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2022年物理诺奖得主John Clauser教授谈如何成为学术写作高手

已有 1582 次阅读 2022-10-10 11:07 |系统分类:观点评述

(前两天,我偶然看到2022年物理诺奖得主John Clauser教授的AIP长篇口述历史访谈记录。该访谈内容极其丰富,阅读后更深入了解了这位不走寻常路的杰出物理学家。其中他谈到了自己如何在导师的严格训练下掌握了从一个学术写作菜鸟到一个写作高手的飞跃历程。我也写文章,也教学术写作,对其中几点非常认同。好文不敢私藏,由于该访谈尚未见有翻译版,特别翻译出来,希望第大家有帮助。)

我从导师帕特·塞迪斯(Pat Thaddeus)那里学到了如何写好学术文章的方法,我一直铭记在心。

在写作方面,他对我的训练可真是无比严格。我已经读过很多优秀的作者写的文章,但是当我写自己的论文初稿时,发现我写的简直太烂了。甚至无需他多说,我就认识到他是对的,我写的太烂。

他对我非常严格,坚持要求我做到:“注意,这里要注意!一句话只应该说一件事。”“如果你写一个句子时有麻烦,问题就是你总想在这个句子里塞太多东西,你应该把这个句子拆解成几个简单、清晰、简洁的句子;如果你在写一段话时碰到麻烦,很可能是你真的不明白自己想说什么。”这些建议真好,我一一悉心采纳并一直践行。

最重要的是,要对自己万分诚实,要不时问自己:“我真的知道自己想说什么吗?我理解自己在说什么吗?”这些是自己必须学会去找出的写作问题。有时就在我写一段话时,我就会问自己上述问题,而我发现答案真可能是:“嗯,也许我自己真没弄清楚。”我可能会用整整一周时间,试图弄清楚我真正想表达的东西。而我才发现,在此过程中我学到了很多物理新知。

注:原文中有几句稍有重复,完全重复的未译出,请对比下面的原文。

英文原文来源:美国AIP口述历史项目的John Clauser访谈记录(访谈日期:20025月,访谈人:John Bromberg

链接:https://www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/25096

原文如下:

A lot of the word picking— This is something I learned from Pat probably more— Besides various ways of manipulating quantum mechanics and the like, the thing that I learned that really stuck with me more than anything else from Pat Thaddeus was how to write scientific prose. He drilled me mercilessly on this. I mean, I had read various good writers, and when I wrote my own first draft of my thesis, it was just plain bloody awful. It was just plain terrible. And he didn't have to do much convincing for me to recognize the fact that he was right. This stank. It was merciless. And he was the guy that kept insisting, "Hey, look. One idea in one sentence." He was the guy who taught me, "If you have problems writing a sentence, you are trying to put too many ideas in one sentence. Split it up in nice, simple, clear, concise sentences. If you have problems writing a paragraph, you probably don't understand what it is you are trying to say." Those pieces of advice I have taken and parlayed... And the real question is that you just have to be honest with yourself and ask yourself the question, "Do you really know what it is that you are trying to say? Do you understand what you are doing?" And the red flag you have to learn to recognize. And this is what he taught me in spades — is that if you are having problems wording something, just go back and be honest with yourself and ask, "Do you really know what you are trying to say? Do you understand what you are saying?" And at times, just on one paragraph, I would go off and ask myself that question and the answer was, "Well, maybe not." I'd spend a whole week trying to figure out what I was trying to say, and in doing so, I learned a lot of new physics, which I didn't realize before.

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https://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1915402-1358797.html

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