The discovery of the Higgs boson would be a gratifying verification of present theory, but it will not point the way to a more comprehensive future theory. We can hope, as was the case with the Bevatron, that the most exciting thing to be discovered at the LHC will be something quite unexpected. Whatever it is, it’s hard to see how it could take us all the way to a final theory, including gravitation. So in the next decade, physicists are probably going to ask their governments for support for whatever new and more powerful accelerator we then think will be needed.
That is going to be a very hard sell."
This is a must-read take on the crisis of funding Big Science. From Ernest Rutherford’s £70 discovery of the atomic nucleus to the £6.2 billion Large Hadron Collider, science has pushed the envelope of knowledge and spending.
In a time of uncertain financial futures, how do we ensure that the benefits of funding science (to the economy and to innovation) are worth the cost, when there are so many other places to spend the money. An interesting, if not pessimistic take, from a Nobel Laureate.(via jtotheizzoe)