The Best Reason to Fund Basic Science

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Theoretical physicist David Kaplan explains the importance of funding the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Watch the clip here (via Gizmodo) or in the documentary about the LHC, Particle Fever, on Netflix.

Or just read this transcript:

The question by an economist was,"What is the financial gain of running an experiment like this and the discoveries that we will make in this experiment?" And it's a very, very simple answer.

I have no idea.

We have no idea.

When radio waves were discovered, they weren't called radio waves, because there were no radios. They were discovered as some sort of radiation.

Basic science for big breakthroughs needs to occur at a level where you're not asking, "What is the economic gain?" You're asking, "What do we not know, and where can we make progress?"

So what is the LHC good for? Could be nothing other than just understanding everything.

 The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector on the LHC. Photo: Wikipedia

The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector on the LHC. Photo: Wikipedia