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The Almighty Buck Science

Tevatron To Shut Down At End of 2011 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-bad-there's-no-fundamental-oil-particle dept.
universegeek writes "It appears Fermilab's Tevatron will be shutting down by the end of 2011. Rumors confirmed today at the ISP220 conference say that the DOE denied further funding for the project. Looks like the LHC is our only hope in the hunt for the Higgs after all."
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Tevatron To Shut Down At End of 2011

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  • by hessian (467078) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:38PM (#34828552) Homepage Journal

    One silly recession, and everyone's going all budget cuts crazy. They're saving money so that we can have more big Wall Street firms making "profits" by selling financial instruments. The Chinese aren't fooled; they know our currency's about to crash and no amount of paper-shuffling will fix that. We're selling stuff to ourselves and calling it profit, just like in the dot-com boom, without "making" any new wealth.

    In the meantime, the science programs we cut (to "save money") form the basis of our future. Our current economy is probably more of a transition than a permanent state. Anyone else think we're screwing up by spending so much time on shuffling paper around to earn money, and so little money on the technologies that could define our future?

    • by pellik (193063) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:43PM (#34828626)
      Think of all the money we could save in the long run if instead of paying firefighters or police we just researched how to make everything fireproof and crimeproof.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by s4m7 (519684)

        the creation of financial instruments is not even remotely akin to firefighting or policework. As a society, we would be fine (maybe better off) without CDO's. They were originally created because traditional investment markets were "tapped out" relative to the pool of investment cash. So instead of correctly driving up the value of REAL assets, we distributed that money into, and inflated the value of potential/imaginary assets. That's a big part of what fueled the decline of income requirements on hom

    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:43PM (#34828630) Homepage Journal

      Anyone else think we're screwing up by spending so much time on shuffling paper around to earn money, and so little money on the technologies that could define our future?

      Everybody who's not working for Wall Street firms, banks or lawyers. Unfortunately, it seems they're the assholes running this planet.

      Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference: the doomsday scenario is real and the people from B ark are in charge.

      • by Straterra (1045994) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:52PM (#34828746)
        At least we'll have hairstylists!
      • by LordNacho (1909280) on Monday January 10, 2011 @07:30PM (#34830038)

        Even I think that, and I work in finance.

        If there were prospects for a young engineer from Oxford, maybe I wouldn't have done what most of the other engineering students did. I think it took one term before everyone realised you can work your ass off for decades designing stuff and getting paid peanuts, or you can work your ass off for a few years designing derivatives and get paid ten times that. Who in their right mind wouldn't go for the gold? That's what society is telling young engineers to go do.

        True story: a derivs trader I knew was an engineer (a real one). Asked why he quit early on to work in the City: "I found out what my boss makes."

        As it happens, I've carved myself a comfortable niche in the finance world, but for most people who ask me about it, I tell them it's not worth it. Long hours, lots of politics, and in the end, you'll never feel you're paid enough. And in the meantime, (if you're and engineer) you'll wonder what you could have done. My personal favourites: space ships, Formula 1, chip design.

        There really are too many kids who want to work in finance. The thing is, they don't have much of a passion for finance either (it does have interesting bits, just not where everyone thinks). These kids end up screwing up both finance AND the rest of the world. Don't do it, kids.

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          If there were prospects for a young engineer from Oxford, maybe I wouldn't have done what most of the other engineering students did. I think it took one term before everyone realised you can work your ass off for decades designing stuff and getting paid peanuts, or you can work your ass off for a few years designing derivatives and get paid ten times that. Who in their right mind wouldn't go for the gold? That's what society is telling young engineers to go do.

          Um, I may be getting paid peanuts compared to

      • At least we aren't dead from "a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone"
    • by I8TheWorm (645702) * on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:45PM (#34828662) Journal

      Or, it could be that it's been rendered obsolete by the LHC which is larger and more powerful.

      • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:51PM (#34828736) Journal

        Because every observatory on Earth was rendered obsolete by Hubble, right?

        Even an inferior Tevatron can produce results, two instruments operating at a time is often better than one really good one.

        • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

          In funding amounts you're talking about two very different scales though.

          I'm not saying it's a good thing, but as the other commenter said, by 2014 this one would be obsolete, and HUGELY expensive. I think in the near term that money could be used better elsewhere.

          • I'm not sure I see how it could be obsolete though? Is the LHC going to be done all its research by 2014? If so, why did we spend so much to build that one?

            • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

              Probably for the same reason we spent so much money building the Superconducting Super Collider outside of Dallas. Someone in congress wanted to spend money on their constituents. In the end it was never used.

              I don't think spending the money on it is a bad thing, but I think spending it when we're close to bankrupt is a stupid thing.

              Of note, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider still exists, and the SLHC is on the books.

              • by SETIGuy (33768)

                Probably for the same reason we spent so much money building the Superconducting Super Collider outside of Dallas. Someone in congress wanted to spend money on their constituents. In the end it was never used.

                I think you're forgetting the fact that the President was also from Texas and had some influence over the DOE during site selection.

        • As someone who has worked on the computing side of both the Tevatron and the LHC (CMS detector), it's time to stop pumping money into the Tevatron and let the LHC shine. Lets not let nostalgia get in the way of new science.

          Fairwell Tevatron! Thanks for all the luminosity!

      • by s4m7 (519684)
        could be, but it's not

        The Physics Advisory Committee at Fermilab have announced their decision to continue running the Tevatron until 2014. It is easy to see why they want to do that: This years published results have strengthened the case for a light Higgs sector. In the mass range up to 150 GeV the rival Large Hadron Collider does not have such a big advantage and wont make the Tevatron obsolete until around 2014 when it’s higher energy and luminosity will finally trump the Tevatron at all mass scal

        • by afidel (530433) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:02PM (#34828872)
          And that's assuming the LHC works on schedule, which so far it has failed to do. Also being able to recreate results (that are within the energy envelope on the Tevatron) with a different set of instruments is important to the scientific method.
          • This is one of the reasons instruments on the LHC are duplicated: Atlas and CMS. Given the difference of energy, if the Higgs is found in one of the LHC experiments, it is doubtful that the experiment could be reproduced at Tevatron.
            • by hedwards (940851)
              Indeed. Additionally, while the LHC is much more powerful, the Tevatron is still useful, I'm sure that there are still experiments for which it's of use. At very least it could be used to run the experiments that LHC is too busy for.
          • by raddan (519638) * on Monday January 10, 2011 @07:26PM (#34829992)
            And, it should be pointed out, Americans can only work at LHC through a sponsoring member instituition such as a member university (like my alma mater, Boston University). Direct participation in work at the LHC (e.g., being employed there) is only available to citizens belonging to EU member nations. Shutting down Fermilab makes it even LESS desirable to become a physicist in the United States.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Oh come on. How else can we give hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street banks? We all have to make sacrifices for them!

      Won't somebody think of the bankers?

    • by lennier (44736) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:08PM (#34828968) Homepage

      In the meantime, the science programs we cut (to "save money") form the basis of our future.

      While that makes sense generally, I'm wondering just exactly what the ROI curve for expensive high-energy physics tools like the LHC and Tevatron actually is. The collider and hot fusion people keep saying 'fund us more and we'll get huge energy breakthroughs, but the reality always seems to fall a long way short.

      Looking at the sweep of physics over the 20th century, it seems like most of the really big breakthroughs were achieved using tools that by today's standards were laughably primitive. The most cutting edge physics experiments of today - Bose-Einstein condensates, quantum teleportation - seem to be still confirming and not invalidating physics theories invented in the 1930s, on pencil and paper. Doesn't that strike anyone as a bit odd?

      The high-water mark of literal 'bang for the buck' physics research seems to have been the H-bomb in the 1950s. Since then, from the outside, it seems to have been a long row of fiddling with ever subtler refinements of Standard Model equations which all tell us 'actually, no, you can't get unlimited free energy, flying cars, antigravity, unbound quark states - but we need to take more observations to be sure.'

      Something about this isn't adding up for me. Studying electricity and magnetism got us a motherlode of radio and electronics. Studing nuclear decay got us bombs and reactors. Studying gravity, quarks and the strong and weak forces have got us.... crickets and tumbleweed.... what, exactly?

      It's not that we haven't yet seen engineering applications for post-1960s high-energy physics. It's that the brightest minds seem to be telling us that it's theoretically increasingly unlikely for us to ever see the Standard Model invalidated, let alone any hope of engineering applications from itl. Yet we keep sinking money into colliders.

      What is it that we're expecting to find in the big colliders that we haven't yet seen? What are the odds of finding it? Are we looking in the right place? If we are and are, is all the research being shared publically, or are the weapons guys keeping something back?

      The amount of money spent chasing big physics vs the decreasing payoff just doesn't add up to me. I'd like to think there's a big conspiracy to hide some really neat bang somewhere, because otherwise it just seems very disappointing compared to the glory days of the 30s-50s.

      • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:19PM (#34829114)

        You are forgetting things like modern computer technology actually does take advantage of some advanced physics like quantum tunneling.

        • by Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) on Monday January 10, 2011 @07:42PM (#34830158)

          Actually, you're just demonstrating her point.

          https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling [wikimedia.org]

          Quantum tunneling was first theoretically understood in 1927, and since then it's just been a matter of engineering to take advantage of it. I think her point was that if it's taken 80 years to develop discoveries experimentally evaluated using relatively primitive and low-energy techniques, how much longer is it going to take to every apply something which requires the LHC just to observe. I agree with her, both as a physicist, and as an engineer. There are intrinsic difficulties in applying physical principles which require energy densities which approach that found in the Big Bang.

          I don't agree that it means we shouldn't do it, because inquiring minds want to know. However, I do agree that duplicating effort in an attempt to discover things a few months sooner is more about scientist/politician pride than about sane expenditures of resources. If the LHC is the better piece of equipment, then mothball the Tevatron since they're nominally collecting similar data, except that the LHC uses better equipment. All that matters, as there are unlikely to be any national security/interest in the results, is that everyone has access to the data.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            The theoretical science was understood in 1927. It took 80 years to produce results. Do you think that in 1927 they thought that the science they were doing on paper would end in toys that kids play with in their living rooms? Of course not. THAT is why we need to continue to do cutting edge science. Not because we will get results tomorrow, but because some of it may very well end up in home appliances in 80 years.
            • by c0lo (1497653)

              Not because we will get results tomorrow, but because some of it may very well end up in home appliances in 80 years.

              Fuck yeah... I want my grand-grand children to play with at least the Tevatron when toddlers.
              (note: take a pill to boots your humor detection sense, the amount of it in my post is tiny. Don't bother though with troll-detection pils, though).

          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            However, I do agree that duplicating effort in an attempt to discover things a few months sooner is more about scientist/politician pride than about sane expenditures of resources.

            Maybe for those proximate to the actual decision to spend the money.

            But for us, it's about enhancing our descendants' lives in ways we can't even imagine today, just like those who worked on quantum tunneling couldn't have imagine the things created using applications of their research. If it takes a hundred years for such applic

        • You are forgetting things like modern computer technology actually does take advantage of some advanced physics like quantum tunneling.

          Quantum tunneling was researched and studied in the 1950s and earlier. I have on my lap, as I write this, William Shockley's "Electrons and Holes in Semiconductors", first published in November 1950. This is still one of the best books on stuff such as quantum states, mechanics and tunneling. Here's a link to the history of research on quantum tunneling. [wikipedia.org] Please do note the years of the milestones.

      • by andi75 (84413) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:24PM (#34829194) Homepage

        I think it was the famous 18th century mathematician Laplace who once said "there is no military application for number theory", and less then 150 years later, its applications (cryptography) where probably one of the deciding factors for the outcome of World War II.

        I don't think we can rule out that high energy physics will give us cool stuff to play with eventually.

        • by khallow (566160)

          I think it was the famous 18th century mathematician Laplace who once said "there is no military application for number theory", and less then 150 years later, its applications (cryptography) where probably one of the deciding factors for the outcome of World War II.

          Assuming he did really say that, then he was wrong at the time he said that. Many of the key cryptography discoveries and ideas could have been made any time in the past few centuries and they would have been valuable at the time. The problem was that society wasn't ready for the knowledge created in number theory. Since then, those profound changes have occurred. There's no conceivable restructuring of society that allows us to use quantum field theory or string theory where we couldn't before. Instead, we

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            The problem that people continually seem to ignore is that merely funding science doesn't guarantee that we get useful science, either to us now or to our descendants centuries from now.

            While there's no guarantee, I haven't seen any progress yet in the absence of science, so looks to me as science (and funding it thereof) might be still needed.

            Keep in mind that the great minds of the past, which boast of the uselessness of science, had some degree of mundane incentives to produce useful things. And they did. I think it is unwise to mythologize the past and assume on that basis that one can continue the progress of the past without the incentives and goals prevalent in the past.

            That's interesting. Posted already, can't mod anymore.

            • by khallow (566160)

              While there's no guarantee, I haven't seen any progress yet in the absence of science, so looks to me as science (and funding it thereof) might be still needed.

              I think you're right. But what I see as a growing problem is the assumption that funding is science. Just because the money is spent doesn't mean it was spent well or even that it was spent on the intended goal.

      • > The high-water mark of literal 'bang for the buck' physics research seems to have been the H-bomb in the 1950s

        no no no no no! The transistor!

        > that it's theoretically increasingly unlikely for us to ever see the Standard Model invalidated, let alone any hope of engineering applications from itl

        That is precisely the problem. The SM is "mined out" in the same way all those California oil wells are. However, the funding machine (which, if anything, is the really interesting thing about CERN) continues

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When the electron was discovered it was thought to be absolutely worthless, prediction is very hard, especially about the future.

        Discovering the higgs will fill in the biggest hole in the standard model, it's what gives everything in the universe mass. And the hope is that hopefully the higgs decay pattern will point towards super-symmetry, which would be one of, if not the biggest discoveries in the history of science. Currently we can't explain, touch, see, 80% of the mass of the universe, I think tryin

        • by dkf (304284)

          Discovering the higgs will fill in the biggest hole in the standard model, it's what gives everything in the universe mass.

          Strictly, it's the rest masses of the fundamental particles that are determined by the Higgs field. However, the majority of mass of "ordinary" matter - i.e., protons and neutrons - is actually due to the (enormous) binding energy in the color field that is holding the quarks together. When I first found that out, I found it pretty amazing; it goes to show just how important relativity is.

          And, aside from all that-- it's a fantastic research facility that funds some of the greatest scientists on Earth, and it's on American soil. If the US keeps cutting science and research programs, then guess what, no US kid will want to move into science and the US will fade into the distance as Europe continues to dominate high-energy physics, and eventually, every other field.

          I believe that Fermilab are going to be focusing on other research fields, and they are also one of the main sites in th

      • by diegocg (1680514)

        You might be right, the LHC and the Tevatron might be useless. But we turning them off will not help to decide the outcome.

      • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:54PM (#34829606)

        A very large fraction of biomedical research and nanoscale self assembling materials research is dependent on unfathomably expensive high energy physics tools like the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne. Without this kind of beam we'd have lost a big chunk of the most impressive medical treatments now available and a lot of computer technology we take for granted, and the next generation of technology (meaning a 30 year generation, not an iPhone generation) is going to be an order of magnitude more dependent on high energy scattering. And the generation after that will likely include things like fusion.

        The thing that's not adding up for you is your lack of knowledge about recent research. If anything, long term research pays off much more now than it did in the early 20th century. And you even point out that we're just now realizing things theorized or primitively demonstrated back then, which is a further demonstration of the huge long-term payoff of basic science research!

        • by lennier (44736) on Monday January 10, 2011 @08:56PM (#34830962) Homepage

          A very large fraction of biomedical research and nanoscale self assembling materials research is dependent on unfathomably expensive high energy physics tools like the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne

          Light sources do seem to be one of the most immediately useful applications of accelerators, yes. But those aren't actually a direct result of the quest for new physics, are they? The beam intensities that most of the light sources operate at are nowhere near pioneering research-grade. It's all old physics. New engineering, yes, but not new physics.

          And the generation after that will likely include things like fusion.

          See, that right there is the assumption I query.

          If the history of controllable hot fusion has taught us one thing, it's that sustainable breakeven is not around the corner, and that attempting to get there costs an increasing amount yet keeps the mirage at just about the same distance in the future.

          And that's strange to me, because Project Matterhorn started right after Manhattan, and uncontrolled fusion - the H-bomb - was a spectacular success. If there was one self-evident certainty in physics in the 1950s, it was that controllable fusion was the future of energy.

          And yet 60 years later, it's still not. And it costs us more and more each year to verify that yes, we still can almost, but not quite, do it. We've become accustomed to a huge spiral of diminishing returns - and yet this awareness hasn't translated into a change in our belief that eventually we're going to crack it.

          Maybe we are, and that'll be really fun if we do. But maybe we aren't. The curve suggests that we're on a solid course for 'aren't'.

          This has huge implications for things like peak oil and climate change. Most of us tech-types are still operating on the assumption that the oil peak is a glitch and fusion is going to save all our asses. But what if it doesn't? Are we psychologically prepared to cope for the "we split the atom and went to the moon and now we can't even run tractors anymore???"

          Because if we don't get some huge physics breakthrough, that's where we're headed. And increasingly, it looks like our lines of research are not pointing towards breakthroughs, but merely evolutionary finessing of the same grim equations: more people, less energy.

          And you even point out that we're just now realizing things theorized or primitively demonstrated back then, which is a further demonstration of the huge long-term payoff of basic science research!

          Once again: we're achieving new engineering of old physics concepts today, not new physics. Despite physics being the star of the sciences for decades, getting all the press and glamour, and a huge amount of government support right down to the level of 'born secret' classification.

          From, say, the 1890s to the 1960s, there was this huge burst of conceptual revolution in basic physics. Everything seemed up for grabs, including logic itself being rewritten by quantum physics, flight in air and space, and the ability to destroy global civilisation with a button-press. It looked like a dead cert for this burst of innnovation at the basic physics level to continue.

          But it didn't. For the next 60 years, we've been on the descending slope of the physics innovation curve - while still being on the midpoint of the engineering and applications curve.

          Since most of us in the IT trade have been riding that late bulge in semiconductors, I don't think it's sunk in for us that the rest of physics hasn't kept up with Moore's Law. When it does, look out.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, 2011 @07:06PM (#34829774)

        The Large Hadron Collider, a.k.a the largest scientific endeavor in human history, cost 6 billion dollars.

        A Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier costs 8.5 billion dollars, and the US Navy will be introducing ten such aircraft carriers into their arsenal, the equivalent of fourteen LHCs.

        I don't think it's science programs that need to be cut.

      • by glwtta (532858) on Monday January 10, 2011 @08:46PM (#34830844) Homepage
        Or, 75 years from now, we do discover a practically unlimited free energy source, which makes all previous technological advancements laughable in comparison.

        You're trying to quantify the unknown. That typically doesn't work well.

        Looking at the sweep of physics over the 20th century, it seems like most of the really big breakthroughs were achieved using tools that by today's standards were laughably primitive.

        Doesn't that sort of imply that widespread application of discoveries made today will be seen when today's tools are considered laughably primitive?
    • by Khomar (529552)

      The sad thing is that all of these budget cuts don't even come close to addressing the problem. Nearly all of the government spending comes down to four programs: 1) national defense, 2) welfare, 3) Social Security, and 4) Medicare. If you eliminated every other department in the government, I think you would come to about half of any one of these programs. Our deficit (the amount of money we spend more than we bring in every year) is over $1.5 trillion.

      The four programs are all basically the same size.

      • by Thud457 (234763) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:43PM (#34829458) Homepage Journal
        This is how you can tell the recent discovery of "fiscal conservatism" by Congress is a kettle of bullshit.
        If they really thought things were really that dire, they'd be talking about cutting the military (and/or SS / MC).
        Instead, it's a stalking horse to cut "projects I don't like".
      • by pipatron (966506)
        Do you know where to find this information online? I'm a little handicapped trying to google up things like this since I'm not a U.S. citizen, so I don't really know where to start. Still, it would be interesting to see.
      • by SETIGuy (33768)
        There's another option that everyone seems to forget. We could put our tax rates back where they were in 1980. Or 1970. Or 1960. (Brackets adjusted for inflation of course). But no one has the courage to do what it will take to steer the ship aright.
    • by diegocg (1680514) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:38PM (#34829390)

      everyone's going all budget cuts crazy

      Except the military budget. If someone manages to classify the Tevatron as a weapon and get it managed by the MoD, it won't be canceled.

    • You're retarded. Science is a financial instrument. Think about it.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      One silly recession, and everyone's going all budget cuts crazy. They're saving money so that we can have more big Wall Street firms

      In other words, there are real, huge and long-lived black-holes already in action, why do we need yet one extra way that only would hypothetically produce one at atto-scale living for so short that you need years to study the data see if you actualy create one, eh?
      You see... it is called efficiency and it is an attribute of the capitalistic world and free-markets in action... or so some scoundrels are trying to convince me.

  • by Picardo85 (1408929) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:43PM (#34828638)
    If there actually is a Higgs Boson
    • by hedwards (940851)
      That was my thought, we're assuming that the Higgs Boson exists, and proving that it doesn't is going to be a lot more difficult then proving that it does. Science tends to do a lot better proving a positive than a negative.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Well after X amount of time making Y amount of observations, you can say that you would have less than probability Z of not seeing a Higgs if it existed. When Z gets really small, people start concluding that it probably doesn't exist.

        This has already happened for various ranges of Higgs masses; the Tevatron in particular has ruled many of them out. And the theory itself puts limits on the Higgs mass. So if at some point in the future we can say there's only an infinitesimal chance of the Higgs having av

        • by lennier (44736)

          So if at some point in the future we can say there's only an infinitesimal chance of the Higgs having avoided our detection anywhere in its possible mass range, well, then it's time to go back to the theoretical drawing board.

          That would be a good thing on the whole, right? If a key part of the Standard Model is reasonably conclusively falsified, then we get to rethink the whole deal rather than just propping up the epicycles. And if we rethink, then perhaps we can start making real advances.

          I suppose if the LHC leads to that, then it's money well spent no matter how expensive it is (and in a world where $65 million only buys you a New York musical, a few billion here and there is spare change).

    • by glwtta (532858)
      If there actually is a Higgs Boson

      Wait, so you're saying that if the Higgs doesn't exist, we have more than one hope of finding it?
  • Budget cuts (Score:5, Funny)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:44PM (#34828650)

    Budget cuts, the one divide by zero scenario science can't route around.

  • Bill Clinton spent billions on a supercollider in Texas, and half way through its completion, he canceled the project.

    The guy was an economic genius and what this country needs to get itself out of debt, but he failed in that situation.

    Physics research can be greater than money because of the new discoveries it brings mankind, but all you know this.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:53PM (#34828762)

      Bill Clinton spent billions on a supercollider in Texas, and half way through its completion, he canceled the project.

      As I remember it, the project lost support as the number of potential sites was narrowed down, because the politicians just wanted the big wad of cash for their state rather than the science it would produce. When it was down to one state, you basically had one state's politicians supporting it.

      • by AJWM (19027)

        When it was down to one state, you basically had one state's politicians supporting it.

        Unfortunately, the Four Corners area really is out in the middle of nowhere; and Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico even together don't have huge clout in the House.

      • by bruthasj (175228)

        They should have picked a location that spanned four states.

    • The supercollider found its funding in 1991, and was defunded by congress (as the president doesn't directly get to control the budget) the year he became president.
      • It looks like your biggest complaint about Bill Clinton is total bullshit then since it was Congress that defunded the Superconducting Supercollider, not the President.
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      I said, super collider, I just met her! And then they made a super collider 2. Thank you. - Humor Bot 5.0

    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      You have the bone structure of an economic GENIUS!
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Exactly how was Clinton an economic genius?
      He presided over a huge stock bubble. Pets.com, Linux.com, and how many other dotcoms that where worth nothing but valued at billions?
      Oh and record low oil prices to boot.
      If he had been a genius he would have increased the interest rate and raised the fuel tax and tried to manage the bubble. Instead he just hopped it would last until he was out office.
      "Like every other politician ."

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ianare (1132971)

        Actually, Clinton stopped and even reversed the disastrous fiscal policies of Reagan and Bush. Unfortunately, Bush II undid all of that work ...

        See for yourself [wikipedia.org]

        • it doesn't take an economic genius to recognize that Regan and Bush's fiscal policies were loads of crap.
      • by diegocg (1680514)

        The dotcom bubble didn't really affect that much to the rest of the economy. It didn't bring banks down (banks weren't able to build their assets on top of the bubble), it didn't bring other sectors down. I remember some economist saying that it was a good example of a "good bubble" - a bubble that happens in only one sector and doesn't affect anything else.

        Also, Bill Clinton managed to get the debt under control [city-data.com]. Which is an impressive achievement in USA.

    • That's not quite how it happened [wikipedia.org].

      Clinton's support wasn't enthusiastic, and DoE came out against it, but when congress cut its funding, Clinton asked them to reconsider.

    • When Congress wanted to make some spending cuts, something called the "Superconducting Supercollider" is an obvious candidate. If they had named it instead, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Collider" it would have been running right now.

    • by SETIGuy (33768)

      Bill Clinton spent billions on a supercollider in Texas, and half way through its completion, he canceled the project.

      Ah, revisionist conservative history rears it's ugly head. The SSC's location in Texas should point out that the real benefactor was Bush, Sr and the rest of the Texas "conservatives". If it had been located in a more logical place and had less political influence in the site selection, maybe it wouldn't have been cancelled. As I recall the announcement, it was a real WTF moment.

      Maybe you should leave the history to those of us that can remember it.

  • Well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Barrinmw (1791848) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:53PM (#34828766)
    According to my father-in-law who works at fermilab, they pretty much are focusing on the hunt for sterile neutrinos at the moment. They essentially are leaving the search for the higgs to LHC anyway.
  • There are updates which need to be read past the initial article....

    The HEP program also calls for a world-leading program centred at FNAL to probe the Standard Model using a complementary approach of high intensity beams. This program aims to measure the fundamental properties of neutrinos and to develop a new high intensity proton source. In evaluating the proposed Tevatron extension, the P5 committee emphasized the importance of developing this Intensity Frontier program and we have made implementation o

  • Another shining example of basic science exploration falling prey to the short sighted budgetary whims of bureaucrats elected on an ephemeral basis.

    • ...or a completely pointless program that has turned up nothing useful for decades?

      No really, are you happy that we now know the top quark mass to the 4th decimal? If I gave you millions of dollars, would you buy that number?

      • "...or a completely pointless program that has turned up nothing useful..."

        Didn't the pundits of that time say something similar to the Curies?

        Sometimes the next big thing is found through perseverance, and who's better qualified to say when to pull the plug and close the door on a one-of-a-kind research facility, a nuclear physicist or a career politician?

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@@@gmail...com> on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:18PM (#34829094)
    So the entire purpose of the Tevatron in the eyes of the politicians is that of a facility that will either find/not find the Higgs? The political community and those in control of the purse-strings only want the ability of Nationalistic chest-pumping of verifying Peter Higg's field and mass generating boson, but aside from that I am fairly sure science goes out the window past the international pissing contest. Are you telling me that a particle acceleration facility like that has not future economically or scientifically stimulating value, and that the immediate value of undercutting funding / shutdown is higher than the long-term scientific value to humanity?!?!

    Until bankers and high-frequency traders discover a Unified Field Theory, or politicians can deduce a solution to the Riemann Hypothesis, or the lobbyist can solve Navier-Stokes, leave the big-boys alone to do Real Work (TM). Otherwise we will continually squander true talent in this country, pushing those with scientific inclinations to other parts of the world where it is actually valued.
    • by Thud457 (234763)
      Weren't a lot of the " quants " responsible for the great recession mathematicians and physicists lured from academia by the better pay working building models for the banks?
      Maybe we should be pouring more money into science so these pointdexters don't continue to wreak havoc on things they only think they understand.
      • by lennier (44736)

        Maybe we should be pouring more money into science so these pointdexters don't continue to wreak havoc on things they only think they understand.

        Yes, much better to have them poking sticks into the unfathomable infinite eternal wassnames of the very fabric of existence.

        On second thoughts, maybe it's just as well that the Tevatron didn't find a thousand new ways to blow up the world with a Bic lighter.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Until bankers and high-frequency traders discover a Unified Field Theory

      To be fair, they probably would, if they took a few weeks off from making massive stacks of cash. If you don't think that's where many of the most talented "big boys" are, you're deluding yourself out of some naive sense of misplaced idealism.
  • to finance the war.

  • by stox (131684) on Monday January 10, 2011 @09:39PM (#34831380) Homepage

    1) Scientists will be analyzing data from the Tevatron for years to come. Just because new data is no longer being produced doesn't mean the science stops.

    2) Bob Young, one of the founders of Red Hat, credits Fermilab's adoption of Linux as one of the most significant events in success of Linux.

    3) Fermilab pioneered the application of super-conductors for use in building the Tevatron.

    4) The term "computing farms" was coined at Fermilab.

    5) Both the bottom and top quarks were discovered at Fermilab. There is still a lot of science that can be done understanding both. The cancellation of BTev was tragic.

    6) The original Linux CD driver was developed by one of the members of the DZero experiment at Fermilab.

    Old friend, we will miss you.

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