Saturday, May 12, 2012

Demon Haunted World, Pt. 2

"[Robert R.] Wilson built Fermilab, the giant atom smasher in Illinois. But before that, at a congressional hearing in 1969, he was grilled by Senator John Pastore, who wanted to know what an atom smasher was good for: 'Does it in any way contribute to the security of the country?'

Wilson said, 'No, sir, I don't believe so.'

'It has no value in that respect?' the senator asked.

Wilson looked at him and said, 'It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of people, our love of culture. It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.'"
-- Alan Alda in June 2002 Caltech commencement speech "Finding Feynman," included as the Epilogue of "Classic Feynman," edited by Ralph Leighton, pg.504, WW Norton & Company Inc, New York, 2006.

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