If you had in this chair some of the people who developed quantum mechanics back in the 1920s or 1930s, and you said to them, ‘What is this stuff gonna DO for us?’ they’d say ‘Probably not much, we’re trying to understand molecules and atoms, very far from everyday life.’
But the fact that you have a cell phone, the fact that you have a personal computer, the fact that there’s wondrous medical technology that’s saving lives around the world today all relies on the integrated circuit, which comes from quantum mechanics.
Quantum mechanics are responsible for something like 35% of the Gross National Product. Which is just to say fundamental research at a given moment in time can have big implications when you allow it to mature.
Cosmologist Brian Greene, in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Investing in basic science must be disconnected from traditional returns, and instead viewed as an investment in the intellectual capital of tomorrow. It’s hard to put a price tag on inspiration, and Goldman Sachs has yet to write an algorithm to predict the science of the future.
Check out his Newsweek cover story “Welcome to the Multiverse” including the rest of the interview.