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s415.c04.fa10 - SOCIOLOGY 415 Technology and Society...

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S OCIOLOGY 415: Technology and Society University of Hawai‘i at M ā noa, Fall 2010 Page 1 of 2 Textbook: Volti, Rudi. 2009. Society and Technological Change . 6th edition. Worth Publishers Inc. REVIEW CHAPTER 4: SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCE (58-74) Science does not always play the decisive role in the development of technology; conversely, on some occasions, scientific advance has depended on prior technological achievements. Consider the complex and shifting relationships between science and technology — how they differ, and how they have influenced each other (58). Read The Historical Separation of Science and Technology (58-59). Yet today, when the connection between science and technology is much stronger than in the past, a great deal of technological change takes place without substantial inputs from science. Studies conducted by: y The Defense Department in the mid-1960s (Project Hindsight) — found that 92% of events (conducted after 1945) owed little to concurrent scientific research and relied almost entirely on established concepts and principles. y A group of researchers in 2004-2006 (Project Hindsight Revisited) — noted that most of the relevant research had been done well before these projects were initiated, and very little basic research was done in order to address specific design issues. y Researchers in England who examined winners of the Queen’s Award for Industry (given to British firms that distinguished themselves by initiating technologically innovative products and processes) — similarly found that very few of these innovations were directly connected to basic scientific research (59-60). However, another study, Technology in Retrospect and Critical Events in Science (TRACES) contradicted previously cited studies — determined that a number of innovations (e.g., oral contraceptives, videocassette recorders) depended on prior scientific research. Taking a much
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