Chinese Faradays 艾格思教授著法拉第傳書評

Chinese Faradays 法拉第传

 

法拉第传/世界名人传记丛书.   艾格思教授博士论文也. 法拉第出身是伦敦贫民区一个铁匠的儿子,是一只丑小鸭,却成长为他那个时代最伟大的实验物理学家,皇家研究所受欢迎的所长. 法拉第是一位具有高深思辩和大胆探索的思想家, 本书描述他的个人奋斗与他的智力奋斗. 请捐赠此书与中国贫穷村落学校图书馆或品学兼优的清贫学生, 以资鼓励.

Faraday as a Natural Philosopher is a book by Professor Joseph Agassi (约瑟夫.阿格思 教授), published by The University of Chicago in 1971.  It has now been translated into Chinese (Beijing: The Commercial Press, 1988.)

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was born the son of a blacksmith in the London slums, an ugly duckling who grew into the greatest experimental physicist of his time, a welcome Director of the Royal Research Institute.

Most of Faraday’s views have now become ordinary in physics circles.  A dry and monotonous truth is like a heavy tombstone in a forgotten graveyard.  A possible mistake that may be corrected when read can be more interesting. This is Agassi’s story of Faraday’s personal and intellectual struggle. 

Agassi was apprenticed to Sir Karl Popper in the prime of Popper’s life.  Faraday was originally Agassi’s Ph.D. dissertation. The book is a model writing in the history of science (科学史模范).  It describes the thinking of a great scientist, a natural philosopher (自然科学哲学家).  Popper is the father of modern scientific method.

The Chinese translation of the book is word-for-word accurate and complete, even maintaining original English page numbers in page margins.  The index is bilingual with these original page numbers.  Chinese readers can easily access the original in English.  The Chinese title is deceptively simple to appeal to high school students: “The Story of Faraday.”  The book, even in Chinese, is actually Ph.D. material.

Yes, we want Chinese Faradays, from among Chinese students who cannot afford to buy this Chinese Faraday book at RMB 26 yuans, i.e. US$3, or Canadian $4, or HK$25. 

You are invited to donate it to these prospective Chinese Faradays.   You can donate a mere one book, or you can donate 100 copies for Canadian $400. 

We shall find the prospective students or their school libraries and have the books delivered. 

Foreign published books are censored in China.  This Chinese Faraday is not. 

Selection of students and libraries, and delivery will be taken care of by volunteers of The China Candlelight Educational Fund, Limited, a Hong Kong registered non-profit charity, which has built or sponsored 150 schools in poverty-stricken villages in China in the past five years.  See www.chinacandlelight.org 中国烛光教育基金.

请联络Contact us: 关健(理煊) LH Kwan at kwanlihuen@telus.net.   Tel.: 1-604-222-3033.  Fax.: 1-604-228-0238.  Address: 88-2768 King Edward Avenue West, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6L 1T7.

Canada

2006.6.16 draft 2                                                                                                                   

 “Chinese Faradays” bare text 4

艾格思教授著 <法拉第傳> 吳基鵬書評

Faraday as a Natural Philosopher by Professor Joseph Agassi.  Book review by NG Ki-Pang

關老師:

你給我的大任務:要我把那《法拉第傳》讀完後寫個書評給你。對不起,我完成不了。是我懶惰的原因吧?也不全是,我事實花了近十次,每次最少二十分鐘的時間,希望把這本書讀明白,但很可惜,完成不了。有時覺得內容沉悶,有時覺得說話瑣碎。你說這是一部科學哲學的書,但我看不出法拉第的科學哲學有甚麼獨特之處。

要說科學哲學,牛頓的宇宙觀,由星球運轉以至原子核心的粒子運動,都可用上他創立的數學系統一一解釋。在那個年代,牛頓等同上帝的代言人。後來海森堡的測不準原理,又把自滿的人類從高台上拉下來,他告訴人類企圖利用科學來掌握這個世界是不可能的事。說實驗的方法,愛因斯坦純用思考來作的理論實驗也是有名的,他常想像人或物在升降機內,火車上,或太空船裏的運動狀態來說明他的相對論。

至於法拉第,他有甚麼呢?書中來回的說他的電磁實驗,說他想像的磁力線學說,但這有甚麼稀奇呢?為甚麼這種想像很新呢?是不是我們已經習慣了這些事物,一切都變得輕鬆平常,令我們找不到共鳴呢?就如我已經能與朋友在互聯網上 MSN,你卻跟我說古時的人利用烽火來通訉一樣的令人不感到興趣。

你跟我說:法拉第的獨特處在他的想像力,而其他的科學家則用歸納法,這就是他有別於其他科學家的地方。我很小的時候讀過一些科普文章,說科學家的科學思考大都先由假設出發,很多時他們看見現象,靠他們敏銳的觸覺,就能認定一個可能的結果,然後才找足夠的事實來證明。那就是一般人所說的:大膽地假設,小心地求證。歸納法這等事物驗證與邏輯表述當然重要,不用就不成科學。但找尋事物的原理很多時不是首先靠歸納法一步一步的求回來的,反而是先靠科學家的想像,認定方向,才用歸納法來證明。

你又說法拉第的磁力線學說是想像的結果,你說他與牛頓的不一樣。牛頓說力,說能量,這些又是甚麼東西呢?依我看來,也都是個概念而已,想像出來的。力這概念,要靠物體運動表現出來。牛頓說:力=質量 x 加速度 (F=kma), 宇宙有力嗎?以我的見識,宇宙在運動,牛頓看到運動而創立力的觀念,以我看來,力也是個想像出來的東西。還有,能量也是一樣,物體放在高處牛頓說它有位能 (E=mgh),也是個概念。他說 mgh=1/2(mv*2 ) 說明兩種能量型式的關係,但若要問,甚麼是能量呢?想真,我們只看到現像,看到關係,其餘的所謂理論,人類的概念而已。宏觀來看,科學是人類用以認識宇宙的工具,除了人類之外誰會關心?宇宙不須要科學,科學與宇宙無關。上帝說天就有天,說地就有地,說光就有光,祂不用在牛津大學修幾個博士學位才有能力創造天地。祂不管甚麼力,能量,和法拉第的磁力線,所有事物,要有的就有了。

歸根究底,我真的不明暸法拉第想像的東西,與其他科學家有些甚麼不同。我想,要一個中學生對《法拉第傳》產生興趣,真的困難,要一個中學老師讀完後有所得著,可以把一些有用的內容介紹給學生,也很困難,也許真的要很有耐性,不怕它太厚太硬,一口一口的啃,才能啃出個所以然來。畢竟我資質太低,以我中學程度的科學知識來應付這博士論文,我真的沒本事。只有再說聲對不起。

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