Earth Scientist’s role in Society

In a single sentence of a speech to the Royal Society, in London, in 1988, Margaret Thatcher succinctly connected science to the creation  of social wealth when she said: “the value of Faraday’s work today must be higher than the capitalization of all the shares on the stock exchange.” Add a few other examples of the work of scientists that has transformed society, such as the Green Revolution in world agriculture, the transistor revolution that opened closed societies to change and the biomedical revolution set off by molecular biology, and the benefits of science to society take on real meaning. The Earth sciences have a unique role in this regard, which was underscored by the twentieth-century US historian Will Durant when he is said to have cautioned: “Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” Today, Durant might add a few new vulnerabilities faced by civilization, which I comment on later in this article…………………..Earth scientists should be proud of the contributions to society they are making in the course of applying and advancing their science. The wider application of old knowledge still serves many purposes, including lessening the destruction of natural disasters. The latest challenge is to apply the new understanding of our planet that has been uncovered by research to halt and reverse the environmental damage inflicted by humankind.  In  ‘Nature’  January 2008 by Frank Press, President emeritus of the US National Academy of Sciences and Institute Professor emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.