Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I was reading through an article at about possible changes to our standard model of particle physics created by some not too recent observations “at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., from 1989 to 2002” when I came upon the following:

Studies of the decay of kaons hint at possible flaws in standard model of particle physics.

Physicists had hoped to gather five times as much data, but budget cuts led the Department of Energy to abruptly end the Brookhaven experiment in 2002, Littenberg says. However, if the trend of finding a higher decay rate in this rare mode continues with other experiments expected to start at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex in Tokai-mura — researchers are shipping their Brookhaven kaon detector there — as well as at CERN in Geneva, the standard model could be in for a revision.

By Ron Cowen for web edition : Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 (SN: 7/19/08, p.16).

The experiment in question is not the important thing I want to call attention to here in my blog. Note the time frame of the experiments and who came into office when! What?! Budget cuts in the science programs of America? Who would have thought that such a thing would happen here? And look how we’re shipping our stuff to other countries so that these experiments can continue. Another major loss in prestige for America. And who caused it? The answer is obvious and self-explanatory.

Frankly, we can be happy that scientists believe in sharing resources and findings, though that is not always the case. I’m currently reading Naturalist by Edward Wilson and the departmental politics he describes does show that some members of the scientific community do have agendas based on personal pride. Which is natural, so why are we shipping our experiments to other countries?

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