Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bye-bye, SCSC ...

So, I'm re-reading one of my all-time favorite books (The God Particle, Lederman), and realized I hadn't heard anything about the super-colliding superconductor in a long time. So I looked it up.

Did you know they're just letting it rot away in the desert? ? ? ?

I mean, they never finished it. They never got the money, they threw their hands up in the air and they just left everything to turn into dust down there.

I am so worked up about this that I used a comma splice in that last sentence.

I know that some day, people will get their heads out of their asses about big science--big important science, like astrophysics and particle physics, not craptastic money-making environmental-trashing schemes like fricking genetic engineering. I know that someday, someone will say: let's get a bunch of money and smash atoms until we finally have some experimental proof that support GUTS. Or at least find the Higgs boson.

See, this is the kind of science that is important. It's not important because it leads to technological breakthroughs (which it does), but because it is the research that feeds the human soul. It represents humanity's great journey through the eons, a journey with but one end: to understand the universe, its beginnings and our place within it. Particle accelerators are not a tribute to the hubris of humankind, but a testiment to our desperate need to touch the miracles of God. The miracles get smaller and smaller the more we keep looking. Bosons and photons and gluons and quarks are truly miraculous.

Big science is like big operas, big orchestras and haute couture. People see all them as a waste of money, economic idiocies, and the toys of the privileged class. But anyone who witnesses them in action is awed.

We need awe. We need it desperately. And I wish with all my heart that we could move out of this period of puritanical, money-grubbing, soul-sucking thought--and get back to more human (and more godly) endeavors.

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