The other day I was asked, why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?
A worldwide pandemic struck 1918. It infected 500 million people, (1/3 of the world's population), and killed an estimated 50 million. 675,000 of those in the United States. Thank goodness we're no where near those numbers, and a vaccine is in the works. Without the knowledge/advances science has made since then what would the numbers look like?
At one point in our journey we didn't even have a germ theory of disease!
Any average person in the developed world lives better today than the king of England did only several hundred years ago. There is one reason for this - intellectual curiosity, which is, of course, just another name for science.
Yours truly during a tour of CERN.
Getting excited about the confirmation of the Higgs Boson, or the fact that we've just measured the amount of time it takes light to cross a hydrogen molecule isn't just enthusiasm for intellectual curiosity, it's enthusiasm for the advancement of the human condition. Like electricity and magnetism, or space and time, they're two sides of the same coin.