Conversational topic: From the history of science

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The story of man's civilization is the story of his study of nature and the application of his knowledge in his life. Primitive man was born, lived and died with little change in his manner of living from generation to generation. The laws of nature were not studied. The use of tools, first of stone and later of metals, development of writing and counting all progressed slowly. Rapid advance was not possible until man began to gather data and check theories. Till that time most of man's knowledge was based on the speculations of the Greeks.

A little over three centuries ago man began to use the scientific method of studying his environment. After this the development of civilization has become more rapid. The next 500 years was the age of the great philosophers of antiquity - Thales, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Archimedes and others.

In the period from the Greeks to the Renaissance few contributions were made to the development of science. First in importance among the scientific achievements of the Renaissance was the idea that the sun, rather than the earth, is the center of our system of sun, moon and the planets.

Our time is the age of scientific progress. The importance of scientific research and discoveries is growing with every year. Our scientists and engineers transform nature for the benefit of humanity. Due to the achievements of world science a lot of things are brought to life. Science has solved a lot of important problems and will solve still more in future to make our life still better.

Probably more than any other science physics has changed the conditions under which man lives. Physics deal not with man himself, but with the things he sees, feels and hears. This science deals with the laws of mechanics, heat, sound, electricity, light, etc. Modern physics also deals with electronics, atomic phenomena, photo-electricity, X-rays, energy and others.

The practical application of the developments of physics continues at an ever increasing rate. Practical physics plays, therefore, no small role. Practical applications of physics are not all made by physicists. The majority of those who apply the principles of physics are called engineers. In fact, most branches of engineering are closely related with one or more sections of physics: electrical engineering is based on fundamentals of electricity; mechanical engineering utilizes the laws of mechanics and heat; civil engineering applies the principles of mechanics, etc. The relation between physics and engineering is so close that a thorough knowledge and understanding of physical principles is important for progress of engineering.

One of the tools common to physics and engineering is mathematics. If we are to make effective use of the principles and measurements of physical science, we must have a good knowledge of mathematics. Physics and mathematics are thus the basic foundations of engineering.



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