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11-08-2015, 19:36

The Age of Science and Technology

Wars may pose more problems than they solve. The Allied victory did put down fascist imperialism. Had fascism prospered, society would have evolved in an entirely different way, particularly outside Europe. It is often said that wars interrupt development, which then afterwards continues. But the Second World War seems to have wrought deep and lasting changes which marked a turning point and the opening of a new era. Ironically, while the war was spreading destruction, means were being discovered and developed to repair the damage quickly. Between 1939 and 1945 practical and theoretical research in science advanced in leaps and bounds. One may reasonably record the emergence of a scientific and technological civilization. A few examples of the technological advances devised or developed during the war were radar, transistors, computers, plastics, DDT, sulphanimides, penicillin, methods ofblood transfusion and resuscitation and industrial automation. The grimmest and also the most promising was the technique of harnessing nuclear energy, of which America took the lion's share of the benefits. Progress here was made possible by unwonted facilities granted researchers by governments. A prime example was the cooperative effort organized in America to develop the atomic bomb. Scientific research and technology ceased to be cottage industries and became team work enshrined as activities of national importance. They soon emerged from the laboratory into industry where they were used in the mass application oi new methods to improve the output of countless products. The world after the war was riddled with contradictions. The possibility of creating material wealth had become infinite, but the poor were poorer than ever before. Although distances were reduced and speed brought nations nearer, nations retreated into gloomy nationalism. New methods were available to disseminate knowledge and culture, but whole continents still stagnated in intellectual impassivity. Mobilization and unification of populations in the war effort brought greater uniformity. Everyone was caught up in a whirlwind of scientific progress and its practical applications, but they had yet to master the new technology.

 

 

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