The modern age is acknowledged as an era of Science. The achievements of modern science are indeed profoundly impressive; they have lit many candles. Science has completely transformed our power over nature and our world outlook. Knowledge is advancing at a fantastic rate, every new step opens up fresh vistas. The tremendous, uncontrolled forces of nature are being harnessed in the service of mankind. We are getting very close to understanding how life originated on the earth and unveiling the genetic code which determines the development of the individual with the eventual possibility of modifying it. We have made immense advancements in medicine: we understand the nature and treatment of many diseases which have been a fearful scourge of mankind throughout human history. We have penetrated into new layers in the structure of matter. We discovered the chemical atoms; we penetrated deeper and deeper and found the atomic nuclei with their surrounding electrons; we broke down the atomic nuclei into their component neutrons and protons and released nuclear sources of power. We have begun to make voyages into space; we understand the structure and life history of thousands of millions of stars similar to our sun which compose our own galaxy, our own local star city. In Tennyson’s words, we are out to “Rift the hills and roll the waters and flash the lightning and weigh the sun”.
Recently U.S.A.’s space heroes have accomplished man’s greatest adventure and one of history’s most momentous explorations. Their historic journey to the moon and back transcends in magnitude the achievements of relativity theory, quantum mechanics and release of atomic energy. The whole world, thrilled by the achievements of the space astronauts, admire the enormous efforts and planning that go for the ultimate culmination in such an achievement. As Arthur Clarke, a prominent British science fiction writer has remarked:
“Anyone who really believes that manned space flight has no scientific value is a ‘fully paid-up card-carrying moron”.
Man has been endeavoring through the ages to use his wits to save himself from the tedium of labor. The advent of mechanization 200 years ago and of automation 50 years Dack were the direct consequences of this urge. The thermostat that keeps the temperature constant, the photo-cell that sounds a burglar alarm, the supersonic airliner that carries passengers, at enormous speed. are no longer scientific marvels, but commonplaces of our lives.
At the heart of all this evolutionary development lies the electronic computer. It does arithmetic at astonishing speed and has a memory where information may be stored and readily: retrieved in any desired sequence. Tine modern electronic computer, calculates about one million times faster than a man with a pencil and paper. These calculating machines do not merely manipulate figures, they can even solve scientific problems. They are in charge of much of today’s banking and insurance work. In several cities in Europe-and America, computers are taking over the task of watching and regulating the flow of traffic through the cities. They measure hundreds of temperatures, pressures, and chemical concentrations. They are also being used to study the clinical aspects of people by processing medical data like blood pressure. temperature and so on.
The emergence of Integrated Circuits is a spectacular achievement of modern science. The development of the vacuum tubs, half a century ago, signaled the advent of electronics of which telegraphy, telephone, radio, television, radar, etc. form a part. Miniature devices- light radiators and photo-receivers which can convert electric signals into light signals and vice versa have appeared now.
Following Einstein’s discovery of the Law of the Photo Electric Effect, new sources of light Masers (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) and Lasers (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) were invented. Maser. amplifies electromagnetic waves and produces microwave signals that are ultrasharp. In transoceanic communication, it becomes possible to deal with thousands of calls simultaneously over the same line using a constant frequency laser beam. Underwater communication between submarines is also made easy. The Laser beam is not only an indispensable tool of the scientist but has proved effective in the experimental verification of physical theories. The. ‘Laser Cane’ is one of the devices being tested through “bionics’ a new science combining, biology, and electronics. It emits light beams to detect impediments allowing a blind user to scan the area ahead of him. Over many years, the telescope has been the only ‘window’ to the universe. Now it has become possible to obtain data on the remotest heavenly bodies with the help of radio waves.
At the turn of the century, Physics entered into a new world, the invisible silent world of atoms, atomic nuclei and elementary particles. The conception of atoms in an age when science was still in its infancy, was a conjecture of genius: It was a conjecture which did not follow from any kind of observations and was not – supported by any kind of experiments. The atomic theory proposed that matter in the universe is discontinuous and consists of particles called atoms. The atoms, though consist mostly of empty space, in. turn possess a unique architecture with a nucleus in the center surrounded by orbiting, electrons arranged in a shell work. A generalized model of the nucleus consists of two particles the protons, an electrically charged panicle, and the neutron which has no charge. With the discovery of mesons (and later others, the highly unstable particles and the conversion of neutrons into protons, the nucleus is considered to be in a state of flux, in which the nucleons (protons, or neutrons) form the building blocks and other unstable “particles of the cementing material.
As soon as physicists accepted the unusual nature of the world of micro-particles, their inter-relations among themselves and with the field, a real hunt began for new particles. Several new particles were discovered every year. Today, there are altogether thirty-three, if one discounts the so-called ‘resonance’ particles. The resonance particles boost the list of micro-entities to almost a hundred items.
Thirty years ago, when the elements found on the earth had been arranged in a complete periodic table, it became possible through various ways bombarding the nuclei of atoms, with tiny projectiles such as protons and neutrons. In the early 1950s, powerful accelerators were built that speeded protons to hundreds of, millions and lately, to tens of thousands of millions of electron volts. In the production of very high potential, an epoch-making apparatus the cyclotron was invented by Lawrence of Australia. Quite a number of atomic reactors are under operation throughout the world today with the object of utilizing the nuclear energy to generate electricity and to drive engines.
In 1896, Henri Becquerel discovered the phenomenon of radioactivity when he found that all salts of Uranium emitted powerful radiations. These “radioactive rays’, as they are called, are similar to ‘X-rays and invisible to the naked eye. Madame Curie’s work on radioactive rays led to the discovery of Radium, which is about 1 million times more active than uranium Radioactive isotopes are now used in the diagnosis and cure of many diseases. Food materials may be preserved without refrigeration by irradiating them with radio-isotopes.
Whether a living thing is to be fish or man, blonde or black-haired, smart or dull is determined by a set of chemicals inherited from their parent organisms. The basic ingredient of heredity is Deoxy-ribonucleic Acid (DNA) which is the stuff in the nucleus of each cell. DNA transmits its genetic instructions to a slave chemical called Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) which in turn carries these orders to elements in the cell called ‘ribosomes’ which are assembly plants for įthe proteins the body needs. Recent work on the genetic code of life by three biochemists Dr. Khurana, Dr. Nirenberg and Dr. Holley · opens up with the possibility of an being able to determine, at some future date the mental and physical characteristic of new generations. More immediately, it could help and prevent or control hereditary defects such as mental retardation, and inherited diseases, such as diabetes and gout.
The discovery of anesthetics is a landmark in the Held of surgery and medicine. The recent introduction of antibiotics’ with the first medical use of penicillin in 1941, has revolutionized medicine. Streptomycin, the first antibiotic to show antituberculosis activity came in 1944. Modern chemotherapy which is derived from the application of chemistry in the treatment of diseases began with the German bacteriologist, Paul Ehrlich who discovered ‘Salvarsan’. Infectious diseases like Diptheria, Tuberculosis, and other disorders are cured or controlled by a host of chemotherapeutic agents. Various sulpha drugs are used in the treatment of pneumonia. gonorrhea, etc. External deformities like the nose, ears, etc., are being corrected by plastic surgery to improve the cosmetic effect and to give psychological relief. The silent, sound waves called ‘Ultrasonics’ are now. being used to detect tumors and brain damage. Trạnsplantation of the kidney, the liver is carried to amazing heights. Beating the rhythm of life with someone else’s heart is too fresh to be repeated. Some researchers predict that time may come when the only pain felt by any human being will be the twinges of a sorrowing heart.