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The “Bang” That Left The US Behind

“What happened before the Big Bang? Are there parallel universes? Is time travel possible?” According to Mr Kaku  – today’s media equivalent to Steven Hawkings – these are some of the questions that could be answered by the experiments now taking place at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva. [A Second Big Bang In Geneva?]

As fascinating as this work is, many may wonder about its practical application. My Kaku addresses this question by pointing to the monumentous changes that have typically followed breakthroughs in basic research:

> Sir Isaac Newton’s work on the theory of force (gravity) laid the groundwork for the steam engines and the Industrial Revolution

> Research in electromagnetism – thanks to Edison, Maxwell and Faraday – lead to the creation of TV, radio, radar, computers and the Internet

> Albert Einstein’s famous energy-mass equation “unlocked the secret of …nuclear forces,” thus ushering in the age of nuclear power and further exploration of the stars.

Who knows what life changing effects will result from the work at LHC?

An interesting side note to this story is that the US choose not to participate in – or benefit from – this important work by failing to fund such basic research. Can the US afford to be “penny wise and pound foolish” when it comes to supporting activities that ensure our long term standing in technology? Perhaps our children will be better able to answer that question than we are.

One Response to “The “Bang” That Left The US Behind”

  1. Dave Millman Says:

    John,

    It’s worse than you describe. In the late 1980′s, the US started building the Superconducting Super Collider, which had even higher energy than the LHC. It was cancelled a few years later. Read about it here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider

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