IF I WERE A SCIENTIST
We live in a scientific age and scientists are respected everywhere. Science developed for the past several centuries has produced results which have caused different reactions in different sections of society. There are many who think science has bettered our lot. It has given us comforts, progress and prosperity by many inventions and discoveries. On the other hand there are those who look upon science as the chief cause of the sufferings of humanity today. The debate has been on for a long time. But while people talk and argue for and against, science goes on taking long strides, blissfully ignorant of praises or abuses.
It is believed that we are suffering because of misuse of scientific inventions. Hence we need not offer any apologies for wishing to be a scientist. But we should be a scientist with a difference. We do not want to be confined to the ivory tower of’ pure reason unmindful of the realities of life. It is not a mere empty statement to say that the modern man lives, breathes and owes his being to science. In every minor details of our life science plays a valuable role. We wish to contribute our share in making this world better than what it is today.
If I were a scientist, I would like to carry on my work in the sphere of pure science. Pure science is a relentless search for truth for the discoveries of the mysteries of nature. As such no fault-finding is possible with pure scientific research which has broadened the frontiers of man’s knowledge about himself and the world. It is a systematized knowledge and its pursuit has led to the unraveling of the mysteries of nature and the harnessing of its wonderful power. What the scientist discovers in the seclusion of his laboratory after years of research leads to far-reaching results in our practical life. I want to be just one such humble devotee in the shrine of the goddess of science.
If I were a scientist I would like to be independent of powerful business and industrial magnates who try to exploit scientists for their own selfish ends. Normally, every human being is desirous of peace, progress, plenty and prosperity. But actual experience shows that man’s conduct is not always governed by these noble principles. Self-interest, ambition, the spirit of aggression, jealousy and the desire to climb to the upper social strata often get the better of man’s nobler emotions. A scientist is also a man subject to these weaknesses. He can be lured away from his right path by the prospects of fame, material gain or other earthly considerations. Now business and industry are by and large governed by science. Big industrial concerns and business firms want to buy the service of the best scientists for their own advantage which may not be compatible with, the larger good of mankind. Thus there is every chance of science being abused and exploited for personal and selfish purpose. Personally I would try to remain clear of these temptations.
I am also not in favour of governmental control. If business and industry can be selfish, governments and States can be far more treacherous. It is a common knowledge that before. World War-II almost an army of scientists was employed in Germany, Russia, Japan, England and the U.S.A. to invent new machines of death and destruction. Thus Hitler and Mussolini were able to exploit the best scientific brains to their own advantage and to the misery of mankind. It is true that modern scientific research is very expensive and requires huge sums of money, therefore, State encouragement and patronage must be channelized through autonomous academic bodies which may withstand the powerful pressures of the power-hungry politicians.
The modern man lives in an environment which is predominantly the creation of modem science. It, therefore, follows that more than anybody else the scientist exercises the greatest controlling influence over human life today. The power of science is almost boundless. It has infinite potentialities for good and evil. Science in the abstract is a non-human force and it is only the scientist-the human embodiment of this mighty force-who can determine whether it will be the benefactor or the destroyer of mankind.
I would endeavour to be an ideal scientist, a dispassionate explorer of truth. My sole mission would be to discover every possible mystery of nature. Pasteur, Jenner, Davy, Madame Curie, Flemming, Einstein, J.C. Bose and Bhaba will be my models to follow. The examples of Edison, Galileo and Newton would serve as an unerring source of strength and inspiration to me. I would be a worshipper of truth for the good of mankind. I would jealously assert and guard my birthright to explore the hidden avenues of knowledge without any let or hindrance from society, State or government. Also, I would curtly refuse to let my discoveries be exploited for immoral or unjust purposes. I know this ideal is not easy to attain, but I would not forsake it for fear of poverty, misery or suffering.