Europe is the center of physics now?

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I ran across this op-ed piece... It's on ZDNET, not the most authoritative of sources, but the argument it makes seems compelling to me:

The successful start-up of the Large Hadron Collider represents not just a huge victory for particle physics but also a victory for Europe. Once upon a time there was a brain drain from Europe to the U.S...

But today? There’s no doubt that Europe – especially CERN — is the center of the science world. The Europeans took the lead in building the LHC, kicking in $6 billion. The US contribution? Just over $500 million, Alan Boyle reports at MSNBC.

Besides the LHC, there’s the ITER fusion research center in southern France and potentially another fusion project, the HiPER laser-fusion facility.

Meanwhile, in Washington, politicians yanked support for ITER and ripped $94 million out of physics research. Some of the funding has been restored but many positions were lost...
And another data point: in recent years much of NASA's astrophysics missions have been slashed or put on hold; the only two that actively continue at this moment-- LISA and what is now the International X-Ray Observatory-- are exactly the two which are now being partially or entirely run by the European Space Agency.

Is there anything to this? Is America ceding its authority on physics, is Europe becoming the new center of world physics?
 

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  • #2
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They were in the past, they will be in the future. America place at the top of physics research was a fairly brief, though important, period of time.
 
  • #3
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I can tell you some European researchers still cross the ocean. Fundamental physics is not necessarilly reaching ever higher possible energies, which is a dead end anyway in principle. There are still open problems at moderate energies within the standard model, where the US is leading without doubt. Besides, even physics beyond the standard model can be found at those energies in precision experiments.
 
  • #4
Redbelly98
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There is also condensed-matter physics, atomic-molecular-optical physics, and cosmology, just to name a few areas that do not depend solely on particle accelerator experiments.
 
  • #5
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Alright I know nothing about physics, why is the LHC useful and not a waste of money? What TANGIBLE advancements could come from finding the Higgs Boson particle? How do you convince a layman or a skeptic that LHC is worth all the money?
 
  • #6
Kurdt
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Who cares who leads physics research?
 
  • #7
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How do you convince a layman or a skeptic that LHC is worth all the money?
I think one can't. This is a moral choice. The reason I say that, is if one is against rational arguments, no discussion can convince them otherwise.
 

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