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If I ruled the world

Governments must spend more on pure scientific research, says the director-general of Cern. That would protect the world from recession

Rolf-Dieter Heuer with one of the 1,232 dipole magnets used in the Large Hadron Collider

International law should oblige governments to invest in basic science, through hard times as well as good. Applied science—making everything from MRI scanners to electricity—is largely the job of the private sector, and the biggest risk to future prosperity is that the pure scientific research which underpins it dries up. Without this basic science, industry and society as a whole will be impoverished.

“One day, sir, you may tax it!” was Michael Faraday’s apocryphal riposte to William Gladstone’s question about the utility of his investigations…

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