What you say if you got a $1.5 BILLION grant? Samuel Ting (Nobel Prize laureate, 1974, MIT professor) got precisely this amount over 10 years to put a new experimental device in space. The device was meant to detect anti-matter. Although intriguing, the practical implications of this experiment are rather obscure. The questions, called “earth shattering” by The Guarding correspondent sound rather tame “Where do cosmic rays come from? Could there be galaxies made of antimatter on the other side the universe? And what is the true nature of dark matter?”
Ting’s saga, which started with a project estimated at 30 million, shows how in the Federal funding world money begets money. It also begs the question: what could’ve these money bought in terms of scientific progress or social utility? Equivalent to the cost of small aircraft carrier, the 1.5 billion could’ve supporting 1500 medical research labs for three years. I am not sure how many medical research laboratories are in the United States, but it is possible that their number is comparable to this figure. Although an old piece of news, the experiment came back to the forefront with the announcement that the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavour will finally attach the device to the International Space station.
- Space Shuttle Endeavour to Make Last Launch Pad Move as Discovery Returns Home (space.com)
- Bremerton-based USS Stennis preparing to deploy (thenewstribune.com)