The Case for Useless Knowledge


The road to innovation is paved with useless information.


The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) celebrated the book launch of The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge with opening remarks from Director Robbert Dijkgraff, followed by a panel discussion featuring Peter Dougherty, Director of Princeton University Press, Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Shirley Tilghman, President Emerita of Princeton University.


The book includes IAS founding Director Abraham Flexner's essay of the same title, as well as a new companion essay by Dijkgraaf. Both explore the phenomenon of curiosity-driven research, and its propensity to yield unexpected scientific discoveries and revolutionary technology, often by accident. "The progress of our modern age, and of the world of tomorrow, depends not only on technical expertise, but also on unobstructed curiosity and the benefits—and pleasures—of traveling far upstream, against the current of practical considerations," said Dijkgraaf. 

Click here for more information about the book on the Princeton University Press website.