Very few organisations in the world fund the fundamental sciences – astronomy, high energy physics or even certain strands of biology whose only intention is to know what the universe is about. In many science talks that I attend many scientists also try to focus on how this idea will help the common man rather than focus on how science would advance the knowledge of mankind, in particular. Schools are only now beginning to teach any amount on quantum physics which surpassed several boundaries in the 1970s. Science taught in the schools today are at least fifty to seventy years old. This creates a difference in the perception of science among the scientific community and that seen by common man.
I’ve been spending the whole of last week watching videos related to Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha Foundation. One of his conversations is with American neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman inserted below.
In the video at about the 17 minute mark, he brings up the topic of how the science we do today is so influenced by funding which looks at how it is beneficial to man. Vasudev says that science would really be more effective if it is delinked from that objective and one does it purely with the curiosity to understand the world we live in. He suggests that technology should be given the responsibility of figuring out how the knowledge yearned from science be put to use in benefit of humankind. Currently, both are intertwined so tightly that science is funded on the basis of its application, technology spin-offs rather than the fact that it would further the boundaries of knowledge, per se.
This is an interesting distinction that I had not been aware of despite my grounding in science and some time I spent working with technology as an engineer. I shared this because I think it is an interesting insight to work with.