Science in the 20th Century: A Social Intellectual Survey



Science in the 20th Century: A Social Intellectual Survey
Publisher: The Teaching Company| ISBN: N/A| edition 2004| File type: PDF | 69 59 57 pages | 17 16 14 mb
Professor Science and society: A turning point in the growth of U.S. science came in 1862, when Congress passed the Merrill Land Grant Act, giving large tracts of federal land to any state that would create an engineering college. This created an academic community that would later help spawn the unparalleled scientific advances of the 20th century Physics: In developing the special theory of relativity, Einstein was driven by a profoundly simple question: what does it mean to say that two events happen at the same time? Mathematics: Mathematicians live with a peculiar, unresolved problem: what is the nature of mathematical objects? Do they exist independently of the human mind? Psychology: The Stanford-Binet IQ test was developed during World War I to screen out recruits who were not intellectually capable of functioning in the U.S. Army. It was not intended to be an index for ranking intelligence at all levels. Nonetheless, it became the basis for what is still a preoccupation with testing. Cosmology: In the 1950s, most scientists were sympathetic to the steady state theory that held the universe has always existed. For science, absolute beginnings are a problem. Telecommunications: Today, fiber optic cables and communications satellites make long distance phone calls routine. However, at the time of Sputnik in 1957 there was just one undersea telephone cable connecting the U.S. with Europe, carrying a grand total of 36 simultaneous calls. Meteorology: The atmosphere transports insects, seeds, pollutants, sand, bacteria, and viruses between continents. Sand from the Chinese desert routinely rains down on the west coast of the U.S. bringing microbes with it. Archaeology: Archaeologists increasingly use techniques borrowed from other disciplines. Recently, textile experts were able to identify Celtic weaving patterns in cloth discovered in western China, dating from 2000 B.C.E. This establishes a heretofore-unknown ancient link between Europe and Asia.


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