Иллюзия «значимости» в науки

СТЭНФОРД – Финансируемые государством научные исследования охватывают широкий диапазон – от изучения фундаментальных физических и биологических процессов до практических разработок, отвечающих насущным потребностям. Поскольку объем средств ограничен, власти, принимающие решения о выделении грантов, всегда испытывают желание направить большую часть ресурсов во втором направлении. А сегодня, когда введены жесткие бюджетные ограничения, склонность поощрять проекты с быстрой отдачей стала еще сильнее, чем в прошлом. Но поддаваться этому желанию неправильно. Некоторые из самых полезных научных открытий стали результатом непрерывных инвестиций в фундаментальные исследования или побочным продуктом несвязанных с ним напрямую проектов.

Значение любого научного проекта действительно трудно оценить. Как заметил Марк Киршнер, профессор Гарвардской медицинской школы, в своей вдумчивой статье в журнале Science: «Современник способен оценить хорошую науку, но великую наука можно увидеть только в зеркале заднего вида».

Даже выдающиеся ученые могут недооценивать значимость своих открытий в тот момент, когда они их сделали. Когда Сальвадор Луриа, мой университетский профессор микробиологии, получил в 1969 году Нобелевскую премию по медицине, он очень ярко выразил эту мысль, отправив шутливую карикатуру всем, кто его поздравлял с наградой. Он нарисовал престарелую пару за завтраком. Муж, читая утреннюю газету, восклицает: «Вот это да! Меня наградили Нобелевской премией за то, что я говорил, делал и думал в 1934 году!»

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