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Summer 2009

Pasteur’s Quadrant

Reporters, college administrators, and even scientists themselves often talk about basic and applied research as if they are the two ends of a spectrum, and that most research can be described as being either “purely basic,” with no practical end in view, or “applied,” with only practical ends in view (and no interest in understanding fundamental processes of nature). Scientists whose work combines the two get placed somewhere along the line between them, but like placing a pivot under a teeter-totter, the question arises, which side is heavier? Does her work tilt more toward the applied side or the basic?

Such questions, and the whole … » More …