Big Science and the Launch of the Military Industrial Complex
Michael Hiltzik, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Los Angeles Times
The birth of Big Science can be traced to Berkeley, California, nearly nine decades ago, when a resourceful young scientist pondered his new invention and declared, “I’m going to be famous!” Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s cyclotron would change our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. Its influence would be felt in academia and international politics. It was the beginning of Big Science.
Since the 1930s, the scale of scientific endeavors has grown exponentially. The first particle accelerator cost less than $100 and could be held in its creator’s palm, while its descendant, the Large Hadron Collider, cost $10 billion and is 17 miles in circumference. Scientists have invented nuclear weapons, put a man on the moon, and examined nature at the subatomic scale – all through Big Science, the industrial-scale research paid for by governments and corporations that have driven the great scientific projects of our time. Join the discussion about the incredible story of how one invention changed the world and of the man principally responsible for it all.