Important to Mankind

From developing cures for humanity's deadliest diseases to providing us with tools to bring people across the planet together over the Internet, scientists are at the forefront of developing the innovations that will shape our future. Professionals working in science jobs in medicine and biology, environmental sciences and agriculture, and computer sciences and engineering are certain to contribute to improving and prolonging our lives, making sure that the food production and industrial development needed to provide for the Earth's ever-growing population is sustainable and eco-friendly, as well as changing the way we communicate, work, and enjoy our leisure time by developing technologies to improve all aspects of our lives.

One of the greatest challenges facing us today is the eradication and treatment of infectious diseases, which remain a leading cause of death in the developing world. Since new tissue culture techniques became available in the 1950s, a new generation of vaccines has been designed against pathogens that cause diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella. Recent advances have continued to facilitate the development of new vaccines, such as the hepatitis B and the influenza type B vaccines that are already making a difference. With important targets such as malaria, AIDS, and other new and reemerging diseases, the development of new vaccines is sure to be an important research area and an important contribution of scientists to human health. The contribution of viral infection to cancer is also being studied, and biological research in this area may provide important advances in the treatment and prevention of this deadly disease.

In addition to participating in the design of vaccines, work in developing technologies to assist those who have lost their mobility or their sight due to disease or accident help regain function can also change the way these conditions are treated. From chips implanted into the eye to compensate for loss of receptors in the retina to sensors and computer programs that allow people who are paralyzed to perform functions such as moving a computer cursor, operating a robotic arm or, in the future, even walking again using only their mind can be a rewarding career path in helping people live richer lives despite disability.

Important to Mankind

Besides participating in health-related research, scientists can contribute to humankind in many different ways. In addition to disease epidemics, children and adults in third world countries have little access to education that would allow them to break from the cycle of poverty, as well as to information, from medical information to that about modern farming practices, that would help them improve their lives. Engineers and computer scientists are working on computer designs that would bring the Internet to the most distant regions of countries such as India and Kenya.

Finally, as the famines in parts of Africa and Asia, as well as the extreme weather throughout the U.S. and Europe show, developing effective farming, water management, and weather-prediction techniques can help us protect our environment and contribute to the future. Professionals working in science jobs specializing in ecology, agriculture, and meteorology can make sure that the world we leave our children is a sustainable and hospitable one.