Science and technology are moving so fast that it is difficult to keep up, let alone understand, to all new developments. Mechanization, automation and robots make people´s work easier in many branches of industry, and have become a common occurrence.
Progress in the 20 th century is based on new discoveries and developments in sciences. In physics / it is particularly the relativity theory – Albert Einstein or the quantum theory – Max Planck /, mathematics / computers /, chemistry / new materials /, engineering
/ power-driven machines, numerically-operated machines /, biology / public sanitation /, biotechnology, medicine, etc.
I will start with computers that have found their way in various jobs and control
a number of processes. Since the 1960s, when the first electronic computer was developed, computers have undergone dramatic changes in size, speed, software and prize. Extensive research is being carried out to develop a computer that could communicate with people by means of a human language, or even by reading human thoughts.
In business, computers are used to store, process and retrieve data at a speed that is thousand times faster than formerly. Computers have enabled home-working to women with children or people living in distant places, who would have to commute to work every day. The general public use personal computers mainly as word processors and to run the family budget.
The Internet / the information highway / enables people to get information that is normally unavailable – from world libraries, museums and other institutions including business and finance offices. You can also send and receive e-mail letters that reach their destinations in a few seconds or minutes irrespective of the distance.
Owing to unprecedented progress in medicine, modern man lives much longer. Public sanitation has eliminated many of the lethal-diseases such as plague, dysentery, tuberculosis and diabetes. Many cures have been found for infectious diseases, flu, diabetes, etc. Penicillin / an antibiotic that kills bacteria / was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, insulin by F.Sanger in 1958. Many people survive serious injuries thanks to blood transfusions and sophisticated operations with the use of the latest apparatuses / laser /. Quite a few people live longer owing to transplanted organs, such as heart, kidneys, lungs or liver.
Scientists have cloned a sheep, a pig and a monkey, and hope to use this method to clone and replace sick organs in humans. People who are unable to have children can have
a tube baby.
Transport has changed completely. At the beginning of the 20 th century most people travelled on foot or by horse-drawn vehicals. Nowadays there is public transport in most towns, high-speed trains and supersonic planes to travel long distances and cars to get to work, to shops or to go for a weekend break.
Then, for example, man has overcome the power of gravity and can launch satellites, rockets, space shuttles, spaceships, space probes, telescopes that either serve communication on Earth or explore the Solar System. A couple of them have already left it. Man has set foot on the Moon and has brought back some moon rocks. The first man in the space was Jurij Gagarin from Russia in 12.4. 1961 but the first man on the Moon was the American Neal Armstrong in 1969.
And now I would like to say something about problems in society. I will start with unemployment that is an economic danger for every country.
In our country, a lot of people are unemployed. The percentage varies from region to region – it is between 2 and 20 %. The most affected regions are those in the north of Bohemia and Moravia with the heavy industry. There is no demand for coal and steel on the world markets, so thousands of workers have been made redundant. Another reason for unemployment is hundreds of companies that go bankrupt. School leavers cannot often find a job and have to be on the dole and later claim social benefits. For most people being out of work for a long time is humiliating and depressing, and may lead to mental disorders or even suicide.
Charities are non-profit organizations that collect money or goods to help needy people. They raise money in many ways. They hold charity concerts, parties, sales and address a lot of wealthy people and companies and ask for donations.
The money goes to the poor, the sick, to children´s homes, unmarried mothers, abused women and children, the Third World countries, countries hit by a disaster / drought, floods, earthquake / and many other good causes.
Drugs – this topic is very hot nowadays. Before 1989 our authorities wanted us to believe that the treat of drug abuse existed only in the capitalist countries. But it existed here too, we were not just informed. Since the opening of the borders drugs have spread dramatically. They are smuggled into the country and are easily available in the streets, at discos, and even in schools.
Many children and people start using drugs as a way to be accepted by a group of mates, or as a way of coping with stress and problems or just out of curiosity for “kicks”. Drug taking is addictive and once children get hooked, it is very difficult to withdraw.
Drug abuse both your body and mind, ruin families and destroy all relationships. Unfortunately not only that. Drug addicts need more and more money and get it by committing crimes – first they steal from their family, then they rob people and shops. When they are in despair, they can even kill to get money for their drug.
In conclusion, I would like to express my admiration for every invention in the
20 th century. In my opinion, the last century was very prolific and I hope that also our
21 st century is going to be as progressive as it is possible. I can imagine easily how our offspring is going to live and work in 200 years time. Probably they would only smile when they hear about our transports or school system. I can´t predict the future and I don´t know how it will look like but I think that we can be proud that we lived in the 20 th century even if we lived there only a couple of years.