Science: The Elegant Experiment

If "art for art's sake" is a desirable slogan, why not "science for science's sake"? Modern scientists, whose goals are apt to be shaped by armed forces' research grants or a corporation's search for bigger & better laboratory-tested mousetraps, are diffident about performing their experiments for pure research purposes. Sir Edward Appleton, principal of the University of Edinburgh and a Nobel Prizewinner in physics, believes that "science for its own sake" is a slogan to be proud of. His thesis, as quoted in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: "Science is illuminating as well as fruitful." Says Sir Edward:

"Perhaps the most...