The Princeton in Europe Lecture: Robbert Dijkgraaf on 'The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge'

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In his classic essay 'The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge', Abraham Flexner, the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the man who helped bring Albert Einstein to the United States, describes a great paradox of scientific research.  The search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without the concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs.  Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Institute's current director argues that Flexner's defence of 'the unobstructed pursuit of useless knowledge' may be even more relevant today than it was in the early twentieth century.