European science policy and research risk

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Euroscientist October 7, 2014 by Francesco Sylos Labini

Basic research is intrinsically risky: looking at the history of science one may find many examples of unexpected discoveries as well as of many ideas that were assumed true at a certain point in time while later they were proven wrong. Among the first we find, in recent years, the discovery of high temperature superconductivity by Alex Muller and Georg Bednorz, of the Quantum Hall effect by Klaus von Klitzing, the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, and, more recently, the discovery of the graphene layers by Andrei Geim and Konstatin Novoselov.

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