Saturday, May 26, 2012

Physics Today: From basic to applied in 83 years

Nevill Mott at University of Bristol
International Conference on the Physics of Metals, July 1937
Credit: Archives of HH Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, courtesy AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives

I cannot do without quoting a friend who, commenting on this nice article, wrote:

In 1850 William Gladstone, who at the time was British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance), asked Michael Faraday to explain the practical value of electricity. Faraday replied: "One day sir, you may tax it." I love to quote Faraday when people ask me about practical applications of gravitational waves and black holes.

I couldn't help but think of this while I was reading this nice article from Physics Today's online editor on how pure theoretical work eventually leads to practical applications. Just a reminder for short-sighted politicians (no names named...)

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