The Inestimable Benefit of "Useless" Knowledge

Klaus Taschwer of Der Standard 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 Flexner's original essay, first published in Harper's magazine in 1939, Taschwer writes, "he delivered a convincing argument for science that is conducted without any specific purpose, but is solely driven by curiosity and imagination," which Dijkgraaf further substantiates by providing "numerous other examples for the unexpected applications of basic scientific research, such as the World Wide Web, Google, and superconductivity."

Read an English translation of the article here.