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census 「全体数の調査」 (続々・“第9惑星”が存在か?) [ニュースと英語]

「第9惑星が存在するかもしれない」という研究を報じる英文記事から、おまけ的に短くもうひとつ書くことにする。私は基本単語の census に出会った際、「人口調査」「国勢調査」と一対一対応の訳語で覚えたが、もう少し広い意味で使うことができる。

今回の研究を行ったカリフォルニア工科大学 Caltec の2人の学者のうちのひとりが、太陽系の惑星の数について使っていた。

- "Although we were initially quite skeptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there," says Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science. "For the first time in over 150 years, there is solid evidence that the solar system's planetary census is incomplete."
("Caltech Researchers Find Evidence of a Real Ninth Planet"


- an occasion when a particular group of people or things is officially counted
census of: The company carried out a census of its employees.
(Macmillan Dictionary)

- any official count
a traffic census
(Collins English Dictionary)



共同研究者のマイク・ブラウン博士は、先日も書いたように(→jaw hits the floor 「あごがはずれるほど驚く」 )10年前に冥王星を準惑星に格下げするきっかけをつくったが、ツイッターで自ら plutokiller を名乗るなど、ユーモアを感じさせる人物だ。

今回の発表をめぐっても、博士の10歳の娘にかかわる下記のような微笑ましいエピソードが紹介されていた。記事は冥王星降格の張本人として皆をガッカリさせた博士に kill-joy (皆を白けさせるもの)という単語(参考→「おやじギャグ」)を使っているが、これも「冥王星キラー」にひっかけた言葉の選択ではなかろうか。

- Later that night the astronomer came home to his front door with a celebratory message pinned on it from his ten-year-old daughter Lilah: “Congratulations Daddy! The 9th Planet, AKA The Lilah Planet.”
("Planet 9: Astronomer Mike Brown's daughter told him to find new planet after he 'killed off Pluto'"

- So his co-discovery of evidence supporting the case for a new ninth planet may go some way towards redeeming him in the eyes of those who, until 20 January, tended to view him as some sort of cosmic kill-joy who murdered the smallest, cutest member of the famous gang-of-nine.

“I hope so. My daughter is the one who told me I need to do this. Even before we started this, she said ‘Daddy, what you need to do is go find a new planet so that people will no longer be sad about Pluto’,” Dr Brown said.

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