Nature and Origin of Life
The purpose of science is twofold. Science strives, in the first place, to understand man and the universe of which he is a part. In the second place, science endeavors to provide man with the means to control his environment. The quest for understanding is a function of theoretical, fundamental, or pure science. Knowledge and understanding are sources of satisfaction even when they do not yield any immediate material benefits. Control of the environment is a function of applied science or technology.
Understanding things, however, is the surest approach to controlling them; and the distinction between pure and applied science is, therefore, not always sharp. This distinction often describes the attitudes of mind of investigators and students rather than the subject matter of their investigations and studies. Some discoveries of greatest practical utility have been made by scientists engaged in exploration of the laws of nature without regard for their possible utilization. For instance, the germ theory of disease and much of the modern food technology are outgrowths of the studies of the great French biologist Pasteur ( 1822-1895) on the nature of life.
Cosmic Evolution . Discoveries made in various branches of science during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have converged to establish an evolutionary approach to the understanding of nature. The universe has not always been as it is now. Nature as we observe it today is the outcome of a historical process of development, evolution. The human race with its social, intellectual, and artistic achievements, the world of living creatures, and inanimate nature, all evolved gradually and by stages from very different antecedents.
The classical atomist view of nature, which dominated physical sci-