Tevatron atom smasher shuts after more than 25 yearsI'm not qualified to give an opinion about whether it was worth $35 million per year to keep this facility in operation; the Large Hadron Collider in France has superseded the US facility in terms of size and power, and I don't know what the continued research potential of the US installation is.
One of the world's most powerful "atom smashers", at the leading edge of scientific discovery for a quarter of a century, is about to shut down. The Tevatron facility near Chicago will fire its last particle beams on Friday after federal funding ran out.
...A bid to extend the Tevatron's lifetime by three years was denied in January 2011 because the US Department of Energy could not come up with the extra $35m per year required to keep the machine running. An expert panel recommended the extension but its advice was not followed, turning the quest for the Higgs into a one-horse race.
But this story seems so symptomatic of the United States of today: the militantly dogmatic opposition to taxes by some Americans is increasingly registering its effects in any number of ways, from embarrassingly decrepit infrastructure, to run-down and understaffed schools, to lagging technological capability in all sorts of things from transportation to wireless communication to energy efficiency. It just feels increasingly like the US has given up.
I suppose we in the US can feel pride in the fact that we pay extremely low taxes. But it's awfully hard to be proud of the smaller, meeker future that comes with it.