I just came across this quote from Marie Curie on Christie Wilcox’s blog, Observations of a Nerd, which I thought followed on quite nicely from the recent TED talk I posted about on the benefits of exploratory research.
“We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become – like the radium – a benefit for humanity.” – MARIE CURIE