【口语战队第二季019E】A.Short.History.of.Nearly.Everything 2014.07.21

oldmoonlight (Bug,虫子) 路人甲
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发表于:2014-07-21 08:10 [只看楼主] [划词开启]

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1  HOW TO BUILD A UNIVERSE(3)

  The eventual result was the inflation theory, which holds that a fraction of a moment after the dawn of creation, the universe underwent a sudden dramatic expansion. It inflated—in effect ran away with itself, doubling in size every 10-34 seconds. The whole episode may have lasted no more than 10-30 seconds—that’s one million million million million millionths of a second—but it changed the universe from something you could hold in your hand to something at least 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times bigger. Inflation theory explains the ripples and eddies that make our universe possible. Without it, there would be no clumps of matter and thus no stars, just drifting gas and everlasting darkness. 
  According to Guth’s theory, at one ten-millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, gravity emerged. After another ludicrously brief interval it was joined by electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclearforces—the stuff of physics. These were joined an instant later by swarmsof elementary particles—the stuff of stuff. From nothing at all, suddenly there were swarms of photons, protons, electrons, neutrons, and much else—between 10x79and 10x89 of each, according to the standard Big Bang theory. 
  Such quantities are of course ungraspable. It is enough to know that in single cracking instant we were endowed with a universe that was vast—at least a hundred billion light-years across, according to the theory, but possibly any size up to infinite—and perfectly arrayed for the creation of stars, galaxies, and other complex systems. 
  What is extraordinary from our point ofview is how well it turned out for us. If the universe had formed just a tiny bit differently—if gravity were fractionally stronger or weaker, if the expansion had proceeded just a little more slowlyor swiftly—then there might never have been stable elements to make you and me and the ground we stand on. Had gravity been a trifle stronger, the universe itself might have collapsed like a badly erected tent, without precisely the right valuesto give it the right dimensions and density and component parts. Had it been weaker, however, nothing would have coalesced. The universe would have remained forever a dull, scattered void. 
  This is one reason that some experts believe there may have been many other big bangs, perhaps trillions and trillions ofthem, spread through the mighty span of eternity, and that the reason we exist in this particular one is that this is one we couldexist in. As Edward P. Tryon of Columbia University once put it: “In answerto the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.” To which adds Guth: “Although the creation of a universe might be very  unlikely, Tryon emphasized that no one had counted the failed attempts.” 
  Martin Rees, Britain’s astronomer royal, believes thatthere are many universes, possibly an infinite number, each with different attributes, in different combinations, and that we simply live in one that combines things in the way thatallows us to exist. He makes an analogy with a very large clothing store: “If there is a large stock of clothing, you’re not surprised to find a suit that fits. If there are many universes, each governed by a differing set of numbers, there will be one where there is a particular set of numbers suitable to life. We are in that one.” 


Copyright © 2003 by Bill Bryson 
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 
Published in the United States of America by andom House Large Print in association with Broadway Books, New York and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. 
Distributed by Random House, Inc., New York. 
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