earth was not the centre of the solar system. Only if you put the sun there did the movements of the other planets in the sky make sense. Yet he could not tell anyone about his theory as the powerful Christian Church would have punished him for even suggesting such an idea. They believed God had made the world and for that reason the earth was special and must be the centre of the solar system.
The problem arose because astronomers had noticed that some planets in the sky seemed to stop, move backward and then go forward in the loop. Others appeared brighter at times and less bright at others. This was very strange if the earth was the centre of the solar system and all planets went round it.
Copernicus had thought long and hard about these problems and tried to find an answer. He had collected observations of the stars and used all his mathematical knowledge to explain them. But only his new theory could do that. So between 1510 and 1514 he worked on it, gradually improving his theory until he felt it was complete.
哥白尼对这些问题曾经苦苦思索过很久，试图找出问题的答案。他曾经收集过观察星球的数据，并且利用他的全部数学知识来解释这些数据。但是只有他的新理论才能作出解释。于是，他在 1510 至 1514 年期间从事这项研究，逐步修改他的理论，直到他感到完善时为止。
In 1514 he showed it privately to his friends. The changes he made to the old theory were revolutionary. He placed a fixed sun at the centre of the solar system with the planets going round it and only the moon still going round the earth. He also suggested that the earth was spinning as it went round the sun and this explained changes in the movement of the planets and in the brightness of the stars. His friends were enthusiastic and encouraged him to publish his ideas, but Copernicus was cautious. He did not want to be attacked by the Christian Church, so he only published it as he lay dying in 1543.
1514 年，他把他的新理论私下里给他的朋友们看。他对旧理论的修改是具有革命性的。他把太阳固定在太阳系的中心位置上，而行星则围绕着太阳转，只有月球仍然绕着地球转。他还提出地球在围绕太阳转的同时，它本身还自转，这样就说明了行星运动的变化情况以及星球亮度问题。他的朋友都热情地鼓励他把他的想法公之于世，而他却小心谨慎，他不想遭到基督教会的攻击，所以他直到 1543 年临终之前才公布了这一观点。
Certainly he was right to be careful. The Christian Church rejected his theory, saying it was against God’s idea and people who supported it would be attacked. Yet Copernicus’ theory is now the basis on which all our ideas of the universe are built. His theory replaced the Christian idea of gravity, which said things tell to earth because God created the earth as the centre of the universe. Copernicus showed this was obviously wrong. Now people can see that there is a direct link between his theory and the work of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.