Physics plays an important role in health, economic development, education, energy, and the environment. Our modern world is much more connected than in previous historical times. These days we travel far, communicate easily and quickly, and conduct business around the world effortlessly. In fact almost no place on earth has been excluded from the modern interconnected world. We are not only connected with physics through modern technology we are connected at a much more basic level through mother nature. The tsunami in Sumatra Indonesia is a prime example.
Not only was it catastrophic for the local area the laws of physics saw this tsunami travel across the Indian Ocean killing over 300,000 in Southeast Asia, and traveling through more than 30 other countries resulting in more than 500 deaths. This was the law of physics in action. But as much proof as there is that physics has played an important role in the connectivity of all parts of the planet the world is still a much divided place. In developed countries you see an almost 100% literacy rate and a $30,000 mean capital income, and a life expectancy of 80.
While in developing nations you see a literacy rate lower than 50% and a mean capital income that’s around $2000, and a life expectancy of 40. There is much more for physics, the scientific world, and governments to do to create equality with that interactivity. Kofi Annan the UN Secretary General has been quick to point out the ongoing tragedies throughout the developing world that are directly tied to disease, poverty, and the degradation of the environment. He is also quick to point out that the lack of access to physics and other sciences as well as technology has attributed to many of these problems.
Sadly the scientific community spends most of it’s time working on solutions for the developed world yet most of the population on earth can be found in nations that are developing. Physics has the capability of playing a major role in finding solutions to many of the problems facing the human race. Of course it does not have all the answers but the science is developed enough to have created nuclear weapons which remain a global threat, then surely it can be used for the betterment of all people around the globe. Of course politics, socio-economic factors, and acceptance by the people all play a role in the development of a nation.
But physics, engineering, and other technological and scientific feats can transform a developing nation to a developed nation. Just look at what the role of physics has accomplished in just the past 200 years. Physics can play an important role in developing strategies to combat climate change, in the development of cleaner energies, and in the development of technological advancements. Then why is it that developing nations spend such a small portion of the GDP on research and development in these areas? Is it because the benefits of science and physics specifically are not fully recognized in industrialized and developing nations?
Is it that they really do not want to face the idea that our world is in desperate need of change to ensure we do not destroy ourselves? Physics and technology must work together to resolve the need for new technologies that will decrease the damage to our planet, for strategies to ensure that the people of developing countries have the tools to progress, the need for solutions to deadly diseases that remain a threat, and the need for solutions to the increasing demands we place on our resources before they are depleted. The role of physics in our modern world is more important than in any other time in history