Text: Is it science that does us good or does it bring disaster? By K. Siegbahn To answer the question whether science does us good or does it bring disaster isn’t a simple task. We should take into consideration many points. Without scientific discoveries and inventions no progress would be possible. Thanks to discovery of electricity we can listen to the radio, watch TV, see films, people learned how to produce steel and metal alloys — now we use railways and airplanes.
Development of chemistry led to new synthetic fibers and people got more clothing and food. People learned to use scientific achievements in curing incurable earlier diseases. But on the other hand such outstanding discoveries of the 20tn century as atom fission led to creation of the weapons of mass destruction. We should say that science has a potential for both good and evil. Alfred Nobel invented a new explosive (dynamite) to improve the peacetime industries of road building, but saw it used as a weapon of war to kill and injure his fellow men. He was born in Stockholm on October 21st 1833, but moved to Russia with his parents in 1842. Most of the family returned to Sweden in 1859, where Alfred began his own study of explosives in his father’s laboratory. He had never been to school or university, but had studied privately and by the time he was 20 was a skillful chemist and excellent linguist, speaking Russian, English. German, French and Sweden. He was very imaginative and inventive. His greatest wish, however, was to see an end to wars, and thus between nations, and he spent much time and money working for this cause, until his death in 1896. His famous will in which he left money to provide prizes for outstanding discoveries in Physics. Chemistry, Physiology. Medicine. Literature and Peace, is a memorial to his interests and ideals. Medical men use laser to cure and investigate diseases and the same time laser can be used for destruction. Achievements of biology and chemistry are also used to cause damage to people. All this shows that science can take good forms and evil forms. What form does it take depends on the way people work with science. It is impossible to stop progress, to stop people to investigate and explore the world. But people should care it wouldn’t be led in wrong direction. Scientists need you thinking in a new much broader way than before. In this respect the education and cultural level are of great importance. They have to influence politicians, warn them of possible effects of using new discoveries. Scientists and politicians think responsibility for not using scientific developments to cause damage and destruction. There is a lot of work to be done in this direction. Comprehension check 1 Answer the following questions. Use the words from Exercise 2. 1) According to the writer, what are the inventions that make our life more comfortable and sophisticated? 2) Can our century be regarded as a «century of developing informational connection*’? Why? 3) What does the writer mean saying «the coup in the technology» speaking about the invention of the computer? 4) How do you understand the following statement — «to be connected to Internet»?