The Technology Tel

Most technology nerds know “tel” as a prefix meaning “transmission over a distance,” as in telecommunications, television, or telemarketing. Most are unfamiliar with an altogether different meaning as found in the phrase “technology tel,” which is the modern and digital equivalent to an archaeologist's tel. Archaeologists define tel as a mound created by many generations …

Tirole and Pasteur

There are lots of criteria that we use to think about why someone should win a Nobel prize. There is creative genius, there are pioneering findings but, in reality, the dominant criteria is impact. The tough issue is usually "impact on what?" Because being at the frontier is difficult, most specialise in their impact. To be …

The Irony of Public Funding

Misunderstandings and misstatements perennially pervade any debate about public funding of research and development. That must be so for any topic involving public money, almost by definition, but arguments about funding for scientific research and development contain a unique and special irony. Well-working government funding is, by definition, difficult to assess, because of two criteria …