Science & Technology

A future of discovery in science and technology

By Stephanie Collins
Holy Heart of Mary
St. John's, Newfoundland

The lives of future generations rest in our hands. This is as heavy a burden today as it was in years gone by. Every generation felt that it was up to them to cure the incurable, think the unthinkable and achieve the impossible.

   The discovery of penicillin was a major breakthrough in the medical world. Today, scientists are in a race to cure diseases such as AIDS and cancer. In the early seventies, man raced to the moon. Today we are busy identifying whether or not other planets can support life. One of the most useful inventions of all times, the computer, is going through a catharsis. As we approach the year 2000 we are spending as much time looking at the shortcomings of the computer as we are its advantages.

We are no different than the youth of generations gone by. The only true advantage we hold is that we can draw on the experience of those before us. So much of the scientific world revolves around probability and possibility. I believe that history provides science with the necessary perspective.

It is important for Canada to know how well students are doing in science because the youth of Canada are the ones who will take responsibility for scientific advancements and discoveries in the next millennium. Our generation must possess a high aptitude for the sciences combined with a determination and perseverance that will drive us to achieve our goals. Our goals will find us competing with other nations to find a cure for the diseases which continue to plague us. Canadians must be sure that tomorrow's youth are able to meet this challenge. As our population ages and our planet becomes threatened by environmental crisis, we must turn our attention to survival... for our future is dependent upon our survival. An educated, curious child will grow into a bright and inquisitive scientist.

Our teachers must ensure that Canada is a leader in scientific education. Programs must be current and challenging. Perhaps it is time for there to be a more defined link between scientific research and what we are doing in our classrooms. The brightest and best ideas will come from children who seek opportunity and rise to the challenges put before them. If Canadian students are provided with the resources to challenge ideas and solve problems then they will become an effective workforce for the next century. I think Canada would be well served by a mentoring system that would match youth with established professionals in different science faculties. If we as a country, feel that there are issues which will challenge our existence on this planet, we must be assured that there is a generation willing and ready to come to our defense.

Science is not only fascinating, but it is also rewarding for youth. Everyday we are learning new and interesting facts pertaining to science. With the many television shows, CD-ROM packages, and books, that seek to inform us, we are developing a wealth of information that sometimes baffles us, but challenges us to seek more answers.

The world is a global village. Having a strong background in science is an invaluable asset to competing in an international job market. This is true for many reasons. A scientific principle understood in one country is applicable in any country. Like any scientific experiment, it is the variables that change. Although we may have to adapt the way we conduct an experiment or apply a procedure, the basic scientific principles will remain unchanged. Science is a language in itself. In other words, scientific knowledge is universal. For this reason, those educated in the domain of science will be able to apply for work in the international job market.

The second reason, is that no matter where in the world you travel, science can always be put to a practical use. The need for society to progress is a constant one, therefore signaling that the need for science isn't a mere fad. Some of the biggest, most important, highest paying and rewarding jobs in today's society are ones that require an in-depth understanding of science. The demand for trained scientists will not diminish. If anything, the next century will find us placing higher demands and more emphasis on an education based in science.

Science is a frontier that has been explored throughly over the years. Even so, there are still many discoveries waiting to happen. If students develop interest in science at a young age it is likely that their interest will entice them to accept the challenges that science has to offer as we enter the new millennium.