Sunday, October 2, 2011

We're A Little Less Curious Today

The Discovery of the Top Quark
Fermilab's Tevatron is shutdown.
Accelerators can, and do, have useful afterlives, giving rise to all kinds of valuable spinoff technologies with the potential to make our world a better place; the Tevatron will be no exception.

But that's not, ultimately, why we do the kind of fundamental, curiosity-driven physics research for which the accelerator is justly famed. And with its passing, a little bit more of that bold frontier spirit passes with it.
We've ceded the territory of high-energy particle physics to the Europeans and the LHC. Like the end of the Space Shuttle program, we're all a little less today than we were yesterday, a little more provincial, a little bit closer to obsolescence in the world of basic science.

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