After the budget debacle

December 25, 2007 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Several bloggers have detailed the budget disaster of December 2007 (for example, Joanne Hewett, Peter Woit and Andrey Petrov), so I will not try to do the same. Furthermore, it is tempting to declaim the demise of science in the United States, or to fret about the future of Fermilab. I don’t think I would improve anything or anyone by doing so.

Instead, let me try to make the following point: More than ever, the success of the LHC program is crucial. Exciting and profound discoveries, if they do come, must be carried out with the utmost professionalism and care. We cannot afford to bungle any highly visible analysis, nor can we mire ourselves in excessive regulations and procedures for approval of new results. Senior physicists need to be engaged in the stuff of physics, not only in managing cadres of people. Young people may not have the experience to avoid naive mistakes; they should be educated and trained as well encouraged to be innovative and iconoclastic. Only Nature can determine the sources of new physics at the LHC, and only we experimenters can raise the quality and depth of our work to levels never seen before. This may be the last chance to show the world that high-energy physics is worthwhile…


(A.A.Michelson, and M.Faraday)


Entry filed under: Particle Physics.

5-sigma signals come and go! Judging experiments by a priori theoretical expectations

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