Friday, October 07, 2011

Another Sign America No Longer Wants to Be First in Science

This day has been coming for a very long time. More than 20 years. Tevatron shutdown: Fermilab's Tevatron shuts down Friday - Chicago Tribune

The tevatron collider smashed protons and anti-protons together in an underground ring. But more than 20 years ago, the US government decided it didn't want to fund the next generation accelerator. Even after Texas dug the hole for it. (That baton has passed to CERN, and the Large Hadron Collider which went on-line in 2009.

You can't succeed in science if you can't do experiments. So, everyone is heading to Europe.
At least 50 Fermilab scientists have moved to the LHC, and nearly 30 of the estimated 80 universities conducting research in this country — many at Fermi — also have switched. In June, Oddone asked for 100 employees to volunteer for severance packages.
In this age when there is much debate over what government should and should not do, I will say that basic research of this kind should be funded. Any commercial applications of this knowledge is decades away. At least. (Consider that early work in quarks, from 20 years ago, may finally be moving into the arena of computer engineering in the next few years.) No business can support that long of an investment without return.

But America no longer dreams of being number 1. In anything. No one studies engineering - because it is hard. No one studies math - because it is hard. Well, very few. Is it any wonder we don't build things anymore.

4 comments:

Rich E said...

No one studies engineering or math because it is hard. - well yes but also because nowadays in schools all; you do is this touchy feeling stuff and if your answer is close that good for credit and study so you can get a job in the GREEN industry.

We are making them failures and it starts with many, not all, of the teachers you can not do it either because they majored in "education".

I fortunately teach in an engineering school and we still have large numbers of people coming for that but where are they to work when they graduate>

Our politicians want a third world country as they figure they will be on top.

Rich E said...

I must say that my spelling is really really bad when I get upset.

Sorry about that and I am sure you can figure out what it was supposed to be

Zendo Deb said...

Where will they work? China. India. Or Germany - if the rest of Europe doesn't pull it down.

Rich E said...

Where will they work is a good question. My one nephew studied Chemical engineering but he only wants to work on green projects and is not finding anything in that area. My understanding is that "calling" came from the professors at the school.
His younger brother wants mechanical engineering with a bent towards aeronautics.

My guess is eventually the first will be an unemployed protester at occupy wall street and the second will be a middle class male with a job supporting his family and the so called "99 percent" through his taxes.