Even in conditions of reduced funding for scientific research the staff of academic institutions do not give up and do not sit idle. This is proved by personal example of the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences academician V.E. Fortov, founder of the scientific direction “dynamic physics of nonideal plasma”, studying strong shock waves and extreme states of substances. Such experiments are not at all cheap, but absolutely necessary for our country’s development. Special columnist of the “ES” magazine Natalia Leskova talks to Vladimir Evgenievich Fortov about why this is so and what the fundamental science is needed for.