本杰明·班纳克:检验员,数学家,天文学家 分享到
Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor, Mathematician, Astronomer 2016-03-09162070

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Benjamin Banneker was born in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1731.His mother was a free black.His father was a freed slave.
本杰明·班纳克1731年出生在马里兰州巴尔的摩县。他的母亲是自由身份的黑人。他的父亲是被释放的奴隶。
At the time, the American colonies were heavily engaged in the slave trade from Africa.Around the time Banneker was born, about 37,000 enslaved people arrived in the colonies.Free black people such as Banneker were rare.Free blacks also faced the risk of being kidnapped and sold as slaves.
那时候,美国的殖民地盛行非洲奴隶交易。在班纳克出生的时期,大约有3万7千奴隶到达殖民地。就像班纳克这样的自由的黑人是非常少的。自由的黑人同样面临着被绑架,卖去做奴隶的风险。
Young Benjamin Banneker showed remarkable skill in mathematics and mechanics.He did not regularly go to school because of his work on the family farm.But he did briefly attend a local Quaker school.Quakers are a religious community who believe in racial equality, an unusual idea at the time.
本杰明·班纳克小时候在数学和机械方面表现出了超凡的天赋。因为要在农场工作,本杰明不能定期去学校。但是他还是在当地的贵格会学校进行了简略的学习。贵格会是那些相信种族平等的人组成的宗教团体,这种看法在当时是不同寻常的。
The mechanics of machines greatly interested young Banneker.He showed his mechanical abilities by building an accurate clock made of wood, at the age of 22.Some say it was the only clock of its kind in the Americas.The device continued to run for many years until it was destroyed by fire.
机械的力学知识让班纳克让产生了很大的兴趣。他在22岁时制作了一个精确的木质钟表,展现了他在机械方面的能力。有些人说这种款式的钟表,美洲只有一个。这块表走了好多年,直到在一场大火中被烧毁。
Banneker also used his mathematical knowledge to calculate the time of a solar eclipse.That knowledge was also useful in calculating longitude and latitude, methods for finding a place’s position on the globe.
班纳克同样利用他知道的数学知识计算出了一次日食的时间。这些知识在计算经纬度以及研究在地球上定位的方法上也十分实用。
As a young man, Banneker developed a working relationship with a surveyor named Andrew Ellicott.Surveying is the measuring and mapping of land.It was an important task in a young country where land records needed to be made.Many influential men, including George Washington, worked as surveyors.
年轻时的班纳克与一位名叫安德鲁·埃里克特的测绘师一起工作。测绘,即对土地进行测量并筹划。这在一个尚需做土地记录的国家的发展初期,是一项十分重要的工作。包括乔治·华盛顿在内的许多有影响力的人都曾做过测绘师。
In 1791, Ellicott was given the task of surveying land for the new federal district that would become the capital of the United States.Ellicott hired Banneker to help him.They worked to set accurate boundaries for the District of Columbia.Banneker is credited with positioning the starting point at Jones Point in Alexandria, Virginia.
1791年,埃里克特接到任务要求对新联邦地区进行测量,这里将会成为美国的首都。埃里克特雇班纳克过来帮忙。两人为哥伦比亚特区设置了准确的边界线。后经授权,班纳克在弗吉尼亚州的亚历山大市琼斯角确定了起始点。
Banneker put his abilities to use in other ways, too.He began publishing an almanac in 1792.Almanacs are books containing a wide range of information.They often include times and dates for astronomical events, like sunrise and sunset and for high and low tides.It was the kind of information that farmers or fishermen around the Chesapeake Bay would need and use.
班纳克也将自己的能力付诸于其他用武之地。他于1792年出版了一本历书。历书内容广泛。通常包括天文事件发生的时间和地点,比如日出和日落,以及高、低潮汐发生的时间、地点等。在切萨皮克湾附近的农民和渔夫会需要用到这类信息。
In addition, Banneker’s almanac gave times for meetings of the courts,including the Supreme Court, as well as essays and other interesting writings.
除此之外,班纳克的历书还记录了其他事情包括最高法院在内的法院会议的次数,以及一些随笔和有趣的作品。
The almanac was titled the “Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia Almanac and Ephemeris.”Creating it gave Banneker an idea.
这本历书名为《宾夕法尼亚州、特拉华州、马里兰州和弗吉尼亚州年鉴及历书》。创作过程中班纳克计上心头。
The year before the first copy was published, he sent an early version to Thomas Jefferson,who was then the secretary of state.With the book, Banneker sent a letter.
第一版历书出版前一年,他先将一个早期版本寄给托马斯·杰弗逊杰斐逊是当时美国的国务卿。当时班纳特还随书附带了一封信。
Jefferson was known throughout the country as the author of the Declaration of Independence.Banneker knew the document stated that “all men are created equal.”It also said that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
杰弗逊因著有《独立宣言》而家喻户晓。班纳特了解到,这篇文件声明“人人生而平等”。其中还提到,造物者赋予他们若干不可剥夺的权利,其中包括生命权、自由权和追求幸福的权利。
Banneker considered it unfair that those rights should not be recognized for all people in the country.
班纳克认为,仅将这些权利赋予国家的一部分人是不公平的。
He said in his letter that Jefferson proposed to safeguard the rights of the people when he wrote his famous document.
他在信中提到,杰弗逊在撰写这篇著名文件时,提议要保护人民的权利。
“This, Sir, was a time when you clearly saw into the injustice of a state of slavery,and in which you had just apprehensions of the horrors of its condition.”
“先生,这段时间您已经清楚地了解了,我们这个奴隶制国家存在着不公平,这当中您也明白这种状况所衍生的惨剧。”
Jefferson, replied to Banneker’s letter.He said, “No body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit,that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colors of men.”
后来,杰弗逊回复了班纳克的来信。他说道,“没人能比我更希望看到你所提到的这些,自然赋予我们的黑人兄弟与其他人种一模一样的天赋”。
The letter and Jefferson’s reply to it raise important questions about the condition of slaves and the young nation’s dedication to liberty.
这封信和杰弗逊的回复就奴隶的生存状况以及这个年轻国家为自由而做的努力提出了极大质疑。
But it also questiones the thoughts and opinions of one of the most famous politicians and thinkers in America at the time.These questions are not easy to answer and they can be asked again and again by successive generations.
与此同时,这封信也对当时这位美国最有名的政客和思想家的想法和意见提出疑问。这些问题很难回答,而且不管到哪朝哪代都能被一次次的重新问起。
Banneker published six almanacs in 28 editions.He continued to live on his farm until his death in 1806.By that time, Thomas Jefferson was serving his second term as President of the United States.
班纳克出版了六部历书,共28个版本。1806年去世之前,他一直住在自己的农场里。而到那时,托马斯·杰弗逊正在美国就任第二个总统任期。
The letter to Benjamin Banneker from Thomas Jefferson can be found online at the Library of Congress website.
托马斯·杰弗逊给本杰明·班纳克的回信现可在美国国会图书馆网站在线搜索。

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