毕业大赏:何江~首位登上哈佛毕业典礼演讲的大陆学生

2016-05-27  快乐小馆藏

     

在哈佛一年一度的毕业典礼上,迎来了首位来自中国大陆的留学生作为哈佛研究生优秀毕业生代表进行毕业演讲。

这位站在哈佛大学毕业典礼讲台上,在哈佛完成6年硕博连读的生物系博士毕业生名叫——何江。

虽然这并不是何江第一次获得一所大学毕业生的最高荣誉——他曾经获得中国科学技术大学本科生最高荣誉奖——郭沫若奖学金,并作为获奖代表发言。但何江能获得世界顶尖学府哈佛大学给予毕业生的最高荣誉,成为第一位享此殊荣的华人学生,这一点还是让人深感意外。



申请哈佛大学的毕业典礼演讲选拔,极为严苛。一共有3轮筛选。第一轮,递交个人学习、科研材料和演讲初稿;第二轮,从10名入选者中挑选4人,每个人都要拿着自己的演讲稿念稿;第三轮,从4人中选出1人,全部要求脱稿模拟演讲。这一过程完全是魔鬼过程,就是母语为纯正美式英语的学生也是一种煎熬。

而何江,他不仅母语并非英语,而且他是一名来自中国湖南农村、从初中才学英语,操着一口农村英语上县城高中,上大学才首次进城的“凤凰男。因此,无论是对中国社会充满好奇的西方国家,还是农村人口超过9亿的中国大陆,何江的故事远远不止一个大大的励志。


关于自己的成才,何江表述的经历中有很关键的两点:

1.      父母的培养。

何江出生于1988年的湖南农村,像当时中国很多农村一样,以土坯房为主,孩子的零食主要为糖水。有中国特色的第一代“留守儿童”就在那时诞生,但虽然家境一般,何江的父母坚决认为——不能为了打工挣钱,而让儿子成为“留守儿童”。虽然高中都没毕业,但何父坚持给孩子讲一些自编的睡前故事,告诫孩子:只有读书才能有好的出路。而不识字的何母,在农闲时也不喜欢像其他农妇那样聚在一起唠家常,而是陪着两个儿子一起读书、学习。

2. 下狠劲,突破“农村英语”。

像很多农村孩子一样,何江初中才开始接触英语,一口“农村英语”,上了县城的高中,深感自己的英语水平与城里孩子差距巨大。“第一学期很受打击,考试没问题,就是开口说英语很困难”。但何江明白“学英语,没有捷径,他下苦功,买来英文书籍在宿舍“啃”,遇到读不懂的地方,就在书本旁边进行大段大段的标注。到了哈佛,希望多讲英语的何江硬着头皮,申请给哈佛的本科生当辅导员,这种方法让他的英语表达方式很快从“中式”转到了“美式”。到了读博士期间,何江已经可以给哈佛本科学生上课了。

 

留守儿童问题日益突出,贫富悬殊日益严重的今天,何江的故事或许能给众多来自中国农村的学子一些有意义的启示。

演讲原文如下:

当前浏览器不支持播放音乐或语音,请在微信或其他浏览器中播放 7:32 何江哈佛演讲 来自疯狂英语

The Spider’s Bite 

蜘蛛咬伤轶事

 

When I was in middle school, a poisonous spider bit my right hand. I ran to my mom for help—but instead of taking me to a doctor, my mom set my hand on fire.

 在我上中学的时候,一只毒蜘蛛咬伤了我的右手。我跑去问我妈妈该怎么办——妈妈并没有带我去看医生,而是把我的手放火里烧。

After wrapping my hand with several layers of cotton, then soaking it in wine, she put a chopstick into my mouth, and ignited the cotton. Heat quickly penetrated the cotton and began to roast my hand. The searing pain made me want to scream, but the chopstick prevented it. All I could do was watch my hand burn – one minute, then two minutes –until mom put out the fire.

 她在我的手上包了好几层棉花,然后泡上白酒,往我的嘴里塞一根筷子,接着打火点燃了棉花。灼热很快透过棉花,开始炙烤着我的手。灼痛让我忍不住想大叫起来,可嘴里的筷子却让我发不出来。我只能看着自己的手被火烧着,一分钟,两分钟,直到妈妈扑灭火苗。

You see, the part of China I grew up in was a rural village, and at that time pre-industrial. When I was born, my village had no cars, no telephones, no electricity, not even running water. And we certainly didn’t have access to modern medical resources. There was no doctor my mother could bring me to see about the spider bite.

 你瞧,我成长的中国地区是一个偏僻的农村,在那时候,还没工业化。在我出生的时候,村子里还没有汽车,没有电话,没有电,甚至也没有自来水。我们自然不能接触到现代医疗资源。那个时候我妈妈找不到合适的医生来帮我处理蜘蛛咬伤的伤口。

For those who study biology, you may have grasped the science behind my mom’s cure: heat deactivates proteins, and a spider’s venom is simply a form of protein. It’s cool how that folk remedy actually incorporates basic biochemistry, isn’t it? But I am a PhD student in biochemistry at Harvard, I now know that better, less painful and less risky treatments existed. So I can’t help but ask myself, why I didn’t receive one at the time?

 对于那些有生物背景的人,你们或许已经理解到了我妈妈所使用的治疗方法的基本原理:高热可以让蛋白质变性,而蜘蛛的毒液也不过是一种蛋白质。这样一种土办法实际上有它一定的理论依据,这挺有意思的,对吧?但是,作为哈佛大学生物化学的博士生,我现在知道在我受伤那个时候,已经有更好的,疼痛更少、风险更低的治疗方法了。于是我便忍不住会问自己,为什么我在当时没有能够享用到其中一种更好的治疗方法呢?

Fifteen years have passed since that incident. I am happy to report that my hand is fine. But this question lingers, and I continue to be troubled by the unequal distribution of scientific knowledge throughout the world. 

蜘蛛咬伤的事件已经过去十五年了。我非常高兴地向各位汇报一下,我的手并无大碍。但是,我那个问题一直在我的脑海中挥之不去,而我也一直为先进科技知识在全世界不平等分布而困扰。

We have learned to edit the human genome and unlock many secrets of how cancer progresses. We can manipulate neuronal activity literally with the switch of a light. Each year brings more advances in biomedical research—exciting, transformative accomplishments. Yet, despite the knowledge we have amassed, we haven’t been so successful in deploying it to where it’s needed most.

现如今,我们人类已经学会怎么进行人类基因编辑了,也解密了很多个癌症发生发展的原因。我们甚至可以利用一束光来控制我们大脑内神经元的活动。每年生物医学的研究都会带来更多进步——其中有不少令人振奋,也极具革命颠覆性的成果。然而,尽管我们已经在科研上有了无数的建树,但在如何把这些成果带到世界最有需要的地方这方面却差强人意。

 According to the World Bank, twelve percent of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. Malnutrition kills more than 3 million children annually. Three hundred million people are afflicted by malaria globally. All over the world, we constantly see these problems of poverty, illness, and lack of resources impeding the flow of scientific information. Lifesaving knowledge we take for granted in our modern world is often unavailable in these underdeveloped regions.  And so in far too many places, people are still essentially trying to cure a spider bite with fire.

 世界银行的数据显示,世界上大约有12%的人口每天的生活水平低于2美元。每年有三百万儿童因营养不良而死亡。全球有3亿人口仍然受到疟疾的困扰。在世界各地,我们经常看到贫穷、疾病和资源匮乏这样的问题阻碍科学知识传播。现代社会里我们习以为常的救生常识经常在这些欠发达地区得不到普及。因此,在世界上仍有太多地区,人们依然只能依赖于火疗来处理蜘蛛咬伤的情况。

While studying at Harvard, I saw how scientific knowledge can help others in simple, yet profound ways. The bird flu pandemic in the 2000s looked to my village like a spell cast by demons. Our folk medicine didn’t even have half-measures to offer. What’s more, farmers didn’t know the difference between common cold and flu; they didn’t understand that the flu was much more lethal than the common cold. Most people were also unaware that the virus could transmit across different species.

 在哈佛读书期间,我看到科技知识如何能够以简单又深远的方式帮助他人。本世纪初的禽流感疫情在我家的村子看来就像恶魔的诅咒一样。乡村的土方法简直是无计可施。不光如此,农民搞不懂普通感冒和流感的区别,他们并不知道流感比普通感冒更加致命。而且,大部分人对于流感病毒能够跨不同物种传播这一事实并不了解。

So when I realized that simple practices like separating different animal species could contain the spread of the disease, and that I could help make this knowledge available to my village, that was my first “Aha” moment as a budding scientist. But it was more than that: it was also a vital inflection point in my own ethical development, my own self-understanding as a member of the global community.

所以,在我意识到,简单的卫生知识,例如将不同物种隔离开来,能减缓疾病传播,以及我可以将这些知识传递到我的村庄时,我第一次有了一种作为未来科学家的顿悟。但这不仅仅停在知识层面,它也是我个人道德发展的重要转折点,我作为国际社会一员的自我感悟。

Harvard dares us to dream big, to aspire to change the world. Here on this Commencement Day, we are probably thinking of grand destinations and big adventures that await us. As for me, I am also thinking of the farmers in my village. My experience here reminds me how important it is for researchers to communicate our knowledge to those who need it. Because by using the science we already have, we could probably bring my village and thousands like it into the world you and I take for granted every day. And that’s an impact every one of us can make!

 哈佛的教育教会我们敢于怀有远大的梦想,勇于立志改变世界。在毕业典礼这样一个特别的日子,我们在座的毕业生都会畅想我们未来的伟大征程和冒险。对我而言,我在此刻也想到家乡的农民。我在哈佛的经历教会了我,作为研究人员,将我们的知识传递给有需要的人是多么的重要。因为利用我们已有的科技知识,我们很可能可以将我的家乡,还有千千万万这样的村庄,变成我们每日习以为常的世界。而这样一种影响,是我们每一个毕业生都能够做到的。

But the question is, will we make the effort or not?

 但问题是,我们愿意做这样的努力吗?

More than ever before, our society emphasizes science and innovation. But an equally important emphasis should be on distributing the knowledge we have to those who needed. Changing the world doesn’t mean everyone has to find the next big thing. It can be as simple as becoming better communicators, and finding more creative ways to pass on the knowledge we have to people like my mom and the farmers in their local community. Our society also needs to recognize that the equal distribution of knowledge is a pivotal step of human development, and will work to bring this into reality.

我们的社会比以往任何时候都更强调科学和创新。但我们社会同样需要重视如何将知识传递那些真正需要的地方。改变世界并不意味着每个人都要做一个大突破。改变世界可以简单地成为更好的沟通者,并找出更多创造性的方法将知识传递给像我母亲以及当地的农民那样的人。同时,我们的社会需要认识到科技知识的均衡分布,是人类社会发展的一个关键环节,而我们也能够一起奋斗将此目标变成现实。

And if we do that, then perhaps a teenager in rural China who is bitten by a spider will no longer have to burn his hand, but will know to seek a doctor instead.

 如果我们能够做到这些,那么,或许有一天,一个被毒蜘蛛咬伤的中国农村少年不再需要引火烧手,而是知道去寻求医生的治疗。


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