Your guide to applied science and technology
To explain the concept of applied science and technology, it's important to know that applied science relates to the practical applications that scientific research can be put to. For example, when x-rays were first discovered as part of the electromagnetic spectrum through scientific research, there were no x-ray machines that could photograph inside the human body immediately in production. The discovery of them implied that such an application might be possible, however. It was the field of applied science which developed a new form of technology to come up with the x-ray machines you can find in every hospital around the world, these days. Another example of applied science leading to new technology is ballistics, a highly mathematical field of mechanics that is devoted to projectiles. Without applying the science of ballistics to things like rocket ships, the technology that got man to the moon, or even into orbit, would never have been possible.
What examples of applied science in technology are there?
There are many branches of applied science that have lead to technological development. We have already noted two, both from the 'pure' or natural science of physics. Engineers will often work in applied branches of physics. For example, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics are both applied sciences of this type. Other applications that derive from physics include the mechanics of materials, kinematics and electromagnetism. From biology, applied sciences like medical microbiology, clinical virology and biomedicine all exist. In chemistry, there are applied science fields, too, such as the study of polymer synthesis, for example, something that has a big part to play in plastic technology.
Is applied science and technology the same thing?
Although applied science and technology are often mentioned together, they are not the same thing. Some technological developments have come about without the need for formal scientific study. An example of an early technology that was developed to move earth efficiently was the long plough. Its invention pre-dates modern science by centuries.
How is applied science and technology taught?
Most applied sciences, such as biochemistry or material engineering, are taught as degree level courses in their own right at university. Technology, taken as a whole, is too wide a remit for a degree course and only taught as a single subject within schools. Most Western countries offer university courses in applied science which cover many aspects of the latest forms of technology. This is sometimes called vocational science.
What does the future hold for applied science and technology?
Currently, vast resources are going into biomedical sciences, many projects focusing on technological ways to cure certain conditions. Applied science is also seeking better technology to help people with disabilities, and this is likely to continue for some time to come, especially as cybernetics become better understood. Dealing with the effects of climate change may also be something that requires new technology to be developed. Again, this is something applied science can help with.