/exhibition/basic-research Sep. 2007 - Jun. 2013

Research adventure

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It's really fascinating: If scientists get the opportunity to deal with new subject areas without any limitations at all - and completely without having any idea of a practical use in the back of their minds - this often leads to important, and sometimes even lifesaving, inventions.

Nothing is more human than curiosity!

Curiosity is the desire to understand how something works, and pleasure in getting to the bottom of things. In science, this "purest form" of obtaining knowledge is known as "pure research". Economic interests are pushed to the background, and the focus is completely on the new knowledge. Very often, such research leads to completely fundamental inventions of enormous practical significance in everyday life.

For example, how could the Italian doctor Luigi Galvani (1737 - 1798) have known that his medical experiments with frogs' legs would form the basis for today's use of electrical current? Who would have thought that traces of mysterious, invisible radiation that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845 – 1923) discovered completely by chance on a fluorescing screen would one day revolutionize medical investigation methods? And the principle of the heart pacemaker is also based on the chance observation, by doctor Albert Hyman (1893 – 1972), that under certain circumstances pricking a stopped heart would "restart" it.

Who would now say that pure research is pointless?

For this reason, and in collaboration with the FWF (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung) (Fund for Promoting Scientific Research), the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) is therefore dedicating an exhibition of its own to the field of "pure research". Be fascinated by a 2,000-year old battery, hear with the ears of a deaf person with a cochlear implant, and calculate your own CO2 footprint!

Many thanks to:

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