Memorandum submitted by Professor Gordon
Davies (FC 77)
1. Regarding the discussion over assessing
the impact of research, please consider the following case.
2. There is currently intense interest in
"quantum computing", and in related activities in using
quantum physics for encrypting data.
3. One system that is being investigated
seriously for quantum information processing is based on the use
of a particular impurity in diamond.
4. The structure of that impurity was discovered
as a piece of basic, curiosity-driven research by me in 1976 (published
in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, vol.
348, pp 285-298).
5. In the first five years (a typical RAE/REF
period), the work was cited 8 timesnot very exciting.
6. Thanks to the use of the impurity in
quantum information processing, in 2009 alone the work was referenced
27 times, and 68 times in the last five full years. Since its
publication, it has been cited in the refereed literature 197
times, which is very respectable. The paper is evidently significant.
7. Basic research generates information
for the long-term future, as well as training scientists for the
Professor Gordon Davies