Friday, January 21, 2011

Tevatron Will Shut Down This Year

The Tevatron, the Fermi National Laboratory accelerator will shut down in September of this year due to lack of funds.  The accelerator located in Batavia, Ill. was funded by the Us Department of Energy and was racing to gather details of the elusive Higgs boson, the origin of mass in physics.  Now that task falls to the Large Hadron Collider in at CERN. 

Once again the US had dumped a valuable scientfic project because of budgets and politics.  First was the Super Colloder in Texas, a project characterized as "pork" by opponents of basic scientific research, and now the Tevatron.  As these landmark projects move to Europe and perhaps elsewhere, the US continues to lose its lead in scientific research.

Basic research, like the space program and partical physics have paid off in long range rewards in the past, it is a pity that short sighted politicians and the public can't see the benefits. So next time you glance at your digital watch or use your GPS or communicate on the internet, thank basic research.  Then go out and start learning Chinese so you can keep up with the rest of the world as we let our country fall behind.

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