Science has made unprecedented progress in the modern age. Science has influenced every sphere of life. It has many wonders to its credit. If any of our ancestors visit this world today, he will not be able to recognise it. It will appear to him as a different world altogether. This is because the world has undergone a tremendous change because of the rapid strides made by science and technology. The world today looks like a fairyland.
We can see the contribution made by science even in our everyday life. It has provided comforts to us. It has made our domestic life very easy. The housewife need not labour very hard in her kitchen to cook food for the family. She can complete this job within less than one hour with the help of the latest cooking range. Not only have that, she can preserved food in the refrigerator for days together. Food can be reheated in micro-wave oven quickly. She need not bother about washing clothes.
Now an automatic washing machine can wash and rinse and dry the clothes in no time. These appliances have saved the time of a housewife and made her life much easier. The time thus saved by her can be put to better use. She can take up a job to supplement the income of her husband. She can devote some time to her hobbies like reading, gardening, stitching, etc.
By using fans and air-conditioners, we can beat the scorching heat of the summer. During the chilling cold of winter, we can keep our rooms warm with room heaters. Thus we can light, cool and heat our houses, factories and offices with the help of these scientific gadgets.
Electricity is one of the greatest wonders of modern science. It is a source of energy. It is produced either from coal, water or nuclear power. Its uses are many. It can run any type of machinery. With the help of electricity, we can light our rooms, run buses and trains, and lift water for irrigation.
By making our travel speedy and comfortable, science has brought the countries of the world close to each other. It has made export and import of goods easier. It has increased world trade and commerce. Today science has made available to us many alternative modes of travel like aeroplanes, trains, motor cars, buses or steamers. We can travel thousands of kilometres and reach any corner of the world within a few hours by an aeroplane. Air travel has brought various countries of the world close to each other. They have become one family. The world has become smaller. Even motor-cycles, scooters, bicycles are the beautiful gifts of science to mankind.
Science has revolutionised methods of communication. By making use of scientific devices like the telephone and the wireless we can talk to our relatives or a friend even if he is staying in a country thousands of kilometres away. When Mr. Rakesh Sharma was sent up in space in a Russian spacecraft, late Mrs. Indira Gandhi was able to talk to him on phone. Messages can be sent not only within India but to any part of the world through cables, Teleprompters, wireless, fax-machines, mobile phones, etc.
Science has provided us with many means of education and entertainment like cinema, radio, television, video, transistor, etc. On radio we can only hear the voice of the speaker but on television we can see the picture also. We can see the movies on television in the comfort of our own house. We need not go to a cinema house. Transistor is so popular and cheap devices that even a poor person can afford it. He can hear news and other broadcasts from all over the world on his transistor.
The greatest contribution of science is that it has enabled mankind to diagnose and treat many dangerous diseases. Many diseases which were considered incurable in the past can be cured now. Surgery has advanced to such an extent that surgeons can operate even on delicate parts of the human body like heart and brain. Science has made transplantation of hearts, kidneys and eyes possible. With the help of X-rays, ultrasonic’s, cat scans, MRI etc. we can diagnose diseases hidden in human body.
Science has given eyes to the blind, legs to the lame and ears to the deaf. Mass inoculation of people has made epidemics like cholera, small pox, malaria, etc. things of the past. Science has thus improved the average life expectancy of the people by prevention and cure of diseases.
Modern machines have reduced the burden of the workers throughout the world. Machines like cranes can lift heavy weights. Machines can produce goods on a mass scale. Machines have made the task of workers much easier.
Science has enabled us to increase our agricultural production manifold through scientific methods of farming like better seeds, fertilizers and agricultural implements. In India, the Green Revolution of the seventies owes its success to the untiring efforts of its agricultural research scientists.
Scientific inventions like the computer have taken over many functions of the human brain. Computerization has brought speed and accuracy in compilation, classification, storage and application of information. Modern managements are relying more and more on sophisticated computers.
Science has made probe into space possible. Two Americans-Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin Aldine-went into space by Apollo-11 and set foot on the surface of the moon in July, 1969. The Soviet unmanned spaceship “Luna-16” brought to the earth samples of the rock found on the moon. U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. are actively engaged in probing other planets like Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, etc.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully sent ‘Spirit’, a six-wheeled robot to Mars in January, 2003 to analyse rocks and soil for clues that could reveal whether the planet was ever a warmer, wetter place capable of sustaining life.
Recently, The Mars Phoenix Lander, a probe sent by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), successfully landed on Mars on May 26, 2008, on a mission to explore signs of life on the Red Planet. The $420 million mission blasted off in August 2007 on the 422 million mile flight from Earth to Mars.
But this is only one side of the coin. If science has proved a blessing in so many fields, it has also acted as a curse in some fields. With the help of science, U.S.A. and Russia have produced highly destructive nuclear weapons like atom bombs and hydrogen bombs.
The nuclear arsenal piled up by these countries alone is enough to destroy the entire world many times over. It may be recalled that lakhs of people died when U.S.A. dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during the Second World War in 1945. If a Nuclear War breaks out, it will destroy all life on earth. Even if some people survive, their life will be worse than death. Thus, insecurity has gripped mankind.
In fact, science is a good servant but a bad master. If man has started using science for destructive purposes, it is not the fault of science, but it is the man who is to be blamed. It is open to us to use science either for peaceful purposes or for destructive purposes. If we care for peace in the world and prosperity of mankind, we should not use science for destructive purposes. If any country does so, it will be rendering the greatest disservice to mankind and will be endangering its future.