In the 20th century, for better or worse, scientists sought not only to understand, but to control nature. Their desire to increase “the power of Man over Matter” had both life-saving and lethal effects. Some APS Members produced beneficial vaccines and medical technologies, while others helped to create devastating weapons like the atomic bomb. APS Members also developed computer technology that has become increasingly powerful, the effects of which are still being debated.

The far-reaching consequences of their work led many APS Members to question the impact and legacy of these discoveries. As it continues to promote useful knowledge, the APS also provides a forum for experts to debate how such knowledge can and should be used.