Friday, May 30, 2008

US Particle Physics Spared the Axe?

Well, maybe for now.

The High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) that advises the Dept. of Energy, met this past week to make recommendations on future directions of high energy physics funding and projects in the US. This New Scientist article seems to be painting a "rosier" picture than it really is.

You can read the preliminary report of the P5 meeting here.

There's nothing here that indicates that the politicians (and the President, now and the one to be installed in 2009) pays any attention to such report. After all, they've been known to ignore previous recommendations.

And as a follow-up to the post from yesterday regarding the anonymous donor that gave $5 to help Fermilab, Wired has this dead-on article about the sad state of American particle physics funding.

Say what you will about the relative importance of particle physics in everyday life, but how is it that a government spending $16.8 $2.9 trillion a year can't scrounge up enough change in the cushions to properly fund its premiere particle physics lab?

In the scheme of this country, we're not talking huge amounts of money here. The Federal government's total budget for the lab is $320 million. That's as much as we spend on, say, two-and-a-half F-22 Raptors, and we've managed to build over a hundred of those. Even just the interest on our nation's collective credit card was more than 1,000 times the Fermilab's budget.

... which is essentially what I had said earlier. People have somehow lost perspective for the scale of things.


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