Science and Technology
DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
It’s hard to figure out exactly what makes something a science but we can define it both as a process of gaining knowledge, and as the organized body of knowledge gained by this process. Science has distinctive aspects that make it unique. First aspect can be that science tries to ask questions that can be tested. So you can’t ask the question ‘‘Why does the universe exist?‘‘. The right question can be ‘‘When did the universe come into existence?‘‘ because you could design experiments to test the answers. This reveals another characteristic of science – it usually involves doing an experiment. In science your experiment has to be repeatable. One of the most popular conceptions of what makes science different is that it follows the sciencitific method. This method involves asking a question, performing an experiment, gathering observastions and coming to conclusions.
BEGINNINGS OF SCIENCE
Science and technology is as old as the mankind. Science has started to develop as people have sought to somehow improve their lives. The first inventions and discoveries were very simple. As the first important discovery in the development of the mankind we consider the discovery of fire. On the other hand the first important invention was the invention of wheel (about 4,000 B.C.). About the year 3,000 BC people started to live in towns, where science began to grow. Many important inventions like writing, reading, counting, astronomy, medicine and chemistry began to develop. Man’s effort to survive and to improve his way of life made him invent new and better tools, get deeper knowledge and control of the forces of nature. As man’s knowledge grew people found it useful to classify it. It was separated into various branches, such as physics – the study of natural forces, biology – the study of living beings, chemistry – the study of materials.
THE MOST SIGNIFICIANT INVENTIONS
PAPER – before it was invented people wrote on e.g. clay, tablets, silk, palm leaves, later papyrus. Paper was invented in China in 105 AD. The first Chinese paper was made of silk, then hemp and the bark of mulberry trees. Today most paper is produced by the chemical treatment of wood pulp.
ELECTRICITY – we can not imagine our life without electricity; we use it for lighting, heating, radio, TV, etc. It all started in about 600 BC when the Greek philosopher Thales noticed that amber rubbed with wool attracts light objects (as feather, straw). It was started to use in 17th century. Electricity which is used as a form of energy is in fact electric current. It is produced in power stations by generators and comes into our houses via cables.
THE TELEPHONE – it enables us to communicate with others both in everyday life and in business. It dates back to 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell, physicist and inventor, developed his “speaking box “. Another important name in the field of communication is Gugliemo Marconi, an Italian electric engineer, who began radio experiments in 1894, and 4 years later he carried out the first international (England – France) wireless transmission.
CAR - this invention made transport faster and more comfortable and significantly shortened travel time. It was invented by two Germans, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz (1885).
TELEVISION – is a relatively recent achievement, at least for the public, because it did not appear in people’s houses until the 1950s. But for experts television as a means of transmitting pictures has existed longer. The first television transmissions were made in England in 1926 by the Scotsman John Logie Baird.
LASER – it was discovered in 1961. It‘s a beam of light at the same frequency but with far great power. When the materials used are glass or crystal, this light is known as laser light. Laser is used in industry for cutting, drilling or welding very hard materials, in space navigation it is used for maintaining communication and measuring distances and it is also used in medicine in many kinds of operations – the most common medical use is in eye surgery.
COMPARISION BETWEEN LIFE IN THE PAST AND IN THE PRESENT
Science has been very fast growing and our understanding has much grown in comparison with the world hundred years ago.
In that time patients battle illness, while doctors can’t do more than counsel and comfort them and keep them clean. Now doctors treat and often cure patients with variety of medicines and medical technologies. Public sanitation has eliminated many of the lethal-diseases such as plague, dysentery, tuberculosis. Many cures have been found for infectious diseases, flu, diabetes, etc. Penicillin (an antibiotic that kills bacteria) was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, insulin by F.Sanger in 1958. Quite a few people live longer owing to transplanted organs, such as heart, kidneys, lungs or liver.
The only way to view some significant event was only to be there. Today we have television, where the program can be instantaneously transmitted by satellites. The news will spread as well by radio, newspaper, and the World Wide Web.
At the beginning of the 20th century most people travelled on foot or by horse-drawn vehicles. Nowadays there is public transport in most towns, high-speed trains and supersonic planes to travel long distances and cars to get to work, to shops or to go for a weekend break.
Equipment of houses has changed completely. In the kitchen you can find microwave which is completely electronic or a washing machine which perfectly wash and dry used dishes for you. To other useful appliances in house belongs vacuum cleaner, fridge, razor, flat-iron…
These all science results led to make our life easier and safer. The evidence of this fact can be the rise of the life-expectancy. For example the life-expectancy in the USA in 1901 was 49 years, at the end of century it was 77 years. In India and China it was around 63 years.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN USAGE OF HUMAN
According to my opinion the most popular technical achievement in man’s history is computer. The history of computers started actually in 1960s when the first electronic computer was developed. From that time computers have undergone dramatic changes in size, speed, software and prize. From the big computers that took a whole basket field and many people were needed to operate it, gradually appeared smaller and smaller ones and noticeably more powerful. We know that computers have already revolutionized the way how we live and work. They help us work faster and more effectively. For example, in business, computers are used to store, process and retrieve data at a speed that is thousand times faster than formerly. On PC we can write text, paint pictures, play games or of course do other different activities. Today everyone works with computers.
Use of computer can be better if you have an access to the information highway - the Internet. It was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and it enables people to get information that is normally unavailable – from world libraries, museums and other institutions including business and finance offices. But you can also send and receive e-mail letters that reach their destinations in a few seconds or minutes irrespective of the distance or you can download music and film files. And it has also enabled home-working to women with children or people living in distant places, who would have to commute a long distances to work every day.
Another very useful branch of science is nuclear physics (branch of physics concerned with the nucleus of the atom). The main use of nuclear physics is in nuclear power. Nuclear power station produce a huge amount of electricity. The problem is that its very dangerous when occurs some accident and also problems are with nuclear waste which is radioactive. Another usage is in X-ray (form of electromagnetic radiation) which is widely used for diagnostic medical imaging and in crystallography. Many people suffering from cancer were cured by a treatment with usage of irradiation.
In 20th century a huge interest in universe came. First man in the universe was Yuri Gagarin from Russia (1961) and the first men on the moon were Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin (1969) from USA. From that time many space stations have been built, thousands of satellites are orbiting our planet for communication purposes, weather forecast etc. Communications satellites can pick up signals from a point on the Earth and relay them to the other side of the Earth by amplifying them and then beaming down to a ground station. Some satellites carry cameras which take pictures of the Earth’s surface to help meteorologists forecast. Other satellites carry cameras and telescopes which are pointed out into space so that astronauts can get more information about distant stars and planets.
MISUSE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Everything has its own pros and cons. This phrase belongs also to science and technology. It’s very satisfying how science has influenced our lives from positive side of view, but it has influenced our lives also from a negative side - Science can be misused.
The best example how the science can be abused is weapon - at first, meant as a defend tool used only in a case of danger. But we all know that it isn’t like that. Weapon that influenced a world most was a nuclear weapon. It is a weapon that derives its energy from nuclear reactions and has enormous destructive power — a single nuclear weapon is capable of destroying a city. Nuclear weapons have been used twice for war, by the United States against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (Little Boy) and Nagasaki (Fat Man) during World War II with a dreadful results. Little Boy had a force of 12,000 tons of TNT, it levelled all buildings and 100,000 people died. Very dangerous are also chemical and biological weapons.
In house you have a washing machine, which will wash your dish for you; then you have an owen that automatically order the course of baking according to the food you insert there; you have a car which you use for a transport; you can buy things on-line so goods will be delivered right to your house. As a science develops, people become lazier; simply they are living easier and easier life but only from a physical side of man. From a mental side people get more and more stressed, they are still in rush. People don’t do any sport because they simply don’t have any time. Besides a healthy nutrition, people eat hamburgers, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. This all doesn’t influence our health positively. And that’s why the civilization diseases came to existence. Right example can be the heart attack or diseases which are related to metabolism, bloodstream. Many people die for these diseases.
The steep development of industry in the last 50 years is a great danger for life on the Earth. There are two pressing problems with the atmosphere of our planet which are caused by emitting polluting materials into the air. The most pressing problem is caused by the impairment of the ozone layer in the stratosphere of the Earth. Ozone is decomposed by Freon above all. The second great problem is the green-house effect which is caused by a lot of CO2 in the air. The increase of temperature can cause thawing of polar icebergs maybe in a period of 50 years.
MAN AND SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE FUTURE
Developments in science and technology will have a dramatic effect on the future of work. Postmen, clerks and secretaries will vanish in a paper-free society. All the routine tasks they perform will be carried by computers. In education teachers will be largely replaced by teaching machines which will provide far more knowledge than any human being. Moreover, most learning will take place in the home via video conferencing. However, children will still go to school, until another place is created where they can make friends and develop social skills through play. Even people in traditional professions, where the knowledge was the most important, lost their job. They can be easily substituted by computer with all the most up-to-date legal information. You might meet with the computer judge.
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Wikipedia - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science