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2008年3月12日 (水)


Science For All Americans 勝手に翻訳プロジェクト Chapter 10: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES



As elaborate and successful as it was, however, the Newtonian world view finally had to undergo some fundamental revisions around the beginning of the twentieth century. Still only in his twenties, German-born Albert Einstein published theoretical ideas that made revolutionary contributions to the understanding of nature. One of these was the special theory of relativity, in which Einstein considered space and time to be closely linked dimensions rather than, as Newton had thought, to be completely different dimensions.



[1] theoretical ideas は「理論的考察」でいいかと思います。また「いくつも」は複数形の表現として補ったものです。次の文が「そのうちの一つ」と続くことになるので。


Relativity theory had several surprising implications. One is that the speed of light is measured to be the same by all observers, no matter how they or the source of light happen to be moving. This is not true for the motion of other things, for their measured speed always depends on the motion of the observer. Moreover, the speed of light in empty space is the greatest speed possible—nothing can be accelerated up to that speed or observed moving faster.



The special theory of relativity is best known for asserting the equivalence of mass and energy—that is, any form of energy has mass, and matter itself is a form of energy. This is expressed in the famous equation E=mc2, in which E stands for energy, m for mass, and c for the speed of light. Since c is approximately 186,000 miles per second, the transformation of even a tiny amount of mass releases an enormous amount of energy. That is what happens in the nuclear fission reactions that produce heat energy in nuclear reactors, and also in the nuclear fusion reactions that produce the energy given off by the sun.

特殊相対性理論の最も良く知られた側面は、質量とエネルギーの等価性を主張していることである。つまり、エネルギーはいかなる形態であっても質量を有し、物質それ自体がエネルギーの一形態であるといういうことである。このことは有名な方程式、E=mc2 によって書き表される。ここで E はエネルギーを、m は質量を、c は光の速さを表す。c はおよそ秒速 186,000 マイルであり[1]、ほんのわずかな質量からの変換でさえ、膨大な量のエネルギーを放出することになる。これは、原子炉にて熱エネルギーを生み出している核分裂反応で起こっていることであり、また、太陽が放出するエネルギーを生み出している核融合反応でも起こっていることである。

[1] メートル法ではおよそ秒速 300,000 km。


About a decade later, Einstein published what is regarded as his crowning achievement and one of the most profound accomplishments of the human mind in all of history: the theory of general relativity. The theory has to do with the relationship between gravity and time and space, in which Newton's gravitational force is interpreted as a distortion in the geometry of space and time. Relativity theory has been tested over and over again by checking predictions based on it, and it has never failed. Nor has a more powerful theory of the architecture of the universe replaced it. But many physicists are looking for ways to come up with a more complete theory still, one that will link general relativity to the quantum theory of atomic behavior.


[1] 原文は倒置で強調文となっているのですが、日本語ではどうにも言いようがないような気がしまして、普通の文章になっています。



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