Henry Rowland`s Plea for Pure Science

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Response to Henry Rowland's "Plea for Pure Science"

Having successfully completed Henry Rowland`s “Plea for Pure Science”, I do believe that it is the perfect time to relay my response. As a fellow scholar who understands the importance of both practical and theoretical work in science, I find Rowland's letter to be of great interest. In the letter, he has revealed several truthful facts which I believe every productive man whether learned or not, can agree with. However, when one attempts to define or differentiate applied from pure science, then he or she should be willing to support, either through facts, or the provision of valid references to ensure the conclusion drawn is relevant to the discussion.

Contesting Rowland's View on America's Reliance on Applied Science

First, I would like to contest Rowland's point, where he describes America as an ill-positioned country due to its reliance on applied science. Since my birth back in 1847, I have never seen America stronger. I am not referring to political or economic strength, instead, I do believe that the country has grown further as we move towards using science to impact our lives directly. Take a look at Menlo Park, for instance, the research laboratory is not founded on the so-called "applied sciences" principles Rowland seems to loathe. It is through such research incentives that we can define ourselves as true scientists. With hundreds of patented inventions, I can confidently assert that without applied science, then pure science would be meaningless. If science cannot help man by serving him, then man is the slave of science since he will be working for science without reaping any benefits. My question to Rowland is, what good is understanding the origin or the how's of metaphysics if man does not stand to benefit? Despite pure science being hugely significant, we cannot underrate the importance of applied science, especially in such times where the global industries are under constant changes.

The Role of Professors in Science

Contrary to Rowland's assertion of a professor's duty in science, I believe that professors have a deeper role to play depending on one's perspective. For instance, Menlo Park, despite not satisfying Rowland's standards of 'pure science', offers an opportunity for scientists to collaborate in finding potential solutions to real-world problems. Although the past is always important, let us not forget about the present which also determines our future. It is not fair or realistic to monetize science. As an inventor, the main intention is hardly ever to make money; I have enough in my own capacity. I invent with the aim of improving humanity. It is not appropriate to assume that scientists should be underpaid or live noble livelihoods just to earn the tag 'scientist'. Instead, we should focus more on motivating the integration of pure and applied sciences to encourage meaningful cooperation from different scientists with the aim of holistic development.

The Value of Inventions and Scientific Progression

Before I continue, it is important to note that I do not fully disagree with Rowland. In fact, I find his letter highly relevant, more so understanding the interaction of science and humanity. My main point of concern, however, is how he ruthlessly undermines the value of inventions and scientific progression. To have an economically as well as politically sound country, industries will need to function correctly. To enhance efficiency, it is necessary to attempt to come up or invent devices that will help ease the production, distribution, and even consumption process. Therefore, pure science alone is not enough to sustain the emerging global needs.

The Importance of Utilizing Pure and Applied Science Effectively

Pure science should not be used to define or distinguish different scientific activities or projects. For me, pure and applied science go hand in hand since none can exist without the other. The challenge, therefore, is to utilize both disciplines effectively to ensure that scientists can capitalize on the opportunities that emerge from considering science as one whole entity. If perceived incorrectly, devotion to pure science can be misleading, especially since it rarely leads to discovery. As a result, it is necessary to advocate for the perception of pure and applied sciences as different entities that make up one object.

The Influence of Applied Science in the Future

In my position as a leading scientist, I do believe that applied science will definitely prove to be more influential, especially in the future. We are living in an era of invention. Rowland should understand that working hard on a personal project for long hours does not imply the need for extra earnings through discovery. No, in fact, it should be perceived as commitment to pure scientific causes. To be a true scientist, one has to be committed to the work and delivering high-quality output as well as input. However, Rowland's distinction of pure and applied science on the basis of money or finances is incorrect. As a result, he should always keep in mind that money often comes as a result of successful inventions. Throughout my professional career, I have never focused on the money. For if one does so, then he or she runs the risk of poverty, especially since one can work on a single project for years.

November 13, 2023

Literature Science

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