From War to Law via Science

  • John C. Polanyi
Part of the Series in Biomedical Engineering book series (BIOMENG)

In mythical times, a minor God by the name of Prometheus is supposed to have stolen fire from his boss, Zeus, giving it as a gift to man. Zeus, not to be outdone, sent another disruptive gift to Earth: a gorgeous woman named Pandora. She brought her famous box, from which emerged the welter of human creativity we call science and the arts.

The Greeks of 3,000 years ago who told this tale saw the peril that would come from such gifts. They also saw mankind’s chief hope of survival: then, as now, it lay in imagination. Not too long ago, (in terms of millennia), in 1945, the God Prometheus returned to Earth, bearing a new gift of fire. This time, it did not merely illuminate the dark of our caves. Through the instrument of atomic fission, and the still greater one of atomic fusion, it liberated the ultimate energy: the energy that binds matter together. The caves themselves became combustible.

With the caves gone, there was nowhere left to hide. That is the central truth about our world....


International Atomic Energy Agency United Nations World Trade Organization Greek Tragedy Great Ship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Polanyi
    • 1
  1. 1.Nobel Prize Laureate, Department of ChemistryUniversity of TorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations