Research, Technology

How did the scientists of the 20th century see the future?

The threat looms over the world again in 2022nuclear war. The results of a study recently published in the journal Nature Food showed that a nuclear conflict between Russia and the United States could claim the lives of five billion people. Hundreds of thousands will die directly from the explosion, the rest will starve to death in a matter of months. In the course of the work, scientists calculated six scenarios for a nuclear war. In one of them, the conflict lasts a week, and in the other five, many countries are in opposition. But no matter how many states join the war, there will be no winners - the wind will pick up the radioactive ash and spread it around the world. And then there will be a nuclear winter and mass starvation. But how did we end up in this situation? Let's figure it out.

The nuclear threat is now higher than during the Cold War

Our era can be considered a period of confrontationtwo tendencies: one is to unite the planet, preserving, if possible, some ethnic and cultural diversity, and the second is to destroy the planet not in the geophysical sense, but as the world we all know - Carl Sagan, "A World Full of Demons »


  • 1 Nuclear war scenarios
  • 2 Why do people not like each other?
  • 3 Who predicted the future?
  • 4 World full of demons

Nuclear war scenarios

The invention of the atomic bomb changed the world foreverUS strikes on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed what monstrous consequences a nuclear war could have. The next shock was the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986, when an explosion completely destroyed the nuclear reactor. Then more than 115 thousand residents of Pripyat and nearby settlements were forced to leave their homes forever, and the 30-kilometer exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is still uninhabitable. The tragic experience of the 20th century taught humanity a harsh lesson.

Over the past decades, the worldlooked to the future with optimism, and wars seemed to be the lot of the past. But no matter how we strive to create a utopia, human nature takes its toll. It remains to be hoped that our civilization will not disappear as a result of a nuclear winter.

More on the topic: What to do during a nuclear explosion?

Nuclear winter is a hypothetical global state of the Earth's climate as a result of a large-scale nuclear war.

The latter, by the way, will be terrible:soot from an atomic bomb explosion is comparable to emissions from volcanic eruptions. In the past, this natural phenomenon has threatened the climate system and led to widespread famine. Today, any nuclear conflict could lead to catastrophic disruptions in food supplies, and the soot and ash blocking the sun's rays would destroy crops around the world.

It really doesn't matter which countrythere is a war: the climate on Earth will change anyway. As soon as the emissions from the explosion enter the stratosphere, the planet will be enveloped in a hopeless haze. Even a limited nuclear war between countries with small nuclear arsenals (Pakistan and India, for example) would be devastating, says lead author Alan Robock of Rutgers University on the new study.

The phenomenon of "nuclear winter" was proposed by the Soviet academician Georgy Golitsyn and his associate from the USA Carl Sagan

The researchers also note that it's better to die from the explosionbecause nuclear winter is the worst thing that can happen. Don’t miss out on more details about what hunger could be like after a nuclear war, my colleague Andrey Zhukov.

It is interesting
In the new study, scientists looked at various nuclear war scenarios, starting with a small exchange of nuclear strikes. So, detonation of 100 nuclear warheads will kill 27 million people, and hunger by the end of the second year of the war will take the lives ofat least 260 million. The worst-case scenario is a war between Russia and the United States - the explosion of 4,400 nuclear weapons will kill 360 million people immediately, and more than 5 billion will soon die of starvation.

Why don't people love each other?

Today, the presence of nuclear weapons is a factorcontainment. This means that the nuclear arsenal of one country guarantees its security and protection against attack by another. Sounds logical, but it's bogus security. As long as there is at least one nuclear projectile on Earth, the risk of its detonation increases. Ultimately, we fall into the trap: nuclear deterrence contributes to the spread of nuclear weapons.

A nuclear bomb is a weapon whose action is based on the damaging factors of a nuclear or thermonuclear explosion.

I dare say that human nature is to blame. As Stanford University professor Robert Sapolsky writes in The Biology of Good and Evil, our the brain itself determines who to trust and who to consider a "stranger". The hormone oxytocin is responsible for this habit, which increases the level of trust, promotes empathy and prosocial behavior, and is also responsible for the perception of "friend or foe."

The brain separates “us” from “them” instantly.We are so arranged that we inevitably poison "strangers" - we do not like them and we treat them badly. However, our perception of “us” and “them” is incredibly easy to manage, or rather, manipulate. As soon as a person falls into the category of “strangers”, a response immediately arises in the brain,” says Sapolsky.

Read even more interesting articles on our channel in Yandex.Zen! There are regularly published articles that are not on the site!

According to Sapolsky, the pandemic has exacerbated inequality and violence around the world

It's not easy to accept, but we really tend toto separate people by nationality, age, appearance, social status and position. From the point of view of evolution, everything is quite logical: suspicion of strangers was originally a chance for survival. We are doomed to submit to this depressing friend-foe dichotomy, and our views can be forced to reconsider in a split second.

Who predicted the future?

More than 25 years ago, the eminent astronomer Carl Saganin some amazing way was able to predict the events that we are seeing today. In the 1995 book World Full of Demons, he draws the reader's attention to the tendency to superstition and pseudoscience, as well as to our inability to distinguish truth from lies. The pursuit of peace and truth is undermined by the old friends of humanity: superstition, pseudoscience and cognitive distortions.

“From space, the Earth looks amazing. No state borders. Life on the planet is real, and the political division that put the planet in jeopardy is the work of human hands, ”the astronomer writes.

Sagan devoted a lot of time to the fight against pseudoscience,urging the public to think rationally. He also advocated nuclear disarmament, describing the horrendous consequences of nuclear war. Toward the end of the book, the astrophysicist laid out a pessimistic vision of what the world would be like if people stopped admiring reason, rationality, and open-minded thinking.

Carl Sagan is an American astronomer, astrophysicist and popularizer of science.

Science is more than a body of knowledge; this isway of thinking. When amazing technological opportunities are in the hands of a limited circle of people, no one representing the public interest will be able to understand the problems; We are not able to distinguish truth from lies and do not notice how we are slipping back into the dark ages.

Decades ago, Sagan was worried aboutthe coming mass extinction of plants, animals and microorganisms, which can lead to disaster. In the book, he also refers to a number of scientists who, at the end of the 20th century, did not rule out the extinction of humanity as a species. The astrophysicist himself also believed that the threat of extinction was real.

It is not the government that should warn the citizens against delusions, but the citizens must keep the government from delusions., - US Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Jackson, 1950

"Extinction is forever. Extinction nullifies all the achievements of mankind.Extinction makes meaningless what our ancestors have been trying to achieve for many hundreds of thousands or millions of years. The fossil record also leaves no doubt: most species are dying out and there are no guarantees that this will not happen to us, ”the astronomer writes.

The first atomic bomb, called "Baby", was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

But we are a special species that we could createweapons of their own destruction. Moreover, every day we use technology without having an idea of ​​how it works. We are destroying living beings, disrupting the ecological balance, which, by the way, was long and painfully established in the course of evolution. Alas, our tendency to simple answers, unwillingness to check the facts and shift the responsibility for our own lives onto the shoulders of astrologers and other charlatans, is not capable of leading civilization to prosperity.

Did you know what scale pseudoscience has reached and what consequences it can bring? We understand why society rejects science in this article, do not miss it!

World full of demons

Science, Sagan believed, in exchange for diversegifts place a heavy burden on us. We must, however difficult it may be, apply a scientific approach to ourselves and our cultural norms. We also should not take anything for granted, be attentive to our own beliefs and, if possible, see ourselves as we are.

We also need to recognize that weaponsself-destruction puts life on Earth at risk. Will we be able to find the truth if we are not ready to treat everything critically and impartially? What consequences can the narrowness of thought inherent in our species lead to? The answers to these questions remain open, and the threat of nuclear war and climate change must be dealt with quickly. The stakes are too high.

Humanity may have a few centuries left to live

Do you know what the Singleton Hypothesis is and what future it predicts? The answer is here! We promise it will be interesting!

But if we can overcome the current crisis,by unleashing a nuclear war and armed with the scientific method, the future will open up space travel and the secrets of the universe. But to find out if there is a Multiverse and intelligent life beyond the Earth, we must fight ignorance, listening to common sense and being guided by rational thinking. Let's hope we succeed.