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Austria To Pull Out of CERN 168

Posted by kdawson
from the matter-of-concern dept.
andre.david notes an AFP report that Austria has announced its intention to withdraw from CERN, citing budget concerns, adding: "Austrian particle physicists are not happy with this. From HEPHY, the Austrian Institute for High Energy Physics: 'All of a surprise Johannes Hahn... announced that he wants to terminate the Austrian membership at CERN... This [would] affect spin-off projects like the planned cancer treatment center MedAustron... which is dependent on collaborating with CERN... Strangely enough this intention just arrives at a time where scientists are about to harvest the fruits of LHC...' Will other countries follow suit?" "Austria is pulling out of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Science Minister Johannes Hahn announced Thursday, citing budget concerns. The €20M ($26.9M) yearly membership in CERN... makes up 70 percent of the money available in Austria for participation in international institutes and could be better used to fund other European projects, he said. Hahn said he hoped Austria could find 'a new kind of cooperation' with CERN and described Vienna's withdrawal from the project as a 'pause,' noting that some 30 states were already working together with the Geneva-based centre without being members. The newly-available funds will now allow Austria to take part in new European projects, boost its participation in old ones as well as help the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the country's main organization funding research."
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Austria To Pull Out of CERN

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  • by TheRealFixer (552803) on Friday May 08, 2009 @10:34AM (#27876403)
    I guess that means more particles for the rest of us!
    • by Jurily (900488)

      This [would] affect spin-off projects like the planned cancer treatment center MedAustron... which is dependent on collaborating with CERN...

      I guess that means more particles for the rest of us!

      In light of the above, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

    • Unless they all get smashed first.

      • by Mr2cents (323101)

        Maybe Austria just realized it was one big "Will it blend?"-ripoff?

        Seriously though, it's a shame people can be so shortsighted. It really saddens me when they fail to see how fundamental science is what brings us new knowledge and technologies. It's not because the benefits are far out in the future, that they aren't real..

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And maybe Austria has the sense to stay within budgets? Yeah, I want to see science funded well. However, I don't want to see nations spending themselves into oblivion. My country has spent the last eight years spending recklessly, and isn't showing signs of stopping. Right now, my country pays enough on the interest of its debt to pay for a cern project EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

          Think about that for a minute. It boggles my mind. But debt kills. Austria dropping cern is sad. But if it is for balancing a budget in

          • by timeOday (582209)
            Most of the comments here are assuming this represents a reduction in spending on science by Austria. But the last sentence of the blurb says "The newly-available funds will now allow Austria to take part in new European projects, boost its participation in old ones as well as help the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), the country's main organization funding research." Are they actually reducing science spending at all, or just re-allocating from one project to others with more perceived bang for the buck? Th
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Nathrael (1251426)
            If Austria needs money, there are a lot of things which they could fund less instead of science. The Bundesheer (our military doctrine - hold them off serving as cannon fodder until our "friends" from the EU arrive to help us), state-owned transport systems (which do not really work anyways), or our politicians (which receive a lot of cash without doing much for it) - just to name three examples. It's not like the state isn't earning a lot of money with their atrociously high taxes, they just don't know whe
        • Re:That's ok... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:46AM (#27877175) Homepage

          Fundamental science is good, but the LHC is a huge and expensive project. By my calculations, they have about $38 million annually to spend on projects of this nature. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cost of the LHC, so the international community is unlikely to really feel a large effect.

          That $27 million they have to spend now could be put to much better use domestically or on smaller scale projects.

        • Looks like the Austrian school of economics is living up to its reputation of I'm all right jack so screw you and your joint project for the sake of humanity. How can you take an economic system seriously when it comes from this bunch of loons? Its not so much the lack of enthusiasm for fundamental science that gets up my nose as they signed up in the first place, its the going back on your word and shafting your friends because you can save a few bucks mentality. Seriously though isnt Austria one of the mo

          • by bhima (46039) *

            There are little or no subscribers of the so called "Austrian school of economics" left here in Austria. Without the nearby threat of communism, the reality of their ridiculous and shrill assertions became blatantly obvious... So we decided they were all kooks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Austria isn't decreasing it's science budget, just reallocating it. Frankly, it seems very unlikely to me that CERN will produce as valuable scientific results as that same money spread over many smaller projects could, so i think Austria might have the right idea.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:33AM (#27877023) Journal
      I know, right?

      I mean, whoop-de-doo, Austria's all "put another shrimp on the barbie, mate" and "crikey! we've got killer spiders mate" and "go root yerself, we're pulling out of CERN!".

      The rest of the nations participating in CERN will be just fine without them.
      • by MadCow42 (243108)

        I guess if they're not important enough for you to know that they're not Australia, then how important can they be to an international project like CERN, right?

        God I hope you were trying to be funny... but I'm afraid you weren't.

      • by Xest (935314) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:51PM (#27880951)

        Austria and Australia are different countries.

        Australia is the one you describe, Austria is the one that's given us such gems through the years as Adolf Hitler and Josef Fritzl.

        But they also have given us the likes of Gödel, Mozart, Schrödinger and his cat I suppose ;)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Red Flayer (890720)
          Thanks for clearing that up. I can't believe all this time I thought "down under" was in the heart of Europe.

          Now that I've looked at a map, it also becomes clear why, though Australia is infested with crocodiles, Belgium isn't. I had always wondered about that.

          But I still have one unanswered question... why is the alphorn so similar to a didgeridoo? Surely that isn't coincidence.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by deepershade (994429)
          Actually, we can't confirm the cat's existance. We never opened the box.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Then - no free ticket to Austria for possible positive outcome of using the CERN accelerator then.

      This is expensive business, but it's also bleeding edge research and that means that it's possible that something completely new will come out of this research.

      By understanding the building stones of the universe you may also find the path to cheap energy or other things that we can't imagine.

  • not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 08, 2009 @10:39AM (#27876461)

    There is no biology here, so no diseases to cure so in the minds of the ignorant it is wasted money. I'm not surprised but definitely annoyed.

    Science for science sake is worth while no matter the cost or the expect benefit. The US stimulated its economy by a factor of 10 more then what it put into landing on the moon. One of people who help the British economy the most was a guy named Michel Faraday who thought his discovery of electrical induction was neat but useless. And that isn't even touch on things we take for granted every day, i.e. transiters and LCDs to name only two.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      The US stimulated its economy by a factor of 10 more then what it put into landing on the moon.

      It's been difficult to really calculate such, especially compared to alternatives such as *direct* funding of technology research. Its value as inspiration, though, may justify it. It became an icon of "can do".

      Reminds me of a conversation we had at work once:

      PHB: "If we can put man on the moon, then you can certainly get project X up and running!"

      Techie: "But Apollo had a hundred billion to spend; we don't even

      • Re:not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:53AM (#27877243)

        It's been difficult to really calculate such, especially compared to alternatives such as *direct* funding of technology research.

        Direct funding of directionless research has a pretty terrible record by any metric you can think of. NASA spent about $25B total on the Apollo project, which yielded numerous useful spinoff technologies and companies, inspired countless numbers of engineering and science students, and put men on the moon. Microsoft spends roughly [seattlepi.com] $6-$7B per year on their in-house research budget, which has yielded, well, let's see, Microsoft Bob(tm) and Songsmith.

        Admittedly I'm comparing 1960s dollars with current dollars, but still... Bill, just give the money to NASA, for Chrissake.

        Even when you're talking about pie-in-the-sky "pure research," people don't tend to appreciate the amount of tangible technology that comes out of those efforts. If you need to do some leading-edge photonic RF work, the papers you read are from NRAO. If you're working on next-gen MRI machines, you're probably interested in superconducting magnet tech developed for accelerators. There are any number of other cases where things you use every day came from applications you wouldn't have cared about at the time.

      • I don't know, my Cub Scout years were some of the most productive of my life.

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:34AM (#27877045) Homepage Journal

      "Science for science sake is worth while no matter the cost or the expect benefit."

      That's nice and all, and true, but it still ignores fiscal realities. This kind of research is expensive, and there's an economic slump going on right now. What should the Austrian government cancel to pay for this research? Roads? Schools?

      Its easy to tell them to keep up the good work, when you're not footing the bill.

      • Yeah, how many times have I heard someone talk about what a grand quest it is to see small stuff or figure more about the beginning of the universe and how justifiable and noble that type of curiosity is--but what we're really talking about is SOMEONE ELSE'S curiosity. I don't give a hoot. I'm really curious about some girl in my office, "I wonder if she's into me?" No one would spend ten dollars of tax money to satisfy my curiosity about how a nice Thai lunch would go if I took her out. I mean, if it work

      • by timeOday (582209)

        This kind of research is expensive, and there's an economic slump going on right now. What should the Austrian government cancel to pay for this research? Roads? Schools?

        The other alternative is to simply not balance the budget when the economy is in a slump, and help it recover faster with deficit spending, like what the US is doing. It's a reasonable plan, except that we never seem to get around to paying it back when the economy is good...

      • by Dripdry (1062282)
        How about finding a way to slash bureaucracy for a change? I'll bet (but I don't know) that's one of the biggest drains on any modern government's budget: Bureaucrats who want to entrench themselves so they can get paid forever.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by drsquare (530038)

        What should the Austrian government cancel to pay for this research? Roads? Schools?

        I wouldn't object if they cancelled the Austrian School.

      • What should the Austrian government cancel to pay for this research? Roads? Schools?

        How about bailing out their banks less? They apparently spent 100 billion Euros [eubusiness.com] on this which would pay their CERN membership for the next 5,000 years.

        Obviously, like everyone else, they needed to stabilize their banks to prevent their economy from short term disaster. It's just a shame that they can't see the long term disaster for their economy of encouraging all their future scientists to emmigrate. It's ridiculous to think that if they can afford 100 billion euros to bail out the banks that they can

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bakkster (1529253)

      Science for science sake is worth while no matter the cost or the expect benefit.

      Fortunately, it sounds like Austria plans to take this money (70% of its international science budget) and put it towards multiple other projects. It's still going to be going toward science, just different science.

    • There is no biology here, so no diseases to cure so in the minds of the ignorant it is wasted money. I'm not surprised but definitely annoyed.

      I think it has less to do with the fact that CERN isn't tied to a biomedical center and more to do with the fact that so much money has been put into a project that has yet to run a real experiment, let alone yield real results. Yes, biomedical sciences are granted an exuberant amount of money every year, but that field is also producing results. That's the nature of science: Producing results = more grant money. When CERN launches again in the fall and starts churning out data, it too can access more f

  • Trend? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mendoksou (1480261)
    Is this the start of a trend due to economically troubled times? This conCERNs me.

    Bad puns aside, I guess with an economy like this, CERN should expect some resistance. ;)
    http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2008/PR14.08E.html
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      I can see them saying they'd cut back during recession, but to *completely* pull out could be problematic from a diplomatic perspective. Do what they do at my company: say "check will be a little late this time", and drag feet.

    • I guess with an economy like this, CERN should expect some resistance. ;)

      But the LHC is superconducting! No resistance :D

  • by foobsr (693224) on Friday May 08, 2009 @10:55AM (#27876625) Homepage Journal
    Bank rescue ~90-billion-Euro: big worthy [topnews.in] chunk

    CERN Euro 20M: too small a particle to care for

    As we can learn, big mountains do not help much to gain perspective.

    CC.
  • CERN gave themselves way too much publicity, about how advanced and expensive the LHC is. And then it fizzled out after all the hype. (Apologies to the CERN folks, but this is how a lot of government folks will see it.)

    Given the current economic conditions, politicians are looking to cut costs, to spend on stimulus crap. And they are looking for big stuff, not school lunch program chump-change.

    Anyone remember the US's "Superconducting Supercollider?" Politicians shit-canned it. With so many "supers" in

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Anyone remember the US's "Superconducting Supercollider?" Politicians [canned] it. With so many "supers" in the name, politicians were sure to think it was expensive. A better name would have been "Little tiny subatomic bit of dust thingie (real cheap!)." Then the cost cutters would not have gone after it.

      How about Pork-A-Tron?
         

  • *coff* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:02AM (#27876685) Homepage

    > Strangely enough this intention just arrives at a time where scientists are about to harvest the fruits of LHC.

    Uhhh, which are what, exactly? The mass of the Higgs? Yeah, that's worth 16 billion.

    Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever? The only thing HEP has generated is paper.

    Still waiting for my top-quark amplifier...

    > Science for science sake is worth while no matter the cost or the expect benefit

    I call BS. Demonstration please, using the example above.

    > The US stimulated its economy by a factor of 10 more then what it put into landing on the moon

    No it didn't. If you look at this claim, made by NASA of course, the reality of it comes crashing down. They include things that had absolutely nothing to do with the space missions, including Tang and Velcro. The primary direct outcome was engineering

    > transiters and LCDs to name only two

    Transist_o_rs were invented as part of a very focused and practical development program at Bell Labs, which you can read about in "Crystal Fire". The key advance was discovered by accident. They had to develop the theory of how they worked as part of the program.

    LCDs were developed over a period stretching about 100 years, all of it experimental up to the 1960s, when it became a major practical development effort. There's very little pure science involved. The wiki article covers it fairly well.

    Don't get me wrong, there's been a lot of purely theoretical research that makes it into everyday life. Quantum is a good example. But in the VAST majority of cases the science was discovered as a part of basic research and had to wait on the theory. There's many, many products in daily use today that we still have no idea how they work.

    Maury

    • by ettlz (639203)

      Uhhh, which are what, exactly? The mass of the Higgs? Yeah, that's worth 16 billion.

      Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever? The only thing HEP has generated is paper.

      Price of everything/value of nothing.

    • Re:*coff* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:26AM (#27876923) Journal

      Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever? The only thing HEP has generated is paper.

      Why so short-sighted? Why is it so important that something pay off tangibly within 25 years? Some of the great strides in medication today are applications of HEP-ph of the 30s and 50s that we continue to refine. Who knows what the future holds?

      That's the great thing about knowledge. Sometimes the quest for knowledge is the most important part; sometimes the Answers are the important part; sometimes incidental discoveries are the most important part. But we'll never know unless we go for it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        "Why so short-sighted? Why is it so important that something pay off tangibly within 25 years? Some of the great strides in medication today are applications of HEP-ph of the 30s and 50s that we continue to refine. Who knows what the future holds?"

        Because the money in the here and now is finite, and decisions about allocating it need to be made with that in mind. E.g, not all states in the US fund deep brain stimulation [mcw.edu] treatment for Parkinson's disease; if the US federal money spent on nuclear research we

        • And yet a lot of practical research stands on the shoulders of the non-practical research that has come before.

          It shows remarkable short-sightedness to publically fund only here-and-now practical applications, especially since practical applications are exactly where private industry has an incentive to pay for research.
          • > It shows remarkable short-sightedness to publically fund only here-and-now practical applications

            I'm not talking about "here and now", I'm talking about ever.

            Are you sure you understand this point? LHC is being built to demonstrate something we already think we know. There is absolutely no science that comes out of LHC, unless it fails. If it finds the Higgs, we learn absolutely nothing.

            That is not the case for HEP in the past. In the past, in the 60's say, every time you turned on an accelerator you f

            • Just be happy Congress figured that out and killed the Texastron. What, you don't remember Texastron? Exactly, THAT'S how important this really is.

              I *do* remember it, and I'm still unhappy about it.

              There are a lot of incidentals positives that you completely disregard.

              Furthermore, IMO, the fundamental search for knowledge is one of the noblest human endeavors in existence.

              I understand your point completely, I've heard it a thousand times about scores of ideas or projects, and all I have to say is -- I di

              • > At any rate, when it comes down to opportunity cost for the funding, picking another research instrument as a target

                That's not the argument though. The argument is that *this* experiment is a waste of money. Here, I'll put it in capital letters so everyone sees it:

                IF LHC WORKS AS EXPECTED, WE LEARN NOTHING NEW.

                Doesn't that worry you?

                Maury

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by ljw1004 (764174)

                Furthermore, IMO, the fundamental search for knowledge is one of the noblest human endeavors in existence.

                I think that's important. LHC and the like are the greatest achievements of our civilization. On a par with the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. Looking back, it was awesome that King Cheops of Egypt built his pyramid at Giza, but pretty much insignificant that King Userkare of Egypt raised import duties by 0.1%.

        • by smaddox (928261)

          So forget about all those billions upon billions of people in the future that could have dramatically improved quality of life, we need to worry about the few thousand alive here and now? Do you think the same way about finances? Forget the bills I have to pay in 6 months, I'm buying this $100,000 television that will make ME happy NOW.

          The value of $1 in basic research is infinitely returned in the future, as there will be exponential growth in the human population. That is assuming, of course, that we inve

      • by khallow (566160)

        Why so short-sighted? Why is it so important that something pay off tangibly within 25 years? Some of the great strides in medication today are applications of HEP-ph of the 30s and 50s that we continue to refine. Who knows what the future holds?

        The fundamental reason why you need to see near future pay off is feedback. How do you know you're advancing the state of knowledge versus chasing your tail with some wrong theory (Lamarckism, polywater, etc)? How do you know that information is useful?

        The first question is settled via the scientific method. You make predictions, finds tests, etc. As we all know, you can't anticipate everything. You don't know how your theory, if it survives, will look in 200 years. Neither can you afford to wait centuri

    • Re:*coff* (Score:5, Informative)

      by key.aaron (1422339) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:26AM (#27876925)

      > Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever? The only thing HEP has generated is paper.

      That's an easy one: The particle accelerators developed for research in HEP have directly resulted in the accelerators used in hospitals for radiation therapy.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        The particle accelerators developed for research in HEP

        How expensive were those other other particle accelerators, compared to CERN?

        Doing fundamental science is good, but doing a really uber-over-budget really-frickin-expensive search for the God Particle using my money is physics mental masturbation, when they are a jillion other more worthwhile areas of basic research that could/should be funded.

        For example, how many Earth-exploring satellites and research ships trolling the oceans taking measurements to

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by key.aaron (1422339)

          Thing is the point of the LHC isn't really to find the Higgs boson (the God particle name really is oversensationalized). For most physicists the existence of the Higgs boson is a foregone conclusion. When they see the experimental proof it will be little more than a hmm, well looky there, what we knew all along is true.

          The true purpose of the LHC is to uncover the unknown by probing energy ranges that have never been seen before. The LHC will payoff when they find a result that they have no idea how to

          • > The true purpose of the LHC is to uncover the unknown by probing energy ranges that have never been seen before.

            The LHC has energy to find the Higgs and not much else. There's nothing in range for the newer models. If it does find anything else, THAT will be interesting. $16 billion interesting? No.

        • by smoker2 (750216)
          Do you know what the "God" particle is ?
          It is the particle that (they hope) imparts mass to matter. Imagine what it could mean to science if we could directly manipulate mass. Light speed anyone ? Without pinning down what mass actually _is_ and where it is located you have problems trying to manipulate it.

          Members of CERN :
          Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
          • by Nutria (679911)

            Without pinning down what mass actually _is_ and where it is located you have problems trying to manipulate it.

            When I'm broke (as the US most certainly is!), I've got to prioritize.

      • Nuclear medicine accelerators are descendants of x-ray machines, not betatrons. Linacs have many uses, only a few of which have anything to do with HEP.

        • by mzs (595629)

          Ever hear of Loma Linda University and Medical Center? Very linac tech based accelerator, and you know why? Because it was essentially designed and built with the cooperation of the linac people from Fermilab.

          If you are thinking accelerators that produce nuclear materials for medicine by bombarding non radioactive materials, sure but accelerators that produce beam to treat people, such as those with tumors, those are either cyclotron or linac style. All descended from HEP tech BTW.

          Also linacs in HEP are qui

          • by mzs (595629)

            Oh I forgot one thing. The tech that the DOE had rights to which was done at Fermilab related to magnets. The DOE granted rights to it very cheaply to GE for it to use in MRI machines. GE and all the other companies involved in that industry have made a fortune because of that. This directly created an entire new industry, a very big deal in macro economic terms, and also a good for further medical science and biology as well as the quality of life of humanity.

    • Re:*coff* (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrMr (219533) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:29AM (#27876969)
      You never know what comes out of these projects. I vaguely remember this guy from CERN in 1990 playing with two computers.
      • I think I must have gotten one of these. Ended tossing it out because of all the corrosion and the disguisting mess inside. I thought it was mice, but with this revelation...

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      [Transistors] were invented as part of a very focused and practical development program at Bell Labs, which you can read about in "Crystal Fire". The key advance was discovered by accident.

      Perhaps the gov't should then fund accidents . . . . . . oh wait, nevermind (Katrina, Iraq, Fanny Mae, Shuttle foam ...)

    • Re:*coff* (Score:4, Insightful)

      by habig (12787) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:07PM (#27877433) Homepage

      Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever? The only thing HEP has generated is paper.

      Still waiting for my top-quark amplifier...

      25 years is pretty short-term here. How long was it after Franklin defining charge and Thomson discovering electrons was it before you got your run-of-the-mill electron-based amplifier? And lightning bolts were much more obviously potentially practical things to be investigating.

      Will ignore the obvious comment that without HEP in general and CERN in particular we wouldn't be writing this in html, as that was pretty tangential to the whole process :)

    • Not specifically HEP but how about MRI and PET scans used in both medicine, medical research and materials research.
      • Re:*coff* (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mzs (595629) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:51PM (#27880041)

        I'm am not sure I am parsing you correctly but PET and MRI are direct benefits of from HEP research. The positron part of PET is pretty clear. The high gauss magnets in MRI are direct descendants of the powerful magnets used to steer and focus beams in HEP.

        Also the detectors used in things like nuclear stress tests are descendant on HEP track detectors.

        That is just medicine and over the past 25 years. In the last five or so, it is actually becoming feasible to detect neutrinos in a facility the size of four or so semi trailers. The application being detecting nuclear materials (read bombs) in ports. (Enough material will stop the neutrons, nothing stops the neutrinos.) Expect to hear about that publicly in the next ten years or so.

        Also HEP needs lots of amps, in the last 25 years the electric grid has adopted technology pioneered at CERN and Fermilab to make long range utility transmission lines more efficient.

        Then there are is all the technology that was driven by HEP that you take for granted today. First supercomputers, then big fast clusters. Also fast huge data storage and retrieval, first tape based, now disk based. How about gate arrays? HEP needed that and drove it in the beginning. How about PCI? Fermilab was one of the early members since it needed an alternative to the old IP standard. High speed digitizers are now used in many applications outside of HEP, at first labs made their own and licensed the tech to the companies that manufacture them now. That continues to this day where labs make ever faster digitizers that eventually get used in industry.

        Even color NTSC TV is a descendant of tech at Fermilab. At first there were many competing proposals, but eventually simple scheme employed for the monitors there became the accepted standard.

        • Forgive me, my brain dropped out for a minute and I wasn't equating HEP with High Energy Physics. I was equating it with another, similar acronym.
          • by mzs (595629)

            I'm sorry my frustration was directed to the fellow you were answering and I forgot who I was responding to as my fingers went into a furry answering him as well.

    • by hughk (248126)

      Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever? The only thing HEP has generated is paper.

      And the web. Nothing directly to do with HEP, but it was necessary as a way of distributing data from so many different computers. Other people had worked on proprietary toys (remember Gopher) but TBL's idea succeeded because it was open, developed at a public research institute and not protected.

      Oh and all those expensive toys that the phys

    • Re:*coff* (Score:4, Insightful)

      by smaddox (928261) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:31PM (#27878709)

      Show me "many, many products in daily use today that we still have no idea how they work" and I will show you many, many engineers that, in order to design that product, consulted thousands of research papers that were funded directly as basic research, or relied on the understanding brought by basic research. Just because you don't understand how something works doesn't mean there isn't someone out there who does.

      Basic research is behind everything you enjoy in your modern life. Those accidents made during "very focused and practical development" would not have led to anything if basic research had not laid the foundation for understanding. Imagine trying to design transistors without knowing anything about atoms, electrons, and quantum mechanics. It would be impossible.

      Just because you are too shortsighted to see the benefits of the LHC to future humanity doesn't mean they don't exist.

    • Can anyone name a single discovery in HEP in the last 25 years that has led to a practical improvement of anything whatsoever?

      This is a very ironic question to find on a website given where the web was developed. However there are many medical applications of HEP: accelerators, detectors, magnets and antimatter (PET). In addition there are increasing use of HEP detector technology and physics in security screening applications.
      However to really find the applications you have to turn the clock back to the HEP of 80-100 years ago: quantum and nuclear physics. Both of these have completely changed our world giving rise to numerous

    • by oliderid (710055)

      Science for science sake is worth while no matter the cost or the expect benefit.

      I call BS. Demonstration please, using the example above.

      I do practical stuffs all day long, I'm a business owner. Some people are glad to subsidize painters, opera, religions, armies... I prefer things like the CERN.

      They try to answer at their level the big "why". Why am I here ? What are we made of and what is this strange world we live in?

      And between a LCD screen and discovering the complexity of the universe, I assure you that my interest goes to the later as a taxpayer.

  • by Tablizer (95088)

    They don't want to be blamed when the Galactic Sector Disaster Investigation Committee convenes to figure out what happened to the Orion Arm [wikipedia.org] of the Milky Way.

  • by sabre86 (730704) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:35AM (#27877053)
    Given Austria's religious makeup [wikipedia.org], can we be surprised that they're pulling out?
  • Isolationism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:41AM (#27877115)
    I guess this has nothing to do with the fact that right-wing parties in Austria have won a large share [nytimes.com] of votes in recent elections, furthering the already prevalent mindset of isolationism that is present in Austria.

    It is a telling fact that the 20M budget for CERN is outstandingly tiny compared to the 3.4 billion EUR science budget Austria has.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I guess this has nothing to do with the fact that right-wing parties in Austria have won a large share [nytimes.com] of votes in recent elections, furthering the already prevalent mindset of isolationism that is present in Austria.

      It's unlikely for several reasons.

      For one the right-wing parties are not in government. This decision to quit CERN has been made by the socialist party and the people's party (they are a party for the middle class).
      Second Austria entered the ESO (European Southern Observatory) only a couple of months ago, so there doesn't seem to be a prevailent mindset of isolationism.

      The reasons are most likely fiscal as the summary suggests. The majority (70%) of the research money for international projects goes to CERN

  • Sensationalism? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hh4m (1549861) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:59AM (#27877307)
    Why are we overreacting over this? Austria will cease to be a member of CERN but it WILL continue cooperating with CERN as other non member countries do. Science is a relevant expense but the world is facing tough economic turbulence and some things need to be restructured. The benefits of science can be reaped by everyone at the end of the day, i mean i wasn't part of any of the great inventions yet i sit here benefiting from them.
  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:38PM (#27877947) Homepage Journal
    After taking a public relations beating like this I'm surprised anyone is willing to fund the LHC.

    Visit to the large hadron collider [comedycentral.com]
  • You ivory tower intellectuals must not lose touch with the world of industrial growth and hard currency. It is all very well and good to pursue these high-minded scientific theories, but research grants are expensive. You must justify your existence by providing not only knowledge but concrete and profitable applications as well.

  • It's OK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x (748565) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:24PM (#27878613)

    They need the money for more useful purposes, like bail out banks that will give bonuses to their executives, that will spend them in whores, champagne and expensive cars. This will get the economy running, again.

    Who the fuck needs science and technology? Nothing like getting our priorities right.

  • They hate everything with "nuclear" in name. They threatened us with Ed Fagan over one of our nuclear power plants. I wouldn't be surprised if subconscious decisions had something to do with this.
  • Austria is pulling out of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Science Minister Johannes Hahn announced Thursday, citing budget concerns.


    They do not have to worry. LHC will pull Austria out of its place eventually.
  • Collidus interruptus?
  • As a citizen of Austria I would like to state that particle physics and membership at CERN only was interesting for one university in Vienna (capitol city) and therefore I think it was the right thing to take the money elsewhere (why should ONE university get to spend 70% of the budget for this kind of memberships?). We have many good universities in many different fields of science.

    Austria is heavily involved in quantum physics (e. g. University of Innsbruck), and I think a good chunk of the saved Euros

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