Celebrating “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge”

On March 13, the Institute celebrated the publication of The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge (Princeton University Press), which features IAS Founding Director Abraham Flexner's classic essay of the same title, first published in Harper's magazine in 1939. The ideas Flexner articulates about the importance of basic research and original thinking to future innovation and societal progress have informed the Institute's mission for nearly ninety years. In the book's companion essay, Robbert Dijkgraaf, current Institute Director and Leon Levy Professor, emphasizes how essential curiosity-driven research is to our world of tomorrow. Visit the Usefulness of Useless Knowledge webpage for more information.

The event featured remarks by Dijkgraaf, followed by a discussion with special guests Peter Dougherty, Director of Princeton University Press; Vartan Gregorian, Institute Trustee Emeritus and President of Carnegie Corporation; and Shirley Tilghman, Institute Trustee and Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs and President Emerita of Princeton University.