Robbert Dijkgraaf, Institute for Advanced Study Director and Leon Levy Professor, will discuss the re-publication of “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” (Princeton University Press), which features IAS Founding Director Abraham Flexner’s classic essay of the same title, first published in Harper’s magazine in 1939. Flexner describes a great paradox of scientific research, that 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 the book’s companion essay, Dijkgraaf emphasizes how essential curiosity-driven research is to our world of tomorrow. A book signing will follow the event.
Part of the Thinking Allowed series co-sponsored by the library and Princeton University Press with support from Labyrinth Books.