The US are afraid (again) to

  • Thread starter marlon
  • Start date
  • #26
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,977
4,686
Mk said:
Do you think it will really be built and be run? How soon? What about the United States? Yes, I would be interested in more, if you were serious about that part.

This is going off-topic.

Why won't it be built? The long history of it can be read in Nature and Science. The US is part of the consortium, and only when Japan agreed to let go of its bid did the US finally supported the France site.

Why are we discussing this in this thread? Where is the answer to my question?

Zz.
 
  • #27
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,977
4,686
Mk said:
No, you're right. Physics is important, well duh.. and it has been said already, I'm sure you know why.

Then maybe you may want to reread your first post in this thread when you insisted that we "push medical more". You can't "push medical more" while ignoring the fact that the technology that allows advancement in medicine and pharmaceutical came explicitly out of advancement in physics, even in particle physics that apparently have no practical applications. I can easily, very easily, point to the connection between the beam physics used in FEL to generate light for LCLS and the beam physics used in CERN's LEP.

Various areas in physics may not appear to have any direct practical applications. However, considering how one advancement of knowledge in one area of physics can affect another in a wildly different area (see where Peter Higgs got his idea of the Higgs field from, thankyou), we should never be so quick in dismissing one area of science in favor of another area. At some point, you'll realize that you can't make as rapid of a progress because you've been suffocating one part of science for so long.

Zz.
 
  • #28
siddharth
Homework Helper
Gold Member
1,130
0
Mk said:
Well, what president is interested in particle physics?

If I may interrupt, you might be interested to know one of them is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Kalam" [Broken], the president of India.

http://www.linearcollider.org/cms/?pid=1000235"

http://qd.typepad.com/24/2005/05/index.html" [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #29
Mk
2,001
4
ZapperZ said:
Fine. Let's take one very crucial and important example. Can you show me the "funding link" between these events that you have cited an the invention of the transitor by Bardeen, Shockley, and Brittain?
The pressing need for numerous time-critical calculations for various projects like code-breaking and ballistics tables stimulated electronic computer development. The semi-secret ENIAC and the extremely secret Colossus demonstrated that devices using thousands of valves could be reliable enough to be useful, paving the way for the post-war development of stored program computers, and ones of course using.. the solid state transistor!

Elaborating a bit more on the process because I think it is a bit interesting:

Around the turn of the 20th century semiconductors were quite common as detectors in radios, used in a device called a "cat's whisker". These detectors were somewhat troublesome, however, requiring the operator to move a small tungsten filament (the whisker) around the surface of lead sulfide or silicon carbide crystal until it suddenly started working. Then, over a period of a few hours or days, the cat's whisker would slowly stop working and the process would have to be repeated. At the time their operation was completely mysterious. After the introduction of the more reliable and amplified vacuum tube based radios, the cat's whisker systems quickly disappeared. The "cat's whisker" is a primitive example of a special type of diode still popular today, called a Schottky diode.

World War II greatly stimulated radar research, which quickly pushed radar receivers to operate at ever higher frequencies and the traditional tube based radio receivers no longer worked well. The introduction of the cavity magnetron from Britain to the United States in 1940 during the Tizzard Mission resulted in a pressing need for a practical high-frequency amplifier. And of course we use magnetrons most today in microwave ovens.

Russell Ohl of Bell Laboratories decided to try a cat's whisker. After hunting one down at a used radio store in Manhattan, he found that it worked much better than tube-based systems.

Ohl investigated why the cat's whisker functioned so well. He spent most of 1939 trying to grow more pure versions of the crystals. He soon found that with higher quality crystals their finicky behavior went away, but so did their ability to operate as a radio detector. One day he found one of his purest crystals nevertheless worked well, and interestingly, it had a clearly visible crack near the middle. However as he moved about the room trying to test it, the detector would mysteriously work, and then stop again. After some study he found that the behaviour was controlled by the light in the room. More light caused more conductance in the crystal... like whoa. Ohl invited several other people to see this crystal, and Walter Brattain immediately realized there was some sort of junction at the crack.

Further research cleared up the remaining mystery. The crystal had cracked because either side contained very slightly different amounts of the impurities Ohl could not remove. It was about 0.2%. One side of the crystal had impurities that added extra electrons and made it a conductor. The other had impurities that wanted to bind to these electrons, making it (what he called) an "insulator." Because the two parts of the crystal were in contact with each other, the electrons could be pushed out of the conductive side which had extra electrons (soon to be known as the emitter) and replaced by new ones being provided (from a battery, for instance) where they would flow into the insulating portion and be collected by the whisker filament (named the collector). However, when the voltage was reversed the electrons being pushed into the collector would quickly fill up the electron holes (the electron-needy impurities), and conduction would stop almost instantly. This junction of the two crystals (or parts of one crystal) created a solid-state diode, and the concept soon became known as semiconduction. The mechanism of action when the diode is off has to do with the separation of charge carriers around the junction. This is called a "depletion region".

William Shockley decided to attempt the building of a triode-like semiconductor device. He secured funding and lab space, and went to work on the problem with Brattain and John Bardeen.

It was realized that if there was some way to control the flow of the electrons from the emitter to the collector of this newly discovered diode, one could build an amplifier. For instance, if you placed contacts on either side of a single type of crystal the current would not flow through it. However if a third contact could then "inject" electrons or holes into the material, the current would flow.

Ohl and Brattain met up, then Bardeen met Brattain, then they teamed up with Shockley, and came forth the point-contact transistor!!! Then they won the Nobel Prize in 1956!!

Ok, that was mostly Wikipedia.
 
  • #30
Mk
2,001
4
How does this relate to the OP?
This relates to the original post in the fact that we are talking about how well developed-nations fund physics. Right? Was that the question you meant? You sound like you're on your way to locking this thread.
Then maybe you may want to reread your first post in this thread when you insisted that we "push medical more". You can't "push medical more" while ignoring the fact that the technology that allows advancement in medicine and pharmaceutical came explicitly out of advancement in physics, even in particle physics that apparently have no practical applications. I can easily, very easily, point to the connection between the beam physics used in FEL to generate light for LCLS and the beam physics used in CERN's LEP.
I didn't mean more-than-physics, I meant a little bit more than it already is, by taking a bit less out of military spending, and throwing it into medical development. I didn't mean to imply anything about physics. Simply relating to different areas the United States is funding.

we should never be so quick in dismissing one area of science in favor of another area. At some point, you'll realize that you can't make as rapid of a progress because you've been suffocating one part of science for so long
This may be where the heat is coming from, I didn't mean take money out of physics research and use it for medical research, I meant take money out of military research and put it into medical. Then I countered myself in saying that we're not very good scientists if we're dead.
 
Last edited:
  • #31
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,977
4,686
Mk said:
This relates to the original post in the fact that we are talking about how well developed-nations fund physics. Right? Was that the question you meant? You sound like you're on your way to locking this thread.

No, the link was specifically talking about funding of elementary particle/high energy physics, which has been so severely butchered during the Bush administration that Fermilab is in jeopardy of being shut down by the end of the Tevatron funding. And that is THE last high energy physics facility in the US (SLAC is already being retrofitted as a light source and its funding is going to be transfered to DOE BES division).

So I have no idea what you read in the OP.

Zz.
 
  • #32
Bystander
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
5,288
1,347
ZapperZ said:
No, the link was specifically talking about funding of elementary particle/high energy physics, which has been so severely butchered during the Bush administration

"Since the huge Superconducting Super Collider was axed in the early 1990s, the US programme has lacked focus, says the committee." --- OP

People doing the work have to provide the "focus;" politicians are generally inclined to underfund if PIs can make any sort of case for themselves --- no case, no funding.

that Fermilab is in jeopardy of being shut down by the end of the Tevatron funding. And that is THE last high energy physics facility in the US (SLAC is already being retrofitted as a light source and its funding is going to be transfered to DOE BES division).

So I have no idea what you read in the OP.

Zz.
 
  • #33
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,977
4,686
Bystander said:
"Since the huge Superconducting Super Collider was axed in the early 1990s, the US programme has lacked focus, says the committee." --- OP

People doing the work have to provide the "focus;" politicians are generally inclined to underfund if PIs can make any sort of case for themselves --- no case, no funding.

The SSC did not suffer from lack of focus. Rather, it was bad politics from the very beginning when the location was selected. If you look closely, the same thing happened to Isabelle that was about to be built at Brookhaven in the early 80's. So this is nothing new.

But when the politics didn't get in the way, you get the SLAC upgrade and the building of the Tevatron, all after the cancellation of the SSC, during the period of the so-called 'lack of focus'.

Take note that as bad as funding for high energy physics was, the funding for nuclear physics was even more abysmal, especially during the past 5 years. It got so bad that (i) RHIC and JLab experiments were on the chopping block (ii) RHIC was about to be shut down this year during its prime and was only saved due to a "donation" by a private entity to keep it open. I don't think they were suffering from any "lack of focus" either.

Regardless, there is a very clear "focus" as it is now - ILC. So where are the support?

Zz.
 
  • #34
Mk
2,001
4
Siddarth said:
Mk said:
Well, what president is interested in particle physics?
If I may interrupt, you might be interested to know one of them is Abdul Kalam, the president of India.
That guy looks kind of scary.

Zz said:
the link was specifically talking about funding of elementary particle/high energy physics, which has been so severely butchered during the Bush administration
The original post and poster said nothing, only implied that the United States was afraid to fund particle physics research. In the news article I read nothing about the Bush administration either.
America must boost its investment in particle physics if it is to stay at the forefront of the discipline.
That's all.
-Mk
 
Last edited:
  • #35
J77
1,082
1
Pengwuino said:
From what i hear on this forum, ask any serious scientist and they'll probably say the US is still at the forefront in science. However, they'll also probably tell you we're going to lose that spot very quickly at this rate unfortunately
That's a massive genralisation across all areas of science.

Name a specific field which the US are at the forefront of and I could probably find a dozen in which other countries lead.

I know good people in my field who come from the US, but I certainly wouldn't say they're at the forefront.
 
  • #36
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,977
4,686
Mk said:
The original post and poster said nothing, only implied that the United States was afraid to fund particle physics research. In the news article I read nothing about the Bush administration either.

Did you read the NAS report to which the link was reporting on? If you didn't then you are basing your opinion on 2nd hand reporting. If you are comfortable with heresay, then maybe you need to reconsider where you get your source of information.

Zz.
 
  • #37
Rach3
ZapperZ said:
Did you read the NAS report to which the link was reporting on? If you didn't then you are basing your opinion on 2nd hand reporting. If you are comfortable with heresay, then maybe you need to reconsider where you get your source of information.

Zz.

For anyone interested, the report is here:

http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309101948/html/
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads on The US are afraid (again) to

  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
2K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
65
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
4K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
Replies
24
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
19
Views
5K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
26
Views
25K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
36
Views
9K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
13
Views
3K
Top