Atom smashers smashed

I can’t say I’m surprised, but the Tevatron atom smasher near Chicago is being shut down. Apparently funding cuts have hit the high energy particle accelerator pretty hard.

“But why”, I hear you ask, “should I care? What has the Tevatron ever done for me?”

The Tevatron is where we proved the existence of the top quark. For non-physicists, the top-quark is one of the fundamental particles of the universe, just one step below the up and down quarks which make up protons and neutrons. This makes it a pretty big deal: the top and bottom quarks are key to the stability of the standard model – physics’ equivalent of the periodic table. It’s like shutting down the laboratory that  first discovered hydrogen.

Mendeleev certainly thinks so.

OK, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic. More like scandium and germanium.

Even so, science seems to be being hit harder than I would like. Or maybe I’m just still reeling from the library cuts here in the UK, and our cavalier attitude to universities.

All I know is that if anyone ever tried to shut down the LHC for funding reasons, I’d be looking for blood. I don’t see why the Tevatron is any different.

And here, for no good reason is a picture of the standard model. FUCK YEAH!

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Posted on October 1, 2011, in GLOOP and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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