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Category: 08. 10/24 Big ST and Wars (Page 1 of 2)

Chemical Warfare Implications

The World Wars of the twentieth century had major implications on scientific and technological advancements as chemical warfare sparked a race for destruction. Chemical warfare is the only explanation for the immensely high death toll; over 75 million people died in a time frame equal to about a decade.  By simply analyzing the numbers, but more importantly those from World War II, it can be understood that the developments made in chemical warfare were what made that possible.

The elements of war at the time were what led to scientific and technological advances: how can we kill as much of the enemy as possible without putting our men in harms way? Scientists were pushed to the limit, simply being told to create weapons that would take the most human lives at once. Weapons were created that could wipe out entire regiments of soldiers with the click of a button. Consequently, the horrific outcome of both wars was driven by the desire to win. Nations were compelled to act in ways never yet seen before: this was most prevalent with the dropping of the atomic bomb. The United States government sanctioned the use of a weapon that took thousands of civilian lives, something we had never seen until that point. It was a display of scientific and technological dominance. The decision came out of desperation, and there is no question about that. The results of Pearl Harbor left the United States as a nation desperate for a way out. The atomic bomb gave our government that opportunity. The creators of the bomb recognized its’ scientific significance: “the atomic bomb was so terrifying that it would put an end to conventional warfare, but that, counterintuitively, this was not good, because the bomb would put in its stead a hideous peace as “horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity” (Oreskes). The idea was understood but its’ true implications were not. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki triggered the race for nuclear power and eventually, the Cold War. Because of that, the advancements made during the global wars were in fact detrimental to our society. The scientific and technological advancements made led to hysteria around the world. Nations began to compete for power, and soon countries possessed enough nuclear weapons to wipe out half of the world. Discoveries made in the mid twentieth century became the weaponry of the future, and has proved to be more destructive and more powerful than anything else.

STS and War

War has been apart of human history since the beginning of mankind. Nations and people fight over their ideologies and to prove that theirs are superior. War, along with our society, has evolved over time. War started off with swords and arrow. In today’s world war has now turned into machine guns and bombs. People are always trying to get the best of their opponents, they are always trying to create the new technology that will destroy their enemies. The global wars in the twentieth century really transformed this ideology and changed the way many currently view science. Wars in the twentieth century have become a cautionary tale about the devastating effects of possibly going too far in the scientific realm.

The wars in the twentieth century lead to many devastating inventions like the nuclear bomb and poisonous gas. Many scientists had little regard for human life and solely focused on advancing their inventions. Scientists wanted to break limits and build what would have been deemed impossible. These creations ended up taking millions of lives in the wake of their creation. In hindsight many argue that these creations were immorally created and should never exist. I think that these impacts were both detrimental and beneficial. From a straightforward perspective these inventions were extremely detrimental due to the shear amount of lives lost at the helm of these weapons. However, some benefits did surface through these devastating inventions. Through the bombs and gas people were finally able to realize that science can be dangerous. People realized that we should take a second to really think about what we are doing. We now take that extra second to ask, “is this the moral thing to do, to go through with this creation?”. Many in scientist fields have been impacted greatly by these wars as scientists now make sure to understand the ramification of their actions. Instead of advancing the fields of science without thinking about the after affects, people now take the time to look at the bigger picture and understand how exactly everyone will be affected.  

War & Its Role in Defining Scientific Purpose

Science and technology have transformed the way in which we approach some of the biggest issues we face in today’s world, including that of national security. Technological advancements in recent decades have undoubtedly shaped our approaches to war, particularly with regards to the means of warfare. Spears, bows and arrows have been replaced with atomic bombs, nuclear weapons and missiles thereby revolutionizing the concept of war. However, the often overlooked aspect of this transformation is its impacts on the field of science itself. The demand for more advanced war equipment and tighter national security has shifted the rhetoric of the scientific field, providing it with a newfound sense of purpose and identity.

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Wars and Their Transformation of Science and Technology

Global wars have transformed science and technology in the United States as well as in other countries. A major scientific issue that came about specifically in the World Wars was nuclear and particle physics. This is the study of atoms and their parts. It was believed that because of the mass-energy equivalence (E=mc^2) then a bomb could be made by splitting the nucleus of an atom. This later became known as the atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project was the group working to design and build such a weapon, and they had a team of some of the smartest people in America at the time working to create this bomb. As we know from  World War II, this project was successful in creating and using this weapon of mass destruction.

When a scientist is put in charge of building such a creation,  they must question more than just how to build the weapon. Once a weapon is built, then there is the obviousness that it will be used to kill hundreds and thousands of innocent people. This was the case with the atomic bomb. Albert Einstein, who first alerted the president of the idea of an atomic bomb, later came to regret his decision when he witnessed the destruction and devastation it caused to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although this was a destructive and deadly project, the principles underlying the A-bomb’s creation helped to swiftly progress the field of physics and chemistry. Giant leaps were made in the study of quantum mechanics and particle physics, and these findings were due in large part to the need for knowledge and weaponry during the global wars.

Along with the wars there was also a space race across many nations, including the United States and Russia. Previously, Russia had been able to send the first man into space in a low-Earth orbit around the planet. This made a Russian the first man into space. The United States were not out of the race, however, and they saw the moon as the big end-goal to determine which country was truly at the top of the technological pyramid. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969 it solidified the USA’s title of having the first men on the moon. During this time period, major government funding was being pumped into science and technology, as well as NASA and the space program. Since these global wars funding for these areas has been diminishing, however organizations such as NASA have been continuing their space exploration, and there have been major findings even since these wars which proves that science and technology are still thriving in the United States and across the globe.

Big ST and Wars

Over the last century, scientific advancement has changed every aspect of our lives. From medicine involving simpler and more effective disease control and cure, to the description of the atom and use of atomic energy, and to the industrial use of chemicals, our society is safer, more productive and efficient than ever before.

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The twentieth century was filled with many wars and disputes that drastically impacted the world. The social implications are obvious, as we experienced two world wars and a potential third- the cold war- throughout the 1900s. But it takes deeper understanding and thinking to realize that there were many technological and scientific breakthroughs during this time.
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Evolution of Science and Technology during the 20th Century

The several wars that had happened during the 20th century greatly impacted the way science and technology evolved and progressed. WWI proved to show that countries who lacked scienctific and technological progression faced more troubles and struggles than those who had better resources. The 20th century proved to have the most intense and horrible wars to go on. All nations at war were always trying to one up the other, be better on all accounts than the other nation such as; strategy, weaponry and straight up man power to conquer the other side.At the end of the 20th century many national leaders noticed a chnage in the science and technology and saw the impact and influence it had on the outcome of the wars. Continue reading

America: The Nuclear Nation

The global wars of the 20th Century formed the identities of the nations involved in the warfare. Specifically, the introduction of chemical and nuclear warfare propelled the United States into a period of immense progress in scientific research. Thinkers from around the world congregated to develop weapons that would inflict an impressive amount of damage. Though the direct consequences of such innovations resulted in widespread death, the impacts of discovering new technologies were beneficial towards the future of science.

The Manhattan Project of WWII was a program developed by the United States to beat the axis powers in creating nuclear warfare. The legacy of the Manhattan Project is impressive. Great advances in physics, engineering, nuclear energy, and nuclear medicine took place. The eventual use of nuclear weapons on civilian cities has caused a wide range of debates and conflicts. Nonetheless, the project itself was an incredible achievement that saw the fusion of military and scientific development.


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