Science Odyssey

Category : Editorial

The sultan of 20th century science fiction, Arthur C Clarke, said that the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to venture beyond into the impossible. At the start of the new millennium, advances in scientific research and technology have so completely overtaken our lives that it has become impossible to fathom what else we might see and experience in our own lifetimes.

Incredible journeys now extend beyond mere geography; biologically, we hove jouneyed for inside our own bodies. Biotechnology has undergone a complete transformation -from a dull, laboratory science to a vibrant and pioneering branch of science. Some of the newly evolved bio-techniques like in vitro fertilisation and genetic engineering, exotransplantation and cloning seem straight out of bizarre science fiction and hold out unimaginable future possiblities. In Japan, scientists have now 'constructed' spermatozoa in a laboratory test-tube, the draft map of the human genome was completed lost year, as also the deciphering for the first lime, of a plant genome, the arabidopsis thaliana. While unravelling the human genome will throw open newer and more precise techiniques of overcoming disease and debilitation, knowing more about the building blocks of plants can herald a food revolution on a scale monumentally larger than the Green Revolution of the '60s and '70s. This weed-plant's genetic make-up, strikingly similar to that of humans, could serve as a guidebook to navigate the complexities of our biological strengths and weaknesses. The recent discovery of on anthropoid fossil suggests that the cradle of humankind might be for more ancient than we had thought. Stanley Kubrick's futuristic 1968 film. 2001.' A Space Odyssey based on Arthur Clarke's novel, hinted at the cosmic nature of human evolution. On the one hand, we hove found 6-billion-year-old microbes, still alive, that scientists conjecture could well hove been flung into the earth from the debris at a falling meteorite from outer space. On the other hand, space probes have found signs that Mars might have once had water. With the establishing of on international space station and more frequent space missions, we could even successfully establish contact with life forms in other parts of the cosmos. Gene therapy that has mode possible replacement at disease. carrying genes, artificial body ports that are as good as the original. organ transplants that make the difference between life and death the scope is enlarging by the day. From micro and loser surgery, we have now moved to surgery enabled by robot-assistants who work to precision.


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