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BaBar drawing to a close January 14, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in physics life, politics.
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The director of particle physics, Steve Kahn, at SLAC commenting on the budget cuts and the BaBar program:

As you all know, one of the consequences of the budget cut we face here at SLAC is the early conclusion of the B-factory run. Persis mentioned in her all-hands meeting that BaBar started operating in a different mode just before Christmas to make the most of the shortened run. The PEP-II accelerator team and BaBar physicists have put in a huge effort to adjust their program so rapidly to the changes imposed on us and it is testimony to their resourcefulness that this plan could be implemented so quickly.

Because they are turning off early a number of other science programs will go forward (the Tevatron, for example). What a pity!

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1. Bye Bye BaBar « Life as a Physicist - April 11, 2008

[…] Bye Bye BaBar April 11, 2008 Posted by gordonwatts in physics life. trackback BaBar closed down the other day. Well, the long running PEP-II collider shut down, and BaBar depended on it for its collisions. The shutdown came a bit earlier than planed due to the science budget cuts. […]

2. Ron - April 18, 2008

What a shame does physics ot have the respect it once had? Has funding been cut because physics is irrelevant to those in Government? BaBar has to be closed early due to budget cuts yet it has been used by scientists throughout its life is that not high productivity?

When science becomes a back seat to Government policy the society as a whole loses more than just a PEP-II collider. As a mature physicist who has been around the block, so to speak, the heady days of science in the West seems to be drawing to a close. Asia respect scientists more than Medical Doctors, what a concept! Ignorance there is nothing worse.

3. gordonwatts - April 18, 2008

Hi Ron. Yeah — sometimes it feels like that. Everything has to get cut when we go through a budget crunch – science is no different. But science has been cut even during the good times. They are cutting HEP – but they are cutting other things. The sun is definately moving to Europe now in HEP, and I sure hope that it doesn’t move over there for other types of physics!

One thing you can do is make sure your representatives know how you feel. It is always better if they know it isn’t just the scientists worried about this issue! And if you do get a chance – talk about pure research not just particle physics. Things like the NSF and the DOE’s Office of Science (the latter is the largest funder of physics research in the USA).

4. nrgdriver - April 19, 2008

Hi Gordon

Having worked on top secret research in nuclear areas, most ground breaking, I know the politics very well now. I’m very familiar with the DOE & NSF and I’ve been pushing for a resurgence of pure research it is the only way our nation can stay ahead and the populace not get dumbed down anymore than they already have been.

Fortunately I have friends in high places DoD, NSA, etc, and I often make known my thoughts on our commitment levels to research. Respect needs to be restored for scientists the benefits far out way any negatives for society.

Europe is certainly gaining ground and that is good I’d sooner Europe than China and my next point is the number of scientists being turned out of there educational system is a sight to behold and again is a stark reminder that we cannot take research for granted and encouraging youngsters to take up such a great profession. Quality of education is critical and lately what I’ve personally seen come out of US Universities is troubling in the Physical sciences. The breath of understanding and knowledge is worrying. Of course I’m generalizing somewhat but still the trend I see is problematic.

I use the V-22 Osprey – Military Aircraft model to determine how political will can carry research a long way in fact all the way from 1989 to 2001 and numerous crashes and billions of dollars, not a plane I’d like to fly in anytime soon.

I travelled the world many times in my 20’s and lived in various parts it was invaluable as I’m sure you are finding the experience. Enjoy.


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