I am sure we are all happy to be here to see this Science Exhibition. I am informed that the exhibits which you will see represent many striking achievements, of British scientists, not only in pure science, but also in the application of science to practical problems. These achievements are not only a credit to British scientists, they are a credit to scientist everywhere, for science is international, and refuses to be divided into national compartments. Whatever their nationalities, all scientists contribute to a common fund of human knowledge.
Scientists in the older countries start with many advantages. They inherit remarkable legacies and have at their disposal not only cumulative scientific experience, but also many facilities for their work. Scientific achievements, however, is not confined to these countries. As far back as the ninth century, the museum at Alexandria was a great centre of scientific research and learning, where mathematics, medicine and the physical sciences received serious attention. It would appear though that time has piled its dusk thick on the African achievement already. We now live in the twentieth century, the age of the atom, jet propulsion and journey into outer space. We in Africa therefore require to carry out in a decade what it has taken other people and nations, centuries to achieve. This demands a revolution not only in the existing political and social order, but also in the substance and structure of our education in order that we can keep pace with the swift scientific and technological advance achieved in other parts of the world.
Here at this Exhibition, we can see the development of practical ideas by scientists and technicians, in their endeavour to serve their nation, their fellowmen and the world community.
Ghana’s need for scientists, engineers, architects, and skilled men generally is great. If we are to sustain our industrial and agricultural revolution, and contribute significantly to the progress of the African continent, it must be our clear duty to accelerate our pace many times over and improve existing training facilities for science and technical education. We must ensure that a lively interest in science is created in the children very early in their school life.
Our teachers will have to learn the importance of associating the work in the classroom with everyday life, so that the children realise that science is not something which works only in the laboratory, but is all around us in nature and in the things we see in our daily life.
The Government proposes, in this connection to establish shortly a Science Museum. The purpose of the Science Museum will be to arouse and increase the interest of Ghanaians, young and old alike, in science and scientific techniques.
The Museum will contain simple working models of machinery, and will provide an explanation of the scientific principles on which the models are based. There will be sections in the Museum that also deal with the pure science, explaining, for example, the nature of the universe and the structure of atoms in a lively and straightforward manner. In the modern world, it is necessary that everyone of us should understand the basic principles of science and technology. It is not enough to have some people trained as scientists. Everyone must have a basic understanding of the methods and achievements of science. This exhibition, therefore, and the proposed Science Museum, can be regarded as educational projects of the first importance for Ghana today.
We are anxious to produce as quickly as possible, the scientists and other trained men whom we require to assist in industrial, agricultural and technological programme. We believe that it is only on the basis of our progress, strength and prosperity that we in Ghana can be in a position to help our fellow Africans in other parts of this continent. The purpose of the development of science and technology, the foundations of which we are now laying, is therefore, the peace, progress and welfare of our own people and peoples elsewhere in Africa and in the world. Many scientists today are working on research projects, the purpose of which is not the means of increasing the happiness and welfare of mankind, but primarily creating means of destruction, preparing new weapons and perfecting the fright weapons they have already invented. This indeed is a terrible blot on the name of science. How can healthy, enthusiastic zeal for scientific knowledge survive in a country where a large proportion of the young men and women who take up a scientific career find themselves ultimately working for destructive ends? We in Ghana, and indeed in Africa, have a vested interest in peace and prosperity. We can assure every scientist working in Ghana or who wishes to come to work here, that he will never be required to work for any purpose other than for the progress and benefit of mankind.
We hope that the negative aspect of science is only a passing phenomenon, and that it will soon be possible for the great powers to agree to put a stop to this unhappy development. The Government of Ghana together with men of goodwill throughout the world will continue to bend all its efforts towards, and support those policies which will bring about peace and prosperity to mankind.
But our efforts in this respect will be of no avail, unless the great powers who have made such spectacular advances in scientific development realise the urgent necessity for mobilizing their efforts and resources entirely in the interest of peace. The present arms race in which the great powers are engaged is a serious threat to peace.
Are we, all the people of this globe, to be forever at the mercy of a handful of men who eye each other menacingly and suspiciously from the top of their bomb piles? What is our lot, if the tension proves too much and makes just one of their numbers go berserk?
Not only do we call upon the leaders of the great powers to turn away from the use of scientific knowledge for the production of means of destruction, but we also call upon all scientists, whatever their nationality, to refuse to sell themselves to agencies who could use their knowledge for man’s destruction. Let them have courage to bring sanity and order once more into this world. Their knowledge should be devoted to the promotion of human welfare and happiness. The inconceivable amount of money which has been used for destructive purposes could be used to wage war on disease, poverty and want throughout the world.
I hope that we shall go away from this exhibition with a keener appreciation of what can be achieved by man in scientific research and the appreciation to peaceful and purpose of the fruits of such research. And now, I should like to express my own appreciation that the Government of the United Kingdom has decided to mount this Exhibition. I hope that as many people as possible, especially our students and school children, will come to see it and Team something of what science has achieved for man. I look forward, in the not too distant future, to opening similar Exhibition of Ghanaian scientific achievements.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have great pleasure in declaring this Exhibition open.