SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AS lNSTITUTIONS
A scant century or two ago, science was Lhl private hobby of wealthy gentlemen of lei- sure. Science was of so little practical importance that throughout the Napoleonic Wars, scientists traveled freely between France and England to share their harmless conversations. Today, science is institutionalized. This means that it is recognized as highly important. It is standardized; scientists throughout the civilized world follow the same basic methods and procedures, for there is no capitalist or communist or Christian or atheist way to conduct a scientific experiment or to program a computer.
Science is the systematic quest for verifiable. knowledge and dependable, orderly sequences, following certain’ rules and procedures’as outlined in Chapter 1. Technology is the use of scientific discoveries to solve practical problems. Scientific investigation continuously turns up new findings through methods . which have been thoroughly . institutionalized. in governmental, industrial, or university laboratories work in predictable ways to bring about unpredictable discoveries. Whenever a major breakthrough occurs in either pure or applied science, industrial research and development (R~D) engineers apply this knowledge to the develop of improved gadgets or more effective techniques of production. Interaction of other social institutions with science and technology is the most powerful influence of our time. Since this influence works’ both ways, let us first look at how other institutions influence science and technology. The pursuit of.science and the application of technology are subject to stimulus, restraint, and direction from government, business, religion, and education; Government may prop up outworn practices or may stimulate science and research: Government is today the largest source of research funding. Government may encourage new technology by tax laws favoring’ purchase.