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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 65, Number 10 (July 1964)

Larsen, James A.
The future and science,   pp. 10-11


Page 10


                  The Future and Science
                                             by James A. Larsen
Editor's Note: This is the sixth and
last in a series of articles on research
in the natural sciences at the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin. This article
concerns contemporary thinking as
to the role of science in modern civ-
ilization.
T   HE AGE of the earth has been
    estimated at roughly some five
billion years. Life apparenty has
been present since Precambrian time
-some fossil forms have been found
which must be in the neighborhood
of three billion years old. On this
geological time-scale, man is a rela-
tive newcomer to the scene. And sci-
ence, as a conscious application and
thought and effort to the problems of
why things behave as they do, is at
the most three or four centuries old.
  The life of an individual spans but
a brief interval when time is con-
sidered on this scale; but life goes on
-and continuity of thought and ef-
fort is the basis upon which civiliza-
tion rests, An eminent American
physicist has summarized: "We are
at the very beginning of time for the
human race. It is not unreasonable
that we    grapple  with   problems.
There are tens of thousands of years
in the future."
  Another writer has pointed out
that only individuals born since late
in the last century can say they have
seen changes occurring which make
This cardboard model of DNA, the molecule
that stores genetic information, was designed
by Van R. Potter of the University Medical
Center as a demonstration and working model
showing the arrangement of molecular cross-
linkages between the spiral coils. Recent re-
search at Wisconsin has advanced knowledge
of these vital molecules and made possible
synthesis of relatively short segments of the
extremelv  1nn  -,-f-,r~ I rn A  I~ .. I. ..  .L
carry the coded plans for growth from parent
to offspring-literally the key to life form
and function.
10


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