Science and Society

  • E. P. Wigner
Part of the Historical, Philosophical, and Socio-Political Papers book series (WIGNER, volume B / 7)


In this lecture I will not be speaking on the subject to which I have devoted most of my life but on a subject about which I thought only in hours of leisure though under the pressure of events and circumstances which impressed me both as important and alarming. Many other people have devoted attention to the problem of the relation between science and society, and the prime interest of most of these is closer to social and general human problems than is mine. Some of them have arrived at almost diametrically opposite views. You may have heard, for instance, the statement that “It is the duty of the government to support all worthwhile science and also to procure the funds necessary for this”. In contrast, Professor Harry S. Johnson said, “The argument that individuals with a talent for research should be supported by society differs little from the arguments formerly advanced in support of the rights of the owners of landed property to a leisured existence...”


High Mental Process Pearl Harbor Past Accomplishment Underdeveloped Nation Undesirable Factor 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

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  • E. P. Wigner

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