Le Monde.fr : Sans théorie de la relativité, pas de GPS, par Cédric Foellmi

Le Monde.fr : Sans théorie de la relativité, pas de GPS, par Cédric Foellmi: excellent article about the need for fundamental research.

Reading the article made be looked back on the various “forms” of research I have encountered in my life. I don’t know which one is better, I am just listing them.

  • taking a problem and looking for a solution
  • taking a solution and looking for a problem
  • trying to understand nature

The main criticism I have about research in general is when people decide to invent a problem to solve.

Come on guys, look around. Problems are everywhere. Pick one and solve it. No need to come up with one.

So many times, researchers refuse to tackle real problems, because they look to “commercial”. If finding a solution has a slight chance to have commercial implications, then somehow the problem is tainted. That’s stupid.

When you look at the best places to do research (I am taking my field of computer science as a example), it should not be a surprise that AT&T and Bell Labs where the best places. They had so many practical and unpractical problems to solve.

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