Science as a Cultural Force Author:Harry Woolf 1964 — As a force in our culture, science not only influences society but is also influenced by it. These four essays help establish a meeting ground for discussion between scientist snad non-scientists about the broader implications of scientific progress. — The essays are concerned with the outer, public life of scientific activities and the inn... more »er, private world of scientific thought. James R. Killian, Jr., and Jerome B. Wiesner explore the relationship of science with the government and technology. Michael Polanyi and Gerald Holton focus on the meaning and nature of scientific thought.
The extent to which science and government have become closely associated is, as Killian explains, a new force in society. He is concerned with the government's role as dispenser of funds for science, and the role of the scientist who is working for the policy makers.
Wiesner's essay discusses, among other things, the technological and social revolution caused by the computer. Capable of simulating entire environments, the computer enables man to make intelligent and knowledgeable decisions about the future social order.
Presenting a provocative and minority opinion on the theory of knowledge, Polanyi asks how we can account for our awareness of the natural world. He abandons the usual ideal of scientific detachment, and shows "that all knowledge is based on a measure of personal participlation."
Holton describes the process by which scientific theories are constructed. He explores the theoretical and thematic elements of science which underlie the technical work of the scientists.
These essays were originally delivered at The Johns Hopkins University for the Shell Companies Foundation Lectures on Science, Technology, and Society. Harry Woolf, editor and organizer of the symposium, is chairman of the Department of History of Science and The Johns Hopkins University.« less