25 November 2010

Science and imagination

Listening to a Material World podcast on the UK government's budget for science research over the next four years. Threatening to be one of the more boring of their podcasts, it had a couple of interesting parenthetical facts. In support of the belief that imaginative freedom pushes science forward, one guest pointed out that properties of graphene were discovered during such moments of scientific goofing off. This was pointed out because two Manchester scientists received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for these experiments. Another, equally fascinating, discovery was during directed research but in an area that could be dismissed as frivilous. I can find any sources on this, but according to the podcast a linguist was given 7,500 pounds to study an endangered language in the Solomon Islands. During their research, they discovered a new language structure believed to not be possible. This new information is now being looked at by linguists and neurologists in order to determine what the innate structures of language are and how they are mapped in the brain.

[ posted by sstrader on 25 November 2010 at 10:52:37 AM in Language & Literature ]