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改变世界的17种物质

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小编摘要:分子并非同时被创造。它们当中有的已经存在亿万年,或者造成环境的大破坏,或者让世界变得更加丰富多彩。在这里,我们从它们当中选出十七种改变人类历史进程的分子。

青霉素

分子并非同时被创造。它们当中有的已经存在亿万年,或者造成环境的大破坏,或者让世界变得更加丰富多彩。在这里,我们将选出十七种改变人类历史进程的物质分子。
All molecules are not created equal. Some have saved billions of lives, wreaked environmental havoc or made the world a more colourful place. Here's our selection of those that have changed the course of human history.
青霉素R-C9H11N2O4S
PENICILLIN — R-C9H11N2O4S
1928年,当英国微生物学家亚历山大·弗莱明首次发现青霉素时,他并没有料到这种物质对现代医学造成怎样的影响。弗莱明注意到,在发霉的培养皿中没有生长任何细菌,由此,他发现了第一种抗生素。到1940年代青霉素被广泛使用之前,像梅毒这样的创伤病害便足以杀死人类;自从抗生素被发现之后,据估计它们至少拯救了两亿生命。
When British microbiologist Alexander Fleming stumbled upon penicillin in 1928, he couldn't have imagined the impact it would have on modern medicine. Fleming noticed that Petri dishes with mould on them grew no bacteria, and in doing so discovered the first antibiotic. Before penicillin came into widespread use in the 1940s, wounds and diseases like syphilis were killers; antibiotics have since saved an estimated 200 million lives.
氯化钠NaCl
SODIUM CHLORIDE — NaCl
盐铺就了现代文明的道路;早在四千年前,它就被用来为蔬菜和肉类保鲜。这让我们的祖先在困难时期、长途旅行或恶劣气候条件下可以自由保存食品。盐也是制造化学品、肥皂和纸张的重要成分。人们对于氯化钠的需求是如此之高,仅在2006年,它们的产量就达到两亿四千万吨。
Salt paved the way for modern civilisation; it was used to preserve vegetables and meat as long as 4,000 years ago. This gave our ancestors the freedom to store food for hard times, travel long distances and live in harsh climates. Salt is also an important ingredient in the production of chemicals, soap and paper. Sodium chloride is in such high demand that in 2006 alone, 240 million tonnes were produced.
硝酸钾KNO3
POTASSIUM NITRATE — KNO3
作为制造黑火药的关键成分,正是硝酸钾推动子弹飞出枪膛,而且这样一来还改变了战争的面貌。如今,市面上有超过五亿支手枪在流通,每天造成至少一千人死亡。黑火药的配方似乎早在公元八世纪就已被发现,但直到十三世纪才被用于火炮。
As the key ingredient in gunpowder, potassium nitrate allowed humans to propel bullets from guns and, in doing so, changed the face of warfare. Today, there are more than 500 million handguns in circulation, causing at least 1,000 deaths every day. The formula for gunpowder was likely discovered in the 8th century, although it wasn't until the 13th century that it was first used in canons.
阿司匹林C9H8O4
ASPIRIN — C9H8O4
阿司匹林是世界上使用最广泛的药物,每年消耗量高达一千亿片。它来自早在公元前五世纪就被用于民间配方的柳树皮,是这种树皮的一种有效成分。不过直到1897年,德国药剂师费力克斯·霍夫曼才设法把它合成为一种纯净和稳定的形态,因此它并不是最早的合成药物。
Aspirin is the most widely used drug in the world, with more than 100 billion tablets consumed annually. The active component, willow bark, was used as a folk remedy as long ago as the 5th century BC. But it wasn't until 1897 that German chemist Felix Hoffman managed to synthesise aspirin in a pure and stable form, making it one of the earliest synthetic drugs. Aspirin is now taken for a huge variety of afflictions, from fever and arthritis to the prevention of heart attacks, stroke and dementia.
硬脂酸钠 NaC18H35O2
SODIUM STEARATE — NaC18H35O2
很难想象发明肥皂之前的人类生活中充斥着怎样的气味。而更好的卫生习惯也极大阻碍了疾病的传播。作为肥皂的重要组成部分,硬脂酸钠其魔法般的工作原理在于可以把油脂溶解在水中。据联合国儿童基金会统计,用肥皂洗手的行为每年可以让一百四十万人免于因严重呼吸道疾病而死亡。
It's hard to imagine how life might have smelled for the human race prior to the invention of soap. More fastidious hygiene has also been important for stemming the spread of disease. Sodium stearate, the active ingredient in soap, works its magic by helping oil to dissolve in water. According to the United Nations Children's Fund, hand washing with soap prevents up to 1.4 million deaths per year through acute respiratory infections.
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2011-06-03 11:02 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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