Science 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 three worlds of land, air, and water. Science has changed our outlook, our mental make-up, 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 4,000 years previous to that. In fact, we have ceased to look upon trains or motor cars, electric light or telegraph or radio as marvels of science. Can we visualize the shape of things before the birth of science? People living fifty miles 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 rich few. Communication was almost nonexistent, except for those who could afford to send special messengers. Small-pox reaped a good harvest. Cholera and plague held their terror for man. 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 the secrets of health and disease. It has annihilated time and space and made communication and contact with the 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 the triumphs of science, we gape in wonder and admiration.
However, there is the other side of the picture. Science has done a great disservice to mankind in the field of armaments and destructive engines of war. The invention of gunpowder was hailed as a great achievement, but humanity should rue the day on which this convention took place. Steadily and relentlessly gun powder has been used and perfected into a hundred new more destructive weapons, so that today artillery, gunfire, shells and bombs have become hellish terror to everybody, Curiously enough, in the laboratories of different nations some of the best scientific brains are vying with one another in production of newer 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 cautious of destruction. Again, if science has invented ingenious methods of death and destruction, it’ has not been slow to invent effective means of counteracting them. Thus against gas, there is the gage mask against tank anti-tank gun; and against aerial bombing, anti-aircraft gun. It is reported that some effective weapons have been made to tame the fury of a nuclear bomb. It is not science, which is responsible for w.pr, it is the beast in man. Alfred Nobel had invented dynamite to help workers in mines and to construct roads in billy places, but not to blow up men and their property. In holding science responsible for the hives of modern war, we thus do a great 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, is equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of coal. Therefore, the lovers of peace denounce the atomic weapons and not atomic energy, which is at present, 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 labor 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 an atomic bomb or rebuilt with atomic energy.