THIS is why we invest in science. This.

There is no way you could’ve predicted beforehand that investing in NASA would have led to the creation of this specific innovation in life-saving technology. But it’s a rock-solid guarantee that investing in science always leads to innovations that have far-ranging and critical benefits to our lives.

This is true of all science. There is no way to know, ahead of time, what discoveries will be made in basic research, whether applied research will yield a useable result, or what other applications other smart people will find from such discoveries. The principle of unintended consequences isn’t always a negative.

Science research is an investment. Short-changing is short-sighted.

3 thoughts on “This

  1. This is why fundamental research in science and mathematics must be funded well and valued. At the moment the UK funding Councils are very focused on impact, including looking towards applications and products.

    Within fundamental research it is very difficult, if not impossible to think that far ahead in your proposals.

    Fundamental research should also be valued for the cultural impact, such as inspiring school children to take interest in science and just because we have an in-built will to understand the Universe.

    Take a look at “Pure Mathematicians write to EPSRC” at the bottom of the LMS homepage

  2. Julius Caesar Act I, scene ii:
    “Let me have men about me that are fat;
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights:
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
    He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

    (“I want my staff packed with fat, bald, none too bright guys who enjoy sleeping” Do not hire the Severely Gifted.”) Fund senior faculty who threaten no surprises.

    NASA could do anything in the 1960s, because engineers ran riot. Innovation is knowledge applied outside the field in which it was discovered. NASA can do nothing in the 2010s, because management is pervasive. All discovery is insubordination. Night is dark so you can imagine your fears without distraction.

  3. I thought we invested in NASA so that they could invent the best known face cream, Creme de la Mer! Thank you Max Huber, maybe one day I’ll be able to afford the damn stuff . . . .

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