Science & Technology
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The importance of science in modern society

By Pascale Horan
Holy Heart of Mary
St. John's, Newfoundland


 Increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the steady decline of tropical rain forests and the steady rise in industrial pollution has created world-wide concern over the future of the planet Earth.

A space station is in the process of being built to be used to study the Earth, stars and man in space...and boiling a kettle of water.

What do these three things have in common? They are all directly linked to the wonderful thing called science.

Science permeates our lives and informs our actions. Physics, for example, teaches us how mirrors work, how glasses can aid one's vision and how heat is treated by various household materials (plates and utensils). Chemistry discusses the principles of matter, like atoms, molecules and compounds. It discusses the countless different substances that can arise from the minutest variations within compounds. These atoms, molecules and compounds make up the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the medicines we take when we are sick. Some we can't possibly live without.

Biology, the study of life, teaches us why we are the way we are, why we need what we need to survive, how all living things are categorized, when we all came from. These, and countless other questions and answers are all related to science.

Going deeper into the concept of science and it's importance, you can understand why it is essential for Canada to have a clear idea how will students are doing in this subject area. Why? Students are the future of Canada.

In order to keep our economy growing, we need a new wave of educated students ready for modern scientific research, teaching and technological development.

There have been so many tremendous advances in technology over the last decade or so, in fact the pace is accelerating. Everyday new things are discovered and with the increase in scientific knowledge, there is an increase in demand for educated students. Cancer research has found a virus capable of killing cancerous tumors in rats. Although this has not been sufficiently tested for use on people yet, scientists predict that testing on human volunteers may come into effect in around two years or so. There has also been the ever-controversial breakthroughs in the cloning of sheep and mice, which can have a great impact (whether good or bad) on the future.

Furthermore, it is essential for Canada to know how well students are doing in science because without this knowledge you can't even hope to be able to modify the school systems with the intention of challenging and encouraging students in the various branches of science. To accommodate growing reliance on this subject, you can't leave everything the way it is and hope that Canadian students keep on top.

Similarly, science is also important in the international job market. The greater the advances in scientific technology, the greater the demand for workers sufficiently educated in these particular areas. Excellence in the sciences can open many doors, otherwise closed, for students. These skills can get you a job almost anywhere in the world, and with the growing concerns about finding jobs, it certainly helps to have so many options available to you. From engineering to dentistry, or from cancer research to maintaining a national park, a large percentage of the jobs today require background in science.

There is another important aspect of science that I have saved for last. Science is fun. Fun in many ways. Learning is always fun but it's especially rewarding when it has something to do with the things going on around you. There is a satisfaction that comes from learning about these often complex matters that goes far beyond merely getting a good grade. It helps you to understand the world around you and to appreciate it's complexities. It teaches you that we can't possibly understand everything about the world ever, but we go on trying anyway, engaging in the never- ending search for truths... and why? We do this because science is fun and exciting. The more we learn, the more we want to learn, the more we feel ourselves pushed towards the answers and towards further questions, towards the future...