Spurred by the “recent back-and-forth between the presidential candidates concerning ‘earmarks,’ money that congressmen give to their states,” scientist Jonathan Farley writes: “What’s so wasteful about funding discovery? Not all science needs to have a purpose. The nature of humans is that, sometimes, they simply want to know. Everything else is just a bonus.”
Jonathan shared his article with me because he thought you’d be interested.
So, what do you think? Most basic research is funded by our tax dollars. Do you think funding research without a known purpose is necessary? Before you answer that, consider this: discoveries that lay behind microwave ovens and penicillin came about by accident and this happens more often than I imagined (even Teflon and Silly Putty were happy accidents!).
Last we heard from Jonathan, a talented writer and gifted scientist, he was checking in with us to see if any citizen scientists working with bees could provide some insight into the ongoing mystery of the disappearing bees. (In this NY Times piece, he talked about the unexplained collapse of bee colonies and how a mathematical model could be used to predict the number that will die in the future.) Let me know if you have an update on this buzzing mystery.