Science and Human Welfare
Spence has transformed human life beyond all imaginations. Thanks to the efforts of a few scientists, man is no longer a helpless toy in the hands of Nature, but the proud master of the three worlds of land, air and water. Science has changed our outlook, our mental makeup, our thoughts and ideas, our dreams and our hopes. We live more and have our being in Science.
The triumph of science is seen everywhere in life. According to Bertrand Russel, science has changed the face of the earth and the world has changed more during the last 150 years than during 4000 years prior to that. In fact, now, we have ceased to look upon trains or motor cars, electricity or telegraph or radio as marvels of science. Can we visualise the shape of things before the birth of science ? People living fifty miles away from London had hardly seen the world’s greatest city. Books were few and copied by hand by costly scribes and so they remained the preserve of only a few. Communication was almost non-existent, except for those who could afford to send special messengers. Small-pox and other diseases reaped a harvest of people. In short disease, ignorance and suspicion were prevalent everywhere.
Science has spanned the sky, measured the ocean and wrested from nature many of her hidden treasures. It has relieved human suffering by discovering secrets of health and disease. It has annihilated time and space and made communication and contact with world easier and quicker. It has extended the frontiers of our knowledge in various ways and various directions. It has enabled us to fight natural calamities and to revolutionize industrial and agricultural processes. Indeed when we think of triumphs of science, we gape in wonder and admiration.
However, there is the other side of the picture. Science has done great disservice to mankind by putting into its lap the most dreadful discoveries of gunpowder, the hundreds and thousands of deadly weapons including the deadliest of all, that is, the nuclear weaponry. Curiously enough, in the laboratories of different nations some of the best scientific brains of the world are vying with one another in production of news weapons of death and destruction. And so the question arises, Is science bane or boon?
If science meant for man’s happiness is employed by man for his own death and destruction, who can help him? It is certainly not the fault of science, if we go on multiplying engines of destruction. Again if science has invented ingenious methods of death and destruction, it has not been slow to invent effective means of counter-acting them. It is reported that some effective weapons have been made to tame the fury of the nuclear bomb. It is not science, which is responsible for war, it is the beast in man. Alfred Nobel had invented dynamite to help workers in mines and to construct roads in hilly places, but not to blow up their property. In holding science responsible for the havocs of modern war is injustice to it.
It has been found that the energy generated by the release of an Atom bomb is sufficient to burn about four square kilometers of land, say about 80,000 people. But if the same energy is applied for constructive purposes, it is capable of working wonders. It has been found that one pound of uranium, when converted into energy is equivalent to 15,000 tones of coal. Therefore, the lovers of peace denounce the atomic weapons and not the atomic energy, which is presently, being applied in the field of agriculture, medicine, industry and as a source of power on a limited scale.
Before us, now lies a new era in which the power of atomic energy has been released. That age will either be of complete devastation or in which new sources of power will lighten the labour of mankind and increase the standard of living all over the world. It is for us to decide, whether we will destroy the world with atomic bomb or rebuild it with atomic energy.