Table of Contents
In ‘Science and Hope of Survival’, Kellis-Borok shows how scientists all over the world, rise above their national identities, to find solutions for common problems of nations. The author begins by saying that though scientific involvement is not a money-making venture, scientists take to this path for the joy of freedom, companionship, and independence scientific discoveries offer to scientists.
In the article, the author shows what a scientist has to speak about his profession. Chasing after science is an exciting adventure that attracts most people to become scientists rather than selecting the profession of businessmen, lawyers, and doctors. In other professions, people earn a lot of money but the profession of scientist definitely brings promotions and honours, because it is mainly concerned with one’s capacity or ability. One more inspiring advantage of becoming a scientist is that the person gets the overwhelming feeling of uncovering Nature’s Mystery.
F. Press is one of the best educators on human nature and wrote about his stay in Moscow in the year 1960. He did research on the theory of seismic waves (tremors generated by an earthquake) and was delighted with his research and enjoyed the Mathematical challenge. He didn’t think much about seismic waves having a connection with real life. At that time, there was a disagreeable relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Then came the notification from the president of Russia about the Soviet Union, United States, and the United Kingdom possessing nuclear weapons. So, the president of Russia sent him (F. Press) to Geneva.
There was no war going on between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. while the Geneva meeting was called but one could find a cold war going on and everyone lived under the fear of destruction by nuclear weapons. Each superpower had more than enough nuclear bombs to destroy others in the first strike. But in the 20 minutes, it took for the rockets to reach their targets, the other side had plenty of time to launch reciprocate strikes.
This threat was called ‘MAD’ (Mutually Assured Destruction) which saved all from the common fatal fate. Realizing the future grave effects, the three nuclear powers came to an agreement that is to put a ban on the nuclear weapon test. So technical experts were called to solve this deadly problem.
The following problems arose if all the three powers signed an agreement to ban nuclear weapons, and if someone secretly makes an underground explosion, how this can be detected, i.e., violation of the agreement. Then the writer got a point that the problem had a direct connection with his research that is seismic waves because underground nuclear weapons produce aftershocks which are similar to those of the tremors created by earthquakes. The writer pondered over how to distinguish between natural tremors and the tremor caused by underground nuclear weapons thus the research conducted by F. Press came to his help.
Scientists and Engineers from the opposite sides of the Iron Curtain started finding a solution. It seemed impossible outwardly. But the scientists were able to work out a common language. Their solution allowed politicians to reach the decision ‘Nuclear Test Ban’. This particular thing made the writer think that he was not alone and science can bring the hope of survival and well-being of humanity.
Knowledge of basic science will give people an advantage in whatever career they choose. It is true that science doesn’t go with practical sense. Yet all research stem from science. So, people trained in the theoretical physical are headhunted by financial institutions but those trained in frontiers of biological research become founders and directors in the pharmaceutical industry.
Natural and man-made disasters threaten the survival of our civilization. The self-inflicted destruction of megacities, environmental catastrophes, Economic and social crises, and Earthquakes are examples. Nuclear waste disposal releases radioactivity which can cause up to a million casualties.
Our world becomes uninhabitable and triggers global economic depression or a war in a ‘hot’ region. We cannot check them though we spend trillions of dollars. We are in a situation in which it sums impossible to come to an agreement or disagreement. To break this, we not only require money but also intellectual resources. Here the author quotes the French proverb “Nobody is satisfied with his wealth; everybody is satisfied with his wisdom”.
To live to save and unharmed, we need scientific research and it is the scientists with their tools that are up to the challenge and can ensure that we move on. So, science should be used humanly then only it becomes our guardian and caretaker; if not, it becomes a destroyer and leads all to destruction. I George Bundy has rightly said that ‘it is in our hands to bloom or the perish’.
According to the author, scientists are the most practical people in the world. This could be seen in new technologies, new brands of the industry from defence to entertainment. The scientist invents antibiotics, electronics, biotechnology, synthetic fibres, the green revolution, genetic forensic diagnosis, etc. According to the author Borok, some people choose to become scientists because they cannot live without science. To them, science is an adventure and the discovery made is the reward. Instead of money, they enjoy freedom, friendship, and the joy of uncovering the mysteries of nature. The very survival of our civilization is threatened by natural and man-made disasters. Among them are earthquakes, self-inflicted destruction of megacities, environmental catastrophes, economic and social crises. Today, a massive release of radioactivity from nuclear waste disposal, an earthquake in the middle of a megalopolis, an outburst of mass violence, or any other global disaster, can cause up to a million casualties, render a large part of our world uninhabitable, trigger global economic depression, or a war in a ‘hot’ region.