Daily Archives: 04/24/2012

Down with particle physics, up with Big Energy Research!

Noahpinion

via Down with particle physics, up with Big Energy Research!.

Currently, thousands of our best physicists are being shunted into careers in experimental particle physics, spending their lives working at CERN or Fermilab. These are our very best physics brains, and they are a very scarce commodity. In my opinion, we need these people to be working on solar power, biofuels, and nuclear power. Applied physics is not as intellectually thrilling or as nerd-glamorous as fundamental physics, but we can ill afford to pay our super-nerds to indulge their philosophical whimsy at a time like this.

So I am suggesting, not an abandonment of Big Particle Physics, but a pause. If and when energy stops getting more expensive and resumes its march toward abundance, our species will have the breathing room to look for answers to questions like how to combine gravity with the Standard Model.

If I took issue it might be because arguably applied physics and science are what private industry does the best job of capturing value from and has an incentive to do so. It’s pure science that does have the same attraction for private money; so pure science has the best case to be subsidized.