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How Science & Technology Can Be Used to Solve Society's Problems

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  • 0:00 What Are Science & Technology?
  • 0:56 Solving Society's Problems
  • 2:58 The Future
  • 3:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

What is science and technology, and how do we use them to solve society's problems? Learn about the many advances humans have made thanks to science, then test your knowledge with a quiz.

What Are Science and Technology?

Science and technology have completely changed the world over the last 200 years. Human life expectancy has doubled. We've learned how to communicate and travel rapidly across the entire globe. We're surrounded by televisions, computers, electric lights, cars, cell phones, and all kinds of things that would have been unimaginable even a century ago. And none of it would be possible without science and technology.

Science is the systematic study of the natural world, through observation and experiment. Technology is the use of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, to complete tasks that wouldn't be possible without it. Technology can be super simple, like the wheel, or super complicated, like the personal computer. Either way, we are surrounded by it in our modern lives.

Solving Society's Problems

Sometimes it might seem like technology only causes problems or complicates things. People yearn for a simpler life, without cell phones beeping, traffic jams, and dangerous weapons. But the truth is, science and technology have solved a lot of society's problems and will continue to do so in the future.

In today's Western world, you no longer have to grow your own food, or wash your own clothes by hand. And, you don't have to worry as much about the prospect of getting sick and dying. Agricultural technologies, like fertilizers (discovered by chemists), combine harvesters (built by engineers), and selective breeding (worked on by biologists), have allowed us to produce incredible amounts of highly nutritious food on relatively little land. This has led to a huge boom in the population.

Another human problem is our susceptibility to disease. But thanks to science and medical technology, our life expectancies have increased at a dramatic rate. We now have antibiotics and other drugs to cure diseases (thanks to chemists), MRI scanners to take images of the inside of the body (developed by physicists), ventilators to breathe for you, and pacemakers to beat your heart for you. All these things are only possible because of what scientists have learned over the last two centuries.

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