Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"It's A Shame To Shut It Down"

That's what Lisa Randall said on the imminent shut down of the Tevatron this coming September. Her quote is part of another examination of the history of the Tevatron and the fate of high energy physics program in the US in an article in the NY Times.

Michael Turner, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago and vice president of the American Physical Society, said American scientists were struggling to adjust to a world in which Europe and Asia are attaining parity with the United States. “We are used to dominating in science,” Dr. Turner said. “We seem to be unable to make decisions, and instead continue to chase every opportunity, in the end doing nothing.”

While the fall of any civilization from the peak of its golden age can be slow and subtle, I wonder if, 100 years from now, history might mark this period of time as a milestone where the US dominance in science, and its peak in the dominant world power in knowledge, economics, and politics begin their downfall. There are certainly a lot of tell-tale signs for that, despite the political rhetoric.


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