Science As Mankind’s Greatest Achievement
From walking on the moon to making biodegradable plastic bags, from talking to people all around the world on a handheld device to having a head transplant, none of this would be even remotely possible without the help of science. According to Wikipedia; science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organises knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe, which in basic terms means information of the natural world built on facts learned through experiments and observations or interpretations. The earliest roots of science was traced back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia from 3500 to 3000 BCE, this included contributions to medicine, math and astronomy which shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity. Science, along with the ever changing world has been developing and improving over the last 5000 years. Modern science can be can be distributed into three main branches, namely natural sciences (i.e.: biology, chemistry…), social sciences (i.e.: psychology, economics…), and the formal sciences (i.e.: mathematics).
Over the last 50 years mankind has really made some extraordinary scientific breakthroughs such as cell phones, the internet, artificial hearts and the list just keeps on going. Let us start by discussing the infamous internet. If you had told a high school student less than 100 years ago that they could complete a research project or assignment on a topic they know almost nothing about without having to go to the library and look through stacks of books, they would have looked at you like you were utterly insane. But thanks to the internet you can do an assignment from the comfort of your room, or in fact, wherever you are. This leads me to the next scientific achievement on my list, the cell phone. Look around you, almost every single person you meet, old or young, has a cell phone. Cell phones make everything more convenient, you can now place an order for food on your phone and have it delivered in under an hour and you don’t even have to get up from the couch. Cell phones have definitely developed over the last 50 years, they have become smaller and more compact. Your cell phone is like a laptop that you can carry around in your pocket. It is equipped with a calendar, clock, camera and much much more.
If we take a look at another portion of science, we can talk about how NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency, built the famous Hubble telescope and unveiled the remarkable universe to us. Hubble has helped resolve some great problems in astronomy while also raising new questions, and some results have required new theories to explain them. Earths nameless moon has no oxygen and a gravitational pull of 1.62 metres per second squared, making people think that it was impossible to survive there, but the Apollo 11 mission in July of 1969 proved us all wrong. Three men travelled to the moon on July 16th and two of them, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, spent 21.5 hours on its surface before re-joining the command module pilot Michael Collins in lunar orbit. Humans walking on the moon has certainly been recognized as an astonishing triumph in science. NASA has a lengthy legacy of space exploration. In the decades since its establishing, the space agency has landed rovers on Mars; see the sights of Saturn and Mercury; sampled the atmosphere of Jupiter and, as mentioned before, has even landed humans on the moon.
Along with the formation of the space program, another scientific project began; the eradication of smallpox. Smallpox once withered the world, and now HIV has devastated the people, economy and society of Africa. It has seriously altered the sexual culture of West Africa as well. A cure for the horrific virus would without a doubt be ranked high on the list of outstanding scientific achievements. While there are treatments for HIV/Aids, there is unfortunately no cure or vaccine. However, experts say that with the advances in computer modelling, the chances of developing a working vaccine for the dreadful virus may be closer than ever. Scientists and researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases say that they are getting ready to launch an ambitious program designed to eliminate new infections in the U.S by 2030, and if that can happen, then a worldwide cure for HIV/Aids could best be on its way somewhat soon.
According to a blog written by Bryce Jennings in Canada roughly seven years ago, he says that science has but one short coming, it does not offer the illusions of inevitability or purpose. But despite sciences short coming, superficial or real, science has a remarkable track record, and the best is still yet to come. There are still questions that need to be answered, there are still things that need to be discovered, and there are still things that questioning minds still want to know, and we need science to assist us in discovering, answering and developing. I did a public poll on a few social media platforms to get other people’s opinions and views on some science questions in, and the results that came back were quite interesting and a little unexpected. I asked the question “do you believe that the earth is round?” and only 66% of the people who took the poll said that they agreed that the earth is round, that means that 34% of these people believe that the earth is actually flat, even with all the scientific evidence which proves that the earth is round. But why do people think the earth is flat if there is concrete evidence proving that the earth is in fact spherical? Members of the Flat Earth Society believe that gravity is “just an illusion” and objects do not accelerate downwards, instead they believe that the disc shaped earth accelerates upwards at 9.8 meters per second squared, and that it is driven up by a force known as “dark energy”. The flat-earth believers also say that photos of the globe are photo shopped.
To conclude, I thoroughly believe that science is humankind’s greatest achievement, for without it nothing would be possible. We would have never been able to send humans to the moon safely or make cell phones if it weren’t for science. And although science does not give us clear or particularly accurate results the first, second, or even third time around, it certainly has given us all that we have today. In the words of the great Stephen Hawking “Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” The world is ever growing and ever changing and we therefore cannot dismiss science for we have not yet explored all its boundaries, or if there are even boundaries at all.
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