As anyone who has been following me on facebook knows, the government shutdown is having a tremendously negative effect on science: the evidence is all around us [1,2,3,4]. Furloughs and temporary lab closures may be coming my way, too, if Congress doesn't get its act together.
At the same time, from across the Atlantic comes news of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. One should not ignore the unfortunate fact that the "discovery" of the Higgs boson came from CERN and not from Fermilab - in other words, the US decision to shut down the Tevatron had unforeseen effects.
The Nobel announcement should be a clarion call to those whose job it is to regulate/fund/otherwise facilitate US science. If we keep playing games with our scientists, as the US is doing now, we will lose out on future discoveries. We will fall behind in technological advances. We will slowly but surely drain ourselves of expertise, as existing scientists move on to other places and the future generations of scientists are left with no training, no laboratories, and no funding.
Of course, there are more dire situations that have been caused by the government shutdown (cessation of WIC, etc), which I don't mean to minimize. But science is suffering, too.
2 days ago