Scientists’ work leads to solutions to many of the most important problems we face, and offers understandings into reality that enrich and expand our lives. With 25 percent of students in America interested in science, technology, engineering and math, and over 7.4 million jobs in these fields as of 2012, progress in the sciences has a growing economic impact on society’s future.
Education and Personal Growth
Scientists discover how we think, learn and solve problems. Teaching students methods of learning based on science can give them the best chances to excel in school, suggests psychology professor Daniel T. Willingham in his article “How Science Can Improve Teaching.” Additionally, discoveries in science regarding overcoming anxiety or depression, healing past traumas, beating addiction, or communicating better in relationships help millions of people every year enjoy a better quality of daily life.
Industries of all types are built on science leading to millions of jobs. Scientists’ work in irrigation, agriculture, technology, communications and travel lead to projects that expand regions and strengthen communities. Chemistry and materials sciences lead to industries that manufacture the array of home, office and personal products we use every day. While technological advancement can make certain jobs obsolete, one product of science alone -- the Internet -- has led to 2.6 jobs created for every one job eliminated, according to a 2011 study by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Global Problem Solving
Scientists deliver breakthrough solutions and preventative measures for many of society’s troubles. Science leads in the fight to prevent and cure disease, prevent global hunger, clean up the environment and help people live longer. Since 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists has grown its membership to over 400,000 citizens and scientists, who work together to bring renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into mainstream use. Since 2000, among many achievements, the organization convinced government policymakers to create the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce pollution in seven states and convinced the California Public Utilities Commission to launch the largest solar energy program in the U.S.
Scientists help us create a better world. Scientific research gives people and organizations the instructions to build or use better systems of all kinds. One example of a better system for disabled people is being developed by scientists at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, which will allow physically disabled people to move objects with only the power of thought. In June 2013, the researchers proved the possibility as five test subjects successfully used the thought-power technology to fly a toy helicopter around a gymnasium. Better systems being developed in cyber-security, cloud computing, and next-generation mobile technology can benefit businesses. Scientific contributions in all fields pave the way for us to live and work more healthfully and harmoniously together.
- My College Options and STEMconnector: Where Are the STEM Students? What Are Their Career Interests? Where Are the STEM Jobs?
- Scientific American: How Science Can Improve Teaching: Daniel T. Willingham
- McKinsey Global Institute: Internet Matters: The Net’s Sweeping Impact on Growth, Jobs, and Prosperity
- Union of Concerned Scientists: History of Accomplishments
- Science Daily: Helicopter Takes to the Skies With the Power of Human Thought
- Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images