Role of Basic Research in Technological Change

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Linguistically the word "technology" traces its roots in the Greek words tekhne meaning "craft" and logos meaning "say". Hence it is the art of using one's craft. Technology as a field is so vast that it is almost impossible to have one all-encompassing definition for it.


In the modern times technology has become an essential part of society, especially in economic terms. As noted in the Science magazine issue of 23 October 1998, "technology companies founded in just the last 30 years have created an aggregate capital value of close to a trillion dollars, making technology a major engine driving the U.S. economy".[1].
These technological developments owe their success to research which, in turn, is of two types; namely basic research and applied research. Basic research essentially aims at improving knowledge and theoretical understanding of a subject. It is exploratory in nature without any specific end in mind and motivated by the researcher's curiosity. Applied research is founded on basic research but does not seek to gain knowledge for its sake. It is carried out with some specific aim in view. An example of genetic-codes will help put the difference between the two in perspective. Unscrambling the code just for the sake of knowledge would be basic research. But using that knowledge to alter the code in a way to find a cure for cancer would be applied research. ...
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