Science is concerned with the pursuit of knowledge about nature, whereas technology is concerned with putting the knowledge of nature to some use. When the scientific knowledge is applied to the problems of human life, it becomes technology.
Technology is systematic knowledge which is put into practice, that is, to use tools, and run machines, and to do such other things to serve human purposes. Science is theoretical knowledge whereas technology is practical knowledge. Basic Research and Applied Research: Difference between science and technology is also expressed in terms of the differences between basic research and applied research. Basic Research which corresponds to “science” aims at merely increasing the quantum or sum of knowledge. In the previous centuries most of the scientists were involved primarily in basic research. But the trend has reversed in favour of applied science. In America, for example, during the 1970-80’s hardly 14% of the scientists were engaged in basic research.
Applied research which corresponds to “technology” on the contrary, aims at finding technological applications for scientific knowledge. The modern governments and industries are concerned more with useful technologies than with the pursuit of knowledge. The determination of how money should be allocated for what type of research has little to do with what scientists themselves regard as the most pressing social or scientific priorities. Technology Is Much Older Than Science: Every society has at least a simple technology, even if it is limited to such techniques as making stone implements, bows and arrows, fire building, making crude boats such as canoes, etc. All primitive people have somebody of practical knowledge on which their technology is based. But this kind of knowledge is not virtually science.
On the contrary, such knowledge is derived from earlier trial-and -error experience, and not from an understanding of the abstract principles involved. The cave dweller, for example, does not know why fire burns, and why some substances burn while others do not, how water or, sand extinguishes fire, and so on. Technological Innovation May Precede the Scientific Investigations: People in all societies whether they have scientific knowledge or not, have always needed to find out better ways of doing things or ways of making their lives more comfortable.
Technological innovations have met these needs for thousands of years. “In fact, technological change proceeded without the benefit of scientific knowledge for the bulk of human history”. Science or Scientific Knowledge Is Not Universal: Science is not the inborn trait or inherited quality of all persons. Hence all the societies may not have the tradition of science. On the contrary, technology however crude, is found in all societies. Even the Stone Age people had their own crude technique of using stone implements and sharpening them.
Science, very rarely appeared in human societies in the past. Because, scientific knowledge requires a proper and a systematic understanding of the principles that underlie natural events. Advanced technology is possible only by a proper scientific understanding of the world. Understanding of science and its principles is not that simple. Satellites cannot be launched, atomic reactors cannot be built, and nuclear bombs cannot be manufactured, for example, without the precise knowledge of the relevant scientific principles. Science and Technology Together Support Modernisation: Only the close link between scientific and technological development can accelerate the process of modernisation. In fact, the close link between science and technology which we normally take for granted today, is a relatively recent development.
Accelerated by the discoveries of modern science, technology rapidly expanded the human capacity to live in and exploit different habitats. In the past two – three centuries it has changed the face of the earth. Heavy industries, big dams, international airports, supersonic rockets, super computers, satellites, skyscrapers, big ports, oil refineries, super highways, atom bombs, etc., are all the products of technology that have transformed the surroundings in which human beings live and work.
“It is this interrelationship between science and technology that is responsible for the breath-taking speed for technological change in our century.”