31 Mar 2009

Physics and Government

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Before reading this NYT article on Freeman Dyson, I had never really thought much about how close physicists and the government became during World War II. But it seems the physicists learned the subtleties of procurement quickly:

Dyson has been hostile to the Star Wars missile-defense system, the Space Station, the Hubble telescope and the superconducting super collider, which he says he opposed because “it’s just out of proportion.” Steven Weinberg, the Nobel physics laureate who often disagrees with Dyson on these matters, says: “Some things simply have to be done in a large way. They’re very expensive. That’s big science. Get over it.”

Every time I read the above sentences, the funnier they get. By the end of it, make sure you realize how hilarious it is that the scientists demand their billions (?) for, ahem, “the superconducting super collider.”

Oh, you know what the physicists say they are searching for? The “Theory of Everything”; they even write it TOE. These people are really really smart, no doubt about it. But then it’s not surprising if they overrate their importance, since no outsider would really be qualified to point this out to them.

Another thing I just noticed: Isn’t it a funny coincidence that the shill for Big Science got a Nobel Prize, but Dyson hasn’t (and I think some guy in the article claimed Dyson was robbed by the committee)?

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