Maybe it's just me, but in the last weeks or so I noticed a small increas of the number of more theoretical question on this site. I consider myself on this side and I wondered how many, if this is quantifiable, of the physical models are eventually "put to use" (under quotation marks, see below).
Of course, the aim is to eventually find a physical theory, maybe the physical theory, but in reality, nobody in high energy physics can expect to land the big hit in less than quite some years. The thing is that whenever I concern myself with some set of models, privately, then I don't really care if what I do would be labeled "physics" or "the study of some sections over some manifold and it's associated algebraic structures." All these things are beautiful to work with. And so often I'm not sure if people really want to make physics or if that's just what they have to say to be able to keep doing it. I guess this paragraph basically seeks for a theoretical physicists apology.
So I think especially of the different field and lattice models in this case. Clearly, theories like electromagnetism, semi-conductor models or microscopic theories for reaction rates are transformed to money in the industy. Considering only models which involve, say, some Lagrangian or Hamiltonian, can it be estimated how many of them see the day of light in the above sense? I'm fairly young and I don't have any overview. Are these kind of theories always only born in universities? (I guess maybe goverment funded theory departments are somewhere in between.)