The Economist Admits the Futility of the Project
Even though only about 50 people in the entire world understood what it was all about, the fanfare from the discovery of a sub-atomic particle called Higg’s Boson has been gushing almost non stop. Here is the cover of The Economist, an otherwise highly noteworthy and quality publication.
And from the lead commentary in that issue here is the crux of the discovery.
For non-physicists, the importance of finding the Higgs belongs to the realm of understanding rather than utility. It adds to the sum of human knowledge—but it may never change lives as DNA or relativity have. Within 40 years, Einstein’s theories paved the way for the
Project and the scourge of nuclear weapons. The deciphering of DNA has led
directly to many of the benefits of modern medicine and agriculture. The last
really useful subatomic particle to be discovered, though, was the neutron in
1932. Particles found subsequently are too hard to make, and too short-lived to
be useful. Manhattan
And so the Higg’s Boson joins other projects like the $2.5 billion Mars Lander, projects which add to the sum of human knowledge, provide no useful benefits other than to the very few people who have an academic interest in the subject and which take vital resources from the many to give to the small group of scientists whose only mission is to satisfy their own thirst for knowledge at the expense of the community as a whole.