Friday, January 13, 2006

Science roundup + political rant

So I've had a busy first week of classes. I've read about two interesting physics related things in Cosmic variance. Well, one is interesting and the other is sort of sad.

The first one is about an interesting result of a survey of Gamma Ray Bursts. It suggests that the amount of Dark Energy (the stuff postulated to explain why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate) is increasing over time. This is an interesting result that could have all sorts of effects on how we understand the universe. More details at Cosmic variance.

The other result is on the sorry state of American particle physics. If things continue like they have been there will be no particle physics experiments going on in the US by 2010. The reason for this is purely bugetary, the US is so deep in debt that lots of programs are being cut, and particle physics is one of the most expensive fields of physics. Of course compared to the costs of a war in Iraq, or tax cuts for the rich the costs are pretty trivial, but can't cut things like that for political reasons. Something like fundamental research, which is what will make the biggest difference is the future at the fraction of the cost of military action, can obviously be cut because it has no immediate benefit. Politicians are by their very nature short sighted, but as I keep stressing compared to most government programs science is cheap. Oh well... At least Europe has the right idea.

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