Before last Tuesday night, I didn’t know much about the Scientific Revolution. However, Professor Cohen’s lecture “How Revolutionary-and how Scientific-was the Scientific Revolution?”, was very informative and made the cogs in my head start to turn. In his lecture, Professor Cohen distinguished that “The” Scientific Revolution wasn’t the first or last Scientific Revolution to occur, and that it should really be renamed to “A” Scientific Revolution.
This event, that revolutionized natural science through mathematically precise, experimentally-based discoveries may have been seen as unique in the 16th and 17th centuries, but it seems that almost every era is categorized by such a revolution. This revolution brought the medieval world to the modern world. However, now that we’re in the modern world, where is there to go? This brings me to my question: How many more scientific revolutions will there be?
The world has definitely come a long way since the 16th century, but we still have a long way to go. There are many world issues that we need to focus on and “revolutionize”, and not all of these are dealing with hard sciences. Many people think physics, biology, and chemistry when their hear “science”, but I think of agriculture, technology, and infrastructure.
For example, we need to have an agricultural/farm science revolution. In the United States we have a somewhat sustainable food system, but other countries do not. There are entire populations that go day to day without food, clean drinking water, and the basic necessities required to live. There needs to be a scientific push to help further process in developing nations and at home. While the common adage is “think of the starving children in Africa,” what about the starving children in America? There is no reason for Americans to be hungry while we have an enormous amount of food waste in this country. Perhaps this revolution could focus on reducing food waste, encouraging people to donate expired goods instead of throwing them away, and finding a way to produce larger quantities of food without completely depleting the land of all natural resources.
As a planet as a whole we also need to focus on an energy revolution. We are much too dependent on fossil fuels and non-renewable resources, such as petroleum, gasoline, and coal. The last I heard, fossil fuels are expected to be depleted in 300 years, and while that might seem like a long time from now, our consumption of and dependence on these fuels continues to grow. However, if we change our main energy sources to more sustainable renewable energies such as hydro, solar, wind, and natural gas, we won’t have to worry and we’ll also reduce the damage that we inflict on the Earth. These energies are already being used on a small scale, we just need to expand outwards. There is always the excuse that producing them is too expensive, but if adequate research and research are put into the process, and once we make the switch it’ll be much more affordable.
Overall, while there have been many scientific revolutions in the past, I believe that there will be many more in the future. We’re definitely an intellectually advanced society, but there is always room for improvement. Until the world is perfect and free from struggle, we need to challenge ourselves to ask what revolutions still need to happen and how they’re going to impacts us.