Another wonderful example of the importance of funding basic research by capable people. It may not be possible to predict the outcome (it is a very different process from building a road) - but really innovative discoveries can have extremely important impacts. Otherwise, we'll just keep doing the same things over and over.
Yes, these are long-term theoretical projects; and today's world has little interest for them; too busy looking to develop the next gadget. But if somebody does not ask the Big questions, then we'll just become busy ants in our own colonies. Perish the thought!