• Altmetric: 518
  • Views: 18,774
  • Citations: 1
  • More detail

Comment

On the usefulness of useless knowledge

Basic research may or may not lead to new technologies. Our safest bet in this gamble is to give our brightest minds the funding and freedom to dream big.

  • Subscribe to Nature Reviews Chemistry for full access:

    $99

    Subscribe

  • Purchase article full text and PDF:

    $18

    Buy now

Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.

References

  1. 1.

    The usefulness of useless knowledge. Harpers 544–552 (1939).

  2. 2.

    Das Wesen des Lichts. Naturwissenschaften 7, 903–909 (in German) (1919).

  3. 3.

    Intellectual freedom in academic scientific research under threat. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 52, 5654–5655 (2013).

  4. 4.

    What's so special about science (and how much should we spend on it?). Science 342, 817–822 (2013).

  5. 5.

    in Incentives and Performance: Governance of Research Organizations (eds Welpe, I. M., Wollersheim, S., Ringelhan, S. & Osterloh, M.) 223–238 (Springer, 2015).

  6. 6.

    Science — the Endless Frontier. A Report to the President on a Program for Postwar Scientific Research (National Science Foundation, 1945).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institut für Chemie Technische, Universität Berlin, Berlin 10623, Germany.

    • Helmut Schwarz
  2. Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn 53173, Germany.

    • Helmut Schwarz

Authors

  1. Search for Helmut Schwarz in:

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Helmut Schwarz.