In case you have not heard, scientists at CERN have released data which indicates that they have likely detected the Higgs Boson, the illusive particle whose discovery would prove much of the underlying theory of the Standard Model. It’s a great achievement and, assuming this is the real deal, which it certainly appears to be, will be remembered as a major milestone in science.
On the day we reserve to tell ourselves America is great – July 4 – Europe reminds us that we suck at science. #HiggsBoson
Sorry but I call BS on this. While it’s certainly true that the US could do a lot more to further science and should invest more in scientific research, but this event in no way signals the end of US science or demonstrates that the United States “sucks” at science at all.
- CERN is an international organization and the LHC is an international facility. It’s located in France and Switzerland, but many others contributed too, including much of the European Union, as well as Japan, South Korea and the United States. Yes, the US was not absent from the construction of the LHC. Both Fermilab and the Brookhaven National Laboratory contributed to the project by providing detector technology integral to the facility. The US government contributed well over half a billion dollars to the project.
- There have been many many major discoveries in particle physics made in the United States, even fairly recently. It would be ridiculous to expect that 100% of major discoveries would come from US research facilities.
- Data from Fermilab’s Tevaton had previously indicate that the Higgs boson may have been detected, but the error on the measurements was too high to say so for sure. None the less, the pioneering work of those at Fermilab should not be diminished by this discovery.
- The reason the LHC was able to do what others could not is that it is bigger and more powerful than previous colliding particle accelerators. Each time a new accelerator was built at a scale larger than predecessors, new discoveries have been made and more data generated. Many, but not all of those accelerators have been in the United States. Given the expense of the construction of super-large particle collides it is not reasonable to expect one nation to monopolize the field of record-breaking accelerators.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 at 8:10 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Good Science, History, Misc, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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