Fall 2017 Course: PCS 2020: Science, Technology, And War


Mondays/Wednesdays 10:30AM - 12:10PM

Instructors: Eric Montgomery and Alvin Saperstein

This course cross reference the History, Physics, and Peace and conflict Studies department.

Graduate and Honors Option is available!

Course Overview:

Through much of human history, war was considered a very positive activity for and by significant portions of society. War required ever larger groups of people, leading from inter-family conflict to tribal warfare to the growth and recognition of personhood, to, finally, the creation of the present system of nation states. In its search for ever better weapons for offense and defense, and the means to deploy them (such as mobility and communication tools), war led to new materials and new technologies. These new technologies, and the sciences developed to understand and improve them, had profound impacts upon societies, both during wartime and in the occasional periods of non-war. These technologies made us and our societies what we are today. In the past, war had winners and losers -- with some "draws". Backing away from the possibility of mutual annihilation the peoples of the world though still keeping and improving the tools of mutual suicide, have adopted two -not new- means of violently attempting to settle grievances.(1) Keep war between nations confined to small non-nuclear states; e.g., the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Iran-Iraq war.(2) Have non-state entities engage in violent conflict; i.e., sub-groups of people -- in one or more nations -- fight similar sub-groups -- within the same or other nations -- even their own governments. Such strife used to be called "civil war"; it is now more commonly referred to as "terrorism". Thus, in the latter case, we have come full circle from pre-historic times to today; from inter-tribe conflict to inter-sect bloodletting. The questions we now all face is how to keep the advantages that modern science and technology have given to the peoples of the world while protecting them from the potential of global or local annihilation.


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Fall 2017 Course: PCS 2020: Science, Technology, And War 5/10/2017
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