By Lawrence M. Krauss
Scientists throughout the country across a wide spectrum of fields, from biochemists to physicists, are bemoaning the potentially devastating impact on science and technology in the United States of President Trump’s proposed budget request to Congress. As much as the scientific enterprise, and with it the development of new technologies necessary for the long term economic health and security of the nation will be hobbled should the budget requests be approved, the budget—which purports to strengthen our security via large increases in national defense and homeland security—paradoxically undermines the nations fundamental strength by presenting a broad attack on our culture that could be more devastating than any threat posed by a wave of illegal immigrants.
The President’s budget reflects a consistent and fundamental vision about American strength that is fundamentally at odds with a vision presented by almost 50 years ago by the physicist Robert Wilson, the first director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago at which a large particle accelerator was being built. When testifying before Congress about the machine and its cost, Wilson was asked if it completion would aid in the defense of the nation. His answer is striking.
No Sir…I don’t believe so…. It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture… It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.
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