Science

science and children
Figure 1.--This is a publicity photograph taken at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. The boy is identified as Hal Brown. Science and changed modern life in many ways, most for the better. Yet one of the most images of scientists presented to children is that of the mad scientist.

An important topic is modern science in the making the modern world. Quite a number of issues need to be considered. Science has prevented and cured disease as well as revolutionized the world's economy and productive capacity, allowing large numbers of people to lead comfortable lives for the first time in history. This of course is obvious. Less obvious is the image of modern science. When I began teaching school, I was surprised to find that science was among the least popular subjects with American students. I was surprised at this because as a boy I found science fascinating. We are not entirely sure why this was, but suspect teaching methods were a factor. Another observation is the image of science among young people. Given the fact that scientists and inventors played a major role in building modern industrial states, you would think scientists would have very positive images. But this is often not the case. Here we suspect the popular media is a factor. To the extent that scientists appear in cartoons, movies, and television--the "mad" scientist is a very common character. Another factor is religion which sometimes see science as a threat.

History

Science is strongly associated with the Western world and for good reason. Other societies, especially ancient Greece, medieval China, the Islamic Caliphate, and India have made vital contributions that led to modern science. But none of these societies actually invented science, meaning the scientific method--based on experimentation. Islamic investigators perhaps came the closest, but never took the final step, putting all the pieces together. It was in the West and only the West that the scientific method was developed and that the resulting science transformed society and created the modern world. This process began in the classical era, especially in the ancient Greek city states. One unanswered question is why China with all its riches and important discoveries did not develop science, but this occurred in the relatively poor and backward West. It was the Italian genius Galileo Galilei emerging out of the Renaissance who is commonly given the honor as the first true scientist. From that point on, it was Europeans who made the fundamental advances that created modern science as a result the modern world.

Greece

Some of the great concepts of science emerged in ancient Greece. The Greeks were very interested in what we now call science. They were not the first people to be interested and in fact they built on the observations of other ancient civilizations, especially the Babylonians who developed impressive astrological capabilities. in astronomy. The unique Greek contribution was that they were obsessed with the idea of organizing their observations and creating a degree of order out of the chaos what they observed around them with the weather, oceans, heavens, and much more. As Greece emerged from their Dark Age. wealthy Greeks began to give more and more thought to the physical world and intensified their observations (around 600 BC). The Greeks were wrong about many scientific matters, but they largely began the process of thinking and many scientific and mathematics textbooks begin with Greek thinkers. But the Greeks were not scientists. Pythagoras invented the idea of a mathematical proof, an achievement of monumental proportions (about 400 BC). Greek doctors wrote important medical texts and tried to construct a scientific theory that explained diseases. They thought if you were sick you had too much or too little of four basic substances: blood, black bile, yellow bile, or phlegm. That of course was nonsense, but it was the beginning of a quest that mescal researchers still pursue. Socrates And Aristotle developed logical methods for deciding whether something was true or not, but they were using philosophy not experimentation. The scientific method did not emerge from ancient Greece.

Islam

Islamists claim that one of the most widely used tools to propagate Islam among non-Muslims is the alleged harmony between its scriptures and modern science. In fact nothing can be further from the truth. It is absolutely true that the Golden age of Islam during the Caliphate gave rise to important scientific advances. And there were notable Islamic thinkers who advanced mathematics, medicine, and science. Much of this, however, was based on access to classical works lost to the West. The Caliphate translation project was an enormous collection of information. Perhaps the most important achievement of Islamic scholarship was the invention of algebra. But it is certainly true that during the Caliphate that the Muslim worked was more advanced than medieval Christendom. Tragically this suddenly stopped (14th century) just as the West began the Renaissance. The reason was the increasing hold of fundamentalist Islamic scholars on intellectual life. The problem with Islam is that many Islamic thinkers believe revealed knowledge in the Holy Koran is summit of the human intelectual life. And other Muslims believe they have a right to silence or even kill any one they believe violates Koranic teaching--witness the appearance of sword verses thriughout the Koran. This has acted to eviserate free thought and intelectul inquiry--including scientific investigation. What followed was nearly a millennium of intellectual stagnation. The Muslim world entered the 20th century as a scientific black hole. And even in the 21st century despite dizzying scientific advances in the West and oil riches in many countries, very little science of any importance occurs in the Muslim world.

China

One of the great questions of history is why central concepts like science, capitalism, and democracy did not come out of China. China through much of history was richer and more technologically advanced than the west. Even at the time of the Renaissance, the flow of technology was from China to the West and not from the West to China. Given the level of technological advance in China, this is a stunning fact. Marco Polo marveled as the riches and technology he observed in China (14th century). It would seem almost inevitable that the richest and most technologically advanced society is where science would be created as well as other aspects of modernity, but this was not the case. This is one of the most important aspect of modern history. What would the world be like today if it was in China when modernity emerged. But this is an issue which is rarely addressed by modern scholars. Even scholars focusing on the rise of modernity do not tend to ask why the technological giant of the medieval world was not where science emerged. Jared Diamond who has written important books on the emergence of the modern world, basically just ignores China. [Diamond] In fact China would resist science and modernity even after it had been invented in the west.

India

India was another center of advanced human thought. Many of the same concepts that the Greeks were known for emerged from India as well. But it is mathematics that ancient India made its most important contribution. the Vedic texts used very large numbers. There seems to have been an ancient Hindu fascination with numbers that we do not see elsewhere. This perhaps explains the monumental advances that Indian scholars made with math. The all important concept of zero came from India along with the associated advance of Arabic numbers. The term Arabic numbers of course was a result of the west learning of the concept through the Arabs, not who conceived the concepts. More accurately they should be called Indian numbers. The Indians were also masters of metallurgy.

Europe

Science is strongly associated with the Western world and for good reason. Other societies, especially ancient Greece, medieval China, the Islamic Caliphate, and India have made vital contributions that led to modern science. But none of these societies actually invented science, meaning the scientific method--based on experimentation. Islamic investigators perhaps came the closest, but never took the final step, putting all the pieces together. It was in the West and only the West that the scientific method was developed and that the resulting science transformed society and created the modern world. This process began in the classical era, especially in the ancient Greek city states. One unanswered question is why China with all its riches and important discoveries did not develop science, but this occurred in the relatively poor and backward West. And of course the equally important question, what was it about the West that promoted the development and pursuit of science. It was the Italian genius Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) emerging out of the Renaissance who is commonly given the honor as the world's first true scientist. From that point on, it was Europeans who made the fundamental advances that created modern science as a result the modern world. The major intellectual movements rocking the West (the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment), and only the west all played important roles in the development of science. None were primarily focused on science, but all helped create the intellectual environment in which science flourished. From Galileo along list of European intellectual giants fashioned modern science: Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Boyle, Volta, Priestly, Faraday, Darwin, Kelvin, Curie, Freud, Tesla, Einstein, and many others.

Major Advances

Here we see two separate types of advances in science. The first was major advances that led to the development of modern sciene, namely the scientific method. The second was the advances once Galileo essentially invented the scientific method based on experimentation, freeing intelectul life from thinking based on noted experts and prior scholarship. Actually science is intrinsically linked to civiliazaion itself, although the errly rateof change was clial. . Civilization was the result of the Agricultural Revolution. This required higly produvtive crops, all of which were based on selective breeding. Hunter gathers who began tomsettle down began to select seeds from the most profuctive plants, giving rise to theplant varities upon which agriculture and civilication was based. This occurred indeoently in mny different early civilzations. So man was usingbsciencevbefore any one hadcthe vagiest idea ascto hat science was. Andd this led to both math and writing. As crop surpluses developed, both math and writing wasneeded bytraders and beaurecrats. And science was not possible without math and writing. Next someone had to develp a way to develop both reasoming and knowledge. Here classical civilization (Greece and Rome) played an imprtant role. Mathamatics helped begin an unerstanding of an underlying order in nature. Gradually tenology became increasingly sophisticated even before the development of the scientific method. Much of medievl technology came from China. The universities fonded by the Church began renew the aspiration for knowledge began in the classical era. The universities began s religious institutions, but over time, secular knowledge became increasingly important. The medieval era lated about a millenium, and gradually technology became incresingly important and advanced. This was at firt most prounced in the Caliphate, China, and India, but gradually the locus of tecnology began to shift to the West. The idea of progress gradually emerged, especially in the West. Renaissance painting involved considerable techhnological principles. he final step needed to make the jump to science was printing. This occurred first in China, but it is in the West with Guttenverg (1450s) that printing began to prepare for the invention of science. Printing made posible the mass dessemintion of information. Soon after Galileo began ex[erimentung, inventing the scientific method. From that point the rate of scientific advances were exponential. Copernicus revived heliocenrism, critical for the development of physics. Advances in mathamatics (algebra, calculus, and probability) provided tools for scientific advances. The ideas of conservation and symmetry were important concepts. Another important step was the development of instruments enabling reserachers to combine inservations with meaurements and the use of increasingly sophisticated mathemtics. Researches began to assess time, change, and novelty. Important new conceps emerged in short order: atomic, cell, germ, and gene theories. New fields of knowledge appered and what was once immaterial becomes observble and real. Evolution as a scientific process becomes undestood. Statistical laws are developed and challenge determinism. Technology and science revolutionize first Europe nd grdually the rest of the world. Early advances wee the work of individuals. Europe develops institutions to conduct the increasingly challenging and costly research needed to advnce science. And at the dawn of the 20th century, quantum science and relativity bring us to our modern understaning of the world, redefining spce and time. Importance advances with understanding the universe came withthe Big Bang theory. Finally an entirely new instrument makes possible scientific advances never before possible--the computer.

Individual Scientists

Any listing of important scientists leads one to a very clear observation, science was a European invention. There were of course discoveries and observations in other regions, beginning in the ancient world. But observations and discoveries are more philosophy. True science only began with the advent of experimentation and the scientific method. And this appeared first in Europe and even to this day continues only in Europe and its North American offshoot. This extended to Japan in the 20th century and more recently Israel and the Asian Tigers, especially Taiwan and Korea. Most of the rest of the world has no real science. One has to ask why was science invented by the West and why does the West continue to dominate scientific inquiry. There are for example with few exceptions no notable Muslim scientists, despite representing nearly a fourth of humanity. Muslim countries are dependent on the West for modern technology. Which leads to a corollary question, what is it about Islam that inhibits the development of science.

Copernicus, Nicolaus (Poland/Germany, 1473-1543)

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who took the dangerous step in violation of Church teachings by conceiving a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at its center. Nicolaus Copernicus was born in the city of Toruń (Thorn) in the province of Royal Prussia, in the Kingdom of Poland (1473). He and his family lived along the cultural divide of Poland and Germany. Thus it id difficult to categorize him as either Polish or Germany, although he and his family often supported the Polish Crown. His wealthy family enabled him to study , studied canon law, mathematics, and medicine at Cracow, Bologna, Rome, Padua, and Ferrara. He practiced as a physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat and economist. Almost lost because of his fame as an astronomer his quantity theory of money, a key concept in the development of economics (1517). This was followed by the formulation of what is now known as Gresham's law. It is his astronomical theory of heliocentrism for which he is best known. Because it was counter to church teachings and the Reformation led to religious violence and the repressive Counter Reformation, Copernicus delayed publication. Another factor was that the passions of the Reformation in Germany were less intense in Poland. His eventual publication of solar system model in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) (1543) is considered a major step in the development of modern science. Copernicus was not the first to conceive of heliocentrism which was first conceived of by classical scholars. He is, however, the first to present it with a basis of sound mathematics. Only near his death, however, did he dare publish his findings.

Galileo Galilei (Italy, 1564-1652)

Galileo Galilei was an Italian Renaissance astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician. He is commonly seen as the father of modern science. Before Galileo there were important scientific discoveries that appear in the history books. The individuals involved, however, were more philosophers than scientist because the scientific method had not been devised. It was Galileo that placed experimentation and not just observation at the hear of scientific inquiry. And Galileo combined experimentation with controls--essentially creating the scientific method. As a result. Galileo played a central role in the scientific revolution that began during the Renaissance. As a result, Galileo is a primary candidate for the greatest scientists of all time. Galileo made major contributions to the fields of physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy. He improved on the telescope that enabled him to observe and describe the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, the phases of Venus, sunspots, and details on the rugged lunar surface. And like some modern scientists, he had a flair for self-promotion. This earned him powerful friends and made dangerous enemies. His promotion heliocentrism brought him before religious authorities in part because he ridiculed Pope Urban VIII. He was eventually forced to recant and placed under house arrest, ending his scientific carer, but not his ideas and the scientific method.

Descartes


Kepler


Antonie Philips (van) Leeuwenhoek (Netherlands, 1632-1723)

Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft (1632). His father was a brewer. Leeuwenhoek spent most of his life in and around Delft. Virtually nothing is known about his childhood. We know that he attended a school near Leyden. He went to live with his uncle in Benthuizen. He was apprentice to a linen-draper’s shop at the age of 16 years. He was a Dutch merchant who because of his earnings was able to pursue a passion for science. And his passion was with the new telescope and the wondrous things that hat he was able to see. He is known as 'the Father of Microbiology'. Leeuwenhoek developed a fascination with lens-making. His interest in microscopes, as well as his knowledge of glass processing, resulted in important scientific advances. The ability of lenses to magnify was discovered soon after the invention of glass. Lens were developed by the Romans with the ability to magnify some six times. Dutch spectacle makers Zacharias Jansen and his father Hans started experimenting with lenses, inventing the first compound micros ope (1595). It was basically a novelty and nothing much came of it. While many people at the time were working with telescopes, Leeuwenhoek took the early microscope and improved it, creating a scientific instrument. He was for decades virtually the only person working with them. It was Leeuwenhoek who established that living organisms were made up of cells. Leeuwenhoek is believed to have made over 200 microscopes that had a rang of magnification capabilities. He also made over 500 optical lenses. He used copper or silver to make frames for his microscopes. He seems to have reached magnification of 275 times. As a result, he was the first human to observe bacteria. Leeuwenhoek died in Delft (1723).

Issac Newton (England, 1643-1727)

Descartes for a time dominated the world of physics, but made major errors. It was Issac Newton that corrected those theories, making possible huge advances in physics that would change the modern world. Sir Isaac Newton was born (1642). He was an English physicist and mathematician. He was described in his day before the advent of the term science as a natural philosopher. What we now know as science was still tied to philosophy. The French Enlightenment term was philosoph. Newton is universally recognized as one of the world's greatest scientists. His master work, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy") laid the foundations for classical mechanics (1687). He made many contributions to science, any one of which would have established his reputation. He shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of calculus. But it is in physics for which he is best known. Newton often employing mathematics made seminal contributions to optics He is best know for his on gravity for which he is best known. Newton in Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, which dominated scientists' view of the physical universe for 3 centuries as science developed -- until Einstein raised questions which could not be explained by Newtonian physics. He employed Kepler's laws of planetary motion and applied his mathematical description of gravity. He then used the same principles to account for the trajectories of comets, the tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and other cosmological and terrestrial phenomena. Newton ended lingering doubts about the validity of the heliocentrism. Newton demonstrated that the same natural laws could explain the motion objects on Earth and in the cosmos. He prediction that Earth should be shaped as an oblate spheroid a hypothesis that was later confirmed by others.

Charles Darwin (England, 1809-82)

English naturalist Charles Darwin is one of the greatest scientists of all time. His fabled voyage on the HMS Beagle and ensuing book Origin of the Species fundamentally changed not only science, but philosophy as well as it so fundamentally altered man's outlook. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is now the unifying theory of the life sciences, for the first time explaining how the the diversity of the natural world was a result of adapting to their varying environments. As a result, Darwin along with Newton and Einstein must be regarded as the three greatest scientific minds of all time. We note modern fundamentalists criticism that Darwin made mistakes. Actually given the level of biological science, it is staggering how much Darwin got right. Charles' parents were Robert Waring Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood. The Royal Navy for much of its history has been on the cutting edge of military technology. As many areas of technology have both civilian and military ramifications, the Royal Navy also made important contributions in many different areas. One of these areas was natural science. Some Royal Navy ships carried Naturalists. Some of their worked carried back to England can be seen today at Kew Gardens. One of those naturalists was the young Charles Darwin He was essentially a gentleman companion to the 26-year-old captain, Robert Fitzroy. The Beagle was used for science expedition. Darwin's journals are full of his observation on a range of topics, including slavery in Brazil. He made a range of observations in South America. He found fossils in Argentina of extinct animals that were very similar to modern species. In Chile he found marine fossils in the high Andes. At the time geological processes were not yet understood. But it was his work on the Galapagos off Ecuador that is best known. It was an extended voyage. Darwin returned to England after 5 years (1836). Darwin devoted himself to years of cataloging and studying his notes and specimens. Gradually a number of key conclusions emerged. First, evolution was how species developed. Two, this process was gradual and occurred over long periods, even millions of years. Three, principal mechanism for evolutionary change was a process he called natural selection; . Four, the diversity of modern species developed from a single original life form through a branching process he called “speciation”. He spent years working on these ideas. He was hesitant to publish understanding the public and religious reaction to such a radical idea. Other naturalists were also reaching that conclusion. Darwin in the end was the first to publish and developed the most complete exposition of natural selection. After years of procrastination, fearing another naturalists was preparing to publish, Darwin finally published his great work--On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859). The book is more commonly called The Origin of Species. It of course caused a storm of protest. He was lampooned in the press, often depicted as a kind of monkey man. Darwin followed up his great book with many other works on botany, geology, and zoology. He died (1882) and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Albert Einstein (Germany, 1879-1955)

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as the greatest physicist of modern times. The great theoretical physicist and Nobel prize winner was slow to speak and not regarded as a particularly apt pupil as a boy. He graduated as a teacher of mathematics and physics. His theory of relativity as a young physicist revolutionized the science. He was awarded the Nobel Price for Physics in 1921. He was thus a world renowned physicist when the NAZIs seized power in Germany during 1933. He was, as a Jew, among the many authors who books were burned. He escaped the NAZIs and in 1935 was granted residency status in America. His letter to President Roosevelt in 1939 played an important role in the American decision to build an atomic bomb.

Neils Bohr (Denmark, 1885-1982)

Danish Nobel laureate nuclear physicist Neils Bohr was born and lived his life in Copenhagen. He grew up in a sophisticated and loving family. He studies physics at University of Copenhagen and worked under J.J. Thomson, who had discovered the electron, in England. Bohr played a major role in understanding the structure of the atom after it was conceptualized by Ernest Rutherford as a dense miniature, nucleus surrounded by a cloud of virtually weightless electrons.

Impact of Science

Science has prevented and cured disease as well as revolutionized the world's economy and productive capacity, allowing large numbers of people to lead comfortable lives for the first time in history. This of course is obvious. The work of scientists like Jenner, Salk, Sabin, Hilleman, and others have cured many infectious diseases that would have cut countless lives short in childhood. Advances in biology, chemistry, physics, and their many sub-divisions have made modern life possible.

Image of Science

Less obvious is the image of modern science. Another observation is the image of science among young people. Given the fact that scientists and inventors played a major role in building modern industrial states, you would think scientists would have very positive images. But this is often not the case. Here we suspect the popular media is a factor. To the extent that scientists appear in cartoons, movies, and television--the "mad" scientist is a very common character. We are not sure why this is the case. Perhaps readers may have some ideas. Some in the Green Movement have taken issue with science. We suspect that the connections of science with industry have caused problems with the increasingly strong socialist orientation in many Western countries. As this Green-Socialist alliance appeals and the attack on the profit mechanism appeal to many in the media and academia. We welcome any thoughts that readers may have.

Studying Science

When I began teaching school, I was surprised to find that science was among the least popular subjects with American students. I was surprised at this because as a boy I found science fascinating. And science teachers can do fascinating demonstrations in their labs that teachers attempting to explain about the subjective tense can never hope for. We are not entirely sure why such a negative attitude toward science exists, but suspect teaching methods were a factor. Perhaps the difficulty of the subject or the need for precession was a factor. Here we are just not sure.

Religion

Another factor is religion which sometimes see science as a threat. This was clearly the case during the Renaissance when modern science first began to emerge from alchemy and philosophy. The Christian Church became very hostile to science. The trial of Galileo was a turning point in science and was a factor in southern Catholic Europe falling behind northern Protestant Europe. But that we stress was the action of the Roman Church, not the impact of Christianity itself. In fact Christianity was influenced by the classical traditions of Greece and Rome. And this is expressed on the importance given to the individual. To the Greeks, man was the measure of all things. And Christianity stresses the individual, perhaps Protestant Christianity more than Catholic Christianity, but the focus on the individual pervades Christianity. And this focus provided the cultural environment from which modern science grew. Of course the relationship between science and religion is an uneasy one and Christian fundamentalists continue to reject modern science, especially evolution. They do not, however, reject the modern world that science has made possible. Some religions are more hostile to science than others. Islam appears to pursue the same path as fundamentalist Christians. The rejection of science by Islam in large measure explain the decline of Muslim countries after the fall if the Caliphate.

Country Trends

Another question is why most of the world's important scientific work takes place in a small number of countries. Curiously by far the major hotbed for technical advances until our modern era was China. But China never made the step to actual science and modernity and use their many technical discoveries to create science-based industrial societies. And modern science is today based primarily on work done in America, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and important contributions from several smaller European countries, primarily Scandinavia and the Lowlands. National wealth and population are both important factors, but not decisive ones. Virtually no science comes out of Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich states. Very limited science comes from modern China, the world's most populace state, but that we suspect is about to change. Nor have major scientific achievements come from Russia despite the massive resources the Soviet Union poured into science. In fact Russia today has a third-world economy based on the export of raw materials--primarily energy. Here ironically, socialism which triumphed a scientific approach to human development, appears to have been the major impediment to science. Other countries have been impeded by cultural factors. Christianity has both impeded and promoted science. Islam today appears to be impeding the development of science in Muslim countries. Scientific leadership has changed. England was once the leading scientific nation. It was supplanted by Germany at the turn-of-the 20th century, but German science has never recovered from its war on the Jews and two world wars. America since World War II has been the leading nation in science.

Science and Ideology

The Soviet Union opened a brand new front of the Cold War with the launching of Sputnik (October 4, 1957). The launching of Sputnik was not just a technical achievement with military implications, it also had ideological considerations. Often accounts of the Cold War focus on ideological differences between East and West. Technology played a critical role in the Cold War which is often overlooked. Marxists proclaimed Communism as a new, scientific approach to organizing human society. As a result, science assumed an important ideological status in the Cold war. Obviously if Marxism was the optimal organization of human society, the Soviet Union should be able to produce the best science. And Soviet propaganda trumpeted Sputnik as a symbol of the superiority of Soviet science. In the long run, superior Western technology played an important role in the West's victory. The West's superiority was, however, not apparent in the 1950s. Communism was at the time an ideology embraced by millions around the world. The Russian Revolution and spread of Communism to Eastern Europe and then China seemed to show that Communism was the wave of the future. Soviet technological achievements like Sputnik was further evidence that Communism, central planning, and atheism were the wave of the future.

Science and Industry

An interesting topic is why it was that science and industry were first put together in the West during the industrial revolution. And it was that combination that has revolutionized word economies and production. There were considerable scientific advances made at other times and places that did not lead to major industrial advances. The ancients (Greece and Rome) made notable scientific advances. Ancient China was also a leader in many fields, in some cases centuries ahead of the west, but often did not fully utilize those advances. Why did such an advanced country become so backward in the 18th century. And Islamic society was technically and intellectually much more advanced than medieval Europe. Why then did the industrial revolution take place in Europe and the Middle East become such a technologically backward area of the world?

World Fairs

The most Visible demonstration of modern science and technology was the world fairs that began in Victorian England and that subsequently were held throughout Europe and North America. The first was the famed Great Exhibition held at London's Crystal Place. It was masterminded by Prince Albert. And it was such a success that it was followed by a series of such exhibitions. Prince Albert's exhibition put the technology of industrial Britain on display for all to see. Subsequent exhibitions became more and more innovative about how to make technology understandable to the average person. The Colombian Exposition in Chicago showcased electricity (1893). It was also the beginning of the American postcard industry. The Chicago World's Fair was held in the middle of the Great Depression (1933-34). The New York World's Fair show cased the World Of Tomorrow with exhibits about what the world of the future would be like. Tragically it was held in the last fleeting months of peace before the outbreak of World War II (1939).

Faustian Bargain

Science has unlocked untold riches and enabled the average individual to live affluent, comfortable lives that would have been unheard of a century ago. Science has also developed technologies that have resulted in killing on an epic scale. The military potential of science has resulted in modern states promoting their scientific establishments. Scientists have been of varied minds about their work. Some like the scientists around Neils Bohr saw their field as pure and unsullied and sought to pursue scientific truth which would not endanger mankind. [Segrè] In the end Bohr and his group were overrun by the NAZIs and he had to flee his beloved country. Others have pursued their work in the interests of their country. Here the American Manhattan Project stands out, although some were worked out of a commitment to humanity more than American national power. The cost of modern research has meant that scientists today almost have to work for state-funded institutes or corporate entities. This has meant essentially a Faustian bargain. Werner Von Braun whose dream was space travel had to make ballistic missiles for the NAZIs which mean using slave labor in underground death traps. The nuclear weapons that the Manhattan Project scientists developed to save the world from Hitler and the NAZIs now have the potential to destroy mankind.

Sources

Deason, G.B. "The Protestant Reformation and the rise of modern science," Scottish Journal of Theology Vol. 38, Issue 2 (May 1985), pp. 221-40. Deason provides a good summary of the debate over the Reformation and science. His conclusion is as he summarizes it is, "After brief discussion of each of these interpretations, I will argue that the strong interpretation is too strong and that the weak one can be strengthened. I will outline an indirect approach, which falls between the above extremes, and offers advantages not offered by either of them."

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (W.W.Norton and Company: New York, 1997). Diamond explains persuaively why modernity did not emerge in Africa, the Americas, and Oceania, but not why it did not emerge in China, India, and the Middle East.

Segrè, Gino. Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics (Viking: 2007), 310p.





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Created: 5:46 AM 4/26/2007
Spellchecked: 4:39 PM 10/29/2015
Last updated: 7:52 PM 10/29/2015