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SSS 2009-06-18

时间:2010-05-18 02:54来源:互联网 提供网友:mark@li   字体: [ ]
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This is Scientific American's 60-second Science. I'm Steve Mirsky.

 Here’s a clip from last week’s CalTech commencement address by Secretary of Energy and physics Nobel Laureate Steven Chu.

 Most scientists are optimistic by nature. Part of my optimism comes from the fact that science has come to our aid in the past. As an example, I remind you of the agricultural revolution that occurred in the last century. In 1898, in his inaugural1 speech, Sir William Crookes, President of the Royal Society, began with the warning “England and all civilized2 nations stand in deadly peril3.” I tried.

 Crop rotation4 and manure5 were not sufficient to replenish6 the depleted7 soils, and he predicted that the fertilizer based on South American bird guano—just in case you’re wondering, guano is the technical term for bird doo-doo—and Chilean sodium8 nitrate would soon be exhausted9. The solution Crookes proposed was to create artificial fertilizer. “It is the chemist,” he declared, “who must come to the rescue.”

 In 1909, eleven years later, Fritz Haber demonstrated the catalytic synthesis of ammonia from air and hydrogen, a path unsuccessfully pursued by two distinguished10 chemists and future Nobel Prize winners, Walther Nernst and Wilhelm Ostwald. For this achievement, Haber was awarded the 1918 Noble Prize for Chemistry. But the production of fertilizer was considered so important that the industrialization of ammonia synthesis was recognized by a second Nobel Prize to Carl Bosch in 1931.

 The second part of the agricultural revolution was led by Norman Borlaug, who got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. He created hybrid11 strains of wheat that increased the yield per acre four to seven fold in Mexico, India and Pakistan. Because of his work, the starvation of hundreds of millions of people was prevented.

 

Science and technology was the basis of the agricultural revolution, but current agricultural practices are not sustainable. And we need a second green revolution that will create perennial12 plants for food, fiber13 and energy that fix their own nitrogen and draw precious nutrients14 into their roots for the following year.
 


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 inaugural 7cRzQ     
adj.就职的;n.就职典礼
参考例句:
  • We listened to the President's inaugural speech on the radio yesterday.昨天我们通过无线电听了总统的就职演说。
  • Professor Pearson gave the inaugural lecture in the new lecture theatre.皮尔逊教授在新的阶梯讲堂发表了启用演说。
2 civilized UwRzDg     
a.有教养的,文雅的
参考例句:
  • Racism is abhorrent to a civilized society. 文明社会憎恶种族主义。
  • rising crime in our so-called civilized societies 在我们所谓文明社会中日益增多的犯罪行为
3 peril l3Dz6     
n.(严重的)危险;危险的事物
参考例句:
  • The refugees were in peril of death from hunger.难民有饿死的危险。
  • The embankment is in great peril.河堤岌岌可危。
4 rotation LXmxE     
n.旋转;循环,轮流
参考例句:
  • Crop rotation helps prevent soil erosion.农作物轮作有助于防止水土流失。
  • The workers in this workshop do day and night shifts in weekly rotation.这个车间的工人上白班和上夜班每周轮换一次。
5 manure R7Yzr     
n.粪,肥,肥粒;vt.施肥
参考例句:
  • The farmers were distributing manure over the field.农民们正在田间施肥。
  • The farmers used manure to keep up the fertility of their land.农夫们用粪保持其土质的肥沃。
6 replenish kCAyV     
vt.补充;(把…)装满;(再)填满
参考例句:
  • I always replenish my food supply before it is depleted.我总是在我的食物吃完之前加以补充。
  • We have to import an extra 4 million tons of wheat to replenish our reserves.我们不得不额外进口四百万吨小麦以补充我们的储备。
7 depleted 31d93165da679292f22e5e2e5aa49a03     
adj. 枯竭的, 废弃的 动词deplete的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • Food supplies were severely depleted. 食物供应已严重不足。
  • Both teams were severely depleted by injuries. 两个队都因队员受伤而实力大减。
8 sodium Hrpyc     
n.(化)钠
参考例句:
  • Out over the town the sodium lights were lit.在外面,全城的钠光灯都亮了。
  • Common salt is a compound of sodium and chlorine.食盐是钠和氯的复合物。
9 exhausted 7taz4r     
adj.极其疲惫的,精疲力尽的
参考例句:
  • It was a long haul home and we arrived exhausted.搬运回家的这段路程特别长,到家时我们已筋疲力尽。
  • Jenny was exhausted by the hustle of city life.珍妮被城市生活的忙乱弄得筋疲力尽。
10 distinguished wu9z3v     
adj.卓越的,杰出的,著名的
参考例句:
  • Elephants are distinguished from other animals by their long noses.大象以其长长的鼻子显示出与其他动物的不同。
  • A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished guests.宴会是为了向贵宾们致敬而举行的。
11 hybrid pcBzu     
n.(动,植)杂种,混合物
参考例句:
  • That is a hybrid perpetual rose.那是一株杂交的四季开花的蔷薇。
  • The hybrid was tall,handsome,and intelligent.那混血儿高大、英俊、又聪明。
12 perennial i3bz7     
adj.终年的;长久的
参考例句:
  • I wonder at her perennial youthfulness.我对她青春常驻感到惊讶。
  • There's a perennial shortage of teachers with science qualifications.有理科教学资格的老师一直都很短缺。
13 fiber NzAye     
n.纤维,纤维质
参考例句:
  • The basic structural unit of yarn is the fiber.纤维是纱的基本结构单元。
  • The material must be free of fiber clumps.这种材料必须无纤维块。
14 nutrients 6a1e1ed248a3ac49744c39cc962fb607     
n.(食品或化学品)营养物,营养品( nutrient的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • a lack of essential nutrients 基本营养的缺乏
  • Nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. 营养素被吸收进血液。 来自《简明英汉词典》
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