The Higgs and the US

When trying to understand the fabric of the universe, scientists will go to great lengths in testing and analysis to make sure current cogent theories contain the truth of the matter. At the LHC, the vast data sets from late 2011 and into 2012 are being examined for proof of the Higg’s particle existence. Tantalizing evidence has placed the particle within an mass window of 115–130 GeV/c2  . A news conference of current results is scheduled for tomorrow, July 4th . Will the ‘wait and see’ on the part of European taxpayers be justified or point to yet another messy path to the truth? Whatever the answer, many LHC physicists don’t receive much if any grief from fellow citizens on the subject of what the LHC costs in tax dollars.  

Americans gasp at the cost of scientific funding. Europe built the LHC for 3 billion US dollars. We on the other hand got rid of the SSC in 1993 after spending 2 billion dollars in construction. The original cost was estimated at 4.4 billion, however, factors such as poor management by DOE and by SSC’s physicists, the public’s loss of interest in maintaining scientific supremacy, and rising cost estimates led to a congressional cancellation bill signed with regret[1]by President Clinton on October 31st, 1993. The SSC’s planned energy capability was almost 3 times that of the LHC.

 Now you know why our July 4th isn’t going to have that little extra ‘bang’ to it.

 Since WW II US supremacy in science and technology is often funded at times with a blank check. The latest blank checks it seems were the Iraqi war and the big bailout of Wall Street. Before that, NASA in the ‘60s – mid- ‘70s response to Russian communism. Before that, WW II and the atomic bomb. Today’s scientists are not asking for blank checks, however we are asking for enough money to pay for those experiments addressing fundamental questions of life, health and the universe. This is where the question addresses the basic character of a nation; how valuable is science education? Is it enough that children have their fun being the natural scientists they are for just a childhood? Is wonder, mental stimulation and challenge, and excitement of discovery something we limit to a certain age then say grow up; get the highest paying job, work long empty hours building for those who contribute sporadically to evolving markets and nothing to the future of anyone’s children.

I know- I’m on my whining run – but very busy and will give you  better post on the Higgs et al later!


About Deborah Leddon

Vegetarian Mother and Wife, Scientist at UTD CSS, passionate about my family, animal rights, the outdoors and my violin.
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