科学研究就是少数人的事


如果人人都搞科学研究,推公式,那吃的用的玩的哪里来?

现代物理已经前进到了一个很难让公众仅仅凭借直观类比就得到大致印象的领域。
专业的细分使得各个专业的科学家只能精通本专业的知识。即使你是物理博士,
可是如果你的专业不是粒子物理,那毕业后你对粒子物理学家的一套术语仍然
知之甚少。不要跟我说形式不重要。事实是,没有这一套简洁明了的符号,科学的
发展会收到很大的阻碍。

不要说仅仅有好奇心,我们就能够成为科学家。我们人人都有好奇心。科学家的
好奇心不见得比我们的多。尤其是科幻迷,好奇心估计很重,可是这其中又有多少
能成为科学家呢?

其实成为科学家有时是很偶然的。有一位科学家曾说他当年刚到美国读博士时,
想的是饱览自然风光,毕业后回国找家公司就业,可是十年后却成为了教授,
享受着研究的乐趣。

注意,这个很重要,”研究的乐趣“。也许我们都有好奇心,可是却没有多少人能够
从研究中找到乐趣,尤其是随着研究的深入,需要的数学,物理工具越来越多时,
体验到的只是越来越多得的枯燥与乏味。

也许普通人能够体会现成的研究成果的美丽,比如高度对称的足球稀,优美的
质能方程。可是研究推导研究这些成果的过程不一定是优美的。其中的苦乐只有
科学家自己知道了。

科学家与普通人的差别并不大,七情六欲,互惠互助,勾心斗角,这些都存在。
普通人可以了解科学,学习科学,可是顶多只能成为一个博物学家。要想做出
科学研究,没有三五年坚苦的训练(在大学本科的基础上),是根本不可能的。
不要以为各个科学论坛上民间科学家总被批评是这些准科学家心胸狭窄,其实
是民科们本身的成果不过硬。

New conductor stands the heat


15
October
2003

Researchers
in
the
US
have
discovered
a
metallic
alloy
that
does
not
expand
or

contract
when
heated
and
also
conducts
electricity
at
the
same
time.
The
material
could
have
applications
in
components
that
encounter
large
temperature
fluctuations,
such
as
motors
and
actuators,
and
also
in
space
(J
Salvador
et
al.
2003
Nature
425
702).

Most
materials
exhibit
positive
thermal
expansion
and
expand
when
heated,
although
a

small
number
display
negative
thermal
expansion
and
contract
instead.
If
combined,

these
two
types
of
material
can
form
a
composite
that
does
not
expand
at
all
as
the

temperature
is
changed.
Such
”zero-expansion”
composites
are
useful
because
they
can

withstand
rapid
variations
in
temperature.

Now
Mercouri
Kanatzidis
and
colleagues
at
Michigan
State
University
have
discovered

that
a
non-composite
material
made
of
ytterbium,
gallium
and
germanium
can
also
exhibit
zero-expansion
behaviour.
Moreover,
the
new
compound
conducts
electricity,
whereas

previous
zero-expansion
materials
were
insulators.
Furthermore,
the
effect
is
observed
over
a
wide
temperature
range

between
100
and
400
Kelvin.

Kanatzidis
and
co-workers
speculate
that
as
the
sample
cools,
delocalized
electrons
in

the
valence
band
associated
with
the
gallium
atoms
become
localized
on
ytterbium
atoms,
which
expand
as
they
accept
the
electrons.
The
gallium
atoms,
on
the
other
hand,

contract.
Since
the
gallium
atoms
only
contract
by
a
small
amount,
this
leads
to
a

positive
thermal
expansion
coefficient
in
one
direction.
However,
the
material
can
be

prepared
and
processed
so
that
there
is
an
almost
equal
and
opposite
contraction
in
the
other
two
directions.
This
results
in
a
negligible
overall
volume
change
in
the
unit

cell.

“We
hope
that
these
results
will
allow
us
to
look
for
zero-expansion
materials
among

semiconductors
and
intermetallic
compounds,
which
had
not
been
thought
of
before
now,”

Kanatzidis
told
PhysicsWeb.
“Perhaps
new
systems
that
take
advantage
of
such
valence

transitions
could
be
considered.
This
is
a
fresh
approach
to
such
materials.”

Author
Belle
Dumé
is
Science
Writer
at
PhysicsWeb

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