Ernest Lawrence’s invention of the cyclotron in Berkeley more than eighty years ago did more than introduce a uniquely efficient and effective atom-smasher to the world of high-energy physics; it launched the paradigm of capital-intensive, large-team research known as “Big Science.” The paradigm’s offspring include the Manhattan Project, the moon landings, the Human Genome Project, and research into climate change. But it raises questions about the influence of money on basic research and how society should weigh competing demands for resources among practical social needs and the quest for fundamental knowledge of our natural world.
The Origins of Big Science: And what comes next
Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of several books, most recently Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex.
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Michael Hiltzik; The Origins of Big Science: And what comes next. Boom 1 September 2015; 5 (3): 98–108. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2015.5.3.98
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