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Curiouser and curiouser: managing discovery making

Zewail, Ahmed (2010) Curiouser and curiouser: managing discovery making. Nature, 468 (7322). p. 347. ISSN 0028-0836.

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On a recent official visit to southeast Asia, a prime minister asked me: "What does it take to get a Nobel prize?" I answered immediately: "Invest in basic research and recruit the best minds." This curiosity-driven approach seems increasingly oldfashioned and underappreciated in our modern age of science. Some believe that more can be achieved through tightly managed research — as if we can predict the future. I believe this is an unfortunate misconception that affects and infects research funding. I hear repeatedly, particularly in developing countries: "Applied research is what we need." There is nothing wrong with a nation having mission-oriented research and development to solve specific problems or to dedicate to an outreach programme, such as space exploration or alternative energy. During my visits as a US science envoy, I have emphasized that without solid investment in science education and a fundamental science base, nations will not acquire the ground-breaking knowledge required to make discoveries and innovations that will shape their future.

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Additional Information:© 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Ahmed Zewail won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He serves on Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Issue or Number:7322
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160816-083658936
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Official Citation:Curiouser and curiouser: managing discovery making Ahmed Zewail Nature 468, 347 (2010) | doi:10.1038/468347a
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69646
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Aug 2016 21:20
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 10:24

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