GRE Issue Essay 82
Academic disciplines have become so specialized in recent years that scholars’ ideas reach only a narrow audience. Until scholars can reach a wider audience, their ideas will have little use.
With the development of science and technology, it is very natural that academic disciplines become more and more specialized than before. Even the most learned scientists cannot know well the contemporary theories of the fields beyond their research. Each field has the specialists who mainly adopt and dominate it, and other people do not get the information related to that particular field. Thus, the influence of that particular knowledge is not wide. Many people do not get it and even if they get it, they do not understand it.
However, according to some people, the academic disciplines are over-specialized. They think that scholars should influence a bigger range of audience. However, this idea does not seem very practical. It is different to know the basic structures and basic principles of academic fields, and to know the details of a particular field is altogether a different game. Specialists study the details of a particular topic in a field and make them fit for the society. As a result, the fields are getting more and more specialized.
For example, science and technology are developing at a very rapid pace. Take the biology field as an example, the focus of studies has been shifted to genetic studies. Specialists adopt the latest technology to do researches in the field, and it is not possible for ordinary people to easily understand them. Most of the people do not want to understand all this, they just want to use the latest technologies developed. In addition, many of these latest researches are related to national security; hence, it is not feasible to disclose all the information. Terms related to high tech fields are not easy and as simple as entertainment news.
Moreover, it is wrong to say that the use of the academic ideas depends on the amount of audience who can reach these ideas. The audience is not the only factor, which we consider while considering the use of academic ideas. In history, we have examples when some useful ideas were not accepted by most people at first but later on had important effect in the history of development of science. For example, in the twentieth century, Einstein gave the theory of relativity that was not understood by most people. Even many great scientists in the same research fields did not understand it. This theory, however, is the base of many other theories in this field.
On the other hand, sometimes it becomes necessary for scholars to popularize their ideas of science and technology among public. Many ideas of science are useful for dealing with problems concerning nature as well as changing our societies. Hence, ordinary public need to know about them. It is the responsibility of scholars to ensure that their ideas reach to more and more people. With the popularization of these ideas, more and more people will be benefited by them.
Hence, it can be said that although academic ideas have become more specialized in recent years and reach only a narrow audience, they act as powerful tools for the development of our society.