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Blogger Ian Durham wrote on Sep. 5, 2016 @ 20:53 GMT
While it isn’t the sexiest topic for a blog post, this year’s FQXi conference did include a panel discussion on science funding that raised a number of salient points worth discussing. I will slightly abuse this space and pontificate a bit.

The panel included physicist Andrew Briggs (who, at one point, mistook me for Çaslav Brikner) representing the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Ashley Zauderer from the John Templeton Foundation, Sarah Hreha from the Gruber Foundation, and Federico Faggin from the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation. Whatever one may think of these organizations—and they are not free from criticism—they have nevertheless funded a good deal of excellent pure scientific research that would not otherwise have been funded.

And there’s the rub: there is precious little funding for foundational research these days. As governments continue to cut back on non-military discretionary spending, researchers have no choice but to turn to private funding that, due to its very nature as private, will never be completely free from criticism concerning its motivation. The fact is, government funding for fundamental research has traditionally been blind to the philosophical motivations of research—good research stands on its own and should be relatively self-evident via its methodologies. Somewhat ironically, many of those who do criticize government as pushing a particular agenda with its funding have actually driven it to do just that by increasing the emphasis on and importance of practical research, i.e. research that leads to applications, particularly those with short-term economic impact. In other words, meddlesome politicians have increasingly been attempting to ensure that government research funding does push an agenda—theirs (the politicians’).

This, of course, is terrible for fundamental science. I won’t spend time explaining the importance of fundamental science here as I will assume that most readers understand this importance (nevertheless, see here and here for example). What I will say is that the increasing reliance on private funding is leading to more fractured research. What do I mean by that?

Critics of Templeton and similar organizations assume that these groups pressure researchers to fit their findings into the pre-existing ideologies espoused by the organizations. So, for example, they could assume that the Templeton organizations might try to prevent the publication of Templeton-funded research results that directly contradict what the critics might see as Templeton-supported philosophies such as religion and free enterprise. Within the larger Templeton umbrella, there seems to be little evidence that this takes place. Of course, the same can’t be said of all such organizations. Indeed, there are plenty that do push various agendas and that routinely attempt to silence dissenting opinions. But for every one of these types of foundations there is one that puts no pressure on its researchers.

The greater problem, in my mind, is the increasing specialization of funding areas. So while many (perhaps most) such private funding organizations may not try to directly influence the outcomes of the research they sponsor, they do influence what type of research gets funded in the first place by focusing on particular areas. This is what I mean by “more fractured research.” Under the traditional model, government funding would broadly cover the basic sciences and foundational researchers could often fairly easily justify their research within such a broad call.

This post-World War II model of government agencies as quasi-independent and free from political pressures is a kind of “live-and-let-live” ideal in which the freedom of the researcher to explore (which is the essence of science) is fostered by not limiting the ideas that seed the research in the first place. But with an increasing reliance on private funding, there comes an increasing focus on the interests of the funders themselves. I want to emphasize that there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Foundations are free to spend their money as they wish and, as I mentioned above, they have funded some very important work. The problem is that it creates gaps in funding.

If history has taught us anything it’s that we are terrible at predicting how discoveries in one area may lead to advancements in a seemingly unrelated area. Who, a century ago, would have—indeed could have—predicted that a theory as esoteric as relativity would become an indispensable foundation of modern life (via the ubiquity of GPS-driven technologies)? Luckily unlikely connections between fundamental research and later technological advances were at least understood to exist, even by private corporations, many of which used to have phenomenal support for foundational research. Westinghouse, GE, Bell Labs and IBM come immediately to mind as examples. But an increasing emphasis on short-term profit margins has all but killed off fundamental corporate research.

Of course, there’s another problem that is increasingly exacerbated by this new funding paradigm. Private foundations such as the Templeton organizations, the Gruber Foundation, and the Faggin Foundation simply do not have the resources of governments or large corporations. As such, they are limited in their ability to support anything other than bold new ideas. Scientific results must be reproducible but, as Matt Leifer pointed out in the Q&A session after the initial panel discussion, there is very little funding for projects aimed at reproducing existing research results, particularly in physics. Independent verifiability is a cornerstone of science. As an example, consider Joe Weber’s claim in 1968 that he had detected gravitational waves in his lab at the University of Maryland. None of his results could ever be reproduced despite several attempts. While this lead to an eventual consensus that Weber had not, in fact, observed gravitational waves, it also helped spur the development of LIGO which recently did detect gravitational waves (and, at the press conference announcing the results, Kip Thorne was quick to credit Weber with really starting the field). What if no one had ever really questioned Weber’s results or been able to adequately test them? What if everyone simply moved on? It’s difficult to say if the world would have been a different place, but it is certainly not clear that LIGO would have ever been built and the broader applications of the technologies developed for it have yet to be fully realized. Certainly, verification of existing results is not sexy work. But it is important work that gets at the heart of what science is: the embodiment of skepticism.

Where does all of that leave us? Eric Weinstein (also during the Q&A session), in what may have been the most impassioned argument of the conference, entreated scientists to stop “asking for money” and instead demand some kind of royalty payment for creating the backbone upon which modern society itself is founded. Stop for a moment and think about the ubiquity of the worldwide web. Think about how it has so radically changed society and particularly commerce. Think about the trillions of dollars in wealth it produces. Now think about Tim Berners-Lee who created it as a collaboration tool for physicists working at CERN. Tim doesn’t get a penny of that wealth and neither does CERN. Certainly, they may receive some indirect benefits, but there is little appreciation (let alone knowledge) among the general populace of the origins of the web and even less desire to, perhaps, repay some of that.

Of course, Eric’s entreaty, though passionate, would be extremely hard (if not impossible) to implement on a practical level and I’m sure Eric knows this. The broader point that he was making is that the dialogue needs to change. Science needs to stand up for itself, not just on social media and in the press, but also in how it deals with those who control the vast majority of the money that lubricates the economy.

Through his foundation, Federico Faggin funds research in areas that he is passionate about. This is a good thing and we need more funders with Federico’s passion. But we also need to recognize the bigger picture regarding science’s place in the world. This includes not losing site of two of science’s greatest traits: its inherent skepticism and its gestation in the free exchange of creative ideas. I don’t have easy solutions to any of the issues raised here and neither did any of the panelists. Sometimes it is necessary to simply frame the question. I don’t know if that was the intent behind the creation of this panel and I hesitate to say that they were successful in that regard. But they did get the dialogue started. It’s our job to keep it going.

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Sep. 5, 2016 @ 21:34 GMT
I don't doubt that the panel failed to frame the question.

Maybe they should have asked how it came to be that science is so largely funded by a few wealthy foundations and private corporate interests. In politics, 'follow the money' is always a good rule.

What happened to the public interest? If we truly valued knowledge for its own sake, our education system would not be crumbling from below and bloated at the top.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 7, 2016 @ 15:26 GMT
Hello Tom,

Indeed.It is due to many parameters.:) and frankly it is better to not enumerate them :)Science have the solutions when altruism, universalism ,determinism and rationalism are put into practice.I beleive strongly that the actual sciences community is not worry about our global state.A time for all after all.This planet is not in good health.We must act in finding the best global...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 7, 2016 @ 15:36 GMT
even the space must be harmonised on this planet.And even we must already create a Wheel in orbit with an artificial gravitation due to rotation.We could create this kind of global project if systems were less dispersed.Mars it is the same, we must already think about 1/2 sphères on this planet.The number of humans and vegetas and animals is going to increase quickly in the future due to exponential.So this planet is not sufficient.I don't understand the high sphères of power??? Where are the jedis of the sphere ? We are all humans and the majority of this planet is in an egoism and are not aware of this reality ?Howis it possible ? The global human potential is so important that it is sad simply that we have this global state.And the hope ? a lot of persons on this earth need to be reasured,with a kind of global universal system.It is not possible to reach the points of equilibrium with our actual global system.Not possible simply mathematicaly speaking.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 7, 2016 @ 15:44 GMT
The consciousness ,it is that also ....

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Sep. 6, 2016 @ 15:46 GMT
Funding DEDUCTIVE science involves the risk of wasting all the money. Nowadays theoreticians almost universally believe that Einstein's spacetime is wrong and should be "retired", which means that the undelying premise, Einstein's 1905 constant-speed-of-light postulate, is false. If they are right, at least half of the theoretical physics funding is a total waste:

Nobel Laureate David Gross observed, "Everyone in string theory is convinced...that spacetime is doomed. But we don't know what it's replaced by."

Nima Arkani-Hamed (06:09): "Almost all of us believe that space-time doesn't really exist, space-time is doomed and has to be replaced by some more primitive building blocks."

What scientific idea is ready for retirement? Steve Giddings: "Spacetime. Physics has always been regarded as playing out on an underlying stage of space and time. Special relativity joined these into spacetime... [...] The apparent need to retire classical spacetime as a fundamental concept is profound..."

"Rethinking Einstein: The end of space-time [...] The stumbling block lies with their conflicting views of space and time. As seen by quantum theory, space and time are a static backdrop against which particles move. In Einstein's theories, by contrast, not only are space and time inextricably linked, but the resulting space-time is moulded by the bodies within it. [...] Something has to give in this tussle between general relativity and quantum mechanics, and the smart money says that it's relativity that will be the loser."

Pentcho Valev

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Sep. 6, 2016 @ 20:38 GMT
So far I didn't understand the Foundational QXi as dealing with foundations in the sense of donators but devoted to logical foundations of science. Was I wrong?

++++

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Sep. 10, 2016 @ 18:56 GMT
Is this 'tongue in cheek' Eckard?

It is of course ironic that the FQXi blog would talk about questions regarding the charitable Foundations which provide funding for Science. That is quite rightly not the sort of 'Foundational Questions' we should be considering here, and it would be far better to focus on topics of pure Science - with little or no discussion about what is or is not funded.

Unfortunately it is almost completely impossible to divorce the two. I complained that Carlo Rovelli won a major prize in an FQXi essay contest, with a paper that was quite obviously a knock-off - a hastily written essay with little or no time for editing. I know that Rovelli is a good researcher who can write well, but not with that particular essay IMO.

But after hearing his lecture and meeting him at GR21, I find him likable and knowledgeable, and I see him as a sincere explorer of theoretical Physics. So it would not surprise me that FQXi would want to find a way to reward him for the quality of his work, even if this meant bending the essay contest rules a little bit - or even blatantly - to benefit one of their members.

Warm Regards,

JJD

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Sep. 10, 2016 @ 19:01 GMT
I should add..

Part of the irony is that FQXi must depend on those charitable Foundations to survive long enough to advance research into the Foundations of Physics and Cosmology - which it is FQXi's stated purpose to advance.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 10, 2016 @ 19:29 GMT
Hello Eckard,and Jonathan(happy to see you again),

Fortunaly that systems like templeton or others exist.I find FQXI an innovant and wonderful indea.It is transparent and international and about theoretical physics.It is even revolutionary.I beleive that FQXi and its members and connections have a big potential.They can produce several innovant inventions imrpoving life and our global society.This can be an enterprise creating products and so can increase its capital.I find also well that they permit to scientists to continue their researchs with funds.It is essential and also it permits to catalyse entrepreneurial mind in creating jobs and a system of rentability.In all case it is wonderful initiative this Platform and the essay's contest.Personaly I have learnt so much here.I am thanking FQXi to have permitted me to show my theory.I have imrpoved a lot here on fqxi due to this Learning,transparent.I suppose thzt I am not alsone, we learn all each day after all :)and evolve:)

RRegards

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Sep. 7, 2016 @ 11:41 GMT
Pentcho, Tom, Eckard et al,

Watch out for Roger Penrose's new book, "Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe", out this september. I hope to blog more about it if I find it worthwhile to promote my book. Its relevance here is whether tax payers/ philanthropists' money is being used to pursue fantasies and fashionable things or things that will bring us nearer the goal...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Sep. 7, 2016 @ 14:52 GMT
Dear Durham,

I can prove that the real observable Universe is the simplest of physical constructs, for I have observed that it consists only of ONE UNIFIED INFINITE SURFACE THAT AM ALWAYS ILLUMINATED BY INFINITE NON-SURFACE LIGHT. My request for a $10,000 Grant from FQXi to pursue this promising research into the real physics of the real observer was denied without explanation. All you physicists want to do is to obtain grants so that you can continue to produce mountains of misinformation about invisible phenomena.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Paul N Butler wrote on Sep. 7, 2016 @ 22:47 GMT
It should not be a surprise to anyone that science is funded primarily by the rich and governments. This has been the case historically from early in the development of science. I have seen many comments by scientists on how the Christian Church hindered scientific developments during the dark ages by only allowing the concept that the earth is the center of the world to be accepted as...

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Akinbo Ojo replied on Sep. 8, 2016 @ 08:24 GMT
Thanks for this well written, thought provoking post.

Akinbo

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 8, 2016 @ 11:46 GMT
Hello Mr Butler, happy to see you again on FQXi.And thanks fo sharing your words.Regards

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 9, 2016 @ 10:50 GMT
Hello Mr Butler,

I said that perhaps yes it was time to make the next essay's contest.I don't know what will be the topic the next year.Perhaps it could be well to make a contest about gravitation.I will develop my équation E=mc²+ml² I will develop also probably the geometrical spherical algebras,I work on that at this moment ,I study different works (Clifford,Hopf,Lie,...)I study also the spaces and vectors.The associativity,the commutativity,the axioms of choice,the vecors,the finite and infinite series,the domains....I try to find the correct universal serie of spherical volumes.I beleive that the number of the serie of uniqueness is the same at the two scales considering this gravitation correlated with sphères and spherisation.I try to formalise and normalise my theory of spherisation with quantum and cosmological 3D sphères Inside an universal sphere.This central biggest BH is really fascinating, all turns around this bridge between this infinite entropy and this physicality in evolution.Fascinating is a weak word.God is near us with the spherons, particles of gravitation implying this gravitational aether.Best Regards from Belgium

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Joe Fisher wrote on Sep. 8, 2016 @ 15:05 GMT
Dear Butler,

All real observers will only ever see real unified visible infinite surface that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light. Galileo and the members of the Catholic Church failed to notice that they, the earth and the sun all have complete surfaces. Everything has a complete visible surface because only unified, observable infinite surface that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light exists. My request of a $10,000 Grant from FQXi.org for my sublime explanation for what real surface can be seen by all real observers was denied without explanation, You appear not to understand that all of the information concerning the physical structure of the universe is utterly incorrect.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Paul N Butler replied on Sep. 8, 2016 @ 17:12 GMT
Dear Akinbo,

You are welcome. It could have included much more like how the 1940’s through 1960’s showed how when the rich leave more of the money supply in the economy, life can be much better for all including them because the scientific and production developments flourish and create great improvements that also make their lives better, etc., but I didn’t want it to be too long. ...

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Joe Fisher replied on Sep. 9, 2016 @ 14:44 GMT
Dear Akimbo,

The real observable Universe must be of the simplest physical construction and the only visible observable construction that can be seen am unified infinite surface that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Sep. 10, 2016 @ 18:37 GMT
Thank you for this post Ian..

It's true that FQXi can only do so much, and likewise with Gruber, Templeton, and others like Faggin. There is a monumental shortfall in funding for basic research in many areas worthwhile to explore. And there is a disconnect about the value of exploring abstract topics. In Doug Osheroff's talk on how advances in science are made; an important takeaway point is that researching the superfluid phase of liquid Helium was done for its own reward, and it could not be foreseen that this would enable a stream of developments that led to the MRI technology used in hospitals all over the world.

So having a criterion where only projects having an immediate or foreseeable benefit to create new technologies are funded; we would never have the benefit of something like MRI - that is now a backbone of medical technologies. But worse still; we won't even be aware of what we are missing. And that is exactly the bind we find ourselves in now, where basic Science has been throttled back too much - due to insufficient or non-existent funding - and even the most capable researchers need to worry if their project or proposal will get the money to continue their work.

More later,

Jonathan

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Sep. 13, 2016 @ 03:08 GMT
Jonathan,

Well, "an immediate or foreseeable benefit to create new technologies" is not enough. Steve Dufourny mentioned the Belgian islamists for which king Boudoin was identified as a responsible founder by accepting money from Wahabists for the allowance to indoctrinate a special kind of altruists who even sacrify their life on behalf of Allah.

I see the reason for mass migrations of mediveal behaviour an even more serious thread to human civilization as a whole, including free science, and - having written an essay "Peace via discoveries and inventions" - I would like to advocate for responsibility instead of blind development with unlimited growth of economy and population. Cosmology should make us aware of our uniqueness.

++++

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Sep. 13, 2016 @ 05:09 GMT
I agree wholeheartedly,

We need to develop the sciences responsibly, with the understanding of how the work we do in a subject like Physics can be put to use by despots, if we are not careful. In fact we need to exhort scientists to use their knowledge wisely, to benefit humanity rather than destroy it. There is a real danger to advancing scientific knowledge blindly, and without oversight, far worse than giving matches to children as play toys.

This was a big source of concern for Pete Seeger's father, who became terrified late in life by the destructive power unleashed by Science, and Charles Seeger sought to compel the scientists to halt their progress instead. But Pete thought the right way to resolve things was by going forward instead, learning more, and letting the superior knowledge eventually overrule the hateful logic.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Sep. 13, 2016 @ 05:14 GMT
And for the record..

Pete also agreed with your point that growth of itself is not always positive or healthy, Eckard, and he asserted that it's sometimes better when others say 'grow, grow, grow' to choose to be small instead. That could indeed be how we can save the world.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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John R. Cox wrote on Sep. 27, 2016 @ 13:30 GMT
Science funding needs to start at the preschool level. That was probably the most obvious thing the candidates both displayed in last night's Presidential debate. When asked how the U.S. should respond to the escalating cyber warfare, they were both woefully ignorant of the technicalities of the problem. Neither mentioned the race for Quantum Computing and the high level of mathematics and scientific understanding required to even argue about the subject as is commonly done in discussions on this forum. We are in a new age, and one which demands a grounding in math and science beginning at the earliest stage of the educational process. jrc

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Sep. 27, 2016 @ 13:54 GMT
Amen to that.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 27, 2016 @ 17:17 GMT
Amen also, it exists indeed an ocean of pseudo sciences.The skills .....too much of money evaporated sometimes due to unconscious businessmen.An other thing that I have remarked is that somepersons confound the sciences with the computing.Perhaps they have forgotten their foundamentals.I don't know, in all case it is bizare.The business sometimes is well sometimes no.We are indeed in a new age...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 27, 2016 @ 17:21 GMT
Tom, I profit in the same time to repeat my question,why do you consider time and informtion like identical? Please explain me in détails with maths also to see the quantization of these informations and the reversibilities and irreversivbilities.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Sep. 27, 2016 @ 18:53 GMT
I agree with your post above John..

We need to nurture the interest preschoolers show in Science naturally, and give them opportunities to develop the learning and thinking skills that adult scientists need to do Research and Development work. Too often the focus is on conveying lots of information, in a developmentally inappropriate sequence, when nature dictates that children develop thinking skills through playful exploration - and need appropriate stimuli to advance their development. Even preliterate children show an interest in learning by experiment, and learning experts see them as little scientists.

Some suggest we can counter the trend (of declining Science literacy) by offering economic incentives to older students - mainly high-schoolers - making it easier to get funding to study Physics rather than Philosophy in College, and this somewhat misses the point. If they have not had the grounding in Math or been taught the reasoning skills scientists need, then this merely thrusts more inadequately trained people into the work force. Far better if we do start early, to get a crop of kids who really know how to think for themselves - and train them as tomorrow's scientists.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 27, 2016 @ 19:09 GMT
Hi Jonathan,There is a problem very simple.I have remarked at universities that a lot of students chose matters and finished their 4 or 5 years of universities but in fact they are not passionated or after some years they have forgotten the most of their courses.After they have a job but in fact they are not really skillings.The habit does not make the monk.It is a big global psychological problem you know Jonathan.A lot of Young students choose a way but in fact they are not still mature to choose.There is a problem in the global system of education.And if we insert still this vanity, oh my god it is a catastrophic reality.You know Jonathan this planet looses its foundamentals....Sad ...

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John R. Cox replied on Sep. 28, 2016 @ 01:18 GMT
All very good points, Jonathan.

The natural curiosity of childhood is also more easily shared, until instinctive competition intrudes with maturation into adolescence. I think another crucial aspect that would evolve with the sort of childhood experimental play and sharing of discovery within a math and science environment as you briefly laid out, is that of the common experience in a...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 28, 2016 @ 16:49 GMT
Hello John,

It is well said ,it is possible in all case to solve globaly.

Best Regards

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Sep. 28, 2016 @ 10:50 GMT
And if we dreamt a little about the human potential like in star trek.I beleive strongly that the future could be very relevant universaly speaking.The responsability, of NASA and others systems of sciences, global of all countries,is so important.We have now a real deterministic potential of universalism in uniting the good systems.The funds could be focused on this global universal project like in star trek.We could even quickly colonize mars and create a revolutionary spaceship in Wheel for an artificial gravitation.All the sciences systems like NASA....can do it if we change a little our earthian bad habits.All governments must take its responsabilities in fact.The solutions exist.You imagine the potential ? Star trek ......It is the future.We can now prepare this future simply.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 29, 2016 @ 17:48 GMT
An important paramter, foundamental to balance is the creation of jobs,stable at long term.If the world bank takes its responsabilities and if the funds and investions are liberated with an universal point of vue, that becomes very relevant.The number of humans increase, the vegetals and animals decrease....so we must rethink our globality in creating jobs with this universal method.It is the same with mars or the spaceships ,they can create many stable jobs where the majority of humans could find their place.The energy and the space are sufficient.Money actualy no,it lacks also a kind of unification of this planet, a kind of universal government.We need that, we need to be reasured also.If the money is liberated in a different optic, it could be relevant for humanity and earthian lifes.The points of equilibrium are possible so why it is not made?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 5, 2016 @ 07:16 GMT
Perhaps simply that humans lack of generality and universal faith, entropical ifI can say.It is sad because we have the potential ,entropical still to harmonise.If the money is taken like a tool, a catalyser of energy and works. Thus, like all changes and evolves and that the numbers become near exponetial.Thus we must adapt our Tools with a stronger universality.Funds could be liberated by the world bank.All governments could work in a kind of global project for mars and spaceships and a better ecology and its utilisations.The solutions exist, we can harmonise this sphere earth with rationalism and determinism.They exist these rational solutions in playing with matter and energy simply.We can increase the vegetal mass and animal.We cannot success without this foundamental.The governments and the world bank must take their respinsabilities.It is not an utopy, it is a necessity.The actual economical system is not changed, we just increase the universal investments focus on priorities.The jobs ,stable are essential.In fact the world must understand that we are arrived at limits of our actual global system.It is time to reasure with concrete solutions.The world bank really must change its method.China,Europa and USA more others can make it if they work together.We need funds in all countries and governments must harmonise this planet.A time for all after all.It is logic.We cannot continue like that.It is not possible.

Regards

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 5, 2016 @ 07:33 GMT
It is possible to save this planet and its lifes.We can harmonise so many things.The fact to create jobs and a stable evolutive system ,global by all governments in liberating the funds,is a deterministic solution.The global actual system does not really harmonise.Too much of chaotical parameters due to human nature.It is time tounify the good systems of all countriesthere and act globaly for the well of all.It is not complicated in fact if the world bank and governments act in a total universalism for our earth, mars and spaceships.The fact to liberate the funds will permit to harmonise correctly the human interactions.We have Evolved quickly there in a short time and we must adapt us to this future and its potential.It does not lack nor matter nor energy.Technology and ecology more funds can do it ....Regards

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Oct. 5, 2016 @ 06:45 GMT
Cost of finding the Higgs boson estimated at 13.25 billion including running costs, Forbes 2012.Cost of Ligo possibly detecting gravitational waves estimated at 1.1 billion of US taxes, scientific American Feb 2016.

That seems like a huge amount of money that might have funded a great number of projects with less expensive apparatus. I find it hard to reconcile the cost of such huge projects with the value of the findings. Perhaps not knowing which research will bring benefits to mankind the net should be cast wide, rather than concentrating on a few expensive projects.Though I also think it is right to prioritize research that will help mankind adapt to and anticipate the problems of climate change. It seems that it is likely now too late to put on the brake and expect a halt to what we have put in motion.

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Oct. 6, 2016 @ 00:03 GMT
Exactly right Georgina..

Nobel laureate Chen-Ning Yang recently argued the Chinese super-collider should never be built, and that other projects would benefit more. But there is no easy way to tell what will yield fruit, in terms of technological advancements. Would you have supported research on the superfluid phases of liquid Helium in the 70s? If it got no support; we would not have MRI machines today. I learned that from Doug Osheroff, another Nobel laureate. He said it would be virtually impossible to predict that line of development, given what was known back then.

And we continue to benefit from the knowledge Osheroff obtained. As it turns out; I had a meeting earlier today with someone who has developed the next generation of medical imaging technology (which also uses liquid Helium), and helped to build the superconducting magnets for the MRI machines of today. But even after FDA approval and over 1000 successful clinical trials; CardioMag struggles to survive financially. And we are talking about something that would save millions of lives over time, if it was in common use today.

From where I sit; research into the fundamentals of Physics brings inestimable rewards, that far outstrip the costs over time. However; it is important that we balance investments in Big Science projects with funding for humbler efforts. Who but Couder and Fort would imagine that vibrating an oil bath to make droplets can teach us about Quantum Mechanics? That apparatus is incredibly humble, but it still yields some very useful Physics.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Robert H McEachern replied on Oct. 6, 2016 @ 21:06 GMT
Jonathan,

"He said it would be virtually impossible to predict that line of development..."

It was predicted, in fact it was patented, a generation earlier. Like CAT scanners, MRI scanners were not limited by fundamental physics, but by the cost of the required computing power to render them economically viable. The required computing power was not available, even in rich societies, until the 1970s. The principles of NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) signal generation have been around since the late 1940s. The "Nuclear" was dropped and rendered MRI, rather than NMRI, since in the 1950s and 60s, "Nuclear" meant bad, atom bomb radiation that will kill you, to most people - not good medical radiation that could save your life. Of course, further refinements in signal generation occurred in subsequent decades, but it has always been the processing of those signals (computing) rather then the generation of the signals (physical principles) that has been the limiting factor in their introduction into medicine. That is also why they remain uncommon is poor societies.

I point this out, because, as is often the case, it is not lack of science, but lack of engineering, that is the real issue. Scientists, particularly academic physicists, often greatly overstate their contributions to any given technology. Quite frequently, even the fundamental science was performed by people who may have been educated as physicists, but were actually working as engineers, rather than academic physicists; people like Penzias and Wilson at Bell Labs, and Bardeen et. al., also at Bell Labs.

Rob McEachern

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Oct. 19, 2016 @ 04:28 GMT
Rightly so Rob..

But it was still unlikely the arc of development from studying superfluid phases of liquid Helium 3 would have been foreseen. That was my main point. But what you point out is apt, and indeed often scientific discoveries hinge on subtle refinements of engineering. This may be why Osheroff was well suited to that line of research - or to make such a discovery. And in the case of CardioMag; it is also the case that the computing hardware and software for graphical rendering were a major part of the development effort, and that the Physics was worked out before the Engineering was done.

The neat thing about magneto-cardiography is that there is no nuclear, no x-rays, nor anything else invasive or harmful. Instead; the CardioMag device measures the body's natural magnetic pulse with femtotesla sensitivity. So they can tell when the heart is healthy or where there are problems otherwise. It really is pretty cool! It could save millions of lives. But I would mainly like to see Carl Rosner get some benefit from his 15 years of research into how this can be done. While there are others now pursuing this line of research; Carl is a couple of years and as many orders of magnitude in sensitivity ahead of other researchers.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 12, 2016 @ 08:33 GMT
We can change this planet with concrete solutions.If our earth is in this state and if it exists so many sufferings, there are reasons.We are simply in a system created by our past human beings.We must imrpove our globality and adapt us to this universality.It is not possible to reach the points of equilibrium if we continue with this stupid globality.And still I don't speak about the psychology...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 12, 2016 @ 12:35 GMT
You imagine the potential if we liberate the funds and governemental jobs are created for mars and space stations and earth.The fact to create global ecological jobs with this method of global composting,vegetal multiplication and harmonisation of interations between animals and vegetals more a kind of industrialisation universal of our planetary system,will imply relevant results of...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 12, 2016 @ 13:03 GMT
It is evident that we are obliged to reasure and give hope to people.It is evident that our actual global system is not suffient.I am supposing that I am not alone to think universally.The problem is that nothing really is made for this new age of our planet and lifes.A system continues, people makes their jobs but nothing is really made in a revolutionary universal way.The fact to continue on our...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 12, 2016 @ 13:24 GMT
A kind of economical and social development can be put into practice in considering our planetary system instead of our earthian system ,limited!!! I imagine a kind of universal industrialisation of our planetary system.We have so many Tools ,matter.The capitalization will be revolutionary and without limits considering the space between our cosmological sphères of our solar system.The problem that we have so disappears because the earthian limits are not our limits.

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John R. Cox wrote on Oct. 14, 2016 @ 15:44 GMT
Steve,

I'll start a new thread just to catch a break.

I'll just address the Black Hole question without going in beyond my depth. Relating to the zero momentum, negative mass result obtained mathematically, let me pose a simple illustration in solid Euclidean geometry.

It doesn't require doing the math, it can be visualized intuitively. Imagine that we project a single radii...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 14, 2016 @ 17:21 GMT
John,

It is a beautifu reasoning.But forget your chains please :)like if you were obliged to make pub for friends. :) But I am understanding why you make it.The same table,and the business like always John.What is the nature of a BH for you and what is the nature of this dark matter which is not baryonic?

About the core John, don't forget that for me a sphere is not in 2D please.That...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 14, 2016 @ 17:48 GMT
I reread your reasoning.That does not explain nor BH nor Dark matter nor gravitation John??? Shows me your maths, I will show you where there are errors, I have several Books of Bronstein and semendiaev,I class all don't forget.Explain me the maths, put the équations and why you utiluise these équations.Eplain me what are the mathematical Tools in this line of reasoning.Give me the results and explain them.You can utilise reals, complexs...But please show me your maths.You can even utilise the work of verlinde if you want with this entropical gravity??? I hope for him that he forgets the standard model ,because if it is the case, I am suggesting that he analyses differently his works.I can understand that gravitation is the holy graal but let's be serious there.Like if God had created only photons, frankly ??? is it still a hidden camera?:)

The zero center you say :)

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John R. Cox replied on Oct. 14, 2016 @ 19:29 GMT
now...now, Steve,

Free exchange of ideas is a good and wonderful thing. And ideas are just ideas, but math is real product. Suffice it to say that in a prior life, among other stunts, I once ran out and jumped in front of an interstate transit bus which was pulling out of the station with my luggage on board, after realizing at the last moment that I had been misdirected into a wrong boarding line. It stopped the bus and the driver tried to tell me my batch of maths were on another carriage. It was late at night and I had jumped in front with my arms stretched out and hands clasped pointing at the driver, and when I scrambled on board I think the only thing any of the passengers heard was when I growled, "Like Hell! I saw it being Loaded!" Everyone looked down or out a window as I made my way to a seat, and nobody messed with me. I was even able to catch some much needed shut-eye. There was a Cold War going on, and if someone had got excited and called the State Militia... well, any bad guys would have to go through them first, and I wasn't armed it weren't dope. You just kinda use what comes to hand. You only live once, and I've always figured that if I spent the whole time worrying about a hereafter, I wouldn't have much of any.

A spherical volume is NOT 2D, the inverse square law measures from one entity towards another. So what is the condition in each that would interact mutually so that the inverse square law would consistently be observed. What I have described is the operation of a distribution theorem in spherical volume. (And it had blown my mind :-) jrc

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 17, 2016 @ 12:14 GMT
The fact to liberate these funds for a solar system industrialisation with harmony will permit a new revolution for our planet, our humanity and its créations.That will give hope to all if the jobs are correlated by a global government helping all others governments.Imagine that our high sphères of power take their responsabilities and reasure this planet in giving hope simply.We cannot harmonise correctly if we do not liberate these global funds of this world bank.We liberate also the space because we arelimited here on earth with this number increasing of humans.We have the possibility to check our ecosystems.So we can really make a real revolutionary correct industrialisation of our solar system.With wheels in orbit for an artificial gravitation.All the governments could focus on so many productions for this industrialisation, deterministic and universal of our solar system.You imagine the potential ,it is infinite in fact the possibilities.It is a real revolution if it is made.That will help all people.All has to win with this global and universal solution.That will catalyse correctly the economical interactions because the potential is very important simply.In all case, our planet sphere earth cannot be harmonious without this opening to our universe.Anybody looses, all wins in this optic, the poors like the richs.If the money is a tool of evolution if it is well utilised, so let's liberate it with determinism for the well of all.Our potential is infinite......

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 17, 2016 @ 13:00 GMT
All the countries need to be boosted ,catalysed.Our actual reality is a global economical system.If we consider this tool like an energy implying the work simply.So we must adapt our evolution with determinism.This global economical system in being liberated will imply a real catalysation of interactions correlated with this work in focusing on our solar system.The business men are all wining.I am repeating anybody looses ,all wins in these points of equilibrium.We are limited in space there and in funds.It is simply an observation of our global state.It is a catastrophe in fact for all persons conscious of this universalism.We can catalyse correctly with a kind of dterministic and rational governance where all countries are focused on créations of jobs,harmonisation of our earth,and colonisations of mars and wheels.It is a moral obligation really.It is not an utopy but a necessity and a logic step of evolution for humanity and the earthian lifes, animal and vegetal.All systems shall be boosted ,all countries, societies, enterprises, governments,....It is sad if it is not made quickly.If it is not taken like a priority by all governments, so there is a problem in the high sphères of power lacking of universal point of vue considering our global evolution.Each humans could find his place with this revolutionary solution.Now the real ask is how to make it ? Are we going to convice ,how, who,....in all case it is urgent dear Jedis of the SPHERE.We are near many chaotical exponentials ....We are obliged to change quickly....

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 17, 2016 @ 17:23 GMT
If the World bank,the OTAN,ONU,BRICS,G20 take their responsabilities,we can arrive to solve.It is based on gold and this and that.It is not sufficient.1000 or even 10000 billions are not sufficient.Because we are going to increase in number quickly and we cannot break the freedom in limiting the births???China has do it ,I do not beleive that it was a good solution.If we liberate these funds,in inserting for example new paramters of capitalizations, so it is not an utopy to insert what is necessary.Let's insert for example for the begining 100.000 billions correctly step by step for a harmonisation of our planet and this colonisation ofour solar system.It is just a global decision where all can find its interests.The poverty will decrease,the jobs will be harmonised,the ecology will be irmpoved,the hope simply will be a reality because these governemental jobs are essential.It is a new age, an obliged step.Our actual global economical system and this world bank have been created after the second war.We have had after this war, a step of evolution due to industrialisation,but now it is different,it is necessary to change the global system.It is just a global decision of the G20 ONU OTAN BRICS and this international monetary fund.Just a decision wich is foundamental for a correct evolution of our humanity and the earthian lifes.Each government, country will be helped,how many countries I don't know, more than 200 I am thinking.It is essential to catalyse these governments.We have Evolved and we are not in the same conditions that after this second world war.The parameters to take into account are different and must be universal.I am repeating it is not an utopy but a logic step of evolution for the well of all without exception.Governments and societies and enterprises could give jobs to all.This industrialisation of our solar system with sciences and consciousness and this liberation of funds shall permit a new harmonious road of evolution.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 28, 2016 @ 13:11 GMT
It is important this correlated ecology,I saw some days ago on an article that we have lost a lot of species already.Soon the elephants also shall disappear.In fact we have changed our earth in a small period.The soils also are essential like océans,algaes,...we loose also these micro fauna andflora and like all is linked when we see the evolution.So the natural chain is broken.We have the potentil to increase the vegetal and animal mass and the mass of compost.It is very important you know for our earth,a town like new York for example must have vegetals and animals everywhere.The compost is a foundamental.With our consciousness and intelligence we have the potential to hamonise correctly these interactions between all these animals and vegetals.The micro,meso and macro fauna and flora must be protected and we can increase its mass.We cannot loose all these animals and vegetals.The relevance is that for a space ships, a wheels in space,mars or other future planets, these foundamentals are also essential than 02,H20,C02 and hv.It is now that we must increase its mass for the well of all this humanity and lifes of our earth.The fact to focus on these foundamentals,the liberation of funds, the industrial technological universal colonization of our solar system,the composting at big scale and this vegetal multiplication more the harmonisation of interactions can save our planet and its lifes.It is now that it must be made.Not when it will too late.Jobs are correlated for this harmonisation of our earth and our solar system.All wins in this logic, anybody looses, all wins because it does not lack nor space, nor energy, nor matter.....It is stupid if it is not made.It is for the well of all.The actual humans and the future générations.....

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 18, 2016 @ 21:42 GMT
On LinkedIn, I have seen a wonderful enterprise,deep space ecology.It is a beautiful team with interesting projects.It is so important this ecology for our earth, mars or spaceships wheels,the funds if they are liberated could really permit to reach very relevant universal results.

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John R. Cox wrote on Oct. 19, 2016 @ 16:20 GMT
How very odd.

It is like the social impact of the quantum revolution on technology is completely lost on the scientific community which created it. There persists an expectation that a Global Government of Science will save the day. The day will be saved, I think, but not by a tyranny of like minds. Quite the contrary.

Over the past few years I have lived in a new neighborhood and...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 19, 2016 @ 16:38 GMT
Hello John,

It is well said.:) we need all générations to save thisplanet and its créations.Me alone I cannot convice but with FQXi and Washington it is possible.We can do it,let's try with FQXi.It is so important for the future générations like you say.We cannot give them a planet in this state and more after still.This liberation of funds by the high sphères of power will profit to all without exeption.On earth like in space or on mars.The matter does not lack nor energy.It is a simple solution when we see the whole of the problem.The hope will be again a reality if these high sphères tell this truth to all in reasuring this planet.John the future is our responsability also.Regards

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 19, 2016 @ 17:09 GMT
There will be jobs for all and it is foundamental,manual and intellectual.How can we give jobs to all without a new revolution in the industries in expanding this industrialisation to our solar system.Both of main systems ,the capitalism and the socio marxi communism can be harmonised.These systems are not touched, they are boosted, imrpoved, harmonised for a correct expansion of our humanity and lifes of our earth.We know all that we cannot continue like that.It lacks several foundamentals in the governances.It is mathematically not possible to continue like we do.It is time to act there .Let's convince this world bank and ONU G20.It is a foundamental step of adaptation and evolution.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Oct. 19, 2016 @ 17:38 GMT
After all John, this world bank has been created based on gold,this and that.So we can create a new basis for these funds.For example a common agreement on several things present in our solar system.:) the gas of Jupiter for example,a little of humor is good for health :) but it is true, we have several potentials of capitalisation.This agreement if it is made will save this planet and the future of humanity.Now how can we convince these organisations quickly ?

This solution will imply a quick development on earth and on space Wheel stations and mars.The aim is to create a majority of goovernmental jobs also.I don't dreaam John ,it is an obliged step of evolution for our globality.This enterprise of Mr Irons knew on LinkedIn with deep space ecology is relevant, they understand the importance of animals, vegetals and substrates ,minerals.We cannot survive in space or on mars without compost,vegetals,animals,O2,CO2,water mainly.The argilo humic complex is relevant for substrates.Our earth looses its ecosystems, we must act John, it is foundamental.Priorities for humanity are simple in fact ,correct ecosystems,correct funds,correct colonisation of our solar system, correct harmonisation of our earth,....John,let's convince these high sphères.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 23, 2016 @ 09:41 GMT
I am ,striked,shocked by the decision of my wallonia, a part in Belgium.I knew that my wallonia was odd and bad governed but there it is strong.They have not accepted the CETA,free commercial exchanges with Canada.We are the only one who have said no in all our Europa.It is totally crazy.The sciences fundings are correlated of course.My wallonia dies and it is sad just due to socialist party profitting of their power, they have destroyed the wallonia, this small part of Belgium with 4,5 millions of presons.If they have not accepted, it is because the transparence is not their priority, they like to keep thei advantages simply.The irony at its paroxysm.All the countries of Europe have said yes, but us walloons, no.It is serious in fact.The sciences fundings are correlated.It is sad in all case.My walloonia dies and people are not well psychologically speaking.Bad governances like always....Regards

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Nov. 4, 2016 @ 09:29 GMT
Science Funding is so important,but several parameters have been forgotten atNew York.I have seen Harvard for example,their theoretical group is not really general.They are all focused on strings and Mtheory.And these businessmen of Harvard them who tries to oblige that all must converge towards this Mtheory.It is odd, if they continue they are going to loose their credibility in theoretical physics.It is the most important university and they are not foundamental about theoretical physics.Is it a joke ?

A few number of persons on this earth understand really what is the entropy and the relativity and the codes of evolution.So it is easy to imply confusions Inside the international sciences community.I beleive simply that they still are in the business system of strings due to businessmen and that they have forgotten the others researchs.It is sad for Harvard.I have explained thiz to Professor Georgi of Harvard in telling him that frankly they must be more rational about their researchs.It is too much focused on works of Mr Witten.Me I want well,the freedom is essential, I like his works but a time for all.If now the business is became stronger than foundamental sciences,where are we going ????New York ,:) Wake up :)

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Steve Dufourny replied on Nov. 4, 2016 @ 09:43 GMT
Yale,Harvard, Princeton,MIT,Columbia university,University of New York mainly.

The competition is well of course but sometimes the objectivity also.

These universities are the best in the world apparently.Theoretical physics are a special topic.The confusions are not ourbest Tools...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Nov. 4, 2016 @ 10:01 GMT
I d say even that these universities and New York have a responsability for this planet.The revolution Spherisation :)

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Nov. 9, 2016 @ 12:42 GMT
Hello dear USA,TRUMP is elected.

I thought that Clinton d be president.At the surprise of all, Trump is elected.Here in belgium also we have follow the past months about this election.The media stratégies have been an ocean of informations.Woww the world has look this game.I beleieve in listening his words after the results that he wants the well of USA and all countries in fact.He could revolutionate this planet in liberating the funds of the world bank for an industrialisation of our solar system and for a harmonisation of our earth.Jobs, water, food, energy must be given to all.He is already rich,so he can focus on this.In all case,IF somebody can tell him this message, he can solve this planet and its future.The world bank is there also at Washington.He is a business man, a good Creator of jobs, so if he liberates these funds ,he will permit to this planet and all governments, the 197, to harmonise their systems.It does not lack nor energy, nor matter,nor space.The solar system can be colonised and the jobs created in liberating these funds will permit to all, richs like poors to evolve correctly.He can do it this Mr Trump, the president.Create jobs is essential and foundamental.I will send him a letter :) Spherisation of high sphères of power :)for the well of all ,all wins, anybody looses....with thisliberation of funds.

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