Science and society


Credit: World Scientific

The history of science and technology and their social impact ought to be part of the education of both scientists and non-scientists. In a democratic society, the general public is often required to make decisions about how our constantly-increasing power over nature ought to be used. Science and Society was written to fulfill the need for a textbook in this field. An earlier and smaller version of the book was printed locally and used as a text for courses on the history and social impact of science, given in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and England. The present edition has been greatly enlarged and brought up to date.

Science and Society is a history of the social impact of science and technology, from earliest times up to the present. Looking at this epic story, we can see how the key inventions, agriculture, writing and printing with movable type, initiated an explosive growth of knowledge and human power over the environment. We also see how the Industrial Revolution changed the relationship between humans and nature, and initiated a massive use of fossil fuels. In the modern world, problems related to nuclear power, nuclear weapons, genetic engineering, information technology, exhaustion of non-renewable resources, use of fossil fuels and climate change are examined. Finally, the need for ethical maturity to match our scientific progress is discussed.

Although many of the serious problems that we face today are the result of the astonishingly rapid growth of science and technology, and the misuse of our increased power over nature, it is not only scientists who need to act to find solutions. Everyone needs to be informed, and everyone must accept responsibility. It is hoped that this book can be used as a text for courses both at the college and university level and in high schools and gymnasiums.


This book retails in paperback for US$36 / £30, and hardback at US$78 / £65; in major bookstores and online. To know more about the book or place an order, visit

About the Author

John Scales Avery received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles, both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. In 1969, he founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and served as its Managing Editor until 1980. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization between 1988 and 1997, and is Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Nobel Peace Prize 1995). He is a Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Society of Arts and Letters, and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research, professional and educational communities. The company publishes about 600 books annually and about 130 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organizations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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