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UNIT 2: SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

The moral responsibility of scientists
The atomic bomb
With war against Nazi Germany seeming inevitable by the end of the 1930s, intelligence sources
believed that German scientists were working on an atomic bomb. Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner and
Fritz Strassmann's discovery of nuclear fission led…

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light of the explosion turned orange as the atomic fireball shot upwards, producing what was to
become the characteristic mushroom cloud of radioactive vapour at 30,000 feet. Several of the
observers, watching inside a shelter, were blown flat by the blast.
On witnessing the explosion, its creators are said to…

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nuclei. Oppenheimer, so instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb, became
increasingly concerned and suggested that the United Nations should be central to further
nuclear development.
The threat of nuclear war was upper most in the minds of many, particularly as the USA
('defenders of the free Western world')…

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The science of germs and how diseases are transmitted was not understood until
the later nineteenth century following the work of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch.
Modern biological warfare probably dates from the First World War when, though
illegal under the Hague Convention on the rules of warfare, poison gas…

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By 1970 the USA had terminated its offensive bioweapons programme and the only
permitted research was for defensive purposes. By 1972 there was a United Nations
Convention on bacteriological and toxin weapons, which was then ratified by member nations.

In contemporary form, biochemical strikes can be attempted through:
fine particle…

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Bioterrorism hit the USA in 1984 when a cult known as the Rashneeshee contaminated some
salad bars in Oregon, causing a widespread outbreak of salmonella poisoning. Another cult, an
extreme Buddhist sect known as Aum Shinri Kyo, were responsible for an attack on the Tokyo
underground in 1995 using the…

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