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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:01 pm
Posts: 17350
Science, conservative politics, addiction, and tragedy come together. Brilliant.

In an alternate world, the Superconducting Super Collider would have been housed in a squat gray block in Waxahachie, Texas, but instead the overbudget and behind-schedule dream of it died in the fall of 1993. Beneath the building, there still lie the unfinished tunnels — which eventually would have spanned a 54-mile ellipse — around which protons would have raced through massive magnets at high energies and crashed together over and over and over again, the ghostly aftereffects of their collisions revealing glimpses of the unseeable.

Had the SSC been built, the United States may well have been host to the discovery of the Higgs boson — also known as the God Particle — a discovery that would perhaps have happened even sooner than the announcement in 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, that earned Peter Higgs the Nobel.

The history of the SSC, the world’s most expensive and advanced physics experiment that never was, is interesting and complicated but I’m going to boil it down for now to this: Republicans in Congress viewed spending money on smashing elementary particles together to gain new knowledge about the universe and everything in it as extravagant. As Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said in 1993, “I doubt anyone believes that the most pressing issues facing the nation include an insufficient understanding of the origins of the universe.”

Utne - Capturing the Elusive Echo of Why

PS - Sherwood Boehlert served as chair of the House Science Committee from 2001 through 2006. Applauded as a voice of moderation in the US House - feh. Not much different from Devin Nunes serving as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. It's such a great country.


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