Thursday, July 01, 2010

Fundamental Science and Improvement of the Quality of Life---Space Quantization to MRI

This is more of a presentation rather than an essay, but still, I think everyone can clearly get the message. It presents a compelling argument on why basic, pure science research is important, and in fact, is the "goose" that will lay the golden egg. It illustrates this by using the timeline in the development of the MRI technique that is so prevalent in medical sciences. It started with "... the quantum mechanical concept of space quantization and intrinsic spin... " that led to "... totally unanticipated practical improvements to the Quality of Life".

In fact, one can pluck the whole of QM and the whole of Special Relativity to show that back then, no one could anticipate what these two areas of study would bring. To me, the most effective means of countering these people who argue about the "waste of money" invested in basic sciences is to simply show several different chains of discoveries that started off with something rather innocuous and ended with an important practical application. Nothing falsifies a claim more definitively than showing a clear example like that. This is one this article has tried to do.


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