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德国重封爱因斯坦为“国家英雄”

2006-07-09 13:22

Germany reclaims Einstein as their hero

  Suffering from an acute lack of heroes after losing two world wars, Germany has reclaimed Albert Einstein as one of its greatest national figures even though the Jewish physicist fled the Nazis hating his native country.

  A century after the German-born scientist formulated his famous theory of relativity in Switzerland, and 50 years after his death on April 18, 1955, Einstein is being reclaimed by the country he rejected.

  Celebrations of the so-called “Einstein Year” of 2005 are taking place around the world, but nowhere are the tributes to the man with the droopy eyes and bushy grey hair so laden with historical baggage as in Germany.

  The German government has gone all out to latch onto Einstein, who became one of the world's first pop icons after his theories about space, time and relativity revolutionised science in the early 20th century.

  “It is a bit strange,” said Juergen Neffe, author of a German biography on Einstein that has been near the top of best-seller lists here since it was published in January.

  “Einstein hated the Nazis and extended his hatred to all Germans for letting it happen. It's certainly true that he hated Germany, but he would nevertheless be pleased about Germany's development in the last 30 years.”

  Germany's rediscovery of Einstein began in 2003 when he was picked by millions of television viewers in a survey as one of the “best Germans” of all time.

  Born in the Bavarian city of Ulm in 1879, Einstein moved to Switzerland at 17 to evade military service. After graduating from the Polytechnic School in Zurich he wrote scientific papers in his spare time while working as a Swiss patent officer.

  In 1905, Einstein's “miracle year”, he formulated his theory of relativity, an explanation of the relationship between time and space that challenged a view of the universe that had stood since the days of Sir Isaac Newton 200 years before.

  Einstein's fame soared in 1919 after his theory was proven. He won a Nobel Prize in 1921, after which Germany and Switzerland both claimed him as theirs.

  But Einstein didn't stop. His special theory also provided the basis for his most famous discovery, E=mc2, an equation that opened the door to the atomic age. The formula is known around the world even if few understand it.

  Einstein returned to Germany in 1914 and lived in Berlin for 19 years before fleeing Hitler's Nazis in 1933. He took a post at Princeton University, and spent the rest of his life there.

  His house in Berlin was ransacked by the Nazis. Einstein gave up his German citizenship in 1932 and became a naturalised American citizen in 1940.


  经历了两次世界大战的惨败,德国人一直苦于自己的国家严重缺乏英雄人物,现在他们重新将艾伯特·爱因斯坦视为德国历史上最伟大的人物之一,尽管这位犹太裔物理学家曾因自己的血统遭到纳粹党人的仇视而流亡国外。

  爱因斯坦生于德国,一个世纪前,他在瑞士发表了著名的相对论。1955年4月18日,他永远离开了这个世界。50年后的今天,他曾摒弃的国家为他重扬美名。

  2005年被称为“爱因斯坦年”,世界各地纷纷展开各种庆祝活动。但是没有一个地方像德国一样,在对这位有着低垂眼睛和浓密灰发的老人予以盛赞的同时,还要肩负沉重的“历史包袱”。

  德国政府开始竭尽全力了解爱因斯坦。20世纪早期,他关于宇宙、时间和相对论的理论给当时的物理学带来了颠覆性的变革,他也由此成为世界上第一位大众偶像级科学家。

  “这有点奇怪。”德国版爱因斯坦传记的作者于尔根·内费说。该书自从一月份出版以来,在畅销书榜上一直位居前列。

  “爱因斯坦憎恨纳粹,并将这种反感之情延伸到所有德国人身上,在他看来德国人造成了这一切。他确实非常讨厌德国,但是无论如何,他肯定会为德国最近30年来取得的发展感到欣慰的。”

  德国对爱因斯坦的“重新发现”始于2003年。在当时的一次调查中,他被数百万电视观众推选为德国历史上“最伟大的人物”之一。

  1879年,爱因斯坦出生于德国乌尔姆的巴伐利亚市,17岁时,为逃避服兵役,他移居瑞士。从苏黎世联邦工业大学毕业后,他供职于瑞士联邦专利局,并在业余时间撰写科学论文。

  1905年是爱因斯坦的“奇迹年”,他创立了阐释时空关系的相对论,挑战了物理学巨人艾萨克·牛顿始创的宇宙观,那些理论200年来一直固若磐石。

  1919年,爱因斯坦的理论为科学家们所证实,一时他声名鹊起。1921年,他获得了诺贝尔物理学奖,随后德国和瑞士都争着说爱因斯坦是属于自己国家的。

  但是爱因斯坦没有停滞不前。他的独特理论也给他最为著名的发现奠定了基础,那个发现就是E=mc2——一个打开原子时代大门的方程式。全世界都知道这个公式,虽然没多少人能真正理解它。

  1914年,爱因斯坦回到德国,随后在柏林居住了19年,直到1933年为躲避希特勒的纳粹军团的迫害而逃亡国外。他曾在美国普林斯顿大学执教,并在那里度过了晚年。

  他在柏林的住宅曾遭纳粹党人洗劫。1932年,爱因斯坦放弃了德国国籍,并于1940年加入美国国籍,成为一名美国公民。

  Vocabulary:

  droopy : 下垂的, 无精打采的

  go all out : 全力以赴

  latch onto: 明白,了解

  naturalised: 加入…国籍的

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