The search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs. In short, no quantum mechanics, no computer chips; no DNA, no covid vaccine. Basic research is an essential precondition of innovation and the first step in social and cultural change. What are the current “known unknowns" at the frontier of knowledge. And how can we articulate more clearly the need for truly valuing and substantially funding the curiosity-driven “pursuit of useless knowledge” in both the sciences and the humanities.
Professor Robbert Dijkgraaf is the director and the Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world’s foremost centers for curiosity-driven basic research. He is a mathematical physicist whose research focuses on the interface between mathematics and particle physics. He has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. Robbert is a distinguished public policy adviser, as well as a trained artist.
Tuesday, 15 June 2021
15:30 - 16:15 BST
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