How can physicists make the world a better place?

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I know a lot of the technology (if not all) draws back to physics but what can physicists do to solve world problems and issues?
 
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  • #2
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A short and blunt example:

Biology and medicine depend on chemistry to a certain degree.
Chemistry depends on physics.
 
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  • #3
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I took chemistry and physics and have seen where they interlock but what can a physicist discover that can solve a problem like a disease or global warming etc.
 
  • #5
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MRI, CT scan, semiconductors, ICs, computers, mobile phones, radio, wifi, websites, digital cameras, satellites, nuclear medicine, medical imaging, biological imaging, and all of the uses of these things.

Plus our sexiness.
 
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Michael Faraday was once asked by one of the British ministers at the time: "What was the use of the law of electromagnetic induction he had discovered?" He replied: "I don't know, but some day you tax it". Speaking of technology that is used to produce most of electrical energy we use today.

I am believe that any discovery finds an application sooner or later though it is not at all simple (impossible?) to see one when the discovery is made. The question is would we live long enough to see it applied?
 
  • #7
There are two things that I see as helping the world and society.
1. Pursuing understanding for it's own sake, and asking what we can give to nature and the world because of it. Too much progress is centered on how we can reverse engineer nature and then make some bank. That seems to me to be the wrong direction.
2. Contribute more to the image of humanitarian scientists. The innocence of science and wonder and asking questions gets a bad rep. and then people in other public roles, or just non-scientists don't want to fund research and the portion of resources given to science is diminished. At least people like some of the giants in science.
 
  • #8
it gives us atomic bombs and mountains of industrial waste
 
  • #9
lisab
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it gives us atomic bombs and mountains of industrial waste
And a place to gripe about them (internet).
 
  • #10
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And a place to gripe about them (internet).
:thumbs:
 
  • #11
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If physicists really want to make the world a better place, they should get involved in politics.
 
  • #12
Chronos
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Err, no they shouldn't. Politicizing science is an awful idea. Can you imagine the acrimony in a string party vs loop party campaign?
 
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  • #13
MathematicalPhysicist
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They can stop doing physics, that will save more lives than keep doing physics. :-D
 
  • #14
ZombieFeynman
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They can stop doing physics, that will save more lives than keep doing physics. :-D
Can you explain why you'd think such a thing?
 
  • #15
adjacent
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They can stop doing physics, that will save more lives than keep doing physics. :-D
What if we stopped doing physics 500 ears ago?Our lives would be miserable.Try to imagine,Someone from another universe whose technology is so great came to our world and started showing off.How jealous would we be.We would be living in caves if we had stopped doing physics.
:rofl:
 
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Err, no they shouldn't. Politicizing science is an awful idea. Can you imagine the acrimony in a string party vs loop party campaign?
That is not as nasty as the Emergent Party versus the Reductionism Party! The Reductionism Party still hasn't forgiven the Emergent Party for helping to kill the SSC!

:)

Zz.
 
  • #17
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We can't stop doing physics, it's against our biological makeup to. As humans we're always going to question and experiment whether you like it or not.
 
  • #18
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Err, no they shouldn't. Politicizing science is an awful idea. Can you imagine the acrimony in a string party vs loop party campaign?
:rofl:
That is not as nasty as the Emergent Party versus the Reductionism Party! The Reductionism Party still hasn't forgiven the Emergent Party for helping to kill the SSC!
:rofl:
 
  • #19
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We can't stop doing physics, it's against our biological makeup to. As humans we're always going to question and experiment whether you like it or not.
I agree.

The first person who, having dropped a rock to the ground, bethought himself of saying "This is weird, but I have an idea how this works", and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of physics.

Yes, I did a shameless theft and rewrite of this Rousseau quote.
 
  • #20
MathematicalPhysicist
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Can you explain why you'd think such a thing?
Atom bombs, nuclear waste, environment contamination... and the list goes on.
 
  • #21
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What if we stopped doing physics 500 ears ago?Our lives would be miserable.Try to imagine,Someone from another universe whose technology is so great came to our world and started showing off.How jealous would we be.We would be living in caves if we had stopped doing physics.
:rofl:
You compare your life today with back then, but I don't think that people back then were any more miserable than people today. You just get accustomed to whatever technology you have.
 
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  • #22
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Physics has taught us to question and not just believe what is told to us, with physics comes questioning which comes revolution.
 
  • #23
Choppy
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Ignorance leads to superstition, which in turn leads to oppression.

Physics, at its core, illuminates our understanding of the world around us.

Learning is how we grow.
 
  • #24
adjacent
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You compare your life today with back then, but I don't think that people back then were any more miserable than people today. You just get accustomed to whatever technology you have.
You are right but people back then might have thought that they were full of technologies(Eg :fire)that would eventually destroy them but fire is a necessary evil.Likewise,Nuclear technology is also a necessary evil.Think about advantages of nuclear power stations
 
  • #25
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You are right but people back then might have thought that they were full of technologies(Eg :fire)that would eventually destroy them but fire is a necessary evil.Likewise,Nuclear technology is also a necessary evil.Think about advantages of nuclear power stations
Everything has advantages and disadvantages, that's granted.

I don't think that physics can make things better, people can do it regardless of physics.
 

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