“What is the use of discovering the age of the universe? Or, what are these quasars that are exploding? I mean what’s the use of all that astronomy? There isn’t any. Its curiosity that I’m satisfying. If human curiosity represents a need, then the attempt to satisfy curiosity is practical, by definition. I would not put out any promise that it would be practical in some economic sense.”
Feynman is a hero. But at the same time, when the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and we are being paid on the public dime, do we have some obligation to carve out some of our research time toward fixing some of the world’s problems?
Discuss amongst yourselves.