The late 20th and early 21st century have become a time
of technological wonders. From
the end of World War II to the present, man has
begun to explore space, created an information
superhighway, and has made advances in keeping
humans healthy and long lived.
These advances are only a small measure of the
scientific and technological achievements of the modern
After World War II. the United States and the Soviet
Union began a program of arms building
that lasted almost 50 years and costs hundreds of
trillions of dollars. The main focus of this arms
race was the development of nuclear weapons,
and systems to either protect against, or attack in case
they were used. The offshoot of this weapons build
up was civilian applications for military products, such
as nuclear energy.
Throughout the 20th century, scientists worked on improving
agriculture, especially in areas with high
populations. Some of the technologies developed included
irrigation systems so farmers could get
water to their crops. New machinery
was built to handle larger production and to take the
burden of agriculture work off of humans. New
chemical fertilizers and pesticides
were created to increase food production, and new
varieties of grains and livestock were
developed also for greater production. The Green
Revolution has had only limited success.
The high costs associated with many of these new
technologies have kept the small farmer from taking
advantage of them.
Computer Revolution: Early computers were
so large they filled up entire rooms and were
incredibly slow. Today, computers sit on desktops
and can perform many complex operations at once.
Computers have allowed people to obtain, process,
and disseminate information very
quickly. Businesses rely almost completely on
computers for a variety of tasks, and they are becoming
more prominent in homes and school. The great
increase in use of the computer is called the Computer
The Internet: The
Internet is a vast network of computers from all around
the world that links individuals, businesses,
and governments. It allows for the rapid exchange
of information, it is used to conduct all levels
of business, and is increasing becoming a new form of
entertainment. The Internet is also being
increasingly used in education as jobs in industrialized
countries move away from manufacturing,
and into information services.
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, a
satellite into orbit around the earth. Soon after,
the United States Congress created the National
Space Administration, or NASA to develop
American space technology. This created the Space
Race during the Cold War. The Soviets put
the first man into space in 1961, and the
U.S. put the first man on the moon in 1969.
Both countries also developed military applications for
space, such as spy satellites.
and Deep Space Probes: From the 1970s through today
many countries have sent satellites and probes into
space. The U.S. leads the way today with the largest
space program. In the late 1970s the U.S.
developed a reusable space vehicle,
the Space Shuttle. The shuttle has
been used to launch hundreds of satellites and
probes. Today these include, weather, television
and communication, navigational, and military
satellites. Probes have been sent to the ends of
our solar system and have explored planets such as, Mars
and Venus. The Hubble Space Telescope
has been able to send back amazing pictures of other
solar systems, some similar to our own.
Since the end of World War II, medical science have made
amazing advances. Today, people live longer,
healthier lives, infant mortality is down, and the
quality of life has been raised.
||Scientists have developed
antibiotics that treat diseases associated with
||Vaccines have helped to eliminate
some diseases such as smallpox and prevented the
spread of many others.
||Surgeons developed and gradually
improved transplanting organs to help save
||Lasers, or concentrated beams of
light, have made many surgical procedures safer.
Genetic Engineering: The process of
changing the chemical code carrier by living things may
hold promise for creating new drugs and curing
disease. In 1997, the first complete clone
was created, which has since caused a lot of
controversy. How far should science go to preserve
New Epidemics: The biggest
epidemic of modern times is AIDS.
to search for a cure to this disease which has cost
millions their lives. Other recent epidemics
include both pneumonia and bubonic in
India, and the spread of the Ebola virus through
parts of Africa.
Drug Resistant Diseases:
The widespread use of antibiotics has allowed
some types of disease microbes to become resistant.
Certain diseases, such as tuberculosis, which
doctors once thought under control, have become a threat
Deforestation: The destruction of
the world's tropical rainforest could very
well also be destroying potential cures to many
diseases. Also, many medicines available today
derive from plants in the rainforests. When the
forests are gone, so will these medicines be gone.