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【四川国际传播中心】日本学者八木太:在成都的茶馆里享受弦理论突破

来源:四川国际传播中心    日期:2022/7/7 10:39:04    点击数:938

“很难预测什么领域会在未来变得重要,重要的是当下,突破往往就在下一秒。”说到这里,在镜头前稍显木讷的八木太语速加快。

"It's hard to predict the key industry in the future. What's important is the present, and a breakthrough may take place in the next second," Futoshi Yagi, who looked a bit nervous in front of the camera, speeded up when talking about this.

日本、法国、意大利、韩国、以色列......作为一个“孤独”的弦理论与数学物理研究者,为了追逐这突破性的下一秒,八木辗转于世界各地的研究机构,“为了更好地开展研究”是他选择目的地的唯一标准。4年前,八木选择来到四川,任西南交通大学数学学院副教授。

Being a lonely researcher on string theory and mathematical physics, Futoshi Yagi has been travelling through the research institutes of Japan, France, Italy, South Korea, and Israel for a breakthrough. "For research" is his only criteria when deciding the destinations. Four years before, he came to Sichuan, teaching as an associate professor in the School of Mathematics at Southwest Jiaotong University.

探索浩瀚宇宙,探寻科学真理。在这条路上,八木的每一秒,都在等待下一秒。

On his journey of exploring the universe and science, Futoshi Yagi has always been looking forward to the next second.

八木太(Futoshi Yagi)

西南交通大学数学学院副教授、硕士生导师。担任Journal of High Energy Physics等国际期刊审稿专家,其主要研究方向为弦理论与数学物理,并运用于几何拓扑。


初心:用至简的基本原理,描述复杂的宇宙万物

The Original Intention: To Describe the Universe by The Simplest Idea


弦理论,大家或许很陌生。但美剧《生活大爆炸》中的谢尔顿却风靡全球,弦理论正是他的研究方向。

What is the string theory? It's exactly what Shelton, the popular character in the US TV series "The Big Bang Theory", studies.

在弦理论的世界里,自然界是由一根根震动的无限小的闭合弦(或闭弦)构成的,就像小提琴不同的琴弦震动,能够发出各异的乐音,闭弦的不同振动和运动也给出常见的基本粒子,例如电子、光子和夸克等。基于这样简单有力的基本原理,弦理论能够描述重力,能统合宇宙中所有的基本作用力。

“其实很难和大家解释我目前是在做什么,这可能就是为什么数学和物理学如此困难。”八木说,事实上,还没有人观测到基本的弦,弦理论也还没有被实验证实,目前甚至很难举出实例来说明弦理论可以对现实生活产生贡献。

"It's not easy to explain to people what I'm doing now. That may also be the reason why the mathematics and physics are so difficult," said Futoshi Yagi. In fact, the fundamental string has not been detected and the string theory has not been verified by experiments. There're presently no examples to show the significance of the string theory to our practical lives.

作为一门基础学科,弦理论的工业化和社会化过程还很长。那是什么支撑着八木坚定地走在这条路上?

“最开始,是一档科学类电视节目在心中埋下物理学的种子。”八木说,大学时期系统学习粒子物理学后,他被深刻而神秘的弦理论所吸引,毕业后毅然孤身一人行走全球。在不同科研机构的工作,则提供了新的研究视角,这让他受益匪浅。真正进入专业领域后,八木为自然界的动人美丽和优雅动容,选择终其一生探索其中的奥秘。

"My earliest knowledge of physics was derived from a science television programme," Futoshi Yagi said. After studying the particle physics systematically in college, Futoshi Yagi was greatly attracted by the profound and mysterious string theory.

“一旦弦理论有了大突破,也许就能解释 ‘宇宙的开端’和‘黑洞中心结构’等困扰大家多年的难题。”八木认为,一旦弦理论为实验所证实,将从根本上改变人们对物质结构、空间和时间的认识。具体而言,不同于肉眼所看到的三维空间和一维时间,弦理论描述的世界是九维空间,加上时间,通常称之为十维时空。

“您怎么看待,大多数人都无法理解弦理论等研究?”八木直言,这正是他选择弦理论的原因之一,希望用简单的基本单元描述纷繁复杂的宇宙万物,“相信这样普通大众和专业人士的距离可能会越来越近”。

"How do you view the fact that most people don't understand the researches like the string theory?" Futoshi Yagi points out that that's exactly one of the reasons why he choose the string theory, wishing to describe the complicated universe with simple elementary units. "I believe that this can narrow the gap between the professional researchers and common people."


享受:再坚持坚持,突破也许就在下一秒

Passion: The Next Second Can Be A Breakthrough Moment


4年前,八木因为一次学术会议结识了来自西南交通大学和电子科技大学的研究者们。因为志同道合,他接受邀请,来到了四川。

At an academic conference four years ago, Futoshi Yagi met the researchers from the Southwest Jiaotong University and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Out of a common goal, he accepted the invitation and came to Sichuan.

对比之前工作过的不同国家,八木认为中国在未来的发展中更有潜力,“最近中国在物理学领域的发展十分迅速,很多有才能的中国人和外国人都加入了这个领域”。

Futoshi Yagi thinks that China is more promising than the other countries he previously worked in, "Physics in China has been developing rapidly recently, and lots of talented Chinese and international scholars have participated in it."

每天泡在办公室沉浸式做研究,是八木最喜欢的日程之一,“对于我来说,数学和物理的世界,是能让我忘记其他、沉浸其中的世界”。

他享受着研究的每一秒:“一旦发现了有趣的问题,我可能会一直思考一整晚。”

Futoshi Yagi enjoys every second of the study, "if there’s something interesting, I might think for a whole night."

八木来到成都后与合作者的第一个研究小突破,诞生在成都大慈寺的茶馆里。当时,他和共事的西南交通大学研究生导师李晓斌因为课题遇到瓶颈而困扰多时。出生于以茶闻名的日本静冈县,八木太对于茶有一种亲切感,总能在成都的茶馆里找到家的感觉。

Futoshi Yagi achieved his first breakthrough in Chengdu with his partner’s help in a teahouse at Daci Temple. At that time, he and his colleague Li Xiaobin, the research supervisor at the Southwest Jiaotong University, had been stuck on the project for a long time. Born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, a place famous for tea, Futoshi Yagi is dear to tea and feels at home in the teahouse of Chengdu.

一边品着大慈寺的禅茶,一边讨论着,突然,八木和同事灵光一现,一个简单精美的函数方程式跃然纸上。坐在对面的李晓斌兴奋地拍案而起,尽管八木一直因为同事的激动向茶馆其他顾客点头致歉,但他的嘴角还是止不住上扬。

When they were having tea and discussing in Daci Temple, Futoshi Yagi and his colleague suddenly thought of a simple and amazing functional equation. Li Xiaobin who was sitting opposite Futoshi Yagi, jumped to his feet excitedly. Futoshi Yagi, embarrassed though, smiled out of joy heartfully.

再一次描述起这个经历时,八木依然无法掩饰那种激动和喜悦。 不管弦理论是否能够否成为描述一切现象的“万物理论”,八木始终相信:“再坚持坚持,突破也许就在下一秒。”

Futoshi Yagi can't stop being excited again when describing this experience. No matter whether the string theory will be the "universal theory" that describes everything, Futoshi Yagi firmly believes that "keep on and the next second may be a breakthrough moment."

来源:四川国际传播中心2022年7月6日https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/UMf4joRv7hvsXFvLHGGzgA


信息员:郭欢欣     作者:谢秀丽     责任编辑:蔡京君

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