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Science for war, science for peace
The author addresses the old question of the interconnection of war and knowledge. The 20th century is marqued by heavy concentrations of power around the military technology. Strong inputs to the continuing arms race are still coming from inside the scientific world. We have now entered a new phase of integration of general technological research with specific objectives of military development, and «dual technologies» are created which make difficult to distinguish civil and military interests. Yet science is positively challenged to take action for peace, first of all to revert the arms race and support initiatives of real disarmament. On the agenda of science for peace should be the commitment to find out effective solutions to problems such as the treatement of the enormous amounts of enriched uranium and plutonium contained in arms in phase of elimination, or the restoration of the environment devastated by military activities and by the very development of armaments.
By endeavouring in the arms elimination science should find out methods to recover at least partially the resources – materials, energy, intelligence, work – that have been concentrated in arms production, and to return them to civil economy. Science can actually teach politicians to use criticism, for too many of them behave like the Galileus opponents who refused to look in the telescope in order not to give up their preconceptions.