… is from pages 134-135 of Matt Ridley’s excellent 2015 volume, The Evolution of Everything:
Again and again, once you examine the history of innovation, you find scientific breakthroughs as the effect, not the cause, of technological change. It is no accident that astronomy blossomed in the wake of the age of exploration. The steam engine owed almost nothing to the science of thermodynamics, but the science of thermodynamics owed almost everything to the steam engine. The flowering of chemistry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was driven by the needs of dye-makers. The discovery of the structure of DNA depended heavily on X-ray crystallography of biological molecules, a technique developed in the wool industry to try to improve textiles.