Essentially only science can help satisfy man's material needs, Dr. Karl T. Complon, former president of M.I.T., said yesterday, while discussing the scope of the Mid Century Convocation at M.I.T. which takes place next weekend.
It is the duty of such schools as M.I.T. to fulfill society's hopes in science for a better world, he said.
Dr. Compton, who will make the opening day keynote address at the Convocation next Thursday, issued the statement to the press on a recent overnight visit to the Institute.
Dosides Compton, 48 speakers, representing a broad cross-section of the world's scholars, will attend the meetings. Ten come from foreign countries, including Russia, India, and New Zealand.
Most celebrated of the visitors are Winston Churchill, Britian's wartime prime minister, and Harold E. Stasson, Republican presidential aspirant, who will address rallies at the Boston Garden on March 31st and April 1st. President Truman cancelled his scheduled appearance last week because of pressure of work.
Six panels of distinguished intellectuals will discuss the general topic of the Convocation: the social implications of scientific progress on the world of today.
The three-day scholastic assembly reaches its climax on Saturday, April 2nd, with the inauguration of Dr. James R. Killian, Jr. as M.I.T.'s tenth president.
In his statement, Dr. Compton explained that mankind craves peace and security. "The people want protection against the perils of nature."
The people also want material advantages for their labor, he said. Labor strikes for steady employment at higher wages, shorter hours, and more comfortable working conditions. The public, Dr. Compton said, wants the quality of goods to go up and the price to go down. Business wants higher profits. People was better housing and better health. Governments, in our expanding civilization, need more tax money.
Science Can Help
Science, Dr. Compton said, "is the only solution which can contribute importantly to the satisfaction of these human needs."
"I do not imply that scientific progress is the highest goal of Man," Compton said. "High wages and low prices are not fundamental bases of human happiness." Ultimate human happiness must reside in the spirtual realm, based on sympathy, morality, and religion.
"Having said this, however," he continued, "we must still admit that through science can be achieved much that people desire, through science great disasters and sufferings can be avoided, and through science the line can be held against threatened ravages by nature and by man."
"It is to such ends as these that institutions of pure and applied science.