Archive for September, 2008

What does basic science do for me?

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Why should we invest in fundamental research? Basic science does not solve today’s problems, so how can we justify diverting valuable resources from immediate needs? Researchers in the most esoteric fields such as string theory and high energy physics have no idea how their work will lead to something practical.

There are two valuable consequences of basic science: (1) the generation of new knowledge and understanding that could not be anticipated by linear extrapolation; and (2) the training of bright minds that make direct contributions to our society. In short, science is an investment in the future. Most of the amazing technologies that we take for granted in the first part of the 21st century resulted from the fruits of basic science in the first half of the 20th century. (more…)