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US Particle Colliders In Need of Funding

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the keeping-the-lights-on dept.

The Almighty Buck 133

DevotedSkeptic writes "When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland seized the world record for the highest-energy collisions in 2010, it also sealed the fate of the leading US particle collider. The Tevatron, at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, was closed the following year to save money. Now, physicists at another US physics facility, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, are trying to avoid a similar end. On 13 August, researchers at the ALICE heavy-ion experiment at the LHC at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva, announced that they had created the hottest-ever man-made plasma of quarks and gluons. This eclipsed the record temperature achieved at RHIC two years earlier by 38%, and raised uncomfortable questions about RHIC's future. Tribble still hopes to avoid having to close any of the three facilities. In 2005, he notes, a similar crisis was averted after an advisory committee laid out the dire consequences of flat funding for the future of US nuclear science. In the end, Congress came through with the budgetary increases required. 'What we want to do here is to spell out what will be lost under different budgets,' he says. His committee is planning to hold a final meeting in November, in time to influence the budget requests from US funding agencies for the next fiscal year."

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133 comments

The CIA needs to sell more drugs (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#41188471)

America's children need to be hooked on drugs, so that the CIA can sell more and funbd SCIENCE! Make sure none ofthe money goes to greedy wellfart queens, though, they are bad (and BLACK)!

Re:The CIA needs to sell more drugs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188515)

I just shot a fart directly out of my very own asshole whilst reading your comment. Out of my own asshole. A fart shot out of it. Directly.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Such a thing! Such a thing! I can't even believe this happened to one such as I as such never before!

Why do you cower? You are nothing!

One word (5, Funny)

famebait (450028) | about 2 years ago | (#41188489)

Kickstarter

Re:One word (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#41188577)

I'm guessing they're looking for more than a few million dollars* - crowdfunding is probably not their best avenue, even if putting it on kickstarter or - and more likely because of the type of project it would be - indiegogo could bring it a lot more exposure (similar to the Tesla museum project).

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativistic_Heavy_Ion_Collider#Financial_information [wikipedia.org]
"fiscal year 2007, requested: 143.3 million U.S. dollars"

Re:One word (1, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41188587)

You know that the Tevatron was built with US$ 120 mio of 1983, meaning something about half a billion today? And that there were significant upgrades since then, costing another half a billion? And there are operating costs and much more. And it will never turn a profit, being a purely basic research facility. I don't know if you will get enough money for that on kickstarter.

Re:One word (1)

f3rret (1776822) | about 2 years ago | (#41188811)

Oh that depends on entirely on what benefits are offered, like you know how that Neil Stephenson sword fighting thing would give you a sword if you gave them a ton of cash?

Well maybe this fancy new accelerator should offer stuff like "for donations over $1.000.000 you will get to place an object of your choosing in the path of the beam, for donations over $10.000.000 you will get to place yourself in the path of the beam, hopefully developing superpowers (and hopefully not supercancer or super radiation poisoning)".

Re:One word (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41189163)

for donations over $10.000.000 you will get to place yourself in the path of the beam

There are some people I can think of...

Re:One word (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#41190173)

...for donations over $10.000.000 you will get to place yourself in the path of the beam, hopefully developing superpowers (and hopefully not supercancer or super radiation poisoning)".

I think that the outgassing from the vaporing flesh would ruin the vacuum containment system.

Re:One word (1)

DexPleiadian (634812) | about 2 years ago | (#41188589)

Exactly the first thing I thought about. If we can get thousands of dollars for video games that *likely* will not move society forward as a whole, we can get thousands of dollars for giant atom smashers.

Re:One word (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189299)

Too bad they need millions not thousands.
It would be a great way to show the government that the people care though.

Re:One word (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188617)

Three words: move to Switzerland

Re:One word (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188673)

And lose the "made in the almighty US" label? Oh, the horror!

Re:One word (3, Funny)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41188935)

And lose the "made in the almighty US label*? Oh, the horror!

*Label Made in China

Re:One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189033)

China isn't building colliders because they know they're just over-hyped money sinks.

Re:One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189413)

Let me guess. The free-market could run one cheaper and better? You do realize that not everything humans do needs to turn a profit, and sometimes, just sometimes, innovation and FUCKING LEARNING can be expensive, right?

Re:One word (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 2 years ago | (#41189419)

No, they already have one...the Beijing Beltway

Re:One word (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#41190223)

Oh, they've got them [chinadaily.com.cn] too [tsinghua.edu.cn] .

Re:One word (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41188947)

Latest top hit @ CERN:

We don't collide in America - but we're not - sorry!

Re:One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189647)

If you are a US citizen, or even have "ties" to the US then Switzerland is the last place you want to live. I won't spam slashdot with links as an AC but do a search on "FATCA" and you will se why US citizens are now being treated the same as Jews were in German occupied territory during WW2. Being a US citizen is now a liability.

Re:One word (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41188917)

Kickstarter

But I already pledged all I could afford on the Mars project :(

Re:One word (1)

davetv (897037) | about 2 years ago | (#41188973)

Perhaps the LHA project could on-sell those non-higgs partial proton fragments to physicists who don't have access to a super-collider.

Win for everyone!!

Re:One word (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41190035)

Maybe we can fund it all with the central banks (and politics) instead.

Let them kick the can out into space rather than down the road.

Re:One word (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188989)

I know you're joking, but people sometimes seriously suggest donations/fundraising as a way to run facilities like DoE labs... but it's usually a bad idea.

Specifically, it's not sustainable. Massive science experiments such as those run by the DoE need decades of commitment. Donations and fundraising are simply too variable and capricious to support them. Constantly shriking and growing budgets is wasteful, because you have to cyclically fire/hire personnel, mothball equipment and then pay to rebuild it, and so on. This is always disruptive, but for massive experiments (e.g. accelerator projects) it would be hugely wasteful. This is to say nothing of the fact that an uncertain funding environment will not attract the best talent.

Another possible problem is that soliciting external donations is that it doesn't grow your budget--the higher-ups will simply use it as an excuse to cut part of your budget... leaving you in the exact same position you were in before (actually worse, because you are now depedent on different capricious funding streams). There are ways to pull in external funding from other agencies, but it must be done carefully and with support/guarantees from those providing the base funding (in this case, Department of Energy, which in turn is funded through congress).

Disclosure: I work at Brookhaven National Lab. The above are my views and do not represent an official message from BNL or DoE (thus, posting AC).

Re:One word (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41189009)

Actually, you joke. But private funding is the way to go. If these things are really going to produce results, let's let them sell the rights to raise funding. Would keep them from closing, at least.

Re:One word (2)

drerwk (695572) | about 2 years ago | (#41190059)

Sell the rights to what? The exact mass value of a Higgs boson? The cross section of U-235 for neutron capture?

The Muzzies are coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188523)

The Muzzies are coming,
The Muzzies are coming,
Everyone keep calm.
They're violent and they're evil
And they mean to do us harm

Re:The Muzzies are coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189827)

True - but at least they kill jews!

Crisis? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41188549)

Maybe a personal crisis, if your government funded livelihood is at risk.

But, there's absolutely nothing in the article which makes a compelling case. The best they can plead is "We can still do useful work here, even though we can't do anything unique."

Re:Crisis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188903)

Just let the evil dumb dumb democrats and liberals keep giving the money away to the fat lazy cell phone in hand welfare people. We'll improve society that way...Go OWNS you greedy science bastards.

Re:Crisis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189067)

Just let the evil dumb dumb democrats and liberals keep giving the money away to the fat lazy cell phone in hand welfare people. We'll improve society that way...Go OWNS you greedy science bastards.

Yeah 'cause the republitards are so invested in science eh ?

Re:Crisis? (3, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41189499)

Yeah 'cause the republitards are so invested in science eh ?

The Dems had full control of Congress and the WH for 2 years, and they still have the WH and the Senate. They spent staggering amounts of other people's money.

Funny how the "Party of Science!!" didn't see fit to bother spending any of that loot on these projects.

Heck, they still could. There's billions of (un)Stimulus money still unspent that Obama could use Executive Orders to direct a tiny fraction of towards these projects and fully fund them.

Actions speak louder than words, and the Dems through their actions are screaming that their political pals getting a boatload of our cash is far more important than science, despite what they say in their talking points on TV.

Truth be told, *neither* party really gives a rip about all that "science stuff" when it comes right down to it, if it doesn't give them some kind of political advantage and/or funnel some cash to an ally.

Stop being so blinded by (D) and (R) partisan distractions. It doesn't make you look smart. It makes you look like a mind-numbed drone.

Strat

Re:Crisis? (2)

jpstanle (1604059) | about 2 years ago | (#41189049)

When it comes to cutting edge particle physics research, "We can still do useful work here," sounds like a pretty compelling case to me.

Re:Crisis? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41189667)

You must work for the government. Why pay once when you have the opportunity to pay twice!

What a marooon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188579)

Speaking of Reddit, did you libtards notice the great Maximum Leader
Obama made a quick campaign stop over there to push his idea of
amending the Constitution to restrict your free speech?

http://www.reddit.com/user/PresidentObama

I really don't understand this one, it makes little sense. First
Obama is heading straight towards landslide loss; you may not believe
it but I really don't give a fuck, that's your problem. But the
significant problem is that this would never get the support of two
thirds of the Congress or of the states, thats preposterous.

So what really is the point here? Is this just a play on the blind
leading the blind? That is Obama knows he needs as much support as he
can possibly get, that this intended knock down of Citizens United
would be very popular with the seriously-clueless faction found on
reddit (and of course here), and that this same group of sheeple have
so little knowledge about the realities of politics that they have no
clue how fruitless this effort really is.

Someone should laugh in the President's face. "HAHA. Sorry, but you
are NO LONGER Senator Obama. The Executive Branch has NO SAY in
Constitutional Amendments. It's Congress only and the States. So if
you want to propose an Amendment, perhaps you should just leave the
presidency and run for your old Senate seat again."

What did Bugs Bunny used to say?

What a marooon.

Re:What a marooon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188837)

Wow you guys sure get creative.

Worst thing, this sort of idiocy probably works.

Re:What a marooon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188931)

Wow you sure are an idiot.

See, I can do it too. Moron.

Re:What a marooon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190069)

I am sad now. Truely your hurtful, hurtful words cut me so deeply. I think I shall go throw myself in front of a train now, and it's all your fault.

Research is no dick-contest (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188603)

Sadly, politicians do not realise that.

Research is about finding new things about the universe and this accelerator does not compete with that. They are different machines, made to examine different pieces of the universe and by adding the findings we learn more than if we had only one or two accelerators.

Sadly, funding is tied to "highest energy", "longest tunnel", "highest temperature" and those who cancel the projects do not get that it actually is not about "Hehe, now we showed them damned europeans/americans/chinese/russians!!!1" but about... research.

Re:Research is no dick-contest (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41188651)

That's why I like the LHC...

Everyone chips in and it's up to them to decide how to use their money. They don't have to keep going back every year to re-interview for their jobs.

Politics IS a dick-contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188663)

And politicians are the ones granting funding if you go gov't. When you're a man (and most polis are), and you are taught that your entire career will be measured by your smile and charisma - what else will you learn except that everything in the world that matters is about dick size?

Re:Research is no dick-contest (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41189071)

Of course they realize it. That's why they're letting the Europeans do all the heavy-lifting at LHC. Why duplicate their efforts when they've agreed to foot the bill and share all the research?

Re:Research is no dick-contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189323)

like he said... it's not competitive, therefore also non-duplicative. just because it can be done in two places does not mean it *will* be done in both places. LHC is concerned with a whole lot that the RHIC isn't capable of. So, a lot of work the RHIC can do just fine will not be done at the LHC as it's got "better" things to do.

Re:Research is no dick-contest (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41189779)

like he said... it's not competitive, therefore also non-duplicative. just because it can be done in two places does not mean it *will* be done in both places. LHC is concerned with a whole lot that the RHIC isn't capable of. So, a lot of work the RHIC can do just fine will not be done at the LHC as it's got "better" things to do.

Exactly. Its the different installations and methodologies that are important when someone has as "I'm not sure if this is something real or a problem with our instruments" [bbc.co.uk] moment.

Re:Research is no dick-contest (1)

kermyt (99494) | about 2 years ago | (#41189817)

Wrong! If you cannot duplicate the results of an science experiment independently, then it didn't happen. This is science not religion. Science works off of provability and reproducibility. Just because "I said so" doesn't make it so.

Re:Research is no dick-contest (1)

drerwk (695572) | about 2 years ago | (#41190105)

Really depends on what you are trying to prove - a second LHC need not be built to prove the Higgs as there are more than one detector finding comparable results. However, finding a second monopole would go a long way towards confirming the Valentine's Day even at Stanford.

Re:Research is no dick-contest (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41190259)

If you cannot duplicate the results of an science experiment independently, then it didn't happen.

That's not true. Experiments are indeed considered to happen despite not having been reproduced.

Point of fact: the RHIC cannot exactly reproduce experiments done at LHC, and vice versa, because they are different machines colliding different particles with different detectors. The "reproducibility" actually occurs within each of the distinct colliders, as they collect more data from more runs of the same experiment to verify that they continue seeing the same results.

However one can check if the results of one experiment are consistent with the results of another.

Just because "I said so" doesn't make it so.

Which is not the consequence of not building a second LHC to reproduce all the exact same experiments, so true but not relevant.

Instead, they say "I have reams and reams of extremely high quality data, published here". Also, the LHC does itself have a form of reproducibility, in that there are two detector experiments -- ATLAST and CMS -- that measure many of the same things. However they are not identical machines, and so the experiments are once again not exactly reproduced. Since in the instance of the Higgs candidate discovery they did agree, this is considered a form of reproduction.

LHC and RHIC are different machines with different capabilities for running different experiments. Thus, that is what they should (and have no choice but to) do. The results should be compared for discrepencies, but expecting literal reproduction of experiment from one device at the other is unrealistic and an overly simplistic usage of the idea of reproducibility in science.

Re:Research is no dick-contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189287)

I came here for a comment like this.

What science is this ring doing that the others are not doing? If it is redundant then it probably should be killed. Experiments do eventually end. It may be time to move onto another cool experiment... If you got everything out of of it you wanted already why spend more money on it? You could use that money for something else (like applying the results from the experiments). Now if it is still producing *new* results and experiments are in progress then you have a problem.

Had a couple of friends who worked on the one in Texas that got canceled before it smashed 1 atom. But they both now have decent jobs. Now that was a shame and put us backwards by 10 years in research time. However, it eventually did happen...

Flag waving (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 years ago | (#41189757)

They are different machines, made to examine different pieces of the universe and by adding the findings we learn more than if we had only one or two accelerators.

Actually in the case of the Tevatron and the LHC that is not true. Once the LHC started up there was very little that the Tevatron could do that the LHC could not do a lot better. The two machines have a huge overlap in their physics programs. I am not sure whether that is true for RHIC as well since I am not a heavy ion guy but it would not surprise me. While it is true that electron-positron colliders have different physics programs we are comparing hadron colliders to other hadron colliders so the overlap is huge.

Typically what happens with older accelerators which lose the "highest energy" crown, and attendant research program, is that they convert into going into extremely high luminosity machines which can be used for neutrino beams and/or high intensity meson or muon beams for precision fixed target experiments. So while it might be tough for the US to lose its accelerators and hand the lead over to Europe just providing funding for the existing accelerators without some program to repurpose them would be an exercise in flag waving and not much to do with science.

If the US wants to compete it needs to build the next generation of machines (e.g. International Linear Collider) or develop serious plans to redevelop existing accelerators to function at the precision frontier....which is a decision I hope it will make. If not there will probably be a slow down in the field while other countries take up the slack but the march of science will continue with, or without, the US in the vanguard.

Get cooler names and you'll get funding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188607)

..."the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)...

OK, Seriously? All you geeks and science nerds in a room, and NO ONE could come up with a comic book hero or something to name that thing? (Iron Man popped in my head after about 3 milliseconds...)

Rappers don't run around talking about how they're gonna "tap dat gluteus maximus"...and they sell millions of albums and rake it in. Take a hint, and you'll get funding.

Shortsighted (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188615)

And this is why it was shortsighted to close down the SSC project before it was completed. All of this research could be taking place here in the US

Re:Shortsighted (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41189085)

What does it matter where it's taking place, as long as it's shared?

Re:Shortsighted (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#41189337)

What does it matter where it's taking place, as long as it's shared?

Because it's not just about knowledge sharing, but also about obtaining first-hand build-shit-of-uber-magnitude know-how (and the middle/upper-middle engineering/scientific jobs created in the process.)

Two strageies (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#41188643)

(1) have the RHIC invade another country. It's the easiest way to spend several hundred million dollars "off the books"

(2) spread the management and construction out over the territory of no less than 51 Senators and/or 220 Reps. Why do you think NASA is scattered all over the country? It's not because there are prime launch sites in TX, OH, and MD, among others.

Re:Two strageies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190763)

Just outsource RHIC to China. Problem is solved.

Put me down for... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188671)

Tree fitty

Re:Put me down for... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188805)

Tree fitty

So Obama's now the God damned Loch Ness monster?

"Rob from the rich"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188681)

Maybe they can divert some funds from the Anthropological Global Warming research. They could just start saying that "lack of particle colliders is causing global warming or that they are doing research on how to leverage physics to turn CO2 into fuzzy kittens, that would work.

Default democrat option would be to fund research by "taxing the rich"...

Re:"Rob from the rich"? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41188755)

no, they should just make up a story that people are causing the universe to expand and we need to find a way to slow it down

you need a scary story about how people are at fault to play on guilt feelings and the fear of change and the unknown

Barack Obama sure is evil, isn't he? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188761)

Imagine the vitriol that would be aimed at George W. Bush had this been posted 4-5 years ago...

Re:Barack Obama sure is evil, isn't he? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189669)

Imagine the vitriol that would be aimed at George W. Bush had this been posted 4-5 years ago...

What!?

This isn't GWB's fault!?!?

That's unpossible!!!

The USA is losing interest in science... (5, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#41188781)

... it seems to me as an outsider. Which is ironic that it was science and engineering that created the USA as it is today. I don't know if its a dumbed down education system, lack of political direction or just a slowly growing luddite mentality. If it doesn't want to be an also-ran following in Chinas heals (as it already is in the manned space race now) then it better do something about it fast. But I won't hold my breath.

Re:The USA is losing interest in science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188925)

You nailed it. It's all about making money on Wall Street these days. Science be damned.

Re:The USA is losing interest in science... (2)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41189363)

I won't say that it's a dumbed down education system that is causing this, but I will say that our education system is suffering. I don't know where along the way we decided to value hedge fund managers, investment bankers and stock traders over the people who teach our children, clean our streets and put out fires, but we're there.

I do honestly believe that it has quite a bit to do with the undying stereotype of the bookworm. In recent months there has been quite a bit of coverage on the presidential race (obviously). In multiple stories, multiple individuals have stated that the various candidates from the Republican party have been trying hard not to seem too "bookish". To me, being "bookish" isn't an insult. To me, being well-read, well-researched, and well-prepared is a good thing.

I'm not saying this is entirely a republican view either, but they seem to be getting most of the coverage.

I believe that the root cause of all of this is media. Media wants a good story. Good almost always equates to painful, sad, or stupid. So, we get coverage of the jackasses who protest soldier's funerals. We get 24/7 coverage of murder, rape and despair. We get 24/7 coverage of religious whackos being proud in their ignorance, forcing their views on everyone in the name of 'freedom of expression' or 'freedom of religion', and giving normal, rational and intelligent religious folks across the nation a bad name.

I honestly believe that mass media is to blame for how we view most social problems. I honestly believe that there's money to be made in stereotyping people on welfare and printing that story, which then will inadvertently lead to a generation of folks brought up believing that message. I'm not saying that the choices to cover inane, idiotic, painful and sad stories were made in a dark room by billionaires. I do not believe that. What I believe is that stupid sells. People want to escape the mundane aspect of their lives, so stupid stories, sad stories, murder and mayhem sell easily.

This then creates a generation of children brought up on these dumbass stories. These children see less-harm in that type of media, and get bored with it. Therefore, media outlets have to amp up their stories. Then more children. Then worse stories.

Science, no matter how you frame it, is inherently un-sexy. Engineering, believe it or not, doesn't turn that many people's knobs.

You know what does? Snooky.

Does that taste like ashes in your mouth? It should.

Re:The USA is losing interest in science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190247)

This exact point was driven home when I was looking at the popular stories of the time yesterday afternoon. Coverage of the hurricane was being read, similar with coverage about the RNC... but what was FAR more popular as an article or discussion topic was the fact that Jersey Shore was cancelled.

That shows the priorities in the US.

If I were to lay blame, it would be a chicken and egg scenario. The media just puts out what people want to see, and people adore what the media makes. So, I can't really blame the media because they are selling a product they know makes money, be it covering the latest funeral protest, or how we should be more afraid of the terrorist under the bed (right next to the commie and undocumented immigrant.)

I would say that the media has a moral duty to lead, since their morals and ethics affect the whole country, but with the way things are going, that duty has long since been abdicated.

There is still hope. If the US is really hurting, the best and brightest would be emigrating en masse to Europe or Russia, even if it meant dealing with the anti-US sentiment in all those countries. Right now, the people who don't view Snooki with awe still remain in the US. Should we start having a brain drain of skilled workers to another country, then the US is completely hosed.

I'm just hoping the next administration, regardless of who it is actually is interested in something other than rattling a saber at Iran [1]. Instead, an actual energy policy [2], and long term investments that will make things better... but maybe not in this fiscal quarter for the stockholder meeting.

[1]: If Iranians chased out the fourth most powerful army in the world without any strategic leadership (remember, all their experienced generals when Iran was run by the Shah were killed by the revolutionaries so they had little to no experience in functioning in a combat theater), by sheer force of will and sheer determination to not just die, but send their kids in to die under Iraqi tanks, then that shows they are a force to be reckoned with.

[2]: A real energy policy wouldn't be opening more drilling areas. It would be lifting the Carter-era moratorium on any new nuclear facilities, working on actual battery technologies as opposed to handing them over the the Chinese, innovating superconducting transmission lines so we can have our electricity generation plants in areas that we choose, and not limited by distance, R&D into better engine technologies, and self-driving cars. Having cars be able to do the work would save a ton of energy. One wreck means a lot of gasoline spent when it is spread over the thousands to tens of thousands of people affected.

Re:The USA is losing interest in science... (1)

Barnoid (263111) | about 2 years ago | (#41190347)

I totally agree - and it's not just the US.

I might also add that the technology helped quite a bit in dumbing us down in the sense that it enables us to know what's going on anywhere on the planet almost immediatly. Most (online) newspapers scramble to get those stories out as fast as possible which then leads to the situation where all news outlets present the exact same story by Reuters. I remember when newspapers still did their own stories. Now I even get live feeds from, say, the Apple-Samsung trial: "13:30 the judge entered the courtroom." aso.

And as you mentioned above, it's the dumbass stories that generate a lot of clicks. Some vampire celebrity cheats on her boyfriend with her director, gets kicked out, is depressed, will they get together, ....and even though I was born on a different continent and currently live in yet another continent - newspapers here and back home are full of this useless information.

Same goes for TV. Everything TV has to offer these days is braindamaged 'who's got talent', 'whatever factor' and 'survivor camp' "reality shows" and a million variants of CSI.

I research/teach at a university. We have trouble getting motivated students these days, very few kids are interested in science - they might have to sit down and actually use their brains. And it will get worse - a survey among middle school kids on what they would like to do later found that they want to become a celebrity, a lawyer, or a plastical surgon.

Re:The USA is losing interest in science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189899)

"...Which is ironic that it was science and engineering that created the USA as it is today...."

Um... yes, but NOT US-created science. The US is appallingly BAD at home-grown science. What it does is wait until someone (usually European or Asian) creates an idea, and then offers them lots of money to come over to the US and develop it. What the US is good at is turning other people's inventions into profit-making businesses.

Why do you think that most of the "US" Nobel prize-winners have foreign names? Google their background and you'll find, more often than not, that they were born elsewhere, showed great promise in scientific research, and there then bought by the US. Einstein was a classic example, and there have been many more since then...

Re:The USA is losing interest in science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189973)

Which is ironic that it was science and engineering that created the USA as it is today

As an outsider, that's not what I see. I see the USA is built upon tyranny.

From its founding up until the civil war, it enslaved the blacks. They screwed with the natives to get their land.

Even after they "abolished" slavery, they still discriminated against blacks and Chinese (and probably many others). The discriminated people were basically second class citizens - a bunch of people the rich (the masters, the rulers) can use practically like slaves, but you just didn't call them as such. That second class labor fueled the US's rise in the Gilded Age and Industrial Revolution (i.e. Chinese immigrants were hired for cheap to build much of the railroad infrastructure)

The US only moved to science and engineering in relative recent years because they could no longer exploit the blacks and Chinese like they used to, but then again, they try to exert total control over their science and engineering through copyrights and patents.

Oh sure, other countries have done worse, but the way I see it, the USA is just another empire. Every empire thinks it's the greatest thing to grace the face of the earth during its time.

Dire consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188887)

I think you mean to say the incredible results. The government reducing spending on science will cause the economy to boom, create 12 million jobs, and ensure America's great future.

That's how austerity works right? It must be, because people love austerity measures*.

*as long as they aren't measures that impact them. No purchase necessary. See details inside.

Size does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188955)

It's not the size of your particle collider, it's how you use it.

FRIB not fully funded as well (2)

quetwo (1203948) | about 2 years ago | (#41188959)

One of the new projects, announced just months before CERN opened was the Federal Rare Isotopes Beam project in Lansing, Michigan. Since congress committed to funding it fully in 2008, it's only received a small portion of the full funding -- with the current congress kicking the pledges down the road year after year. Funding has been augmented for this facility by private investors, but that will also dilute the type of research this facility will be able to do once it is complete..

CERN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189887)

CERN opened in 1954.

The Land of Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189019)

No funding for science. Poor education standards.
I bet Mitt Romney even gets elected.
I blame ubiquitous television.

Re:The Land of Stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189189)

No funding for science. Poor education standards.
I bet Mitt Romney even gets elected.
I blame ubiquitous television.

I don't blame television.
First I blame the politicians that don't give a flying fuck about the future of our country, and second I blame those idiots citizens that think that voting is some kind of multiple choice game. All choices are equal. Well no, not all choices are equal, and yes there are people/polticians (from both sides) that care for the future. And you as a citizen have to care enough to vote for them, even if some of them are outside the mainstream political establishment. This congress is not self appointed, some (a lot of) fucktards elected these senators that are masturbating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year instead of doing serious work. If you don't care, why the hell do you think politicians should care.
They're rich, their future is assured. Yours is not (unless you're equally rich).

Re:The Land of Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189527)

No funding for science. Poor education standards.
I bet Mitt Romney even gets elected.
I blame ubiquitous television.

What planet are you on where the TV networks as a whole aren't totally in the tank for Obumbles?

How many TV networks have bothered to cover the fact that the Obumbles administration deliberately provided guns to Mexican drug cartels and the Attorney General of the US has been held in contempt of Congress for failing to respond to Congressional subpoenas for information about that activity?

Jesus H. Fucking Christ the sky isn't blue on your planet, is it?

Military budget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189023)

look, money.

Just went on RHIC tour (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189035)

I just went on a RHIC tour on August 5th with my son. The tour guide said that one of the things that was special about the RHIC was that it can smash atoms of different types. For example they said that they could smash a gold atom into a uranium atom which is not possible at any of the other particle accelerators. I am just a layperson so I don't know if this is really unique but the tour was absolutely awesome. I thought that I would only be able to see this from a distance. But the tour guides (grad students) let you climb all over this thing and take pictures and ask lots of questions - they were very patient. I got to poke my head right into the business end of this thing. Very cool.

Kickstarter or something? (1)

ZenDragon (1205104) | about 2 years ago | (#41189089)

They should put this on kick starter or something? I for one would be more than willing to donate to a US based facility. Granted its would prob only provide a small portion of their funding but would at least show the government that the people are more interested in furthering our understanding of science than we are in killing terrorists and spying on our own citizens. Just sayin.

Really?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189141)

This shows how wrong and f* up the US mentality is... When the Superconducting Super Collider was to be constructed CERN was the first to fall in and help funding, giving up from constructing a new collider since there was no reason to have two colliders and fighting back and forth on who had the biggest penis. Since SSC was postponed (and then given up on) CERN had to build the LHC, and never closed their doors for other institutions to do their experiments or access the data... But now the headlines are "oh, look at how much we will loose, and how much our penis will shrink".... grow up U.S.!!! Learn to play along with others and you'll see you'll spend less and get more for your spent bucks.

Get rid of the TSA, problem solved (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#41189175)

The TSA budget is $6.5 billion. Get rid of the TSA and their security theater and that will go a long way towards funding these scientific endeavors.

I realize defunding the TSA will immediately allow the hordes of terrorists lurking in our country to go into action, but that is a chance we'll have to take if we want to slow or halt the downward spiral of science in this country.

Re:Get rid of the TSA, problem solved (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41189797)

The TSA budget is $6.5 billion. Get rid of the TSA and their security theater and that will go a long way towards funding these scientific endeavors.

I realize defunding the TSA will immediately allow the hordes of terrorists lurking in our country to go into action, but that is a chance we'll have to take if we want to slow or halt the downward spiral of science in this country.

But Michael Chertoff has 25 scanners on his dresser.

He got to get paid.

Strat

Obvious Solution (2)

organgtool (966989) | about 2 years ago | (#41189261)

These physicists should get private funding instead of expecting the U.S. government to keep bailing them out. I'm sure there would be plenty of private companies looking to put money towards a project that would benefit humanity without ever making a profit. And if not, then that means there was nothing valuable to be gained and we haven't wasted any more money on such nonsense, right?

Obviously (2)

greatgreygreengreasy (706454) | about 2 years ago | (#41189317)

... the answer is privatization. The private sector can always do a better job than government, and is much more efficient! Republicans NEED to win this fall so that they can cut funding completely, cut harmful regulations on nuclear research, and get this country back to science's true mission, making money! ~

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189379)

Thank fuck for that squiggly line.

This is not the US government's job (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189409)

The problem is that this isn't the US government's job to print money and hand it over to projects that are just pet projects. Innovation doesn't come from bureaucracy, it comes from the private sector. Why should the US government print money and continue the debt death spiral so some impractical project continues to get cash. We don't need China (our #1 creditor) to own us anymore than they already do.

It might be cool for the techies, but having our economy completely and utterly collapse once China chooses not to peg their currency to the dollar will hurt far more than not being the first to discover whatever esoteric and useless particle there is. Until our government stops spending like a drunken sailor (wait... bad example. Drunken sailors tend to spend until their wallet is empty and then stop,) we will never see anything resembling prosperity again in our lifetimes.

These large projects are for the private industry to do. If they don't feel like doing it, it likely is something not bothering with, since it has zero economic value.

Basic Research Needs Gov't Funding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189935)

China is not your #1 creditor, it's the largestforeign creditor.

The US is its own largest creditor (states, cities and various funds like Medicare).
http://lmmartin.hubpages.com/hub/Who-are-Americas-Creditors-or-Debt-Economics-for-Beginners [hubpages.com]

The innovation at CERN came from government funded money. You cannot dispute that.

Re:Basic Research Needs Gov't Funding (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#41190737)

The innovation at CERN came from government funded money. You cannot dispute that.

All high energy experimental physics since roughly 1940 has been government-funded research.

Re:This is not the US government's job (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41189939)

I once heard a story about a very early demonstration of electricity. I believe it was in France, though I can't recall exactly who the scientist was. But anyway, he was giving this big demonstration about how he could connect two coils of wire, wrap one around a compass, and then by moving a magnet through the other, it would make the compass needle move. After the demonstration, a woman approached him and basically said 'this is all very interesting, but what _use_ is it?' to which he replied 'of what use is a newborn baby?' -- i.e., I have no clue; we're not there yet, but I'm sure we'll figure out something.

That discovery is why you can post on Slashdot. Why we have computers. And lightbulbs. Cars, jets, telephones, shit there's probably not a single item that you own that would have been possible as it currently exists without electricity. Obviously it's pretty important part of modern life. What if people had thought like you, and never continued research into this phenomenon because it didn't appear to have any practical use?

Private Crowdsourced Funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189441)

I'm serious. Absolutely 100% serious about this.

I posted on Facebook the other day that I'd like to see a Kickstarter project: Fusion Power: $50Billion, so we can begin tackling some real problems.

Let's get science and technology rockstars and geek icons like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, Matt Inman of the Oatmeal, Randall Munroe of XKCD and others to promote the projects. We spend billions of dollars on frivolous things. Let's redirect those funds to something that will make a difference for all of humanity.

WE CAN DO THIS PEOPLE!

Appeal to sense of pride (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | about 2 years ago | (#41189595)

If there's one thing politicians of all flavors love it's jingoism. Maybe what we really need to do is reignite the sense of competitiveness by pointing out how the Europeans are leaving the US in the dust when it comes to making new discoveries like the Higgs Boson, and give them something to harp about to their voters when the US wins the race to make the next big discover.

yeah? so does my lab (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 2 years ago | (#41189691)

I think I speak for a lot of scientists when I say we all could use more funding. This isn't to say there isn't enough money out there for us to do great things, but we all need to think hard about what we're doing and why.

I know I've moved out of some research areas because I couldn't really make a compelling argument that society needed to invest in them right now.

Maybe particle physicists should think about how many billions each year we really need to spend smashing things together at near the speed of light. Sure, it's cool, but maybe we have what we can reasonably expect to get out of the field at this point. For the last 10 years, observational cosmology has been a much more cost effective investment for probing the same research areas. Maybe it's time for those guys to ramp back up.

Do it the Apple way (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 2 years ago | (#41189697)

1. Get a patent for a round underground object
2. Sue CERN
3. Don't really need this step, it's just here for formatting.
4. Profit!!!

What to expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189759)

If the Republican Congress is coupled with a Republican presidency, science in the US will be pushed back to the dark ages, and not just for the lack of funds. I hope these pinheads are aware of the law of unintended consequences. If they aren't, they soon will be...

Particles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189955)

Hmm... okay. I'm sure I've got a few particles I could spare.

Who doesn't need better funding? (1)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | about 2 years ago | (#41190033)

US Particle Colliders In Need of Funding

Get in line.

Simple solution (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41190101)

Install one of these [zoltarmachine.com] .

This is a question of efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190195)

There is a natural concentration of high energy research going on. To run these accelerators you need a lots of very specialized experts. The number of experts needed to run these machines is not linearly dependent on the number of machines they run. The more concentrated the research on this field the more efficient it is. The biggest high energy laboratory is CERN. It opened doors to any country in the world to join. It will grow further and will attract more research to itself.
I think there are areas where other laboratories can't compete, they need to do something different, specialize them selfs.

USA have run out of German scientists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190213)

I remember from a series of Get Smart, "Your German scientists are not as good as out German scientists"

Is this science or a competition? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41190311)

The USA doesn't need the world's best particle collider. Our scientists need access to the world's best particle collider. It's much more efficient for several countries to fund one big machine than to have a giant competition for who has the bigger proton gun.

Re:Is this science or a competition? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41190717)

In the scientific interest, I think it's good to have a second collider.

One key aspect of the scientific method is that experiments are repeatable, preferably on a different machine. This to make sure there are no systemic errors, where you think you see something but actually it's an artifact of your machine. That artifact shouldn't be there on a different machine. So having a second one can be very useful, if only to confirm results, which while not as sexy as making the discovery is also important.

On the other hand, competition is good, it's what drives people forward. It's what got people to the moon some decades ago.

Now the problem of these colliders is of course the huge cost of building, maintaining and operating them. As a European I think it's cool that the biggest one is now in Europe, though it'd be even cooler if the US would be building an even bigger one. Or have some matching ones. Even if their power is less, I can't imagine that everything below the power levels reached by the LHC has been researched already.

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