Huge impact: When science goes wrong


Huge impact: When science goes wrong

It’s undeniable that science has made a huge positive impact on our life, but occasionally science gets it wrong. Some slip-ups are minor and are forgotten straight away. Some scientific ‘failures’ can lead to positive progress or discoveries. However, some scientific wrongs can turn out to have disastrous consequences.

When an inaccurate scientific report is filed, it can spread like wildfire. The consequences of this are huge – papers published in a respectable journal are seen as highly credible and authoritative. False information can then be used in more papers before the error is realized and people will believe it.

Scientific failures are not always documented and this can be a problem – less than a fifth of papers published showed negative results, or failure to prove a hypothesis. It’s very important to learn from failures in science so not showing these results can hinder future progress. If we can see what went wrong before, we will know what to do differently in the future.

Then there is the more prevalent issue of ethics. When carrying out research and experiments with human participants it’s crucial to consider their mental and physical wellbeing. Whilst regulations are now stricter about carrying out research involving humans, sometimes the impact can be huge. There are many cases in history where appropriate care has not been taken and many people have suffered the consequences for years afterwards.

With large-scale projects, the risks increaseare even more. The number of potential catastrophes which could be the result of a scientific failure is huge. There are ways to decrease the chances of making science better for the future and that’s by teaching children to learn science at a young age.

Explosions, poisoning and environmental disasters are all possible if science goes wrong. It’s also possible that information can get into the wrong hands. Scientists can create something meant to help us, but should data or products fall into the wrong hands, they can be used for mass destruction.…

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