How does The Last of Us series lead us to reflect on the role of science?

*This text was written by a TecMundo columnist. learn more at the end.

One of the most successful works today is the HBO series The Last of Us. Based on the video game of the same name, the show deals with a post-apocalyptic world where human society has succumbed to a pandemic caused by an illness related to infection by a fungus called cordyceps.
In this series, just before a global epidemic, a scientist named Ibu Ratna is called in by military authorities to examine a patient who died of an illness caused by a fungus. Aware of the seriousness of the situation, scientists recommend that soldiers and rulers bomb the city with its entire population, as there is no solution to prevent the spread of the disease.
After the series finale, which aired in an episode of his NerdCast podcast on the series in March, a commentator recalled the scene, paraphrasing: This thought makes us think about the role that science plays in our society. Isolation Zone (playback) of a scene from The Last of Us series

In times of crisis, regardless of the type or cause of the crisis, today’s society tends to turn to science to find solutions. The Covid-19 pandemic is a clear example of how research and scientific efforts affect us as a society. Watch social distancing measures and vaccine production in record time. This could have saved thousands, if not millions of lives (and many more if the government had done the right thing).
Perhaps the most pressing issue at the moment is the climate crisis we are already experiencing. However, this crisis, like the series, has slower consequences than pandemics caused by viruses and fungi. But while some scientists (and the scientific community at large), like Ibu Ratna, have already warned that the climate is approaching irreversible change, our lifestyles are undergoing dramatic changes. not accomplished. .
To say the least, it’s strange to think of the turmoil that would engulf our society if the global scientific community took a stand at the outbreak of the pandemic and said they were doing nothing to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus. .Certainly, we’ll see scenes worthy of The Last of Us, with looting of markets, hospitals, and brutality of all kinds. All of this serves as an example for considering how scientific position, whatever it may be, affects the most diverse social factors.
However, it is no exaggeration to say that scientists, especially Brazilian scientists, are grossly underestimated. For example, scholarships for graduate and university entrants were recently increased by 40%. This news may sound good, but such subsidies have not been adjusted for 10 years and cumulative inflation is over

It is contradictory to value Science and its output only when we need urgent results. Investing in Science, even in the absence of crises, produces knowledge and wealth that directly help and influence the development of countries. Therefore, the entire society needs to be involved and aware so that scientists are not solely responsible for not leaving Science.

Rodolfo Lima Barros Souza, Physics professor and TecMundo columnist. He holds a degree in Physics and a Master in Science and Mathematical Teaching from Unicamp in the field of Public Perception of Science. He is present on social networks as @rodolfo.sou

1 thought on “How does The Last of Us series lead us to reflect on the role of science?”

Leave a Comment