I'm looking for a quote by Terry Pratchett. I'm pretty sure that the patrician was speaking about Leonard of Quirm and giving funds to Research and Development.
It was something along the lines of:
You pour loads and loads of money into [it], and get nothing in return, but then one day, one clever sod will say "by the way, if we make some huge mirrors on the coast and point them out to sea, those ships will burn like tinder."
Does anyone have an accurate rendition of the quote, and where it comes from?