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Chapter 35 : Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society

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Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

People use all technologies for the same purpose: to change the environment so that the natural world suits us better. Technologies not only alter the environment; they change people. Beneficial technologies that meet legitimate societal needs can also have negative societal impacts, some of which are also unpredictable. The concept of technology encompasses the practices and products humans develop to modify and control nature for sustenance and comfort. As science-based understanding of the natural world broadened and deepened, science and technology began to converge, and progress in one began to drive advances in the other. Some people argue that the economic and social benefits that science-based technology development has provided to some of us are not worth the costs, particularly to the environment, paid by all of us. Not only do science and technology affect society, but societies also affect science and technology development. Knowledge really is power, so understanding something about two of the primary forces that make today's world go round-science and technology makes people less vulnerable to manipulation by others. Finally, and probably most surprising to those who think science has all of the answers, one has to be comfortable with ambiguity, uncertainty, and being wrong-a lot. Dismissing decisions about science and technology as someone else's concern makes it easy for a handful of people to control the most powerful forces shaping the modern world.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35

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Lead
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Chemicals
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Carrot
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Figures

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Figure 35.1

The relationship between progress in science and technology development is circular, not linear, so changes in one lead to changes in the other. In addition, their relationship is also reciprocal: technology is as important to scientific advance as scientific understanding is to technological innovation.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35
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Image of Figure 35.2
Figure 35.2

Stages of technology development. Basic scientific research leads to discoveries that give rise to ideas about possible technological solutions to problems. For technical and economic reasons, only a few of those ideas become realized as possible products or processes. Of those products and processes that are feasible, only some receive government regulatory approval. Additional attrition of potential technologies occurs during scale-up, because a sufficient amount of product at a saleable price cannot be produced.

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35
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Download as Powerpoint
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Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint
Image of Untitled
Untitled

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint

References

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Tables

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Table 35.1

Fundamental differences between science and technology

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35
Generic image for table
Table 35.2

Time lapse between technology introduction and widespread use

Citation: Kreuzer H, Massey A. 2008. Facing the Forces: Science, Technology, and Society, p 332-340. In Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide for Students, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817480_ch35

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