Chapter 1. Science, Technology, and Social Problems

  1. John B. Wachtman Jr.
  1. Rustum Roy

Published Online: 26 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470313855.ch1

Proceedings of the First Annual Society Lecture Series on Frontiers of Science and Society: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 12, Issue 11/12

Proceedings of the First Annual Society Lecture Series on Frontiers of Science and Society: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 12, Issue 11/12

How to Cite

Roy, R. (1991) Science, Technology, and Social Problems, in Proceedings of the First Annual Society Lecture Series on Frontiers of Science and Society: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 12, Issue 11/12 (ed J. B. Wachtman), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470313855.ch1

Author Information

  1. Materials Research Laboratory and Science, Technology, and Society Program The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470375112

Online ISBN: 9780470313855

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Keywords:

  • autonomous;
  • amorphous;
  • technology;
  • disastrous;
  • thermodynamics

Summary

This decade which forms the threshold to the 21st century may well also usher in a radically new and much more modest role first for science then for technology. Both science and technology and their marriage in international technology have become enormously powerful and autonomous of national governments. The latter feature will likely cause a rapid change in their fortunes, especially since the benefits science and technology provide to the average citizen have reached a plateau in the most developed quarter of the world. This paper examines the status of U.S. technology policy and finds it nonexistent. It examines the state of U.S. science and finds it in an internal moral and social crisis even as it prospers financially. The state of K—12 science education of the masses reflects the sorry state of urban society: it cannot improve until the latter improves. New content which alters the content of science from the more abstract “sciences”—physics, chemistry, biology—to the “sensable,” “applied,” or “rear (e.g., materials, earth, agriculture, health, and engineering) sciences is a necessary first change to bringing science back into the mainstream. Responses to this situation by the individual scientist, by our professional societies, and by the nation are proposed.