The "research community" seems conflicted as to how useful research should be. But actually, the main conflict is about means, not ends.On Saturday, Brian Cox and I discussed the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson (or something very much like it) in a session chaired by Robin Ince at the Latitude festival. I mention this utterly for the bragging rights, of course. But not just my bragging rights: the thousands of colleagues who worked on the discovery, as well as the governments and tax payers who funded it, have bragging rights. So do the thousands (really!) of people who crowded the enormous "Literary" tent on a Saturday afternoon at a music festival. I think we should be proud of this wonder.This is evidence, of a sort, that this discovery has had an impact.Impact is a vexed topic amongst researchers though. For a good example, see Athene Donald's blog, and the...
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