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Greatest Scientific achievement of the last century?

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This evening I watched that fascinating progamme, Pain, Pus and Poison: the Search for Modern Medicines, on BBC 4.

 

It got me thinking of the above and in the end I agree with Michael Mosley that the eradication of smallpox ranks as the greatest achievement.

 

Any thoughts anyone?

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It could be a number of things. Wouldn't be fair of me to label 1 as a definite greatest. We've come a long way in many aspects of different science

 

1. Advancing medical science

 

2. The Internet 

 

3. The Space Race 

 

4. The UK national electricity grid put in place in the 1930's

 

And possibly other notable examples.

Edited by Gaz1985
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I realise it could be a number of things but if one was forced to choose one. Obviously there is nought definitive about it but just a personal opinion.

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Putting a man on the moon.

 

It represents man breaking free from the shackles placed upon it, breaking free from limitations and taking a step towards its future in the infinitives of space.

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I'd be torn between penicillin & the silicon chip.

 

I considered penicillin as well and the discovery of the structure of DNA.

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Putting a man on the moon.

It seems to of gone backwards since 1969 in those regards.

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Difficult but quantum mechanics must be up there.

The other great physics revolution was Einstein's theory on relativity, energy, gravity.

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Microwave ovens, Pot Noodles, homebrew beer kits and yes, penicillin and the doors it opened to the whole world of antibiotics. Great programme that knocks, I'm sure - but being incredibly squeamish I didn't get beyond the episode where he was shoving pins straight thru' his hand and whacking himself in the eye with a pointy object to demonstrate the anaesthetic properties of morphine and cocaine....

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All medical discoveries ie penicillin. Better treatments for cancers, and communications.

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It seems to of gone backwards since 1969 in those regards.

 

It did for about 30 years but that's largely because the notion was dependent on huge state financing. In the last decade or so we have really seen the private sector begin to pick up the pace and now develop great ideas and technologies. Skylon for example could be revolutionary, there are two planned manned missions to Mars in the next decade and two companies have been created to mine asteroids, one backed by several billionaires (James Cameron, the Google creators), it's really getting going now.

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Putting a man on the moon.

 

It represents man breaking free from the shackles placed upon it, breaking free from limitations and taking a step towards its future in the infinitives of space.

 

But as a child is still dying roughly every seven seconds I feel we should sort out our limitations first. And these were cruelly exposed when 20 million died during an influenza pandemic and whose to say a viral pandemic couldn't happen again, particularly with world wide population movement.

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It seems to of gone backwards since 1969 in those regards.

Except that satellites are now practically indispensable to daily life.Sending men to the moon was something of a dead end - but robotic exploration has continued to advance.

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Relativity, Quantum Mechanics (and by extension Feynman and Dirac's QED), and Kurt Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. These are the truly great intellectual achievements.

Penicillin was discovered by mistake, and the silicon chip was simply the next engineering step along from the transistor and vacuum tube, adding nothing in terms of the sum of human knowledge. The Apollo project was astonishing, but really just an implementation of a problem solved by Newton 300 years ago.

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It is only partly true that penicillin was discovered by mistake. Fleming and the mold was lucky but it was years later before it was investigated further and developed. I'm also nor sure how development of antibiotics and vaccines added nothing to human knowledge as they have managed to save millions of lives.

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It is only partly true that penicillin was discovered by mistake. Fleming and the mold was lucky but it was years later before it was investigated further and developed. I'm also nor sure how development of antibiotics and vaccines added nothing to human knowledge as they have managed to save millions of lives.

Sorry, i meant silicon chips, not antibiotics. Jonathan Miller, I think, once said that medical science had achieved practically nothing prior to 1930. I agree though, that the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics and the threat of a genuine global pandemic are perhaps the biggest worries of the 21st Century. More so than rogue nuclear states, climate change, etc, imo. But that's a different debate. Edited by Yarmy

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But as a child is still dying roughly every seven seconds I feel we should sort out our limitations first. And these were cruelly exposed when 20 million died during an influenza pandemic and whose to say a viral pandemic couldn't happen again, particularly with world wide population movement.

 

The beauty of having seven billion people on the planet is that there is no shortage of ideas and no need to focus on one singular objective at the expense of another.

 

Man should never be held back, we must acknowledge that things are still not perfect on our world but we must seek the universe.

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Probably the invention of radio,television and home computers oh and of course jumpers that can be used as goal postsPosted Image

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It did for about 30 years but that's largely because the notion was dependent on huge state financing. In the last decade or so we have really seen the private sector begin to pick up the pace and now develop great ideas and technologies. Skylon for example could be revolutionary, there are two planned manned missions to Mars in the next decade and two companies have been created to mine asteroids, one backed by several billionaires (James Cameron, the Google creators), it's really getting going now.

Now a one way ticket to mars an awful lot to go wrong with this unless theres something more capable to reach that far 3 months is a long time indeed,whats there we don`t know about.

Needs more advanced technology to get to mars.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/10570642/Student-shortlisted-for-one-way-ticket-to-Mars.html

Edited by Snowyowl9

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