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Zee Learn at India Education Summit, New Delhi

On the analysis of the impact of basic science on culture
The number of talented young researchers is falling. The worst situation seems to be in mathematics. Even if we consider mathematicians and computer scientists together, then in this case it turns out that the influx of new doctors is rapidly falling. Such a disregard for intellectual resources in basic science is an unforgivable omission. Since breakthroughs in science and technology are often carried out by single geniuses, the loss of even one person who can, say, find a cure for cancer can be very expensive for us.

What should be done? In our review, only rough guidelines are outlined for a more informed study of the impact of basic science on the economy and culture. Such an analysis could be carried out in three main directions. First, it would be necessary to identify those scientific fields that are farthest from practical applications and deserve fundamental names (among them, of course, would be intermediate areas). Secondly, it would be worth following the practical applications of both already completed works, and those that are still being conducted in each of the fundamental disciplines separately. This would help to establish clear links between the scientific laboratory and industry, to determine the effectiveness of the industrial implementation of laboratory research. Finally, it would be possible to evaluate the influence of fundamental science on the level of education of specialists in engineering and applied sciences. One of the most subtle questions here is the question of the quality of education: are the best minds really occupied in fundamental science, as is commonly believed?

It is argued that the study in question would clearly demonstrate the following conclusion: basic science pays off and the costs of it are returned in the form of cultural enrichment of society, in the form of a constant source of resources to improve the quality of life. Given that the pace of resource use and environmental exploitation will increase, the creation of the necessary base of fundamental knowledge for the appropriate technological restructuring of society appears to be a problem on which our very existence depends. Thus, it can definitely be argued that the hopes of fundamental science as a pillar of humanity are justified and conceal practical benefits. In this case, our task is to restore some of the opportunities that young researchers had during the period of high scientific productivity between 1955 and 1968. If this goal is achieved, the peoples and their governments will not be defeated.