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Fundamental scientific research is a vital endeavour

Obtaining financial support for scientific research is generally more difficult for work that is fundamental in nature rather than applied. In the October issue of Nature Chemistry, Bruce C. Gibb of the University of New Orleans contemplates how topics such as complexity might get their share — and why it is vital that they do (Nat. Chem. 1, 513-514; 2009). As he puts it: “The deeper and more fundamental the work, the further the bubbles of ideas and discoveries have to rise to the surface of contemporary life, and the more things become unpredictable. For example, was the Swedish physiologist Ulf Svante von Euler-Chelpin thinking about the mechanism of action of Aspirin when he was isolating compounds (prostaglandins) from sheep sperm? 

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