Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Value of Blue-Sky Research

"I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research."

-- Peter Higgs, statement today after winning the Nobel Prize for Physics for his prediction of the Higgs boson
On the other hand, there is this, from Steven Weinberg in the New York Review of Books last year:
What really motivates elementary particle physicists is a sense of how the world is ordered—it is, they believe, a world governed by simple universal principles that we are capable of discovering. But not everyone feels the importance of this. During the debate over the SSC, I was on the Larry King radio show with a congressman who opposed it. He said that he wasn’t against spending on science, but that we had to set priorities. I explained that the SSC was going to help us learn the laws of nature, and I asked if that didn’t deserve a high priority. I remember every word of his answer. It was “No.”

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