In my opinion, the pursuit of knowledge and overall improvement of our global society should be the number one priority for scientists internationally. However, it is not always that simple.

Starting with learning the life cycle of a frog, the scientific method, and how a tree grows, science has always been a crucial component of my public school education, and it was a subject we were required to learn by the government. In fact, I was in at least one science class all the way through my senior year of high school. In those classes, we were always encouraged to think outside of the box and question the way the world works in order to learn more. We were taught to admire scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and other remarkable people who devoted their life toward science.

But it never really occurred to me that science could be used in ways other than to benefit society. As I got older, we were taught about chemical warfare and the atomic bomb, clear examples of how science is used for destruction. While these examples seem obvious, there are actually many destructive elements of nature, some less obvious than others. For example, many labs test on animals, therefore limiting their lives for the purpose of helping ours. Additionally, technology today is extremely accessible for the general public. But it’s also commercialized to such an extent that companies such as Apple and Microsoft are more concerned with making money than putting out the best product possible.

There are actually groups established fighting for the original purposes of science, discovery and societal improvement. One of these groups is Science for the People, which was established in the late 1960s as a part of the anti-war movement. It advocates for using science only to benefit the general public, which includes using clean energy, alternative military use of science, maintaining human jobs even through the advancements in technology, and race and gender equality in the lab. While I recognize and agree with their motivations for what they’re advocating, I don’t think it’s realistic or possible. When it comes to militarism, our country’s safety will not be sacrificed just to maintain the purity of science, and sometimes using science as a weapon is our only choice. The progression of science has obviously had many positive impacts on the world in which we live, but it also comes with many complications. Although there is no simple solution, I believe that we should continue to emphasize science in the classroom, but we should also be required to demonstrate the dangers science can have on our society to make future generations aware of this ongoing conflict.