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21世纪科学的五大突破


据预测21世纪科学将出现五大突破。

  我们将知道我们从哪里来。为什么宇宙会存在?换一种说法,为什么会有物质存在而不是空无一物?自20世纪20年代以来,科学家已经了解到宇宙正在扩张。这就是说宇宙一定是在过去的某一特定时候开始形成的。科学家们甚至已经提出种种理论,详尽地描绘宇宙从它形成的最初一瞬间一直到现在的演变过程。在未来的几十年中,由功能异常强大的新型望远镜所带来的数据将会使这些理论更加精确。同时,我们将进一步了解物质在宇宙初期不可思议的高温高压下,是如何表现的。

  我们将破译遗传密码并征服癌症。19世纪的歌剧中,如果女主角在第一幕中咳嗽的话,观众便会知道她将在第三幕中因肺结核而死。但是由于20世纪抗生素的出现,曾经是那样可怕的不治之症现在成了服点儿药片就万事大吉的事情。由于科学家对基因密码更加了解,而且已将研究深入到了分子水平,许多严重的疾病(比如癌症)对人类的威胁将会变得越来越小。通过使用生产出的“治疗性”病毒,科学家们得以用健康的基因取代受癌症破坏的脱氧核糖核酸。或许这一过程只是通过一粒药片或是一剂注射便可完成。

  我们将活得更长(120岁?)。如果说通常的衰老过程主要是我们细胞内的一场激烈而不可见的竞赛的话(一场对我们的脱氧核糖核酸进行破坏同我们体内的细胞对被破坏的组织进行修复的竞赛),那么21世纪遗传医学的巨大成就会使我们能够控制、甚至逆转这一过程。但是在我们促使科学家再做得更多一些之前,不妨想一想:我们确实想要生活在一个没有人衰老,很少有孩子出生(因为地球只能承受那么多的人)的世界上吗?新奇的主意将从何而来?多活的那些年我们该做些什么呢?

  我们将“管理”地球。下一个世纪,我们将不再谈论天气,而是主动地去调理天气。我们将逐渐学会如何预测人类活动对地球、对全球气候以及对生态系统所带来的影响。拥有了这些知识,人们将更乐意用它来对我们这个星球的“行为方式”进行管理。
我们将“管理”地球。下一个世纪,我们将不再谈论天气,而是主动地去调理天气。我们将逐渐学会如何预测人类活动对地球、对全球气候以及对生态系统所带来的影响。拥有了这些知识,人们将更乐意用它来对我们这个星球的“行为方式”进行管理。

  我们将拥有人脑的“路线图”。这是21世纪的一个真正的“尖端领域”:人脑是我们所知道的最复杂的系统。它含有1000多亿个神经元(大概是银河系中星星的数量),其中每一个神经元又连接到另外1000多种其他神经元。下一个世纪的早期,我们将应用先进的磁共振呈像形式绘制详细的人脑神经元运作图。当你读一个词,说一个词,想一个词以及做其他事情的时候,我们将能肯定地说出哪些神经元在工作。


It is predicted that there will be 5 scientific breakthroughs
in the 21st century.


We'll know where we came from. Why does the universe exist? To put it another
way, why is there something instead of nothing? Since the 1920s, scientists
have known the universe is expanding, which means it must have started
at a definite time in the past. They even have developed theories that
give a detailed picture of the evolution of the universe from the time
it was a fraction of a second old to the present. Over the next couple
of decades, these theories will be refined by data from extraordinary powerful
new telescope. We will have a better understanding of how matter behaves
at the unfathomably high temperatures and pressures of the early universe.


We'll crack the genetic code and conquer cancer. In l9th-century operas,
when the heroine coughs in the first act, the audience knows she will die
of tuberculosis in Act 3. But thanks to 20th-century antibiotics, the once-dreaded,
once-incurable disease now can mean
nothing more serious than taking some pills. As scientists learn more about
the genetic code and the way cells work at the molecular level, many serious
diseases -- cancer, for one -- will become less threatening. Using manufactured
'therapeutic' viruses, doctors will be able to replace cancer-causing damaged
DNA with healthy genes, probably administered by a pill or injection.


We’ll live longer (120 years?).
If the normal aging process is basically a furious, invisible contest in
our cells--a contest between damage to our DNA and our cells' ability to
repair that damage--then 2lst-century strides in genetic medicine may let
us control and even reverse the process. But before we push scientists
to do more, consider: Do we really want to live in a world where no one
grows old and few children are born because the planet can hold only so
many people? Where would new ideas come from? What would we do with all
that extra time?

We’ll 'manage' Earth.
In the next millennium, we'll stop talking about the weather but will do
something about it. We'll gradually learn how to predict the effects of
human activity on the Earth, its climate and its ecosystems'. And with
that knowledge will come an increasing willingness to use it to manage
the workings of our planet.

We’ll have a brain road map'.
This is the real 'final frontier of the 2lst century: The brain is the
most complex system we know. It contains about l00 billion neurons (roughly
the number of stars in the Milky Way), each connected to as many as l,000
others. Early in the next century, we will use advanced forms of magnetic
resonance imaging to produce detailed maps of the neurons in operation.
We'll he able to say with certainty which ones are working when you read
a word, when you say a word, when you think about a word, and so on.
(转自Person of the Year: George W. Bush)

 


 

 

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