Science needs our support

It’s human nature to question the importance of things we can’t comprehend, especially if we’re being asked to foot some of the bill.

It’s human nature to question the importance of things we can’t comprehend, especially if we’re being asked to foot some of the bill.

But there are reasons we must continue to support scientific endeavours and probably much more than we do now.

There was worldwide excitement this week when scientists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Europe announced the results of research into the elusive Higgs boson particle.

Despite the tantalizing results delivered Tuesday, scientists still have plenty of work to do before they can confirm the existence of the Higgs boson.

Although esoteric and exceptionally difficult and expensive to create, proving the existence of the Higgs is key to confirming theories of how we understand the nature of matter, and of the universe.

The University of Victoria has played a key role in the development of the particle accelerator that CERN is using to search for the Higgs boson. Being involved has cost the country somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100 million. But more importantly, being involved has allowed UVic to attract some of the sharpest minds in the world.

Science, more than ever, requires an international approach and Canada would be remiss not to be at the table. The spin-offs are huge and easy to understand. CERN itself gave us the World Wide Web, which began as a platform for scientists around the globe to share information.

The particle accelerators used to study the esoteric world of quantum physics are not that different from CAT scans used for decades now to take detailed medical images.

Greater Victoria works well as a region to incubate a vibrant high tech industry. Being involved with great international science can only help our region attract the brainy thinkers who can serve to inspire all of us.

 

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