Monday, March 7, 2011

Vision of Science & War in 1930's

          Since its earliest days, science has been associated with war. The inventors Archimedes and Leonardo turned their talents to the problems of fighting, and since the rise of modern science many individual scientists have steered their investigations towards military purposes. But the orientation of science to war was relatively sporadic until the rise of professionalised science under the auspices of the state beginning in the late 1800s. The process of incorporation of science into the war system was greatly accelerated by the two world wars this century, and especially since World War Two science has become an essential part of military races.
            Untill the beginning of world wars , scientific research was mainly meant for human development and the main funding for research and development were from industries.In USA federal funding for seen before world wars was sparse.American scientist Vannevar Bush wrote that “Military labs were dominated by army officers and they didn't have any idea about science and technology, and the scientists and engineers worked in these labs were considered as a lower caste of society”.During World war 1 many countries realized the importance of science and technology in winning the war.It was German's who dominated in the beginning of the war.They used chlorine from powerful dye industries and they invented many nitrite poisonous gases also.
          In USA the mutual mistrust between scientists and military began to change in 1940.In this year US military formed new organisation called National Defence Research Committee, which was a combination of military,industryand scientific leaders and Vannevar Bush was selected as its chairman.The main intention of NDRC was to develop new kind of weapons for US military.He leaded the Manhattan project and succeded in developing the first atomic bomb. After this success US military funded for more than 4000 scientists.The US authorities realized the role played by scientific research and development in winning the war and president Roosevelt stated “ It is my judgement that the national interest in scientific research and science education can best be promoted by the creation of National Research Foundation”.On realization importance of science in war, the state defence departement continued the connection with scientific research and development.
            War influences not only specific scientific projects but also the whole direction of technological innovation. This in turn influences the ongoing focus of scientific research, which is at all times influenced by current technologies.Nuclear power is a prime example of this interaction. The massive expansion of interest in nuclear science during World War Two was of course due to the interest in making a devastating weapon.Nuclear power was in many ways a spin-off from nuclear weapons programmes, depending on physical facilities such as uranium enrichment built for making weapons grade uranium, on the scientific and engineering skills gained through weapons research and development, and on the political advantage in the early 1950s in associating nuclear technology with peaceful purposes. Once nuclear power projects were launched by several governments, they provided a strong force for expanding training and research in nuclear science and engineering.


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