• Question: are you going to regret making your inventions when they start to overpower if soooooo why do you do it anyway?????????

    Asked by chatty bean to Frank, Ian, Isabel, Jared, Zena on 11 Mar 2015.
    • Photo: Jared Parnell

      Jared Parnell answered on 11 Mar 2015:

      That is a good question, and hard to answer.

      When Einstein realised that he had invented the nuclear bomb, he said “If only I had known, I would have become a watchmaker”

      He obviously realised how important and damaging his discovery was! In 1945, around 200,000 people were killed in Japan by such a bomb.

      There are also very important aspects to these discoveries though, they have extended our understanding of the world, and nuclear power might one day provide the world with lots of energy.
      And without Einsteins theories we wouldn’t have technology such as digital cameras, or GPS, as well as many other technologies. These inventions might have saved many lives as they are used a lot in medicine, but also in bad things like war.

      Discoveries often have a good side and a bad side but it is how they are used that is important, not the knowledge itself.

    • Photo: Isabel Pires

      Isabel Pires answered on 11 Mar 2015:

      I actually have not invented anything as such! But I hope some of my findings are helping to treat cancer, rather than causing trouble!
      Scientists do think a lot about the ethical implications and potential problems with their inventions and findings, but many times we cannot predict how they will be used by other people. But this should not stop us from doing science, don’t you think?

    • Photo: Zena Hadjivasiliou

      Zena Hadjivasiliou answered on 11 Mar 2015:

      I think Jared is right — it’s more about how we decide to use new knowledge as opposed to knowledge itself that can be the problem sometimes. Also, it is often very difficult to predict how new knowledge will have an impact on our lives. I certainly don’t think that lack of knowledge is a good thing in any way…! What do you think!?

      There are specific inventions or new treatments for medical problems that we have to think about a lot before we decide to put them into use! For example, there are some new medical treatments that are meant to help young couples have children by using their DNA plus the mitochondria of a third person (so mum’s DNA + dad’s DNA + third person’s mitochondria). Remember that mitochondria are not part of our DNA in the strict sense but they are little organs inside our cells that are super important for our health!

      This treatment could help couples that have problematic mitochondria have healthy children. But we are not sure it would work! And there is a big debate going on now, both between scientists and politicians, to decide whether this is a good idea.