This article made me think about one of the recent TOK essay questions about the value of knowledge being limited if it does not have application in the world. This is an article about an interesting discovery about the properties of numbers that does not seem to have direct application in the world but still had many brilliant minds working on.
“As with anything to do with numbers, this bizarre pattern has always existed. The researchers only found it now because they went looking for it. Fortunately, the “anti-sameness” bias doesn’t yet have any practical implication on the rules of cryptography that underpin our important online transactions. But mathematicians are happy to be stumped. They have a new challenge to explain the phenomenon. As we know from historical examples, this hardy group of scholars won’t remain stumped for long.”
Another article on the same subject.