您的位置:外语教育网 > 行业英语 > 科技英语 正文
  • 站内搜索:

Chinese young scientists should be proud

2006-07-23 17:21

  I want to say first how much Chinese young scientists should be proud to belong to a country which for millennia1 did contribute to culture through scientific and technological innovations.Historians are only today discovering the richness of this tradition and its specificity as compared to western tradition. I would like to present here some general remarks.

  Many philosophers and historians of science agree that the association of nature with the idea of complexity,that was very strong in Chinese tradition,developed an acute sense for observation. On the other hand,the Chinese belief in Nature's complexity has perhaps inhibited2 the formulation3 of scientific problems in schematical4,simplified terms that did allow the spectacular progress of mathematical theory for physics and chemistry in the western world.

  Notwithstanding5,the knowledge of many physical and chemical processes did develop in China in a way we begin only to appreciate.I am a convinced6 reader of the Opus Magnum7 of Joseph Needham,Science and Civilisation in China.He was dedicated enough to combine the efforts by many historians,Occident and Orient working together,in order to establish a first survey of this unknown continent: science history of the Chinese world.

  The amazing variety of natural processes recognized by Chinese scientists,and the continuous efforts displayed by them for millennia, do present a sharp contrast with the western belief in reductionism8,an approach that by its very definition tries to isolate simple systems in order to submit them more easily to an analysis formulated in mathematical terms.The reductionist approach allowed such men as Galileo and Newton to achieve stupendous9 results, and opened the way to new perspectives.But I always felt that we now have come to the end of this Royal Road10 of western science.

  For example,if we are to describe thermodynamic11 systems submitted to non equilibrium12 conditions,we have to renounce to certain implications13 of this approach.The belief in simplicity of Nature,which founded western scientific and technological optimism,was shaken by numerous findings,be it in fields such as thermodynamics or elementary particles.Taking this recent evolution into account, we may now conceive the possibility of a convergence14 among western and Chinese approaches to Nature.

  During the times of what western historiography15 calls modern and contemporary eras(1492 till now), scientific results were to be formulated in terms of scientific laws, leading to a deterministic description.In contrast, the very existence of deterministic laws had no place in Chinese thought.To think of Nature as submitted to universal,deterministic laws,seemed to many ancient Chinese scholars a contradiction in terms,as they shared the common Chinese view of natural processes as something spontaneous16,submitted only to intenal regulation,or self-organization,to use a recent term.

  In this context,Chinese scholars thought of man-nature relationship in terms of17 resonance18 or coexistence more than in terms of control or domination.This vision of Nature begins now to have some influence on the evolution of western ideas, according to which we now speak of a History of the Universe,related to processes of self-organization we recognized in Nature around us.

  In conclusion,we are now in face of a new world,where the idea of science itself is changed.In this context,let us notice that far from being an elitist19 occupation for the happy few, it is developing in strong relation with the societal demands of humanity.The two sciences which cause the most rapid expansion are molecular20 biology and information technology. Both will influence radically the life of human beings during the XXIth century.

  Science has its origin in the feeling of astonishment: as Einstein did point out after Aristotle, this astonishment is the starting point of a true involvement in science. How not to be astonished by the new world of evolution, complexity, and instability we are now discovering? This new age of science practice should comfort the new generations; we should however not neglect the risks of an accelerated evolution of technological and scientific activity. Any scientist should try to favor the transition from a confrontation policy at world scale to a peaceful one. This is one of the tasks of the future young Chinese scientists will have to face. Future is not given, it is not written anywhere, we have to prepare it.











  1.millennia n. millennium的复数 ,一千年 ,千年期

  2.inhibit vt. 抑 制,约束

  3.formulation n.公式化的表述

  4.schematical adj.图表的,纲要的

  5.notwithstanding conj.虽然,尽管

  6.convinced adj.确信的,信服的

  7.opus magnum [拉 ]巨著

  8.reductionism n.简化论

  9.stupendous adj.惊人的

  10.royal road 捷径,坦途

  11.thermodynamic adj.热力学的

  12.non-equilibrium adj.非平衡的

  13.implication n.涉及,牵连

  14.convergence n.会合,会聚

  15.historiography n.史学

  16.spontaneous adj.自发的

  17.in terms of 用…的字眼

  18.resonance n.共振,谐振

  19.elitist n.杰出人物

  20.molecular adj.分子的

相关热词:科技 英语
李 健协和医科大学医学博士,美国国立卫生研究院博士后……详情>>
高 云澳大利亚注册会计师协会会员,会计专业硕士……详情>>

  1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。