Inside Higher Ed on The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Scott McLemme of Inside Higher Ed reviews The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge (Princeton University Press, March 2017) by founding IAS Director Abraham Flexner with a companion essay by current IAS Director Robbert Dijkgraaf. Of the book, McLemme writes of Dijkgraaf's observation that “a healthy and balanced ecosystem would support the full spectrum of scholarship, nourishing a complex web of interdependencies and feedback loops.” The problem now, writes McLemme, is that such a healthy and balanced intellectual ecosystem is no less dependent on a robust economy in which considerable amounts of money are directed to basic research -- without any pressing demand for a return on investment. “The time scales can be long,” writes Dijkgraaf, “much longer than the four-year periods in which governments and corporations nowadays tend to think, let alone the 24-hour news cycle.”

Read more at Inside Higher Ed.