The fundamental importance of basic science: examples of high-impact discoveries from an international chemistry network

Luiz G. F. Lopes, Peter J. Sadler, Vânia Bernardes-Génisson, José J. G. Moura, Remi Chauvin, Paul V. Bernhardt, Eduardo H. S. Sousa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During the last 150 years or more, society has witnessed many key scientific discoveries and inventions, which have dramatically improved not only our quality of life, but our lifespan. However, the motivation of scientists to provide scientific advances has generally not been the achievement of these goals, but mainly driven by research curiosity. Fundamental scientific studies, also known as basic science, have paved the way to a society of knowledge by means of continuously evolving education systems, and have led to applied science and technological breakthroughs changing the World. However, without basic science such life-changing advances would not happen, which is poorly understood by the society. Having this in mind, chemists and biochemists working in a chemistry network highlight here examples of how basic science has played a crucial role and led to major breakthroughs. In seven short stories, the authors describe cases and historical events where basic research discoveries have advanced science, and opened avenues for future achievements. Investment in basic science is crucial for a nation’s health and wealth. The support of scientists driven by curiosity ultimately can benefit the whole of society, not only in innovative products, but also in the improvement of the understanding of our own lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalQuimica Nova
Volume43
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Applied science
  • Basic science
  • Chemistry
  • Epistemology

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