When scientists of developed countries discuss the potentialities of scientific activity in developing nations, arguments are often advanced that pure research can be carried out only in the established centers with tradition, accessibility, time, and funds; and that anyway what Africa and Asia need are sanitation systems and a “good fifty‐dollar bulldozer”. Establishing truly significant scientific research programs in countries still lacking tractors and sewage systems is more difficult than adding another laboratory in Greater Boston or establishing another institute in Southern California. However, if such arguments had prevailed in the past, Harvard would not have been founded—Oxford and Cambridge were already there; MIT would not have opened—Princeton and Harvard were there; and California would have remained wilderness. Growth and development, if they are to exist, cannot be fettered by the chains of absolute logic. If the underdeveloped countries of the world wait until they have brought the everyday conveniences of modern life into their most remote villages before they begin to attempt competition in the quest for knowledge, they will be doomed to an eternity of trailing further and further behind countries well embarked on a second industrial revolution before they have reached the first. They will be condemned to an economic dependence more crippling than any of the colonialist era.
A. B. Zahlan; Physics at the American University of Beirut. Physics Today 1 July 1965; 18 (7): 38–40. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3047542
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