A republic of science<br />Inquiry and innovation in science and medicine<br />
The US came into being during the Age of Enlightenment (circa 1680 to 1800), a period in which writers and thinkers rejected the superstitions of the past. <br />The US has encouraged science and invention. It has one this by promoting a free flow of idieas, encouraging the growth of “useful knowledge” and by welcoming creative people from all over the world. <br />The US Constititution itself reflects the desire to encourage scientific creativity. It formed the basis for the US patent and copyright systems which ensured that inventions and other creative works could not be copied or used without the creator’s receiving some kind of compensation. <br />
A good climate for science<br />It was a good place for science in America. Tow of America’s founding fathers were scientists of some repute. Benjamin Franklin poved what had been suspected but never before shown: that lightning is a form of electricity. He also invented such conveniences as bifocal eyeglasses and a stove that bears his name. <br />Thomas Jefferson was a student of agriculture who introduced various types of rice, olive trees and grasses into the New world. Like Franklin and Jefferson, most American scientists of the late 18th century were involved in the struggleto win American independence and forge a new nation. During the America’s revolution, the atronomer David Rittenhouse helped design the defences of Philadelphia and built telescopes and navigation instruments for the US’ military serveces. After the war Rittenhouse designed road and canal system for the state of Pennsylvania. <br />Benjamin Rush, by intorducing new medical treatments, he made the Pennyslvania Hospital in Philadlphia an example of medical Enlightenment ana after his military service Rush established the first free clinic in the US. <br />Charles Willson Peale is best remembered as an artist butmhe also was a natural histoian, inventor, educator and politician. He created the first major museum in the US, the Peale Museum in Phiadelphia, which housed the young nation’s only collection of North American natural history specimens.<br />Alexander Graham Bell who arrived from Scotland by way of Canada in 1872, developed and patented the telephone and related invention. <br />The British engineer Joseph Swan built an incandescent electric lamp in 1860, almost 20 years before Edison. But Edison’s was better. Edison’s light bulbs lasted much longer longer than Swan’s and they could be turned on and off individually, while Swan’s bulbs could be used only in a system where several lights were turned on or off at the same time. Within 30 years, Edison’s inventions had introduced electric lighting into millions of homes. <br />The Wright brothers built and flew several gliders. Then on December 17, 1903 they successfully flew the first heavier-than-air mechanically propelled airplane. <br />Americans have won approximately half of the Noble Prizes awarded in the sciences. <br />
The first bifocal eyeglasses<br />The first bulb<br />Charles Willson Peale<br />First successful flight made by Orville and Wilbur Wright<br />
United States of fear<br /> During the 1950s, the arms race made the United States more vulnerable, not less. America's nuclear arsenal mushroomed from just under 400 weapons in 1950 to more than 20,000 by 1960, including 10,000 new "tactical" nuclear weapons for battlefield uses. Likewise, Moscow's arsenal jumped from 5 warheads in 1950 to roughly 1,600 in 1960. <br />The scientific advisory board to the president on atomic matters strongly opposed the super bomb. They believed it a weapon of genocide.<br /> The United States was ahead but afraid. Everyone of my generation remembers the duck and cover drills in school, the tests of air raid sirens and civil defense emergency broadcast systems. The growing fears of the nation were captured in popular books and movies of the 1950s such as "On the Beach," "Fail-Safe" and "Dr. Strangelove." <br /> A whole new genre of science-fiction films was spawned such as Them, that featured giant mutant ants crawling out of the Nevada nuclear test site. An apt metaphor for proliferation. <br />As the atomic scientists had warned, numerical superiority did not bring security. Tensions were high, and confrontations in Berlin and Cuba in the early 1960s would put the world on edge. <br />
The Space age<br />Explorer I in 1958<br />American Robert H. Goddard was one of the first scientists to experiment with rocket propulsion systems. In 1926 he successfully fired world’s liquid fuel rocket , which reached a height of 12.5 meters.<br /> In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik I, and the US followed with Explorer I in 1958. The first manned space flights were made in the spring of 1961, first by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and then by American astronaut Alan B. Shepard.From those first tentative steps to the 1969 moon landing to today’s reusable space shuttle, the American space program has brought forth a breathtaking display of applied science. Communications satellites transmit computer data, telephone calls, and radio and television broadcasts.<br />
Medicine and health care<br />As in physics and chemistry, Americans have dominated the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine since World War II. The National Institutes of Health, the focal point for biomedical research in the US, has played a key role in this achievement. Consisting of 24 separate institutes, the NIH occupies 75 buildings on more than 120 hectars in Bethesda, Maryland. The goal of NIH research is knowledge that helps prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease and disability –everything from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold . Five Nobelists have made their prizewinning discoveries in NIH laboratories. <br /> The most exciting scientific development under way in the US is the NIH’s human genome project. This is an attempt to construct a genetic map of humans by analyzing the chemical composition of each of the 50,000 to 100,000 genes making up the human body . The project is expected to take 15 years to complete, at a cost of the at least $3 thousand million. <br /> NIH funded the basic research on Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome (AIDS).<br />One type of drug that has shown promise in treating the AIDS virus is the protease inhbitor. After several years of laboratory testing, protease inhibitors were first given to patients in the US in 1994.<br />
Emphasis on Prevention<br />President George Bush signs the US Leadership Against HIV/AIDS , Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003 <br /> Since the US surgeon general first warned Americans about the dangers of smoking in 1964, the percentage of Americans who smoke has declined from almost 50 percent to approximately 25 percent. Studies have linked a significant drop in the rate of lung cancer to a nationwide decline in cigarette smoking.<br />The federal government also encourages Americans to exercise regularly and to eat healthful diets, including large quantities of fruits and vegetables. More than 40 percent of Americans today exercise or play a sport as part of their regular routine. <br />President George W.Bush believes Americans can do even better and to that end he launched a national health and fitness initiative in 2002. He said “We’re making gret progress in preventing and detecting and treating many chronic diseases and that’s good for America ... Yet we can still improve ... When America and Americans are healthier, our whole society benefits.”<br />
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